The Return

Friends and Family,

It’s been two years and one month since I set off from California to the lands of my ancestors. What a journey, a dive, a pilgrimage it’s been. Through Siberian mountains and forests, the old shtetls of Ukraine and Eastern Europe, the Carpathians, the Rhineland, the Balkans, the Greek mainland, and most recently the sacred lands of Israel/Palestine and Egypt. Through epic landscapes and majestic seas. Witnessing beauty and hardship. Interacting with intact, traditional cultures and assimilated peoples. Confronting historic trauma and grief. Tapping into a deep well of love and praise. Receiving so many blessings and gifts. Weaving so many heartful and soulful connections. Saying hello, falling in love, and saying goodbye, again and again. Discovering grandeur. Encountering mystery. Following synchronicity. Uncovering deeper and deeper layers of remembering.

After so much, the time has finally come for the return. The circle is closing. The cycle ending. The journey is completing. Tomorrow I board a plane back to the states.

I am flooded with emotion. So much praise and so much grief. It’s a good grief. The grief you feel when parting with something you love. I have fallen so deeply in love with this journey. I have fallen so deeply in love with my ancestral homes and (to borrow a phrase from a friend) the infinite love stories I’m made of. This wasn’t just a pilgrimage (to borrow a sentence from my last blog post), it was a feast for my and my ancestors’ indigenous souls.

I have fallen so deeply in love with the people I’ve connected with along the way, soul brothers and sisters that have become, or perhaps always were, family for me. It’s hard to say goodbye. But insha’allah, this is simply see you later.

I am so, so immensely grateful to all the people who have taken me into their homes, given me a place to lay my head at night, shared food and drink with me, helped me get where I needed to go, who sang with me, danced with me, laughed with me, cried with me, prayed with me, prayed for me, inspired me, encouraged me, taught me, and supported me in so many other ways throughout the journey. Thank you! There are far too many of you to count, let alone name.

I am eternally grateful to the ancestors who called me upon this pilgrimage, protected me, and supported me along the way, who brought me into this life, and who help me remember why I came here. But they don’t all subscribe to this electronic fire, so I’m lighting an old fashioned fire tonight to share my praise and gratitude with them.

I’ll be making my way to Cincinnati first to visit family, and then on to California in early September to reconnect with you my beloved communities, my tribe. I look forward to mutually sharing stories, in the right time, and learning what it is we’ve expanded into. See you soon.

So much love to you all. May our ancestors continue to feed us life, and may we feed them the tears and songs of our grief and jubilation.


1 thought on “The Return

  1. I’ve loved reading your blog, and even though we’ve never met, I was moved by all that you experienced. You should write this into a book. I missed the beginning of your travels, and it would be wonderful to have it all in one book. I know others who, like me, are engaged in Jewish genealogy would love to read it as well.


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