So there are a lot of us on this journey and it's becoming funny and interesting and there are lots of things to laugh about and share....just like any other group tiyul (trip), we are developing our own issues, our own quirks, and our own jokes...(and of course, annoyances!). We count off regularly, so we can keep track of everyone (this will become problematic when you read the next posting, so stay tuned!), and we are always trying to figure out how to deal with the combination of Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox ways of doing things. There are only six women rabbis on this journey (four Reform and two Conservative) and this also makes things interesting...in previous years there have been as few as one woman!!! We are sorting ourselves out as we do this, so it's a work in progress, but I am still impressed that we are all here together. We ride around on busses with tour guides, but Rabbi Yehiel Poupko of the JUF is also our teacher, and he provides us with text and with context for the sites and things that we seeing, as well as a huge dose of history. We have a candy bag on the bus and it gets a lot of use right after meals when we didn't really get anythign good to eat. I suppsoe this is the perspective of a vegetarian in a place where they don't really seem to know what that is. Thank goodness for Skippy in a tube. Oh, and Natural Ovens cookies, which I brought along. My recommednation if you travel to Russia: bring snacks.
And a warm coat. And a hat. And boots. And mittens. Geez, it's cold here.