Every Shabbat we have spent here in Israel has been special in its own way. Last Shabbat we spend it at friends of family in Maale Adumim and we felt right at home. Thanks to our hosts, we had a unique experience, you made us feel right at home. Below you can find some pictures and a video that shows the breathtaking views from their home balcony of the Yehuda (Judean) desert.
You might be asking yourself what the meaning of the Blog Posting title "Praying towards the West" means. As many of you know we always pray towards Jerusalem. Most of my daily prayers have been to the East where Jerusalem has been in reference to where I'm at (except for the old sanctuary at Shaare Torah that faced Mexico, but not anymore :) ). But this Shabbat had a very special meaning the fact that I was facing West during our prayers, not that I have a great sense of orientation and can tell the difference but because of the place where we were at. Maale Adumim is a city with over 40,000 Jews East of Jerusalem. Yes, East of Jerusalem is known as the West Bank. I must say that I was a bit afraid driving to and from Maale Adumim. Even the GPS has an option to include or exclude such a territory. But I was amazed to find such a beautiful, growing and full of live city right in the middle of the Yehuda desert. Shopping centers, schools, parks, fountains, roads, synagogues, etc. it was all beautiful to see.
It's great to have family visit, and I want to welcome our cousin Hillel to Israel. You know you have a home in Modiin. I wish you a fun and meaningful year. For the family back in NY, don't worry, we'll take care of him as much as you looked after us during our 8 years in the U.S.