Friday, August 3, 2007

Our first day

I'd love to be able to write that I was really inspired while driving down the I-70 this time. But I wasn't. Not that it wasn't pleasant. After all, can the sweet sounds of Lipa Schmeltzer ever be a non-pleasant experience?

So we got to Columbia. The standardization of America continues with mile after mile of look-a-like strip malls. We stopped in one, made some phone calls, the only guy who picked up wasn't too interested in meeting us. He was a South African. My parents are South Africans. I was planning on playing that trump card, but our conversation was a bit too brief. It's not like I'm going to start off talking with a "Hi, my name is Chanan Maister, my parents are SAers, we're from Chabad, visiting Jews in the area, did I mention my parents were from SA, would you like to meet us, see a SA descendant?" It just wouldn't work. Oh well.

We spoke with another guy. He's not just another guy. Actually. Michael. He's a great guy. Wants to have Chabad in Columbia. Is working to bring Chabad to Columbia. What more could you ask?

He told us that he got involved in Judaism when his daughter told him she didn't want to be Jewish. Now after two years in Tzivos Hashem, Chabad's children program/club/group, she wants to be Orthodox. Pretty good, no?

So we chatted a bit, and then he gave us a tour of the city. Like Manhattan, it's alive because of the institute of higher learning located there, Missouri University, commonly known as Mizzou. It has about 650 Jewish students. On Tuesday we met with the director. She offered us cold water to drink (What else would we do with it?). As I've mentioned before, it's tough going around in 98 degree weather wearing a hat and jacket. The director was very nice. And we even put Tefillin on one of the students who was there. He's from Baltimore, and enrolled in the journalism school at Mizzou. We made some more phone calls, and arranged to give a class at Michael's house on Wednesday night.

As for the details you're all undoubtedly waiting for: our hotel. Yes, it was nice. What I don't get is, why do they have two different bodysoaps, three different shampoos, and yet no handsoap? I like to wash my hands, as I'm sure do most people, and it's really quite distressing. OK, not that distressing, but come on? Hey, even Yeshiva had handsoap!

I'm getting a bit, shall we say, "full" of writing, so more later.