I Had a Dream Last Night

Painting by the author

I had a dream last night that woke me from my sleep. Much of it makes no sense and yet the longing in the dream remained with me as I opened my eyes and reminded myself that the dream had come true long ago.

In the dream, we were a young couple; now we are not. In the dream, I called my husband from work and told him that I just needed to go to Israel. That moment. Right there. He asked me how it was possible and I told him that there was a flight in a few hours and I would take our youngest son, his car seat and carriage on the plane.

What luggage I didn’t have, I would buy. What I needed, I would manage. Irrational in the world of awake, made perfect sense in the world of sleep. It was a sense of desperation, a longing to the depths of my soul. My manager at work would understand and let me work remotely. How long I would be “gone” was not discussed.

In the dream, I got to the point of waiting in line to board the plane before I forced myself to wake up. And as I do every morning, thank God, I woke up in my home on the edge of the Judean Desert, just to the east of Jerusalem. The little boy finished the army a few years ago and is in university. The carriage and car seat, new ones anyway, are used for my grandchildren, all born here.

Nothing of the dream made sense. I am blessed with other children not just the one. They all live here in the same city where I live. Three served in combat, two served in national service. My manager is indeed a very understanding man and lets me work remotely much of the time. Nothing made sense.

As I lie in bed coming out of the dream that came true long ago, what was left to me was the longing. The depth, the desperation, the need to drop everything and come home, be here. In real life, our aliyah took several months and included much more than my son’s carriage and car seat. In fact, the son in the dream was born in Israel. Those things belonged to my middle son who is now married and a father.

Many Israelis hear the news and come to the conclusion that now is the time for Jews all over the world to return to Israel. Yes, return. Come home. Those are the words we Israelis use because they reflect our beliefs, our thoughts. This is our home, the home of the Jewish people. Non-Israeli Jews agree. This is the home of the Jewish people. Where we came from, where we have lived, uninterrupted but for a bit over four hundred years, a bit over 3,000 years ago.

Over seven million Jews live in the land of Israel. More than in any country; almost more than in all the other countries combined. When I moved here almost 30 years ago, aliyah was not generally accepted and certainly not commonly done. That has changed.

What is missing is what I woke up with this morning here in Israel. The longing. Israelis are mistaken when they relentlessly call on Jews in other countries to come home. They won’t until the longing reaches deep into the depth of their souls. Until they are so desperate to leave they literally are ready to go to the airport and catch a plane.

I had a dream last night. I woke up to the fulfillment of that dream in the morning. I am still shaken by the agonizing longing and am working to calm my soul. We are home. It’s okay. You did it. You got us here. It’s okay. Look out at the desert, feel the warmth of the Israeli sun. I am home.

When the longing grows inside of you, dear brothers and sisters, I will welcome you home too.


Paula R. Stern

Paula R. Stern is the CEO of WritePoint Ltd, a leading technical writing company in Israel. She is also a popular blogger with her work appearing on her own sites, A Soldier's Mother and PaulaSays, as well as IsraellyCool and a number of other Jewish and Israeli sites.

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