My dear friends, some facts for you

Some things I haven’t discussed yet…

Breakfast – for family and friends who know the Wausaukee Club, breakfast was just about the same. Just missing the bacon. For the rest of you, it was a huge buffet at the hotel. Eggs, cheese, fruit, pancakes, yogurt, salads, breads, and more! Other meals were at restaurants. While there are McDonalds all around, native fast food is falafel. There has been a lot of eggplant and many salads. Yesterday we actually got hungry because we went about seven hours without eating!

Our bus – we have been riding in a very nice tour bus, with wifi, driven by a great guy named David. It did not have a restroom, so we constantly made bee lines from the bus to the rest rooms. The only other foreign country I have traveled in is Russia. The bathrooms here have been fit for royalty in comparison. Only one didn’t have toilet paper, and only one had a suggested fee (two Shekels).

Our tour guide – while on the bus, and for non-museum tours, we were led by Ron Sinai. Ron is an Israeli who knows his country like the back of his hand. Either that our he makes it up very convincingly. As we traveled, Ron always referred to us as his dear friends. He doesn’t mince words; we are quite aware of his opinions! We have also compiled a list of all the jobs he claims to have had.

Why we are here! – this is a mission trip run by the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. For about two thirds of us, this is our first trip. Most of the younger people were invited to participate for having completed the Federation’s Frank Stavis Leadership Forum. We are a varied group; singles, couples, and married people without their spouses. The youngest traveler is 30 and the oldest is a spry 86. One just converted a month ago, one is not Jewish and has not converted. Some are affiliated, others are not. For some, keeping kosher is a must. One of us admits to eating a turkey, cheese, and bacon sandwich while sitting at the El Al gate in New York. The purpose of the trip is to introduce us to the land of the Jewish people, encourage us to support the country, excite us to return, and continue to support Judaism in our own community.