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Worth it (Day 1, 2017)

After many weeks of meeting, learning and preparing together, plus a whole lot of anticipation… the day finally arrived. Gathering yesterday morning at CVG, we read our traveler’s prayer, hugged our goodbyes to our families, and were off. Two planes, one bus, three airports, and 16 hours later… we landed in Poland, having bonded in ways we might not have predicted. En route, we were rigorously and lengthily grilled by El Al security questioning (rigorously, as in question lines like “Can you sing a song from the seder you had?” after answering “Yes- I celebrated Passover”) before heading out of the country, some of our delegates got to wrap Tefillin for the first time (right in the middle of JFK airport, with cheers at the end), we shared thoughts about what’s defined us thus far in our lives… and we learned some layers about one another.
So now, with a quick change of clothes in the airport, we are on our bus (consistent “home” for the next week, as we’ll be in different hotels each night) with our guide Peppi, our pilot Magda and our security guy Dominic (they’ll be with us through Poland)… headed straight into one of our most important days through our dark history. We’re a little red-eyed, yet energized by the privilege of being here.
Some words that capture where we are right now (going around the bus), looking out of our bus windows at this new place:

From here forward, we’ll share a few highlight photos per day, yet to see ALL of our photos (many per day), go to our shared album here.

-Sarah Singer-Nourie, representing our whole delegation

Our delegation of 20 + parents, just before we take off from CVG. Thank you so much parents and Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, for giving us this opportunity.
Our traveler’s prayer, read with parents in our first circle, right in the middle of the the Delta terminal, before we hug goodbye…
Once past security, we all got our journals, which will capture thoughts, learnings, emotions and moments throughout our journey. First entry: “Where I am (mentally, emotionally) NOW as we’re about to take off…”
After flying CVG-LGA, our bus from LaGuardia to JFK. Next was intense and lengthy security questioning from El Al airlines, making sure we’re going to (Poland then) Israel for innocent reasons. Getting more real now.
16 hours later… arrived in Warsaw! Excited, eager, nervous… let’s go!
Polish stamp in our passports… check!
Cross training. Young woman exercising with dumbbells.

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