Rachel ~ So this morning Aviva came to wake us up at 8:10, and Laura’s alarm went off at 8:15. I didn’t get out of bed till 8:30 despite Laura telling me countless times to wake up. I didn’t want to; it was warm and cozy, but finally I got out of bed. I finished packing my bag and we made our way downstairs. My suitcase is so heavy and it was a pain to drag it down one flight of stairs. Lucky for us there was an elevator. Breakfast was fine. I had hot chocolate which was so good! At around 9:30 the bus arrived and we got ready to get on. Ester and Kitty came on the bus with us from the hotel and we picked up Gyorgy on the way. The bus ride to Vienna was two and half hours and I figured I might sleep a little. I was still really tired. I fell asleep right away. It felt really good, but I woke up really having to go to the bathroom. We all had to go. AJ and Nate are making us drink so much that every half an hour we have to go to the bathroom. We stopped and had about 20 minutes to buy stuff, but we took about half an hour. We had another hour till Vienna and I fell back to sleep. We finally arrived in Vienna and ate a quick lunch. Molly, our tour guide in Vienna, showed and taught us so many cool things! She told us a bit about Napoleon, and how he fell in love but didn’t have an heir so he divorced his wife and married someone else so he could have an heir, but his son grew up with his grandfather and was buried with him. But when Hitler rose to power, he dug up Napoleon’s son and moved him to France so he could rest with his father and that was how Hitler was able to control France. Molly also showed us a Holocaust memorial building that was built over a shul that was burned down. The building was made of stone books. The books were made so that the back of the book, the part were the name is, wasn’t showing so you couldn’t know the names of the books– just like the Jews who were killed in Vienna. We will never know their names. I thought it was really meaningful. We got back on the bus and picked up some kosher pizza. We dropped Molly off and we made our way to the summer palace of Maria Theresa. The garden was amazing. It was huge and beautiful. We made our way up to the top. We sat down and got our fist slice of pizza.
Today in America they are dedicating the daf yomi in memory of my grandfather. The Tessler’s thought that it would be nice if we studied what they are studying in America so I could be a part of it. Aviva introduced my grandfather before she turned it to me. I stood in front of everyone. I hate speaking in front of people cuz I’m always afraid that I’m going to mess up. But I got over it and I started to talk. I started by saying that there is so much to say about my grandpa Mendy Rutstein z”l. I mentioned that he was man that never had an excuse for anything, and he was man that had the best excuses. I mentioned that through everything he’d been through he was always there to make a minyan and that he was always ready to learn and ready to help in every way that he could. That he was a man of mitzvot and that I’m so honored to be his granddaughter. How that I wish I could do all the chesed that he did! That I’m so happy that I have his footsteps to follow. Half way through my speech I started to feel the tears coming to the surface of my eyes. I really didn’t want to cry and then I realize that crying is normal. At the very end of the speech I was crying so much I couldn’t finish. Rabbi Tessler took over and Aviva came and gave me a very tight hug that felt so good. Rabbi Tessler had the kindest words to say about my grandpa, and it felt really good to hear them. After he finished talking he handed out the first mishna in the gemora and we studied it. By then I stopped crying and I was feeling better. We finished learning the mishna and we went back to the bus.