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Wailing Wall in Jerusalem

In 1983 I made a decision that was to form a backdrop to most of my adult life. I decided that I wanted to make a pilgrimage to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

I am a woman living in Halifax in England and didn’t until this point have any particular religious bent. The idea came to me in a dream and stuck with me so strongly that it became all I could think about.

At the time I worked in a fish packing facility and despite asking around I couldn’t find any of my colleagues who knew anything about the Wailing Wall. Indeed, at the time I didn’t even know anyone who had even been to Israel.

It took over twenty years for my to realize my dream. I had my first child in 1984 shortly followed by three more. On returning to work in the early 1990’s I got promoted to a middle management position in the fish factory and work and young motherhood took precedence over my dreams. Two messy divorces further complicated my life.

However, in 2004 a private equity firm bought out the factory and all managers received a one off bonus payment. Three of my children were in university and the youngest was unfortunately in prison so I was freed from the financial and maternal shackles that had hampered my dream. Finally I was able to start my pilgrimage.

I decided to walk from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on my own as a symbolic but meaningful metaphor for the pilgrimage that my life had been. On landing at Ben Gurion airport I donned my rucksack and although it was nearly midnight I headed out onto the road, walking all the way.

My journey ended up taking four months. I stopped and worked on a kibbutz. I got sidetracked when I fell in love, briefly, with a watercolor artist who was making studies of the desert colors. Finally, and with sore feet but a soaring heart I arrived in Jerusalem. I took in the sites, sounds and smells of the city before finally completing the journey of my life.

There are no words to describe how I felt when I arrived at the Wailing Wall. Sublime and ecstasy are the only words that come close. To be at that moment, surrounded by history, religion and culture was both spiritually and metaphysically the crowning moment of my life. A dream fulfilled.

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