I have been thinking back over where I have been in different years for Passover.
Over the next several days – I am going to try and work my way forward from as long as I have been writing this email list/blog. Some editing has been done for punctuation, clarity, and common sense. I am starting with 10 April 1998 when I took TFME (Task Force Med Eagle) from Wuerzburg, Germany to Blue Factory, Bosnia and will continue forward in time for those years when I can find anything resembling an interesting entry. Don’t know about you, but I need a break from COVID-19.
10 April 1998 –
Meanwhile – the Chaplain and I had our frolic and detour. It started with the shuttle ride to the Taszar Main Base. The 4 km bus ride manages to include every last back corner, all the bus stops, which turns the ride into 20 km in more than half a hour.
The vehicle fleet from which we drew our two vans for the trip consists of Ford 9-pax vans under lease for more than a couple of years. Saying it can be a rough ride is putting it mildly. Our route included back roads through several small towns, down a number of narrow roads. We passed horse drawn carts with their truck tire wheels, kids on bicycles, old people walking, and a number of pre-unification oil burning small cars from the former East. Not surprisingly it took an hour to travel the 70km to the autobahn. The next 120 km took about 90 minutes.
We arrived at the Old Synagogue in Budapest to find that it is still under renovation; not appearing much different than it did when I was last here in 1995. One courtyard features a memorial. Another has a collection of grave markers and tomb stones. The Seder was held upstairs in the attached building. Think of a large open room with high ceilings. The Head Table was at one end with the Rabbi, Cantor, and important guests. The rest of the room was filled with dozens of small tables of four plus several longer tables for visitors at the back. There was a small Seder plate at each place. Let me just say it was interesting trying to follow the service order. Hebrew accented with Hungarian does not sound like Hebrew accented with German or English. Hungarian falls into the category of “one of the thousands of languages about which I am clueless.” To cap off the fun – this was a “bring your own Haggadah” service; a fact that none of us knew a head of time. The whole evening was a challenge. For those of you whose Passover memories include children shouting and running, this was tame evening. Almost all in attendance were adults, many of whom were elderly.
It was about 2200 when we headed back to Taszar. Budapest was full of lights, people, and traffic. By the time we had driven 50km the roads were empty, the houses dark, little traffic and no one out. We arrive back to base after midnight