Welcome! I am Rabbi Jonathan Biatch of Madison, Wisconsin. "Pulpit Perspectives: My Observations as a Congregational Rabbi" is published every two weeks to reflect my observations about life in my congregation and with my members. The opinions expressed here are solely my own. I invite you to join the dialogue!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Observations From My Sabbatical Leave: Like Clockwork

I remember the days when many made fun of the “on time” record of Israel’s national airline, El Al.  Even on my first trip to Israel in 1970, our plane was 90 minutes and more late.  There was even a joke made of the name of the airline.  El Al is a biblical citation meaning “above and beyond.”  But those who knew it better remaned El Al “every landing always late.”

Nowadays, things run much more smoothly.  From my landing 45 minutes early to catching the right train up north to my host’s home, everything has been going like clockwork.

The ten hour flight from Newark should not be a deterrent in keeping people away.  I flew Continental Airlines today, and the service was very good.  More on the flight in the next blog entry.  But I am simply so impressed with the ease of getting around that I think I will start with that.

The Tel-Aviv airport?  If you have not been to Israel in the last ten years, the new terminals are large, comfortable, and easy to navigate through.  An d because of tail winds that prevail from West to East, our flight was easy, early, and pleasant.

The Israeli trains?  I recall when taking a train was a non-air conditioned affair, with smelly restrooms and open or missing windows that let in the scents of the countryside, both the good and bad ones.  I am now sitting on a double decker train, air conditioned and quiet, with commuting Israelis on their ways home.  It is now about 6:10 PM local time, and this train – that extends from Beer Sheva in the south to Nahariya in the north – is full and, of course, on time.

The weather is pleasant, high 60’s, and it’s definitely spring here.  Some rain to come tonight, but a nicer climate I would not have expected.  I start my volunteer work at Erez College tomorrow, and my participation in Congregation Emet V’Shalom on Friday.

It has been said that Israel is the land of miracles.  This is certainly true, and them some!

My time in Israel is a treasure to me, made even more significant because of the large extended mishpachah (family) that we all have here.  It is a privilege to be here representing our congregation.  All my best to you.

No comments: