Day 1

Family Tree

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Day 13

The Trip to Israel

Day One - Sunday July 2 (Richmond), Monday July 3 2006 (Jerusalem) - - Yom Sheni

We arrived at the Richmond airport 1:45 minutes early, ready for the flight.  We were right behind the Rabbi and Ruby. We were informed that our plane was delayed by 30 minutes, and they were putting everyone on an earlier flight.  The moment we reached the counter, the lady said, "that's it" and she would not put us on the early plane, even though we were there right behind the Rabbi and Ruby.  This caused us a bit of frustration later as we thought we might miss our connecting flight to Israel.  Apparently, even though we were quite early, we were the last ones there.

As I was putting the luggage on the scale at the ticket counter, Amy Beth yells out “Wait! I need that last piece back!” Well it was too late, it had already gone into the terminal. “Why?” I asked. I put fruit in that last one.  “Fruit!!??!” She had a near nervous breakdown and got frazzled over the whole experience! Well, I got upset at her, because now, we had two bananas and a peach on their way to Israel courtesy of our luggage! Long story short, she put the fruit in a zip lock bag, and there was no damage or smell, thank G-d! She lost her sensibility, I overreacted.

We had a nice flight to Atlanta, and then met up with everyone in Atlanta to make the trip to Tel Aviv. That plane was delayed by 1 hour. It eventually cost us the opportunity to go to the Kotel on Monday. We will be doing that tomorrow.

As we landed in Tel Aviv, the crowd on the airplane applauded, I had finally made it to Israel! We took a bus (~40 miles) to The Dan Panorama hotel in Jerusalem where we checked in, freshened up, and went downstairs for a wonderfully exotic and unique buffet dinner. Afterwards, Amy Beth and I went for an hour walk around Jerusalem.

Some first impressions: Jerusalem is a very brown city (I was right), most of the buildings are made of a tan or khaki colored stone or concrete, I believe it is limestone. The drive into Jerusalem from Tel Aviv involved some winding roads through the Judean hills. These hills are very rocky with some beautiful foliage and bushes. They have traffic, traffic lights, police, and supermarkets. There are Jews everywhere. As we drove in, I’m guessing around 90% of the men had kippahs on. All signs are in Hebrew and English. Every Israeli that I spoke to, spoke in English to me. They didn’t seem to mind. I am wearing my kippa everywhere on this trip. The accommodations at the hotel are very pleasant. Every couple of minutes on our walk, we passed a Jewish couple with a baby or children. Jerusalem really seems to be a  place for families.

Great first day. Tomorrow, we go to the Old City and finally, on to the Kotel!

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