"Please bring me back to this place again," I implore. As I walk backwards, out of respect for the holiness of the place, I look up and feel that the Wall is embracing me. The sky is clear and the stones are majestic against the sky.

I have grown from a child to a young woman. The last six years in Israel have shaped and formed me. I have been blessed to move from my childish skepticism of the Western Wall to a relationship with these stones that transcends rationality and logic.

I have found solace and friendship in my silent dialogue, a nurturing sanctuary in a confusing world.

My army service was behind me, I was forging aheadI remember the time that I came with a friend from the Israeli Army, walking through the Arab market in the early hours of the morning. We were soldiers in uniform, aware of the dangers lurking in the quiet alleyways. My friend was a combat solider, and I laughed each time we reached a corner and he dramatically crouched with his rifle ready to defend me. Upon arriving at the Wall, there was an eerie silence. We were at war in Lebanon and we had come to pray for our friends on the battle front. A friend had been lost and we were both hurting. He was so young, so idealistic, and we had been close to him. I cried that morning for the pain of his family, for the struggle of our nation.

As I wept it was as though the Wall was caressing me, holding me tight. My relationship had matured and I had a friend in these holy stones.

My army service was behind me, and I was forging ahead with purpose and direction—or so I thought. I had enrolled at a prestigious teachers' college. An old wise man, a teacher at the college, challenged my way of thinking. His sparkling blue eyes had touched me. His quiet demeanor affected me, and his questions evoked an inner probing that opened my eyes to our heritage. I was moved, and so started the journey of return to a Torah-observant lifestyle.

These precious stones were privy to my inner conflict. I had come to pray and I was dressed modestly, having said goodbye to my pants and t-shirts. I was changing and felt exposed. It was as though the stones winked at me with encouragement and gave me the strength of past generations to forge ahead with conviction and fortitude. I touched the stones tenderly. The Wall responded, bestowing upon me and all the worshipers it's afternoon glow. I had been heard, and I felt protected in its presence.

My visits to this awe-inspiring place had become more frequent. I felt so blessed to have a quiet haven, a place to find refuge and nurture.

Yet I had to leave Israel and I intuitively sensed that the separation would last for years. I was a traveler ignorant of my itinerary. "Please," I whispered to G‑d, "please bring me home in the right time."

I was a traveler ignorant of my itinerary My heart was throbbing and I was already missing my confidant. Oh how my relationship with the Wall had evolved; time and trust had been invested and our time together was so treasured.

My travels took me to three different continents.

In time, I marry and become a mother. Life takes on its own momentum. I feel blessed with the gifts bestowed upon us. Due to the pace and demands of life, my aspirations and dreams to return home are shelved in some deep recess of my mind.

Occasionally my husband and I have the luxury of quiet moments beyond the suburban walls of domestic life. It is in these moments that we share our dream to return. We are acutely aware that these dreams are unrealistic amidst the demands of our daily lives. Nevertheless, it is cathartic to escape into these moments of imaginative vision and to share aspirations.

Rearing teenagers takes us to different dimensions. Our parenting skills are challenged against the backdrop of peer pressure. Our status as parents is no longer on such solid ground as in the infant years. We are confronted with new dilemmas on this rocky path. Choices of schools need to be re-addressed. Our private talks hint at the slight possibility of greater choice and diversity in Israel. Maybe, we ponder, maybe we could pull it off?

With little warning, no build up, it happens. We sit mesmerized by the expansive, beautiful Australian ocean. It hits. An epiphany! We must convert wish into reality. If not now, when? The tranquil turquoise sea surrounds us in its sheer vastness and witnesses our inspiration unfolding. We are excited and animated, and speak with passion and force—aware that if we stumble in our enthusiasm, the experience will evaporate. We strategize, and gaze at the sandy, rich brown slopes of the cliffs that greet the sea line. The sun has set as a sea breeze warms us in the night air.

