They have arrived! Our newest Boston-Haifa HiBuR Israeli group. Those whose only existence to us for the past month were little images with their names on our phone apps and excel sheets, are finally here. Girls. Lots of them, 14 to be exact. And 2 boys. They packed their best coats and shabbat clothes, boarded a plane, and 12 hours later, landed in New York City. Emerging out of a sleepy international terminal, they were unexpectedly greeted by none other than two young bearded men at the gate asking tired and weary luggage-rolling Jews if they have shaken a lulav yet this holiday. Is that the welcome they expected to get in New York? Probably not.
There they were, smiling, laughing, and freezing in the gusty New York City morning winds, shoving their bamba-filled suitcases into the back of bus. And where else would one begin such an experience than a local Brooklyn diner? We couldn't have asked for a more patient waiter as she began taking breakfast orders in broken and confused English. Sunny-side up is referred to as an "eye" omelette in Hebrew. Pretzel with white cheese and Salmon anyone? Sure, why not!?
The food arrived, somehow as ordered, and we all loved it. And as if no one was baffled (scrambled?) enough by then, we headed into a place where every conversation is being simultaneously translated into dozens of different languages - the United Nations Headquarters. Our Chinese tour guide, with impeccable English that most of the students still struggled a bit to decipher led us through busy hallways, pointing at informative exhibits, images and posters. At times we went into large beautifully designed rooms, took some pictures, got shushed (more than a few times) and went on our way.