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14 March 2010

Australia 2010

In March of 2010, I had the chance to visit Australia. I had known about the trip for some time, but nothing could prepare me for the incredible experience it was. I was there to speak at The Second Conference on Jewish Genealogy. The conference was to be held in Melbourne. The flight from Los Angeles was the only downer of the entire trip, and only because it took so long, otherwise I have nothing but good memories.

My first day in Australia, I tried to act like a native and went on a walkabout. Big mistake. I started by walking toward the nearest beach, which would take me through the old Jewish areas of town. It was a nice walk and I did indeed see a lot of Jewish history, the problem was as I got to my destination and was walking along the beach, I noticed the sky was getting very dark. I started for my hotel, which was about an hour or so walk from where I was. As I was about half way home, walking as fast as I could, and taking many shortcuts, I made a mistake. I walked through an area of town that was sealed off as they prepared for the Formula 1 race that was a few weeks away. As I stopped to look at a few of the cars being unloaded, I soon found that the local police officials didn't approve of me being there. A few apologies later, I received a ride to the park entrance in the back seat of one of the police cars. A great way to start my visit. As I got to the gate, I noticed that the storm clouds had caught me while I was detained. I soon found
myself caught in what the newspapers called the "100 Years Storm". I walked as fast as I could ducking under or behind anything I could find to keep out of the rain, it didn't work. I soon found myself arriving at my hotel, soaking wet.

The Conference itself was a truly remarkable event, one of the best organized conferences I have ever attended. The organizers, The Australian Jewish Genealogical Society did a marvelous job. I met a lot of new friends, reacquainted with a few old ones and even had an opportunity I will never forget.

I was invited to speak at a beautiful Synagogue, The North Shore Synagogue, just outside Sydney. Following my talk, I was able to meet some cousins I had never met before. The nicest part was they seemed to be the best of people, I really enjoyed visiting with them.

I was able to visit some wonderful places and make many new friends. I can't wait to return and I hope its very soon.

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