To a dear friend who is 6,255 miles away,

I hear there’s snow in Jerusalem now. The City of Gold is frozen in white. I must admit, I’m a little jealous. The view outside your window must be spectacular, though in all honesty, if I wanted to see snow I could walk outside right now too.

I’ve drafted this letter too many times to count now, but this time I feel like I’ve found the right words.

You’ve been in Jerusalem now for a full semester. It’s been hard on our friendship, a seven hour time difference will do that to people. It’s been months since I’ve seen you or heard your voice clearly.

Our separation has not been made easier by headlines about stabbings, terrorist attacks, and various other displays of hatred in Jerusalem, around Israel, and all over the world. The number of mornings I’ve woken up to texts saying “hey I’m fine don’t worry I’m safe” is too high, and every time I read your words, I’m comforted only a little bit.

Half of the time, when I see those texts, I’ve just woken up and still don’t have a clue what happened in the world while I was asleep. My first reaction when I see those words is one of oh-so-explainable fear, and then calm: at least I know you are safe. Then I don’t have to worry about you and instead can focus my prayers and attention on Israel.

It was funny to watch you fall in love with Israel. As John Green puts it, you “fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly and then all at once.” You’ve grown so much in the time you’ve been there and I’m sure you’d say the same about me.

I pray every day for your safety and the safety of Israel. I’ve missed you but you left us in peace and I know you’ll return to us in peace. Enjoy the rest of your time in the Holy Land.

May the clouds in the City of Gold always have silver linings and may the blanket of snow now in Jerusalem act as a security blanket for the whole city.

B’yedidut,
Hannah