Regards from Israel

I just arrived in Israel this morning, so I don’t have much to tell you yet, other than a few observations from the trip over.

From a spiritual perspective, touchdown at the airport begins the “Holy Land experience.” From a legal perspective, crossing through border control begins the “State of Israel experience.” When flying El Al from a NYC airport, waiting in line for the screening interview with security personnel always begins my Israel experience.

I played Jewish geography with the southern woman in front of me in line. We compared our perspective Jewish communities and then talked about our three mutual acquaintances. El Al’s security agent wanted to talk about my bar mitzvah, all of my relatives in Israel, which Jewish holidays we celebrate in my home, and any Hebrew language ability that I might have.

Boarding an El Al flight is a real treat. Everyone is assigned a seat, which apparently is really only a suggestion at best. I sat in my assigned seat and watched the drama unfold all around me.

“Excuse me, I believe you’re sitting in my seat.”

“Oh, we moved to this row from that row because it looks like rain. Why don’t you sit in these seats?”

“Because we wanted to sit across from our kids who are sitting over here.”

“Well, why don’t we move them over to these seats?”

Without exaggerating, this type of dialogue went on all around me for about a half hour.

My heart truly goes out to the El Al flight attendants, who try to use the fictitious seating chart when serving specially ordered meals to passengers. El Al offers dozens of specialty meal options, and you can rest assured that El Al passengers take full advantage of all the optional offerings.

Smooth sailing through the Ben Gurion Airport and enjoying my first cup of cappuccino in a Modiin café within two hours of landing.

Looking forward to a restful Shabbat and welcoming our group on Sunday to begin our touring.

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