“You’re going to Budapest” Rabbi Sharfman exclaimed!! Our spirits were on a high as we anticipated our trip, packing, planning it was all a blur! All we could think about was our Shana Bet Trip to Budapest, Hungary! As February 12th came so did our mini bus, all ready to drive us to our gate.
As Rabbi Sharfman waved us farewell, we pulled out of 27 Yam Suf eager to begin our adventure! Excitement filled the air, as we blasted Mordechai Shapiro and Simcha Leiners’ new hits. As we arrived at the airport we checked in and boarded the aircraft, we couldn’t have imagined what was in store for the following 4 days!!
From the moment we landed, we didn’t stop! At the airport we were greeted, with drinks and refreshments in hand, by our soon to be beloved guides and organizers, Rabbi and Rebbitzen Klatzko. We then rushed to our headquarters for our trip, the beautiful and quaint Museum Hotel. We dropped off our things and hit the town. We visited Budapest’s famous indoor market, where we got to see a real taste of European culture. We then had the opportunity to walk over the Danu river on one of Budapest’s most historic bridges. We took a team-building climb up to a stunning viewpoint, where we had an uplifting Kumzitz, overlooking ALL of Budapest.
From there, we went straight to the docks where we hopped onto one of Budapest’s very own hop on hop off boats. As we sipped our ice cold beverages we enjoyed seeing the castles and bridges the boat passed. We then hopped off the boat and rushed to Hanna’s Koch, or, in English, Hanna’s Kitchen, a glatt kosher Restaurant with authentic Hungarian Cuisine. Our private hall was awaiting our arrival. And from the moment we sat down, the food kept on coming and we all really enjoyed each other’s company! After dinner, we headed back to our hotel where we relaxed and rested up because we couldn’t believe how much we did, and it was only the first day!!
As the sun rose on February 13th so did Rabbi and Rebbitzen Klatzko. They ran around town purchasing ingredients for our first morning’s breakfast! When the rest of our group, 14 Sharfmans Shana Bet girls and 3 amazing and loved chaperones, woke up a buffet of coffee, yogurts, cereal, eggs, pancakes, fruits, salad, toast, cheese, and rice cakes greeted us! We exchanged “Good Mornings” and got on our way to begin Day 2! We started with a tour of the Budapest Jewish community. We visited 3 of the original Shuls. We had such an inspirational kumzitz as we learnt about the history of the place where we were standing. We spoke about the impact we can and will make and how we have the ability to make this world a better place even though many of the Hungarian Jews that lived there didn’t have the chance. We visited the kosher butcher shop where we tasted authentic Hungarian sausage!
We then went on to tour the kosher supermarket and then the kosher bakery where we enjoyed tasting all the Hungarian delicacies that many of our ancestors enjoyed hundreds of years before. We toured the castle where we acted out the appointment of the queen and king and saw a changing of the guards. Then we were ushered to an underground Labrynth, that was used in the 15th century’s by the King’s servants. We were on a mission to find our way out! And we made it!!! Wohoo! We then walked through the old city and went to a different castle and were in for a treat! As we reached the top of the castle’s arch, it started to flurry!
We all enjoyed seeing snow, something we’ve missed for 2 years! We then went to one of Budapest’s famous attractions, the mall, where we discovered being a millionaire in Hungary will cost only a few thousand dollars! On our way back we had the privilege of experiencing travel as a native. We took the underground train system and got to Tel Aviv Cafe in a jiffy! Tel Aviv Cafe is another one of Budapest’s Kosher eateries. It’s a delicious cafe where we all really enjoyed our pizzas, salmon, soup, salads, couscous and more!
When we got back to our hotel we rushed to the spa, which was rented out special for us! We enjoyed the hot tub, sauna, and massages as we connected with our teachers in a ways we never would have imagined! Thank you very much to Rabbi Sharfman for enabling us to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience!!