As the clouds and rain gave way to evening sunshine at Maryland’s historic College Park Airport, Rabbi Gil Steinlauf of Washington, DC’s Adas Israel Congregation recites the kaddish for one of aviation’s pioneers who died in a crash there on June 11, 1912, exactly 100 years to that day.
Recent days have been full of continually unfolding reports about a new intercepted underwear bomb intended to be carried aboard a U.S.-bound plane by an al-Qaida agent. That agent, said to be British, turned out to be working simultaneously with Saudi and U.S. intelligence, and the bomb never got near a plane. But as I prepared last week to board a flight to Alaska, where I would be participating in a conference devoted to the ethical work of Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, I couldn’t help but wonder what role this newly acquired knowledge will play in upcoming discussions about airport security and the effectiveness of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Despite being about the size of New Jersey, Israel has a winter season that offers tourists a unique opportunity to experience the country’s mystical meteorological rollercoaster in different urban and suburban settings.
Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld and I shook hands 20 minutes before we were to jump out of an airplane together at 12,500 feet. It would be my first solo jump. Dan has made some 23,000 -- he's stopped counting except by the thousands.
It's 4 p.m. "Erev Christmas," and 21-year-old Adam Bodenstein is still rushing around his home in the Pico-Robertson area. He has yet to take a shower before Shabbat comes. In four days time, the Modern Orthodox UC Berkley graduate, who grew up in a Conservative household, will board a flight at New York's JFK Airport that will take him to his new home -- Israel.
But this is no ordinary El Al flight. This is Nefesh B'Nefesh's (NBN) eighth flight (and first-ever winter flight) in three years.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, Jerry Snyder, said that his agency has not issued advisories for any special ethnic group.
I'd like to register a complaint against the airline industry. I know that I'm not alone, that there has been quite a bit of public outcry lately about flight delays and cancellations, but that's not my issue.