Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday was a day of going down and ascending to holy places

It is Erev Shabbat in Jerusalem. You can feel the pressure as everyone is shutting down and getting ready for Shabbat. I am happy. Our last stop today was walking through the Jewish market. We have the sweetest tasting ballot in the world. We ate felafel and just felt the energy of the excitement and the packed crowds buying their Shabbat groceries. The men in their booths shouting out their prices. The different spices and the aromas! Reach nichoach a sweet aroma to Shabbat. Machaneh yehudah is the largest outdoor Jewish market in the world. We walked and we ate. We are resting now before the bus picks us up to attend services at kol haneshamah the reform congregation in Jerusalem. I will tell you more after Shabbat is over.

We entered the old city today through the dung gate. Tamar and I provided an introduction to the history of the Wall and the El Aksamosquue and the dome of the rock. Men and women went to their respective sides separated by a fence. Some prayed. Some watched the orthodox davenport or pray fervently. The men's side of the Wall has a cave win extensive library and portable arks. One could see several minyanim going on at the same time. It is always interesting to listen to the varied reactions of people toward the western wall.
Since I am going backwards in time we were taken to visit the new excavation to the south of the old city. These are called the city of David. It was there that we descended downwards through the tunnels and witnessed with our eyes the amazing engineering feat of ancient Israelites who cut out of Jerusalem stone underground tunnels to preserve water for the city. King hezekiah directed this project which kept Jerusalem safe from the aAssyrian army in the 8th centuries. Yes it was a challenging walk through narrow passageways. But we coulée the genius of our ancestors at work in ancient times. Remember water is a very precious commodity in the middle east.
Everyone was tired and then we
We headed up to the wall as I mentioned. Drinking water and staying hydrated was critical.
Oh I forgot to mention we ad the famous Israeli breakfast at the hotel. That must have given us the energy to get through the walking up an down the hills of Jerusalem.
Now time for Shabbat. Tomorrow morning we will go to Hebre Union College for services with lunch and casual strolling through the Arab and Christian quarters.
My people earned their Shabbat.
Shabbat Shalom from our group to you in yerushalayim
Rabbi Bloom

1 comment:

Bill Bilek said...

Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi, to you, and all our friends.

One question. In the 2 blogs you have posted, you have written about the Western Wall, and the two mosques. Not a single mention of the Temple Mount, the true holiest site in Judaism. Intentional, coincidence, or needing comment?