Dawn comes. Can we pull off the discussions of the previous night, or will it fade into the texture of a new day?

The magic of our talk starts to pick up its own momentum, as though we have thrown forth our dreams to the vastness of the sea and it has magnetically answered us through its own energy.

Our Rebbe has guided and blessed us. With the sweetness and directives of his blessing, we start the practicalities of formulating a reality from a distant dream.

Twenty-five hours of flight, and twenty-five hundred years of yearning Our kids watch from the side in amusement at their parents' behavior. "Some new fantasy," they chuckle amongst themselves. "This, too, shall pass." Yet we are leaving the shores of the Southern hemisphere, leaving our oldest daughter, loved ones, friends and all that is familiar and secure. The dream is real and our hearts are open and vulnerable to what the future will hold. I am no stranger to this feeling of uncertainty.

We have traversed three continents. Twenty-five hours of flight, and twenty-five hundred years of yearning. We have arrived home with our family. Jet lagged and disoriented but so grateful to have arrived safely in the Land of our forefathers.

The first family trip must undoubtedly be to the Western Wall, the Kotel. As we reach the Old City the kids' chatter quiets. With the excitement comes apprehension. One son asks "What if I don't feel anything, then what?"

I smile, only too familiar with his question.

I reflect on my first visit was when I was a child. We had come to show solidarity with Israel, immediately after the Yom Kippur War. I remember being puzzled by the behavior of the women that surrounded me. "How can grown-ups speak and pray to stones?" I wondered, "Do they think that this Wall is magical and has ears to hear and answer their prayers?" I keep my questions to myself as I feel embarrassed by my confusion. I touch the stones as I take leave, copying the adults, yet I feel silly and self-conscious.

We descend the steps that lead down to the Wall. The Kotel's boulders are aglow from the afternoon sun. It seems as though they belong to a sphere beyond this world. The radiant glow magically caresses the stones with warmth and mystique.

We finally get to the checkpoint, where the soldiers scrutinize us before motioning us to move forward. The kids have stopped talking. Each one of us silently walks forward to embrace this revered moment of intimacy with G‑d.

I nod to my husband. "We are really here" he says. I smile and want to say so much more but now is not the time to share. He takes the older boys. I am left with the younger two children.

We were picked up and brought forth to you, JerusalemI notice the Israeli flags triumphantly flapping in the breeze. They proudly announce "This place is ours, let the world not forget who is its rightful owner. We have merited this great honor of sovereignty yet we welcome all to come and pray, Jew and non-Jew alike"

A holy beggar approaches me and silently opens her hands. Her eyes are shallow and despondent. Is she an angel in disguise urging the worshipers to provide charity and, in so doing, hastening the redemption?

The surrounding static fades and disappears. I am standing at the Kotel alone, together, re-united; after all the years of separation.

We were picked up and brought forth, to you oh sweet Jerusalem. The ancient prayers are as relevant today as they were centuries ago.

I am speechless, my words of thanks too small in comparison to the emotions of my heart. I stand silently in time, a sense that we are starting a new chapter within the family. We will need to sharpen our trust and faith on this new leg of the journey.

It feels as though I have stood deep in thought for many hours. I am startled back and focus in on my surroundings, wondering where my young children are?

To my delight, the two boys are busy playing. I observe their childish play as they run back and forth to the Wall, kiss it and run away. I feel that they, too, have a sense of the holiness of the Wall yet their childish free spirited games indicate that they are bored and want to move on. If only they knew how the Jewish spirit yearns to embrace and connect with and find solace in the rays of the Divine presence. I smile as I reflect on my own journey, realizing that they, too, in time will develop their own unique relationship, with these eternal stones, as they mature and grow.

We leave, knowing that this transcendent meeting will be the first of many visits. I look back at the Wall for one last moment. I murmur with emotion "I am so happy to be back with you, in our home." We merge with the bustle of the crowds heading towards town.