Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jerusalem & Shabbat

Shavua Tov! (Good week!)

So I spent Friday and Saturday in Jerusalem. It was pretty awesome. Our Overseas Student Program group traveled as a group to Jerusalem on Friday morning, leaving at 6:45 a.m.

We first visited Yad Vashem, the Israel Holocaust Museum where we saw the Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations (non-Jews recognized by trees who sacrificed to protect Jewish people in the Holocaust), the Museum, and the Children's Memorial. When I came to Israel in 2005, we also went to Yad Vashem, however, this was after spending a week in Poland and while the museum was obviously well done, it did not move me as much as it perhaps could have. This time around, I was very much affected by the museum. Yad Vashem is powerful in every aspect of the museum.

After visiting Yad Vashem, we went to the Old City and got Falafel. We then walked around a bit and discussed (briefly) the history of the Old City of Jerusalem and the importance of Jerusalem to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. we then went to the Kotel (the Western Wall - the holiest place in Judaism). There I prayed and put a note into the wall. It is an incredibly moving place, especially when you feel the wind to your back or see groups of people praying or individuals praying and crying.

After our visit to the Kotel, our group left to return to Be'er Sheva and I took a taxi (and overpaid) to a friend's (Flo's) apartment. I'd never met her before and we spent some time getting to know each other and getting ready for Shabbat. we then went to services at an awesome liberal Modern Orthodox Synagogue called Shira Hadasha. The way they sing the prayers creates an amazing spiritual experience. We then went back and had dinner with six other people that went until about midnight. Flo was leading Psukei D'Zimra in the morning so we had to get to services by 8:30 a.m. Services flew by and ended around 11:15 a.m. (Although apparently this is long for Israel) We then went to lunch with a friend of Flo's. We were there from about 12:00 - 6:00 p.m. eating and talking and hanging out. We then went back to the apartment and hung out, read, and ate again. I then took a bus to the central bus station and then on back to Be'er Sheva.

It was a great weekend.

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