Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 12:04am

It’s midnight in NYC and back in Israel a family that probably slept not a wink is getting ready for a long awaited reunion: Gilad is coming home, the home of stubborn hope.

The price is high but hope – the most important ingredient in the human diet has no price tag. It cannot.

This day, more than 1000 families are preparing for a reunion – never mind the blame and lack of balance right now, whose side and why, the rage and blood trail. It’s true – justice is not clean and tidy today. But: For al so many mothers and fathers and lovers and siblings and friends, israeli and Palestinian alike, there were so many moments of hopelessness – fears of never meeting their loved ones again – weighted with stubborh hope – and now, for some – it’s time to roll out the red carpet of our wildest dreams and hug and kiss and cry and whisper: welcome hope.

This past July, in front of Bibi’s house in Jerusalem the protest for civil justice rocked the night, and i stood there, like all of us consicous of the Shalit tent a few feet behind us – another cause for hope, but also a sad, almost hopeless one, almost passe. It’s horrible to say.

The next day was gay pride, and as the march marched on, rainbows and all, Noam Shalit stood in front of his tent and waved and smiled. Another cause, another protest, another march.

I am so glad and honored to live to see this day.

Thank you Shalit family – and all who never lost hope, kept fighting and believing – against all odds. Thank you for teaching us the secret of the TIkvah – real hope. Gilad – thank you for holding on. I hope your soul is solid and strong for this next stage of life.

This day, when hope comes home, I want to honor it – the human audacity to dream against all odds, to patiently weave webs of good news through the cobwebs of despair. I want to believe that red carpets and yellow flowers and massive flags fly high today all over my homeland and all lands of all souls and whisper and shout and really mean it: Welcome hope.

May a succah of peach spread over all of us, today and all days. May all of us never lose hope that our wildest dreams of coming home come true.

Put an Apple on your Seder Plate.