Rachel was a girl in her late teens. She lived at home with her family. Ever since she could remember when she was a young child she would love to visit her grandma. On the walls of the living room were pictures of Jerusalem. Even then as a small child she understood that the City of Jerusalem was a very special place above all other in the world. She would stand looking up at the pictures for the longest time. Rachel pretended that she could become a part of these pictures – and so it was. She found herself walking down the narrow cobble-stoned streets of the Old City. She pressed her face against the shop windows seeing the different items for sale. Rachel visited the Western Wall (The Kotel), seeing many people milling about. Men wrapped in their prayer shawls swaying back and forth as they prayed before the ancient stones. “Rachel, come have your glass of warm milk and home baked cookies.” Rachel was then brought back to the real world in her grandma’s living room.
With each passing year Rachel’s dream seemed farther and farther away. Whenever the time seemed right, something happened: her elderly grandma would get sick, or her father could not leave the business.
One day Rachel glanced at the school bulletin board. There she saw a notice about a writing competition on the theme: “A Visit to Jerusalem.” That afternoon she went to the library to prepare for the competition. Piles of books soon were heaped on the table in front of her. She wrote and rewrote. It was the most important event of her life. Finally, the time arrived to hand in her composition.
There were lots of students before her also submitting their papers. “Is it really too much to hope for to win this competition,” she thought. The winner was to be announced the following week at a special presentation in the school auditorium. On the appointed day, early evening, people began arriving. After exchanging brief greetings, they took their seats, sat quietly and waited. One of the judges stepped forward to the podium. After greeting the audience and making a short speech, he was ready to announce the winner. This was the moment they had been waiting for. And then she heard--with utmost disbelief--her name being called out. She had won!!. Rachel’s heart beat fast—she was breathless. Everyone came over to congratulate her. How did she do it?
That summer just before her 18th birthday she boarded the plane for Israel. She was met at the airport by her host family who greeted her warmly, and welcomed her to their home in Jerusalem. She was taken to all the wonderful places that she had only seen pictures of, or heard about. Rachel kept a diary each day of what she did and the people she met.
On one occasion, she turned into a street and stopped suddenly to listen to beautiful sounds coming from above. Were these Angels singing? No… they were not Angels, but rather young children carefully chanting their aleph–bet. This is a special treat to hear, she thought. Rachel looked towards the window where the voices were coming from: “One day I shall return and I, too, shall teach young children the aleph-bet.”