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!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Temple Beth El Travels to Israel

Shalom to all!  If you have not been to Israel, or even if you have, read on and travel vicariously with Temple Beth El as we travel to Israel!  Your Rabbi and 28 intrepid travelers have finally arrived in Tel Aviv, and are about to embark on a wonderful experience, and we invite you to join us from Madison!

This afternoon, Tel Aviv time, 25 of the 29 of us arrived at Ben Gurion airport, tired but happy!  We should have come last summer, but due to the war and security concerns, we postponed until now, and we are very happy to be here in a beautiful country on a warm and sultry evening.

Early on Sunday morning (was that just yesterday), or even late Saturday evening, we left Madison for our trips to either the Mitchell or O’Hare airports for our overnight trips to Israel.  Those who traveled through Milwaukee had a long layover in Philadelphia, and thanks to Patricia Litscher, Joanna Berke, Carol McLain, and Laurel Hefty – all staying behind to watch over people’s carryon luggage

 – members of our group were able to tour around Philadelphia and site see, check out colleges, enjoy the great food, and just have a great time.

We took off from Philadelphia about 30 minutes late due to thunderstorms in the area and a small mechanical problem on the plane.  We were glad they found that before we took off!

Here are some informal photos from the Philadelphia airport in the transit lounge waiting for the Tel Aviv flight:

Soon after leaving the US, they served dinner and then closed the cabin lights and windows to allow us to get a nice night’s sleep.  We landed in Tel Aviv pretty much on time, were met at the baggage carousels by our welcome hostess Ortal (meaning ‘light of dew’), were introduced to our tourguide Tzvi Levron, got sim cards and Israeli currency, then drove to the hotel, the Dan Panorama just across the road from the beautiful Mediterranean Ocean.  On the way, we were caught for a brief period by the traffic...

As the sun begins to set, we are about to head toward town for a Middle Eastern dinner, then off to bed for a full day of touring this metropolis on the Mediterranean.

More on this city tomorrow, but Tel Aviv and its environs played a key role in the development of the state, and still serves as the fiscal and entrepreneurial center of the country.  See the book “Start Up Nation” for more on the role of IT and other burgeoning parts of Israel’s economy.

Our welcome to Israel dinner tonight was held at Maganda Restaurant in the Yemenite Quarter of Tel Aviv, and everyone was well sated and relaxed.

Some are rising for a 6:15 AM walk along the shore; others will sleep in!  More after tomorrow's day of touring.  Shalom from Tel Aviv!

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