Monday, October 02, 2006

Yom Kippur in Jerusalem: An unforgettable sight

Its now a little after 9 PM Motzei Yom Kippur, and I'm just taking some time to unwind and reflect on my fast. One of the most unique parts of the observance was not only the time spent in shul, but spent outside of it as well. Sunday morning, I woke up early to dip in the mikvah again, an especially popular tradition here on Erev Yom Kippur. It was again, a very spiritual experience, and the price isn't bad, since I get a 50% discount for being a Yeshiva student! And where else do you have a public Mikvah 4 blocks away! During the day we had some study sessions to get ready for the chag, and a little time to relax. At 3:15, we had our seudah hamafseket (final meal before the fast), and soon after, we got rwady to leave for various shuls. I chose to spend Yom kippur again at Yedidya, since I enjoyed the ruach and singing there, as well as the fact that it is religiously somewhat close to what I was used to back in Toronto. When I left Bet Nativ and started heading south, it was so neat to see gradually less and less cars. As we were walking down Emek Refaim, the siren which brought in Yom Kippur sounded and vehicle traffic just about came to a halt. Services for Kol nidre were packed, but very nice, as there was alot of singing and participation from the congregation. Services started at 5:15 and were over in about 2 hours, so we then started our walk back, which was itself one of the highlights of my yom kippur. As soon as I got onto the main Road (Rechov Pierre Koenig), I noticed that it was absolutely filled with people walking and bike riding, and it was the same breathtaking and beautiful scene the entire walk home, especially passing through Emek Refaim, one of Jerusalem's busiets commerical areas and seeing every last store shuttered, and pedestrians and bicyclists as far as the eye could see . When we got back to our base (diagonally across the street from the Prima Kings hotel), my friends and I decided that it would be the coolest thing ever if we were to sit down in the middle of a normally busy interesection of King George and Agron sts. (think Bathurst and Wilson!). It was so amazing that we were able to sit there for about half an hour, and its definitely a memory that I will rememer for years to come.
This morning I left for shul with bunch of other nativers and again returned to Yedidya. The tefillot were very nice again, but some especially notable points included: Yiskor, which included Hazkarot for Holocaust victims, Israeli soldiers and very sadly, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin; The end of Musaf, which was a very high point with palpable ruach and some very catchy tunes used; and the neilah services, which ended with spontaneous dancing ater the shofar blasts and a very heartfelt singing of L'shana Haba-which was especiallu amaing, since I anm here in Yerushalayim! The day itself was very smooth, with us starting at 8:15, a break from 1:45 to 3, and the fast ending at 6! Break the fast was very nice as I spent it with my Abba's friend Kobi right next door to shul. It was very good company, and good food, which I heard beat what was served here!

I hope that all of you had a good and meaningful fast!

שבוע טוב Shavua tov

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like your having a terrific time. I am enjoying it with you by reading your blog. Enjoy the rest of your time there. Don't bring any "swung" chickens home with you.


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