Israel Day 1 - The Journey

Beginning Sunday morning, I embarked on a 3 week trip to Israel and Egypt. Met my fellow EO comrades at Tampa airport and then took a seemingly short trip to JFK International. After about a 5 hour layover, we found ourselves at Gate 6 in the international terminal of JFK. The plane we were to board was a Delta 747, a fairly large plane.

While we waited by the gate, many Jewish men began to show up. Their attire made this obvious. But while we were waiting, all the Jewish men began to pray and bow to the East, facing a large window. More and more men joined in the prayer, and while it never got loud, it was fairly impacting. Apparently, and I could be wrong, but they do this three times a day (like David in the Old Testament). This experience was both new and interesting.

This event made me evaluate my own religious walk. It was obvious they were trained to do this from a very young age. And there were even some children who took part. While their faithfulness and dedication were impressive, and we could all stand more of those two attributes, it made me wonder if they feel closer to God with this ritualistic type worship. I know myself, and most Americans, become tired of the same worship songs, similar messages, and church in general after a while. And it’s the new, fresh experiences that bring us closer to God. If the opposite is true for these Jewish men, could we learn how to draw nearer to God using the same activities over and over? Is one way better than the other? Either way I admired their fervor and I’m glad it took place.

Once the men ceased their prayer, we waited a while longer, boarded and took off for the 11 hour flight to Tel Aviv. While it was certainly a long one, I was able to sleep through much of it, which helped me avoid jet lag on arrival. I still get nervous with turbulence, but thankfully there wasn’t too much. We had a surprisingly smooth landing and arrived in the hot Israeli desert. Day 1 was complete.