Mission Journal - Sunday July 23rd

Rabbinical Assembly Masorti Mission to Israel

Left Camp Ramah New England at 12:30pm with Rabbi David Small (of West Hartford’s The Emanuel Synagogue) for the drive to JFK airport.

Parked in Long Term Parking and took the Airtrain to International Terminal (4).

The terminal was very busy but the El Al counter was depressingly empty. We were told to check in at Business Class since we had been given access to the Business Class lounge. The manager upgraded David and I to business class seats. The people at check in were the first to express their thanks that we were going.

We then went to the lounge where we met our colleagues and enjoyed a dairy buffet. There were twelve rabbis and few lay leaders who participated in our mission. At 7pm, we left the lounge and proceeded to security.

At 7pm, we left the lounge and proceeded to security.

We immediately boarded the plain, taking copies of English and Hebrew papers (International Tribune, Ha-aretz, Jerusalem Post, etc.)

Most of the group was placed in business class seats (not service). For many of us, it was a first.

I shared the middle section with Rabbis Aaron Melman and David Small.

Although the El Al workers thanked us for coming, our plane was ¾ full. There were families traveling with children, elderly, the plane felt very normal.

Aaron Mehlman remarked that it was very strange to be going to Israel on such short notice. Usually, these type of trips are planned long in advance. The speed in which the trip was planned and we signed on (all within 5 days), led to low expectations.

I spent a few minutes during the long ride reflecting about what I hoped to accomplish on the trip. I wrote down a few words: understanding, nuance, compassion, resolve, relationships, framework of understanding.

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