Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yom Kippur

(First, the photo album from the Golan: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2018960&id=1156650460&l=a0e58c1601)

Well, I suppose I'll start with my birthday (the 26th--Saturday).
On Friday I went to Gan Yavneh (about 20 minutes from the Metzudah) for a few hours to Bar's house.
Then Chipsa (a friend from camp) picked me up with a bunch of his friends and we headed further south to a Reggae Festival in the Negev. Now, they said "festival" I was expecting a Lolla-sized thing, or at least Summerfest. Nope, this was a cute--maybe 1500 person--festival with one (small) stage. At Israeli festivals, though, they're all-day things and you camp out. So I fell asleep under the stars on my birthday :) And yes, 18 here is a legal drinking age, so I had a (yes, "a") sip of beer after midnight. Saturday was pleasent--mostly listening to the music, sleeping, hanging out, some dancing, and wandering from drum circle to drum circle (http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2019058&id=1156650460&l=02a44bd264).

We got back (to Jerusalem) around 9:30 or 10-ish I'd say and ate something, and then I met up with some friends from the Metzudah at Kikar Ha'Chatulot (in "the city" where all the bars and shops are). We sat there for a while (the night wouldn't be complete without the waitress spilling someone's shot on me. Excellent, I smelled like pure rubbing alcohol. Gross). We left and wandered to the Old City--climbed on some rooftops and watched some Bnei Akiva (religious youth group) kids singing and dancing. [This around 12:00 or 1 am on Erev Yom Kippur]. We continued, climbed some more roofs to see the Kotel (Western Wall) and then decided to go for it. The guys and girls split, and planned to meet back in the middle in 15 minutes.

Well, Erev Yom Kippur is possibly the most packed the Kotel can be. It took us 15 minutes just to get IN. Holding hands in a chain, and trying to smile even at the people pushing and shoving with all their strength (ironic, being obnoxious to get to the Kotel so you can pray?), we eventually made it to The Wall. We stayed a few minutes, and on the way out things started to get messy. We saw policemen coming our way, telling the woman standing next to us (a Muslim woman) to open her black briefcase. She refused, he asked again, she refused, he told her she had to, she refused. People started to freak out, pushing and shoving to get out--we were scared, just because of the first thought that entered our minds. Obviously, nothing happened or everyone would have known.

We left and continued through the Arab market in the Old City--a place where I just want to wander for an entire day taking pictures. Around 4:15 in the morning (yes, apparently that's not so abnormal for Israel?) I made it back to Chipsa's.

skip a few hours....................................... evening of Yom kippur.
We went to Chipsa's dad's to eat a delicious meal before the fast. The Fast started at 4:55, which was weird for me. Anyway, afterwards we walked to the Kotel (pay attention to the math: 6 km) and that was definitely a very once-in-a-lifetime way to spend Kol Nidre. It was significantly less packed than on Erev Yom Kippur (as in, we had no problem getting in),a nd everyone was going at their own pace. There were people there with mattresses, etc. planning to be there the entire holiday. We walked back (another 6km), and once we got back Chipsa and I went up to the roof of a hotel, which has one of the best views of Jerusalem.

Slept, and in the morning we walked (4.7 km) to the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem. It's orthodox, there's a balcony for the women, and it has a choir. It was definitely definitely not what I was expecting at ALL--I didn't really like it--and I even contemplated leaving in the middle to walk to Moreshet, the synagogue attached to the USY Fuschberg center a block away. But I didn't, shacharit ended at 2:15 (!!!), and then for Mincha I went to the conservative one. It was nice--exactly like home, nearly all American. I hear all of Torah (for some reason I didn't remember that it was the sex/anti-gay portion) and Haftarah (Yonah), and then met up with Chipsa to walk to Shira Chadasha (1.5 km). We got there, met Galya (from the Mechina) and Chipsa left.

Shuls here have seating charts, so you have to make sure you find an empty area. Also, people bring their own Machzorim (prayer books) which means that if you don't bring one, you don't have one. The seats wasn't a problem--you stand for all of neilah. Galya and I stood in the back and periodically shared/used Machzorim of women who were busy with their babies. Shira Chadasha was what I was expecting (more on that another time... I have to catch a bus in 5 minutes), and it was very very very nice. The Shofar-blowing at the end was nothing compared to Naomi's shofar, I must say.

Galya and I drank some water and left, halfway together, and then split off (a total of 3.3 km). I got a little lost, but eventually found my way back to Chispa's house.

MATH TOTAL: 21.5 km, which is about 13.8mi, ON yom kippur, when I wasn't eating... decent!

Anyway, then we ate something at Chispa's mom's house, and then went out with some camp friends in "the city" and ran into some other people.


  1. Sounds very energetic. Not to disillusion you about Naomi's shofar blowing but.... She did a very nice job with 18:22 etc. and Jonah, which probably took all her wind away. Mom.

  2. Very, very impressive, whether in miles or km! When I was in Jerusalem two years ago, I went to Shira Hadasha on Fri night. Loved the services, especially the music, and the building.Grandma