A wise colleague once said that there are two things in life that always exceed our expectations: a trip to Israel and becoming a grandparent. This summer, those milestones converged for me as I planned a trip to the Holy Land to meet my first grandchild.

Aviva Greenberg arrived five weeks early on May 24 (13 Sivan 5781) to my son, Jason (Yosef Pesach) and his wife, Chassida, a few weeks shy of their first wedding anniversary. The night of her birth I sat by the phone for hours awaiting news and clamoring to receive the first pictures of my granddaughter. Thanks to the kindness of the nurses at Hadassah Hospital, we received pictures from the NICU where Aviva was treated for jaundice and other health complications due to her early arrival.

When Aviva was discharged 10 days later, I began planning my trip to meet the baby girl named for my late father. I settled on mid-July when my son would be on break from his yeshiva and his wife would still be on maternity leave. My husband, my son’s stepfather, would travel with me for his first trip to Israel since his bar mitzvah. He could not join me last summer for the wedding because of travel restrictions in Israel.

While we anticipated easier travel to Israel this year as the country emerged from the pandemic, our hopes were dashed by a surge of cases and the tightening of entry restrictions. But perseverance and assistance from contacts in Israel paid off. We departed from Newark on July 18 and arrived late morning the next day

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The Associated Contributors are writers from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.