Saturday, October 28, 2006

Thursday morning, I along with many students from the Conservative Yeshiva attended a daylong series of events intended to bring together Jewish young adults spending the year in Israel on all different types of programs, from socialist to secular to Orthodox. An estimated 2000 people participated in the day's activities, out of an estimated 10,000 Jewish young In response to the war in Lebanon, MASA, the arm of the Jewish Agency which works with long-term Israel programs, chose to hold the event in Akko in order to lend support to that city, where six Israelis were killed from rocket fire this summer. To kick off the day, MASA chartered a train to take us from the Jerusalem station up to and following shacharit and breakfast, we took a bus that dropped us off at the train station, my first time doing so in Israel. When we got to the platform, we found out that they had pulled out all the stops and had mimes, stiltwalkers, and music. Although we did have to wait an hour to board the train, it was definitely worth it because the ride could only be described as the Hogwarts express, because of all the students aboard, and also because of the entertainment, which included drummers, a klezmer band, more mimes, and actors dressed up as Theodore Herzl, Albert Einstein and Hannah Senesh just to name few. I found it a really neat experience to ride through Israel on the rails, and to watch the beautiful scenery go by. We traveled west from Jerusalem, towards the coast, stopped in Tel Aviv to pick up some more people, and then we traveled by the sea through Haifa to our final destination of Akko. After we arrived at Akko station, we walked over to city hall, where all of the participants were given free backpacks and got ready for a solidarity march through the streets of Akko to show our support for the residents. At one point, a bunch of us got split off from the rest of the group, but in the end we wound our way through the streets of old and met up with everyone else. After that, we all gathered in a park underneath wall where we hung out and were eventually given deli sandwiches for dinner. Following dinner, we we went up a ramp and ascended to the wall, where we had a concert, along with a few speakers, a laser light show and some nice fireworks to end off the day. Around 9 PM we boarded a bus to head back to Jerusalem, and after dealing with the bus breaking down, arrived back in Jerusalem a little after midnight. On Friday, I continued with the routine that i had set the previous week, starting off with Shacharit at Yeshurun, coming back for breakfast, and spending the morning volunteering at Hazon Yeshaya. This time, 5 of us walked over to help out, and I brought my camera along so I could show the amazing work that this organization does. I walked back around noon, passing through machane Yehuda (the Jewish shuk) and seeing the city prepare for shabbat, and came back to Beit Nativ for lunch and to prepare for shabbat. This week, I davened friday night at yakar, a modern orthodox shul known for its carlebach style singing. The shulo has 2 minyanim, and I went with a bunch of friends to the one upstairs, which is known as the 'young' or 'singles' minyan because of the crowd it attracts. I enjoyed the experience and the singing, and will probably be back there sometime. Following Maariv, I came back to have dinner with my friends, after which I relaxed and we had a nice oneg shabbat. this morning I returned to Yedidya, where there was a very nice Davening as usual. This morning there was an aufruf, and the chatan chanted the haftarah. He did an absolutely beautiful job, and reminded me of Adath Israel in that he chanted with the German trope, just as Rabbi Schild does, especially with Yonah on Yom Kippur Afternoon. After Kiddush I walked back in the piuring rain, which wasn't so fun, though at least when it rains here it usually only pours for about 15-20 minutes, so it wasn't coming down the entire way back. When I got back, I caught the tail end of a parshat hashavua discussion, and then had shabbat lunch. After taking a nice nap, I went with my friend Josh to daven Mincha at Yeshurun. It was followed by seudah shlishit, where the food was good (but nothing compares to Adath), but we got to enjoy a bit of singing, a cantorial piece by one of the members, and a nice d'var torah. We then davened maariv, where specially for the land of Israel we began to recite ותן טל ומטר('vten tal umatar'), give dew and rain for a blessing, which normally added only on December 4 in the diaspora. The special custom in Israel comes from the early start of the rainy season, evidenced by this morning's downpour! שבוע טוב! Shavua Tov!

1 comment:

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