i left my heart in tel aviv.


A post shared by Mary Zakheim (@marylouisezak) on

3 September 2015

Life is sababa.

I have just arrived home from a long walk through the streets of Tel Aviv. It is ten fifty at night and a fan is on full blast as I mutely try to tell my new Jewish grandma goodnight and thank you. Life is strange. Not only because I find myself unable to thank my host, but because I have also just gotten back from a ten-day trip that, as corny as it sounds, changed my life a bit. Among other things, on my birthright trip I was able to:

-Travel all over Israel

-Make thirty-nine new friends

-Float in the Dead Sea

-Contemplate my Jewish identity

-Hike up Masada

Sunrise hike up Masada.

A post shared by Mary Zakheim (@marylouisezak) on

-Go through Yad Vashem

-Fall asleep under the stars

-Cry at the Wailing Wall

The Western Wall in Jerusalem.

A post shared by Mary Zakheim (@marylouisezak) on

-Make up songs around a campfire

-Raft the Jordan River

-Be surprised

-Have a crush

-Make a jammin’ playlist for Rami, our bus driver

-Ride a camel

-Learn perspective






Israel, outdoors.

A post shared by Mary Zakheim (@marylouisezak) on

I cannot even hope to summarise what I have just gone through. The experience was so – so big and deep and wide and spanning – that I can never hope to put it into mere words. Even now, I get a lump in my throat when I think of all of the friends that I have made and how I want to stay in touch with each one of them. As Itay, our tour guide, says, however: “Do not be sad that it is over, but be happy that it has happened.” I know that the quote is Pinterest-y and cheesy, but it also brings me a lot of comfort to look back on my memories smiling and laughing instead of frowning and crying. There was something special in our group – arguments were rare and morale was generally high, we were a bunch of goofballs, really, who couldn’t care less who we sat by on the bus or talked with on a hike.

But now it’s over and I sit in the bed in an apartment that smells vaguely of stale cigarettes and osculating air. It is almost as though the ten days never happened at all. I am alone. I am in charge of myself. I have no alarm set to wake me up at five thirty in the morning.

My phone lights up.

Just a reminder: Shabbat dinner tomorrow at Royi’s house!

I see this message and my hearts flows open, I feel an overwhelming sense of welcome and I remember that it happened. It happened. It happened.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s