For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
I had a thought today that made me very sad. In truth, I have always been one to fall apart after the crisis passes. I can't even begin to list the times I've handled something, only to sit down and fall apart when it was done or at least at a point that allowed me to release my emotions.
Moments after they announced today that all the large fires were out and that only smaller ones remained, I sat in my office and wanted to cry. Mostly it was relief, though there was great sadness...and such feelings of gratitude.
There are so many thanks to give out:
Thank you to the firefighters who came from so many lands - for Bulgaria and Greece and Jordan and Egypt. Thank you to France, Britain and Cyprus; and to Azerbaijan and Switzerland and Spain and Germany. Thank you to the Russians who came with such incredible resources and confidence. They knew from the start that we would conquer the fire.
Thank you to the Americans - the National Guard and the firefighters from New York. And Australia that is sending advisors and even the Palestinians and the Turks who sent firefighters (although they were quick to assure the world that this was in no way intended as a peace gesture...God forbid).
And thank you to our own firefighters who fought so hard and so long. There was a picture in the New York Times - I'm afraid to copy it for copyright reasons, but it was so special. It showed Israeli firefighters taking a break - about 20 of them, lying on the road in utter exhaustion. What was so special was that each was using another's leg as a pillow. "We did that," Elie said with a smile, "it's more comfortable."
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"