Monday, May 16, 2016

Yesterday in London

After an uneventful overnight flight to London, I navigated the "Tube", the local subway. The last time I was here was in 1998 with Mike and prior to that, I came at the end of my semester abroad in Israel, after backpacking around Europe for a month. It was the first time I had flown into a country by myself, without a group, and I remember walking by all the people with their little signs at the airport and feeling a little nervous about where I was going and how I would spend the 5 days ahead by myself. This time when I got to Paddington station (which is just the cutest name and made me think of Paddington bear, but he wasn't there), it looked so familiar and I caught a glimpse of my ragged 21 year old self, looking around the station in wonder. It's a beautiful train station and I was impressed by all the people standing around looking to help people, like me, who don't know where we are going. Someone actually called me "Madam".

Paddington Station
Follow the yellow brick road

I made my way to Camden town to go to the Adam Science opening event at the Jewish Museum. The Adam Science program is a leadership development program for young adults in London. I had the privilege of being the Boston "Madricha" (counselor) from 2008-2014 when the groups would come to Boston for a week-long trip to compare and contrast our 2 diaspora communities. My colleagues, Nicky Goldman, Karen Denker, and Sam Clifford, are dear friends and have invited me to London many times over the years. I figured that I would sort of be in the neighborhood when I was heading to Krakow with the Hadassah Leadership Fellowship and so arranged my trip to come here first. It happened to be the first day of the newly launched program so I was excited to see what they were up to.

The first speaker that I caught at the program, was Ray Simonson, who is the CEO of JW3 (a play on the postal code NW3), which is the new JCC in London. Ray spoke about the British Jewish community and how to widen, deepen, and strengthen the Jewish community. He used his own parents as examples of why Jewish people felt the need to whisper the word "Jewish", much like people whisper the word cancer, as they were part of the generation that emigrated to the UK after the Holocaust. He believes the community should be high in quality, wide in quantity, and have the volume turned up. Later in the day I had a chance to go to JW3 and it's a beautiful space with fabulous programming.

Rony's "smart" car
The next speaker was talking about statistics and at the moment that I found myself nodding off from jet lag, I decided to go explore the museum. It's a lovely museum with the history of the Jews of the UK, how the community was formed, and some Holocaust exhibits. After lunch, my friend, Rony Yedidia-Clein, who was the Vice Consul General from Israel to Boston and is now the Director of Public Diplomacy at the Israeli Embassy here, picked me up and we spent the afternoon together. Rony's car is so small, my suitcase didn't fit in the back!

We saw the Israeli embassy (no pictures please), explored the canals, Portobello Rd in Notting Hill (no sign of Hugh Grant), Kensington Palace (home of Will and Kate), and lots of cute doorways.



At the end of the day, I met up with Nicky and came back to her lovely home in Bushey for a quiet evening. Had a great night sleep 9:30-7:30 and am ready for the day. I brought the sun with me to London and am headed out for a walk before meeting up with Karen Denker for brunch and an afternoon of exploring. Stay tuned! xo

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