Our congregation, Adat Chaverim in Plano, TX, had been planning a trip to Israel for 3 years. It kept getting postponed due to Covid, but our Director of Education and friend Valerie Klein kept the dream alive. When the dates for the 2022 trip were announced, we realized that because of a change in our RVing travel plans, we were able to join the group.
We hesitated for a while because Covid was still a threat, though with widespread vaccinations, people weren’t getting as sick. Also, there is always a subconscious fear of violence in a part of the world that has far too often experienced acts of terror. But things were relatively calm in the Middle East at this time, maybe even because of Covid so we decided to go.
It was advertised as a “family” trip, so we invited the kids to join us. Lauren’s husband Tom declined, so it was just the 4 of us. We are so glad the kids came because it was an experience, we will all remember for many years to come.
The tour that Valerie chose was through a respected tour company called Authentic Israel. She selected the “Family Journey” and it had a little of everything and something for everyone. It was a 12-day itinerary with a day on each end for travel, so we were committing to be gone for 2 weeks. It promised to be packed with all the major historical sites and so many exciting places. 2 meals a day were included, which left us a chance to explore on our own for either lunch or dinner, depending on the day.
Booking travel was complicated but David did an awesome job of getting it all taken care of. Ethan flew from Dallas to Chicago, Lauren flew from Minneapolis (it was supposed to be from Eau Claire, but that flight was canceled the morning of departure), and we met up with the kids in Chicago after dropping the RV off in Goshen, IN for some repairs while we were gone.
We all left out of Chicago on British Airways and had a connection in London at Heathrow. That connection turned out to be a disaster when the security checkpoint we needed was closed. We had to take the train to a different terminal and by the time we got there, we didn’t have enough time to get back to the other terminal so they wouldn’t let us board our flight. After standing in line for 45 minutes, they rebooked us on an El Al flight leaving 5 hours later. The flight was fine, but we got in very late and missed meeting up with everyone for an arrival day dinner. They did send someone to meet us at the airport in Tel Aviv who got us through customs and into our waiting taxi to take us to the hotel in Jerusalem. We arrived at The Dan Panorama in Jerusalem, at about 1 am, but we were very glad to have arrived.