Sunday and Monday
June 3 - 4, 2001
The Airplane Trip to Tel Aviv
My day began Sabbath morning. I woke up early to put the food in the oven to warm for lunch and then was rewoken by a call from dad. Mom and dad and grandpa were in Jordan at an archeological dig. This was the first time I had heard their voices since they had left two weeks earlier. When Sabbath ended I STARTED to pack and was rudely interupted by a flood in the basement. This last winter a section of our gutters has been ruined by an ice dam and this caused flooding when we had any decent amount of rain. By 4 a.m. the next morning, though, I had the flood "under control" and was packed. Joe and Stella came by to pick me up and take me to South Bend Regional Airport. Thus started the trip.
I started with a flight from South Bend, Indiana, to Pittsburgh. When the plane landed I immediately made my way to the gate for the Pittsburgh - LGA flight. It was already boarding! I had no layover there. In the airport in New York it was confusing where and when the transport bus was coming for JFK. The location of the bus stop was right outside the door from the luggage carosel, but no one knew the color of the bus or where it would be stopping. Finally it came and I got on.When we were asked for what airline we were flying, there was a man in black coat and hat flying El Al, and a guy across the way flying Sabena. When we arrived at JFK they introduced themselves to me and we found out that all three of us were going to Israel. The guy across the aisle was Isaac and he was going on the Aish HaTorah Birthright Israel trip with me. We were in the airport at 10:30 a.m. The group did not meet until 3:00 p.m. and the flight did not leave until much later. I had a LONG layover. I did have Dr. Gerald Schroeder's "Genesis and the Big Bang" book with me and so I was not too bored.
The flight from JFK to Brussels was long and the crew was not nice. The seatbelt sign was left one the entire trip. The crew looked with scowls any time anyone got up to walk around, unless of course you were headed for a toilet. I was saved by the sleeping pill that Rabbi Kaufman offered. I slept the whole way after they served dinner.
When we arrived in Brussels we were met by an EL AL employee, she directed us to a gate where we were asked security questions and our baggage claim tickets so that they could x-ray the baggage. After a short layover we loaded up onto an EL AL plane and flew to Tel Aviv. It was like night and day between the crews of the two airplanes!
When we landed at Ben Gurion we went through emigration and customs. Then we were met by the other staff for the tirp. As we stood around we were served snacks and soda. Finally we were lead out to where the busses come. But our bus was not there. So we waited. And as we waited the Spanish football (soccer) team came through. There was a frenzy of reporters and fans to interview the team.
Our bus finally arrived and we loaded. On the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem there are skeletons of cars and tanks. These are the vehicles that were used in the fight for Jerusalem. Then, we arrived in Jerusalem. We were there!