I davened Shacharit in the airport with an eclectic mix of Haredim, messorati sephardim, a few Modern Orthodox Israelis and one very settler-looking fellow with full blown peyot, t'chelet tzitizit and a huge knit kippa. Wonderful to hear Birkhat Kohanim with the Hazzan's heavily hassidish pronunciation, answered by a pure Israeli accent. We are one people!
The beautiful end to the Jewish aspect of the journey was when the flight staff closed the flight by wishing us a חג חנוכה שמח – as we landed in London on Christmas day. I couldn't but reflect on how fortunate we are to have our own nation state where being Jewish is natural, and woven deeply ad so naturally into the fabric of our national existence, as we live on our time, our terms, with our own dear cultural frame of reference. אשרינו מה טוב חלקינו. Yes I am a starry eyed old style Zionist. And 20 years in Israel somehow never succeeds in erasing that.