From Freezing to Sunshine!
The wheels on the RV spin round and round....
Tour To The Wonderful (TTTW) opened with a "Drive-Bye" in New York and Connecticut, giving us an opportunity to practice driving the van while still being close to our home base in South Windsor, CT. This test drive was for an opportunity for Jeff and me to practice visiting people and working with Team Wonderful to iron out trip details and figure out the logistics for our journey.
During the Drive-Bye we visited anyone who requested a stop, including members of Temple Beth Hillel (TBH), Hillcrest Jewish Center (HJC), Mitzvah Mamas, leaders in the Jewish community of Greater Hartford and some of our tour cheerleaders! Starting the trip early one freezing morning, a group of Minyanairs from HJC gathered to offer a traveler’s prayer. You can hear Rabbi Kogan's blessing in the first episode of TTTW Podcast (which I am happy to say turned out to be a really fun listen).
Who would’ve thought that people would give us money as well? But that’s what has happened. In episode one of the TTTW Podcast, Eric Mauer of JTConnect explains the concept of Shlichut. By giving us money to donate along the way, we become Mitzvah messengers!
A few days before the calendar would finally read 2021, we were off! First stop: TBH member June Silver in New Jersey. After our visit with June, the van rolled toward Washington DC for several stops, including a visit with author and mensch, Danny Siegel, a stop to visit some family, and a visit with The Greenburg’s in Maryland, who over the past few months have helped prepare for this experience. Maxine and Bob are experienced RVers (and TBH members) who have been our gurus. Without their advice, we'd certainly have made many more blunders. For our final DC stops, we connected with Anwar Khan, who concerns himself with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and friends and family (you know who you are!).
One facet of TTTW is designed to help alleviate loneliness. Being alone is a challenge we have all been facing throughout the course of this pandemic, and in the first couple of days alone, this tour has brought us closer together and provided many interpersonal interactions. How sweet when people on South Windsor, CT recognized their friend June, and commented on it in the group!
After hours of driving and visits in each of the Carolinas, we arrived in Florida at 4:30 am on New Year’s Day. After a few hours of sleep, we were off to meet some snowbirds. Shout out to The Saltz and the Stabile’s!
Next stop: Del Rey Beach to visit Cantor Moti and Lesley Fuchs (HJC) and Stella and Marty Seefer (TBH). You wouldn’t believe the surprise when we learned that both couples live on the same street! A masked shidduch. The 6 of us social distanced and shared stories of how we met our partners. The mood was great, the air filled with laughter and song! You'll be able to hear our delightful rendition of Hinei Ma Tov on episode 2 of TTTW Podcast. It is sure to warm your heart!
A visit to Uncle Syd and Ernest in Boca before heading North to Naples where long time TBH members Joel and Marilyn Davidson reside. Like the Greenburgs, the Davidsons are RV enthusiasts. So, when we were sharing about all the people we had visited along the way, they asked about their dear friends Maxine and Bob Greenburg. In that moment, we recognized we’d made our first big blunder of the trip. We forgot to visit them! With all the excitement of getting on the road, we messed up! We promise to make it up to them! Be sure to follow the tour on Facebook to see how this fashla (a great Hebrew expression) will be rectified.
And all the while we’re learning about RV living. Who’d have thought we needed propane for the fridge? OY!
Have you heard about 100 Blessings? Consider joining me each morning (not Shabbat) at 8am TTTW time to help start the day with gratitude. 100 Blessings, a short morning moment of song and togetherness on Zoom. Come as you are, chances are I will be in my robe! During this 15-minute session, we harvest the previous day's blessings, then you’ll send us off for the day with a T’filat Ha derech (travelers prayer). Zoom details are available on the website and at the end of the newsletter.
We are truly blessed you are along for the ride and hope you will be inspired to do acts of kindness simultaneously with us as we traipse across the beautiful USA revealing and harvesting blessings!
If you are inspired to do a small Act Of Kindness, please share it with Team Wonderful!
May 2021 be a year of peace, health, friendship and love.
Editors note: This first week, with a holiday smack in the middle, seemed to focus on visiting people. Next week we follow the start of the tzedakah project Team Wonderful is rolling out, which includes visits to remote congregations across the South. Welcome to Alabama.