Rina Bar Tal

Rina Bar-TalPost by Rina Bar Tal, Israeli participant

I’ve given lots of thoughts as to my subject matter for this little essay of mine and have decided to devote my 150 words to “Getting to Know my Neighboring Sisters”

Once arriving at the Tel Aviv airport in Israel, one can see the sign – connecting flights…… funny, where are they actually connecting to?? I know we can fly to Jordan and the Turkey and am not certain we can fly to Egypt.  Am certain we have no direct flights to Morocco, Tunis, Syria, Lebanon, etc.  Thus coming to Berlin was a great moment for me – although I’ve been to Berlin several times before, this was special, this was like coming to a sort of “first date”…… and exactly like with first dates (if I remember them correctly), one feels excited; the heart beats extensively, some of us perspire some, we fear the unknown yet very much want to make a good impression, we are curious to meet that new person, etc. etc.

Same here – We met at dinner on Tuesday night, trying to say our first hello, read the name tags attached to all of us, think where is every face coming from? Which country is Marianne from and who is Amal Haddadin.  Is this Amina? So young……. I thought she’d be a bit older and Rabiaa so well dressed and young too……. And so the very next morning, I met some of my new “neighbors” at breakfast and we had a coffee together and as I found a place to sit in the convening hall, I looked around to see that Annisa and Marianne set really close to me and “my” Orit set next to me on the other side……. And I began to feel the “bind date” becoming less blind with the hello and the smile and slowly starting to make small talk with  Mary joining in and Kholoud giving a hug, and Loubna who is not a “blind date” any longer as we have met in the last convening…… and I relaxed and felt well and felt so fortunate to get to know, even for the short time we’ll be together, my sisters who live real close by…….. and whom I wish to stay in touch with and see again real soon.

And very last words to my American sisters – I’ve been fortunate to know you all and thank you for being there with us all the way…….