Shabbat is over and the city is pulsating with young people in the streets. The cafes are bustling with business and the buses back in action. So what have we been doing over Shabbat?
Let's start back on Friday. I left us after our trip to the frenetic Mahaneh Yehudah the Jewish market. We regrouped and our bus took us to Shabbat services at the reform congregation kol haneshamah.
We sat down with about 100-130 people. Most of them are American ex-pats,some native born Israelis and pilgrims like us. This is not a service that the group would have expected in a typical reform Jewish service in the states . The rabbi sat at a table on a slightly raised platform dressed in total white informal attire.no cantor to sing the music of the liturgy. There was no shtick or gimmickry. He simply sat at the table and chanted the service with beautiful, easy to sing and meditative melodies. There was no doubt the he was the center of the service. Yet his style was subdued as he was leading them without exhibiting any effort to get the people involved. It just seemed natural and and comfortable. Rabbi Kelman spoke in hebrew to us in his sermonette. The prayer books were either hebrew only or English -hebrew. The reaction of the group was quite positive. Some folks felt it to be a little cultish but most felt uplifted and renewed even those who do not know hebrew or a bit rusty. The board member welcomed us from bet yam.
We returned to the hotel Leonardo and had our sabbath meal. Bruce freeman and his family,son of Harold and Barbara Freeman, who has lived in Israel for over20 years joined us and discussed politics in Israel and gave a dramatic and passionate explanation about why Israelis feel so emotional about Gilad schalit.
We walked to Hebrew Union College and attended Shabbat morning services there. This service was led primarily by rabbinical students and a cantorial student along with faculty members from HUC. This was also primarily a hebrew worship experience along with piano accompaniment. I was given one of two aliyot or blessings recited over the Torah reading.a great honor for me and our community.
After the services rabbi JoelOseran, long time staff member of the world Union of progressive Judaism, spoke to us about the challenges and mission of progressive Judaism around the world. He gave us a tour throughout the beautiful campus and bid us farewell.
Even more to come. Tamar our guide led us on a walking trip into the old city through the Jaffa gate. We walked into the Arab quarter and had a delicious lunch. We ordered either felaphel or lamb schwarma. Satiated and happy Tamar guided us through the holy Sepulcure church one of Christianity's oldest holy sights. It was packed with Christian pilgrims from all over the world. The main attraction was the small but ornate chapel where, according to Christian tradition,Jesus was crucified. Very intense and sacred holy site.
The group returned to the hotel for rest and dinner.Ijoined one of the groups who ,ate at a restaurant called Adon. Everyone enjoyed themselves.
Is that enough for one day?