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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sephardic Heritage Trip to Spain 2014/5774: Day 1

After all the fun at senior masquerade, 22 Yeshivah of Flatbush seniors ran as fast they could to make it to JFK for our 5:00pm flight to Spain. This was the beginning of a weeklong Sephardic Heritage Trip to Spain and Portugal led by Mrs. Miriam Wielgus and Rabbi Joseph Beyda.

With a safe flight into Europe we went straight from the airport to pray and eat breakfast. We enjoyed some "crisp snax," "shibolim," rice cakes, cereal and much more. With our stomachs ready to burst, we were ready to embark on our jam packed schedule.

Our first stop was the Royal Palace where we walked through 15 of the 3,418 rooms belonging to the king and queen of Spain. The "must see" room filled with military armor dating back to the 12th century was indescribable. Once our feet felt like they were going to fall off, we all met at the entrance to make our way to the Plaza Mayor- the central Plaza in Madrid. The Plaza Mayor, although grand, beautiful and architecturally eye catching was where the Jewish people of the 15th century until the 19th century were burned alive publicly. Now, the Plaza Mayor is considered a tourist attraction surrounded by wacky people, souvenir shops and restaurants.
Once back on the bus, almost immediately everyone fell asleep until we reached the beautiful city of Toledo for lunch. After lunch was over we "hiked" up the mountain by taking the escalator. Our adventure continued by visiting two Shuls: El Transito and Santa Maria. We made sure to look at the view one last time while we all made our way to a jewelry making demonstration.

The fun didn't end there, we got back on the bus to Madrid where we prayed Arbit and met up with the chief Rabbi of Spain, Rabbi Moshe BenDahan. From there, we walked to the only Kosher restaurant in Madrid for a delicious gourmet meat dinner. The food varied from steak and hamburgers to shish kabob and schnitzel. After an extremely long, tiring, and fun filled day, we took the subway back to the hotel. We got back 10:30 PM exhausted and excited for the next day to begin.
~Rita Sharaby and Helen Shalam