It feels like so long ago that I wrote about my eager anticipation for our Israel trip. Now, it is about 11:30 at night in Israel at the end of our first day. For those of you who don't know about our travel, we left Norwood by bus yesterday at 10 am (East Coast Time), took off from JFK at 6:00 pm (East Coast Time) and arrived in Israel at 11:30 am (Israel Time, which is 7 hours ahead of East Coast Time). Our travels were smooth and uneventful--pretty much what every traveler would hope for. And as much fun as everyone had traveling together, it was more than enough time and we were ready for Israel!
After our arrival today, it took our group an additional two hours to get off the plane, through passport control, out of baggage claim and out to the bus. Let me not forget to mention the need to load the bus twice, as in their eagerness, our kids "loaded" the bus quickly, but for some reason could only fit about half of the suitcases on the bus and of course the receiving of our Israeli cell phones. We also met our tour guide Avner who will be with us for various components of our trip.
Logistics taken care of, we headed towards Jerusalem with a stop in Latrun for lunch. We were all hungry and enjoyed a healthy amount of food. After this, we drove to the Tayelet overlooking Jerusalem where we sang a Shehechiyanu--for about 1/3 of our group who are in Israel for the first time and of us who have not been in Israel in a long time. From here, we drove to the walls of the Old City, visited King David's tomb and walked through the Jewish Quarter to overlook the Kotel. As the hour drawing late, we headed back to the bus and headed back to our hotel for check in and finally freshening up. The accommodations are lovely, but not nearly as nice as the view from our rooms:
After a brief respite and in the hope of getting over our jetlag as quickly as possible, we ate some dinner and then headed out to the Mamilla Mall for a bit of an Israeli experience and then we took a stroll down to the Kotel for the first time for our kids to experience the rich history and ambiance of this special site. Then, we ended the evening with a tour of the Kotel tunnels.
It has been an incredible start to our journey together and our kids have been completely amazing. It is so great to see how they rise to the occasion and how much fun everyone is having together.
As it is late and I am tired, I am not sure I remembered everything! Luckily, we have Rabbi David with us who has been taking video and created a short montage of video that is chronicling our trip. Please be sure to watch it and feel free to pass the link along to others! Click here to see the first day video!
Head of School