The Cathedral close is lighted up with colorful spot lights in the evening as if to say welcome as one drives into the gate or farewell as one leaves. The shuttle picked me up at 7:45 pm and made its way around Jerusalem until it was filled. We stopped at the Abraham Hostel and the rider was not there. Our driver was kind enough to pick up others and then return as the last stop in Jerusalem. The young man's tour had run late and didn't get him back to the hostel on time. The driver did indeed fuss with him about delaying us all, so the young man apologized to us as he boarded the shuttle. Abraham's children continue to be a challenge and to have Abraham's Hostel as our final stop in Jerusalem was poignant for me!
El Al security at the airport was very thorough with all sorts of questions about where I had been, who I had met, why I was there, whether I was carrying any weapons, etc. My luggage was cleared and so was I to leave. The 12-hour flight was smooth and uneventful. The flight was full with people of all ages and many religious Jews. Prayer was woven in and through the aisles. At 6 am our plane landed and clapping broke out for the safety of our arrival. That has been a custom on El Al flights to show gratitude. My experience of going through customs at JFK was quick and easy. I return home with joy in my heart and gratitude for a safe and wonderful pilgrimage.