Who wasn't completely glued to their television set on the now heroic day of October 13, 2010 as rescuers pulled - one by one - each of the 33 Chilean miners who had infamously been trapped underground for 69 days - longer than anyone in recorded history? I know I was one of the estimated 7 million people around the world who was tuning into the rescue.
Not only this, but also, drawn as I am to emotionally charged news stories, I remember very well being on my honeymoon at the end of August 2010 and turning on the television during a quiet moment in Kauai to see the breaking news story that life had been found underground in the San Jose mine in the Atacama desert near Copiapo, Chile. At that point, nearly all hope had been lost and the 33 men were presumed dead. In shock, and being the emotional person that I am, I immediately was moved to tears, horrified that I myself could be living in such utter bliss while sheer devastation was being experienced underground on the opposite end of the world. I couldn't imagine anything worse that what they were going through and I felt so deeply and so compassionately for the seeming hopelessness those men were facing underground. Being the empathic person that I am has been a double-edged sword for me throughout my life; having been both a blessing and a curse. Thus, I agreed not to turn on the television for the rest of the honeymoon while Rafi consoled me during moments when my mind would wander to their horrific ordeal.
That is why I am so thrilled beyond belief to notify all of you that nearly two dozen of those Chilean miners, along with their families and close friends, have landed safely and soundly here in Israel. As many of you know, the miners, following their historic rescue, received and still do receive dozens and dozens of invitations for many events and visits from all over the world. However, this particular offer to Israel, completely funded by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, is a trip that they readily accepted. Here, they have the opportunity to experience a religious and personal pilgrimage to the holy land where they have been given the chance to thank the very same G-d that they believe answered their prayers and pulled them up to safety. If you had told me back on my honeymoon that in six months from that moment, I would be in Israel wandering the very same streets as those 33 miners, I would've been much comforted. However, none of us could have anticipated the sequence of events that took place to arrive at this very moment.
Their itinerary has been posted all over the Internet, and according to some of the recent pictures I've gathered from news posting online, it looks to be right on target. So, although I could creepily stalk the miners and meet these heroes in person, I guess I've decided to leave them be and just announce to the world how very excited I am that they have made it here to my city of Jerusalem! This city, as you might guess, hosts quite a few celebrated personalities each and every day of the year. Here's to hoping that these particular stars have a fulfilling time on their visit. Here are a few images that I've gathered from their visit to the Old City today:
|Church of the Holy Sepulchre|
|Church of the Holy Sepulchre|
|A mural at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre|
|The Chilean delegation in the Old City|
Now, as a testament to that wonderful day that so acutely represented the depths of human perseverance and the strength of these 33 men, let me bring a little smile to your face (or maybe a little tear to your eye) as I recount with you some of the images and memories that touched our hearts during that fateful rescue:
Now, we're off on our own adventures for the weekend just like the brave Chileans are on theirs right now! See you next week!