Recently I came across photos taken 30 years ago this summer. During that time, I was privileged to greet several planeloads of new immigrants from the former Soviet Union landing in Israel, welcoming them on the tarmac as they began their new lives in their ancient home. Even though some didn’t know it, they were fulfilling dreams of generations of the Jewish people yearning to come home.
Having worked for years to help free Jews from the USSR, and aspiring to live in Israel myself, each plane of new immigrants evoked a range of emotions from unvarnished joy, to yearning to be home myself.
I saw old people who lived through decades of persecution and war, dreaming about Israel as an idea, and now making it to live out their final years in freedom. No doubt they have all passed, but gave their children and grandchildren an incredible legacy by remaining Jews in one of the hardest places and times to be Jewish.
I saw young people who may not have suffered as much as the old people, but who understood more than others how they were truly beginning their lives anew. Today, they’re middle aged, and have raised children and