We woke up to snow, snow, and more snow. My Canadian friends are always posting about the snow and I’ve had a taste of their weather. No sunshine for a couple of days is not enough Vitamin D for me.
We had plans to go to downtown Toronto and maybe go up the CV Tower, but there’s absolutely no visibility. We stayed in the hotel for the morning and took an early shuttle to the airport because the news was saying how bad the roads were. Of course, we arrived in no time, went through security and are now enjoying ourselves at the iPad bars and tables outside of our gate. We are eating putin which tastes better than it sounds – french fries with cheese and a very strong beef-like gravy. I’m craving the protein … and sleep.
The flight to Tel Aviv is 11 hours, but with the snow, de-icing and maybe even a delay, we’re looking at 12. I have Mary Poppins on Kindle, a sleep pillow, and maybe I’ll even finish the last 17 minutes of Romeo and Juliet from their free movie choices. My daughter says ‘you already know the ending’, but maybe this time it will be different?!
Pre-boarding time arrived. A whole new security team checked everyone individually. Several officers at tables brushed each of our hand individually along with the exterior of our bags. Some bags were opened and gone through; ours were not. It was done methodically and respectfully.
As we wait for the boarding call, a group of Jewish men stood and faced toward Jerusalem. They chanted their evening prayers. Some had prayer books; others just joined in. There were men of all ages – old and bearded with black hats, younger men with kippas, and youth with baseball caps.
There’s a very different ‘feel’ in this waiting area. People are visiting with each other rather than isolating themselves from everyone around them. A few are on their cell phones, but in general, there is a huge family ‘feel’. And, as it should be. They are all the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Well, that was fast. No kidding. Suddenly my daughter was waking me for breakfast. We only have 45 minutes left of the 10.5 hour flight after our breakfast. I had a Kosher breakfast of an omelet, yogurt and fruit. The omelet tasted strange probably because I’m used to real chicken eggs! Last night’s Kosher dinner was beef with rice and a delicious chick pea salad. Dessert was a sweet cranberry/pomegranate cake. Yum.
Kosher. We generally do not eat Kosher. We eat Levitically. We do not eat pork or seafood along with all the other animals mentioned in Leviticus 15. We also do not buy meat that was ritually slaughtered because of where we live and the difficulty in obtaining that type of meat. A ritual slaughter is one that is quick so as to be more compassionate to the animal. Another difference between Kosher and Levitical is more stringent dietary regulations. For example, a Kosher meal does not mix milk and meat. Because we had beef, we had margarine for our bread and a non-dairy creamer for coffee. Also, there were labels on our food that explained the halacha or way in which the Kosher food was prepared by a Canadian council of Rabbis. The label also said it was given the baracha for mazenot. This means it received the blessing for all foods. At our mealtime, we say the Hebrew blessing over our food with the mazenot blessing: “Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melek HaOlam boreh mene mazenot. Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe who brings forth the various kinds of food.” We bless the Creator of the food rather than the food.
So, I sit and watch the little map of our plane flying over the Mediterranean Sea. In about four minutes we will be over Israeli air space. We were told that according to Israeli law, all passengers must remain seated for the last 30 minutes for security reasons. Within 30 minutes we will be in Tel Aviv, Israel, renting a car and heading for Jerusalem!
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