I recently spent two weeks in Israel, due to a family wedding and spring break, and I have always found that one of the most unifying, one-with-the-Jewish-people experiences ever is in the waiting area for the flight to Israel.
There is something to be said about being with a bunch of Jews getting ready to fly to Israel, our homeland. Jews dressed in all sorts of garb, listening to all sorts of music, speaking all sorts of languages – in the end, we are all Jews, and we are, as one, flying to Israel.
Two years ago, my husband and I flew to Israel the night Purim began. In the waiting area, several of us gathered together to listen to a rabbi read what was possibly the world’s fastest megillah reading (just a few minutes before boarding!). During the reading, my mind started to wander as I looked at my fellow listeners. Minutes before, some of them were the most secular Israelis, and yet as word spread of a megillah reading, they ran about looking for kippot, listened attentively, and loudly answered amen at the end of the blessings. What inspiration! Spirituality is to be found in everyone – it is not owned by a few.
As corny as this may sound, physically being together with other Jews in the waiting area reinvigorated the desire to continue learning and doing more, more than most occasions have. Acting in a Jewish manner – however that may be – is a statement to the world that we are still here, that years of persecution have not done away with us, and if history has any lessons, then we will continue to be here. In my mind, it is another proof of Hashem that we are still here, and not only that, but we are a bunch of Jews flying to Israel together, to our homeland. If that is not achdut, I don’t know what is.