Back home, with no help from El Al or Jet Blue

If you read my post from June 23,  you got the story about how we had to make all these last minute changes to get to New York in time to catch our planes home. Well, the story was just starting!

We got to the airport in Tel Aviv and went to the El Al security. We told them we were a group and they got us all together. That started to look good, and we went through security fairly well. BUT- when we went to get the tickets and boarding passes, we were not in the system. I showed them the confirmation emails we had received when I had their customer service change the flights, but (apparently) the person sent the confirmations but never completed entering the information so there were no tickets for most of us. Well, now it was rush to the cashier, rush to get the boarding passes (with everyone else on line needing to get theirs, as well), then rush to get to the airplane in time to board it. Consequently, we did not have any time to go to the VAT (sales tax return) booth and recover all the sales tax we paid on items over $100. Not that it was a lot of money, but to some of us that would have been $30-$60 dollars back in our pocket.

Then, the plane sat on line for almost an additional hour! By the time we got off, we wouldn’t have time to make the switch to Lufthansa when we reached Frankfort. Besides having to get to the terminal, we all needed to have our boarding passes printed out because there wasn’t any time to do that in Israel.

Lufthansa held the plane (we weren’t the only ones that needed to make the switch) and we got the passes done. Finally- we are on the way to New York and we did land in time for everyone to make their flights.

That is, everyone landed in time, but not everything. For most of us, the luggage didn’t make it to the plane back in Germany. So, we thought we had time to get to our flights, but in fact we still cut it close (for some) because after we got through customs we had to go to the Lufthansa lost baggage area and file a claim. They said they would ship the bags back to us at our home- I expect mine to be here tomorrow.

To top it all off, my Jet Blue flight that was supposed to leave at 1800 was delayed until sometime around 2100, and I finally got back to Orlando the next day (officially, since it was after midnight.)

I was awake from Thursday night at about 2200 until Saturday morning around 0200, except for a couple of cat naps lasting less than half an hour, each. Somewhere in there is a 7-hour period loss to account for the time zone change, but I honestly have no idea how that works- do I add the time or subtract it?

I am home now. As soon as my clothes join me I can say the trip is complete. I have created a separate page on this site for the Israel trip, so when you look at the top of the home page, you will see it. Click on the “Israel Trip-2016” title page to get a run-down of the trip, and each day has a link to pictures of that day.

I have to confess it isn’t totally accurate- I did keep a folder of pix for each day with a run-down of the places we went to, but I was so tired and the blog site won’t let me upload folders, only individual pictures, so those of you who were with me may note some things are a little off. Please let me know and I will correct them in the next few weeks, but for everyone else, unless you are really, really familiar with Israel, these pictures will be great to view.

Now I have to figure out how to get Donna to go back with me.

Finally got the Jew in Jew-rusalem!

Today was the day I entered the City of Jerusalem, went into the Old City and walked around in the Jewish Quarter.

This is one of the highlights of my life, as I always wanted to visit Israel, and being in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, where David walked 3,000 years ago, was great. Of course, it looks a little different today than it did then, but the walls that David knew are still there, today. The original have had to be rebuilt, of course, and that was done in a wonderful way: by using the same rocks that the Romans left lying around when they destroyed it, which makes it look today almost exactly as it did then.

I am not surprised that the Jews won so many battles and were so tough- these streets are murder! If any of you reading this have been here, you know what I mean. Up the steps, down the steps, up the street (steeply angled street, that is) and then up the steps. I think now I really know why we say go “up” to Jerusalem- that’s the only direction there is here. Oy!

We had an interesting discussion at dinner: it started with some of the God-loving Christians (no doubt about that with this group) admitting that they never realized how poorly Christianity has been treating the Jews, the very source of their salvation. They wanted to know which is the “correct” day for the Shabbat, and do Christians need to follow the Torah, and even why don’t Jews accept Messiah Yeshua? After all, it was pointed out that God says “we” often throughout the bible. If He says we, He must mean Him and His son, Jesus-right?

I can easily answer that from a Jewish point of view- maybe God was speaking about Him and His Messiah, but even so, that doesn’t mean it was Jesus He was talking to.

Personally, I believe that God has no gender or physical presence- He is spirit, and only spirit. Any physical presence He may need, such as for talking with Abraham or saving Daniel from the lions, can be made as He needs it. And who we call His son, Jesus (or Yeshua, if you want His real name) may not be a ‘who’ but a ‘what’- a manifestation of God in the flesh, but still God, even though He was 100% human. Maybe, and I think this is the case, the whole Trinity thing is for our benefit, so that it is understandable to us 3-dimensional humans, living in a physical plane. After all, you can’t really expect someone living 5,000 years ago to understand physics, let alone metaphysics, such as String Theory, to explain how God can talk things into existence. Heck- we don’t understand that, today!

Another question was whether or not Christians are accountable for following the Torah, such as with Shabbat and the Festivals. Although Gary Cristafaro, my friend and the senior-most Pastor on the tour (and the one who organized it) was answering, he let me take this one. My answer was that the laws God gave about the festivals, as with all his laws, are for all our generations. God also said that anyone who sojourns with His people Israel (which means they live with them and accept the Jewish God as their God) must be treated the same as any other Jew. In other words, when someone connects themself to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they are sojourning with the Jews, and have all the rights under the law that the natural-born Jews have. That also means they have the same obligations and are subject to the same commandments the Jews are, as well. Therefore, any Christian who has been grafted into the tree is subject to the same laws the natural branches are subject to. Add to that the fact that Yeshua said He isn’t changing anything (Matthew 5:17), and the answer is: Christians are accountable to God, just as the Jews are, to obey the Torah.  

 This discussion also included that we shouldn’t obey for personal gain or just to go through the motions, but as a love response to what God has requested of us, as a love response to wanting to please Him, and as a love response to show Him we love Him.

It is all about the heart’s intent and not about the body’s action.

Friday I will try to get a blog out. We are leaving very early from the hotel to go home, so I will probably work on it on the plane and post it later in the day. I don’t think I will be doing a Parashah teaching, but will instead review what we have leaned on our tour, for your information and edification.

It has been educational, believe me. Yosi our guide is a wonderful example of the practical exercising of God’s word in someone’s life. We get too spiritual, and spirit is fine….if you’re a spirit, that is. We are not spirit, we are flesh, and our example to the world should be a practical demonstration of God’s word. Walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

We’ll be talking about that talking thing in the next blog.