25 Cheshvan 5759

(November 14, 1998) – 8:30 a.m., Jerusalem

Grueling 45 minute security check in Munich. Five of the seven agents concentrated on me, for a number of reasons. First, US Air checked my bags through to El Al, a no-no, as it must be hand-carried. Then, I was traveling alone and knew no one here.

An interesting result: I got to “interrogate” one of the security people who was fascinating enough in his own right. Born in Wolfratshausen (a town I know well) – but not under happy circumstances. In 1953, and his parents who had survived Dachau were still in an American DP-Lager there. We debated American versus German Judaism for a good long while (in German, naturally!).

By the time I boarded the El Al bus for the plane, I realized I had made a friend. He told me where the shul is in Munich.

He especially liked Dan’s handwritten notes about my itinerary and the JNF fanny pack, along with the JNF map with Dan’s comments all over the place. The reservation at the Sheraton Jerusalem Plaza pleased him too.

Lots of Americans in Jerusalem now for General Assembly. The hotel is crawling with name-tagged guests. Talking to them at table is an experience, and one I am thoroughly enjoying. I’m not here for Assembly, but they don’t mind. Open hearts…

I’m especially happy that Dan insisted on this hotel. I have a room (1118, 11-Chai!) facing the Old City. Jaffa Gate should be visible, but right this minute, I don’t know what’s what, so I cannot appreciate the view as I will be able to shortly.

The light is just now beginning.

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