Get Ready! Traveling again soon to…

Another trip coming soon! Azerbaijan!

On March 3, Bill and I leave SF for NYC, then on to Baku, Azerbaijan. We will return home March 23, Inshallah!

This adventure to a rather obscure vacation destination is the result of my becoming involved with the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, a national organization dedicated to improving Muslim-Jewish relations, one woman at a time. Azerbaijan has a long history of good relations between Jews and Muslims and we will be visiting groups of both faiths.

The Azerbaijan part of the trip is 9 days, but we will be in NY 3 nights on the way. Then we are going to spend 8 nights in Berlin. I was last in Berlin in 1971 and, as we all know, lots has changed. People have been telling me how much I will love Berlin for years now and finally I’ll get to see it for myself. Seeing things for myself has been the underlying theme of my travels for some time now, and I realized that became my goal back in 1971.

That summer I traveled for about 3 weeks with a group of mostly English people, with a few Aussies, in a 15 passenger van from Germany to Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Soviet Union, Poland and Germany and into West Berlin. And back to England.

The trip really opened my eyes. Standing in lines to buy food for our breakfasts in the campsite north of Leningrad ( now St. Petersburg, again) and going into nearly empty department stores and seeing women plowing their fields with oxen and wooden plows caused me to re-evaluate what I’d been told by our government about the great danger that the Soviet Union represented to our way of life. While the geopolitical realities are quite different from the lives of ordinary people, the wide gaps in quality of life between the US and the USSR led me to question how big of a threat this country really was to us. Yes I was naive, and in many ways I still am, but I do think I was a little bit right. The arms race was unsustainable, especially for the USSR but we didn’t hear much about that. At some point the needs of the people for material goods and greater connection with the rest of the world won out. And the USSR is no more, at least for now. Putin seems determined to rebuild it, but that’s not my concern at the moment.

So, I plan to resume writing when we are in Azerbaijan and I invite you to read and comment. I’ll try to get photos into the blog because they really do make it better. I recently upgraded my iPad to a new lighter weight Air2 and I’m trying to figure out the photo part before I leave.

I’m very excited about this trip – the other travelers will be a big part of the interest for me. I’ll meet SOSS members from all over the country and from both faiths. I will bring my experience back to San Francisco and I hope that it will enrich my efforts to build a local Chapter of the Sisterhood.

More after March 6.

Karen

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Published in: on February 25, 2017 at 12:42 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. I’m SO excited about this trip and hope it’s wonderful. I also know you tend to live on the edge, so if you have the time- take a look at this article — http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/13/donald-trumps-worst-deal — and look around while you’re there.
    Bon Voyage toyou and Bill


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