[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective] The Travel To Israel

A reminder of yesterday’s post before I get started on the Retrospective.

Until the end of the month, I will be writing retrospective posts on my Birthright Israel trip, which occurred exactly five years ago, and fortuitously the days of the week also align (e.g., July 20, 2011 was also a Wednesday)!

I never posted my journal on the day before Israel, so I will post the journal entry here. For the remaining days, the following format will be given:

  1. A link to the original journal entry on my blog.
  2. A new reflection on my thoughts from that day in the five-year retrospective.

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[M.M.X.I.V. 109] In a Newton minute

I intentionally named this post after a similar-sounding song: “In A New York Minute.”

But, a New York minute is on the opposite end of the spectrum of a Newton minute.  From some basic research, I found that a “New York minute” is basically an instant (in other words, a Short One Minute).  I figured that I might as well compare it to the Long or Short 40 Minutes that was the standard Israel time quote.

But what about Newton?  I’m not talking about Isaac Newton.  Rather, I’m talking about Newton, Iowa…

A postcard-like image of the Maytag factory.

A drawing of the Maytag factory in Newton, Iowa. Image courtesy of http://www.americadeclines.com/IA2.html)

There are two things about a Newton minute that stick out to me.  One is all the way back in 2002: it was either Thursday, April 4.  Passover had just ended, and we had embarked on a long road trip from Lincoln to Milwaukee, for my cousin Jason’s בר מצוה (bar mitzvah).

We had driven past Des Moines, and were ready to find somewhere for dinner.  So, we alighted Interstate 80 at Newton, Iowa, and took a counterclockwise contour around the town, which included passing by the Maytag factory.  We first tried to go to a sports bar, but quickly left when the smoking section overwhelmed the whole place (yes, this was before widespread indoor smoking bans!  Am I showing my age? :p)

So, we went to Giovanni’s Pizza across the street.  Yes, pizza was an apt choice to break Passover, but for whatever reason, cheesy food did not appeal to me at all that night.  Furthermore, it was a little late in the evening, so I was suffering from hunger- or time-induced anorexia.  Therefore, I was probably somewhat intolerable during that dinner, which made the time drag on forever.  Thus, my first experience with a Newton minute.

In Evanston, though, I really have the risk of experiencing the Newton minute about once every two weeks… literally!  Why is this?  The washing machines in the basement of Engelhart are Maytag commercial machines, and when you run them, they display a time of 33 or 34 minutes in the cycle.  I almost invariably go upstairs until the time is supposed to run out.

5 MINUTES display

It’ll probably be closer to 15 minutes before your wash load is done…

So, for example, today I started the machines at 08:27, and knowing that the time estimates are based on Newton minutes, I returned to the laundry room at 09:06.  One of the machines had already finished its run, as “0 MINUTES” displayed.  The other one was still running, with “1 MINUTES” displayed.  As I transferred the “0 MINUTES” load from the washer to a dryer, it took me at least two or three real minutes.  But, by that time, the “1 MINUTES” had not budged.  It took another real-time minute before the Newton minute expired!

EDIT: After publishing this post, I realized it could fit into the Daily Post’s theme, as although I am doing my laundry in the morning today, I think I am more likely to have Saturday night be a laundry time than Saturday morning.  Not tonight, however, as I will be traveling to Milwaukee!


Today is the one-hundred and ninth day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes fifteen weeks and four days.

היום ארבעה ימים לעומר (today is four days of the omer).