A Surprising Reunion at the Travel Agency

A Surprising Reunion at the Travel Agency

Today Josh and I made a presentation about our home-hospitality business at a large travel agency near Tel Aviv.

There were maybe 25 tour operators at the meeting, and afterwards everyone left the meeting room except for one petite woman with shoulder-length brown hair wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
“Chana, you look familiar to me, did you ever study at Neve Yerushalayim?”
“Yes, I did…you look familiar to me too. I was a Neve for a few months 30 years ago…”
“I was also a student there around then, for 2 years.”
And then my long-lost sem-mate filled me in on her tumultuous journey since we’d last walked the same Har Nof halls 3 decades ago.
She told me how she’d gotten got married a few years after Neve and how she and her husband had lived in a very religious community for 20 years and raised a large family together until they got divorced 2 years ago. After the divorce, she’d stopped covering her hair. And then, slowly, she started shedding all the trappings of a religious life until she made a final break and moved to Tel Aviv and started this new job just 2 weeks before.

“It’s such a sweet life, but it wasn’t for me. I felt sad inside, like I was wearing a costume.” she told me as her eyes filled with tears.
“I don’t keep anything anymore. But my friends here know that I refuse to cook on Shabbat or eat food cooked on Shabbat. Last Shabbat we went to a park and they made a barbecue, but I wouldn’t eat.”
I blessed her with all my heart and she cried some more and then we embraced and traded Whatsapp numbers and parted ways, but I’ve been thinking about her all day.
She reminded me of the different journeys different people take through life. And that, based on appearances, we never know what another person has gone through and is going through. And that underneath the clothing, the costumes, that divide us Jews from one another, there is inevitably a Jewish soul, feeling around in the darkness, yearning, searching (no matter how far away they might seem to have wandered) for light.

One comment

  1. That is really sad. Clearly she is hurting so much. Of course the Jewish soul is eternal…I hope she finds someone to guide her back to a Torah lifestyle.

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