Welcome to Jerusalem!

It was a long and uneventful flight from DFW to Tel Aviv, but it was also a wonderful time of reading, writing, and reflecting. So today’s email is long, despite my claims to the contrary.

I’ve forgotten how much I enjoy travelling and visiting other countries. I’ve always enjoy going to the airport because its a gateway to a different culture, whether New Orleans or Tel Aviv. I remember you used to be able to catch a very faint smell of jet fuel in the terminal, but the air quality has improved over time. I really miss that smell, though.

DFW and JFK airports are wallpapered with advertising.  It really was too much and makes me think that there should be a law against public agencies selling advertising space.

Both of my flights (DFW to JFK, JFK to Tel Aviv) were very full. What is a very full flight? I imagine there are people stuffed into the overhead bins.

Waiting at JFK for my flight to Tel Aviv, the preboarding announcement was made twice – the first time in English and the second time in Hebrew. When I was waiting at DFW for my flight to JFK, the preboarding announcement was also made twice – the first time in English and the second time in a thick New York accent. I suppose that is considered a foreign language.

Food Fun Fact

Your taste buds and sense of smell do not work as well in an airplane at altitude – both are less sensitive. Food prepared to be served on flights is made with more salt and spices, but the coach class meals are mass produced and it is difficult to improve the quality of this food. If you want a better meal on your next flight, you might have to upgrade to business class.

Executive Flyers – Why Does Airplane Food Taste Bad

Heavy Reading

Flights are a good place to do some reading.

I finished reading a book called “Hope Always” by Matthew Sleeth. This book is about depression and suicide in our culture… pretty heavy reading for the start of a vacation. I really recommend this book, however. It speaks to how people are struggling in silence.

Some really important takeaways from Dr Sleeth’s book…

Faith plays a big roll in successful recovery and suicide is mis- and under- reported in statistics. Be aware of and be very purposeful in reaching out to people around you, ask questions, and be ready for tough conversations. Take someone new out to lunch every Sunday. It can be difficult to reach people who are struggling with depression, which makes reaching out all the more diffcult but also important. Care about the people around you.

After finishing that book, I switched to the Essential Calvin and Hobbes.

Shabbat Shalom!

I arrived in Jerusalem on Friday evening, just in time for Shabbat. Shabbat is sabbath in hebrew and means “to cease, to end, or to rest.” It is observed every week from sundown on Friday to sundown on Satruday (25 hour period) and reminds the observant that there freedome comes from following God – no work is performed during the shabbat so that you can focus on the spiritual aspect of life.

Jewish observance of shabbat commemorates the finale of the creation of the universe and a reminder of the purposefullness of its creation as well as the roll that humans play. It also serves as a memorial of God rescuing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

When observing shabbat at home, you would typically have 3 shabbat meals, two of which would start with a sanctification prayer, known as a kiddush, over wine. The start of shabbat is also marked with a candle lighting ceremony.

I know a few of you observe shabbat. I would encourage the rest of you to give it a try. Dr Sleeth (wrote the suicide book previously mentioned) speaks to how observing shabbat has significant health and mental well being benefits.

MyJewishLearning – Shabbat

GotQuestions – Shabbat

Good Night!

It’s been a long day and it is 11:00 at night right now and I’m exhausted. Tomorrow begins the real adventure! See you soon!