Monday, August 1, 2011

The Day Before Ramadan We Go to the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock/Haram alSharif (and some other things)

[Shabbat was quite a funny reunion: I was supposed to have dinner with Sarah Kreimer, my dad's friend from grade school/high school in Pittsburgh, and her two sons. A few days before, I got an email telling me that there had been a change of plans, and that instead we would all be going to their family friends... the Klein-Katzes, who I know from camp. Their son, Matan, was my first "Shabbat Walk" ever, in Bonim 2004. I got there, and Aaron and Noah Weinberg were there. Also, turns out that Sarah's older son knows a friend of mine who went to his Mechina, and her younger son went to high school with my friend Amir's younger brother, where I had lunch the next day. This is the first week I made Torah reading on time, and it's a good thing, too, since there was an engagement party and singing and dancing!]

I mentioned to Sarah that I wanted to go to the Temple Mount, and she told me that Ramadan was starting today, so I needed to go Sunday or I wouldn't be able to go. So I went with an (unnamed) intern right when it opened. They didn't ask for my passport--or any ID at all, for that matter! The only annoying thing was this guy wearing a kippah who was in front of me in line who said, "Are you going in as a tourist or as a Jew?" I said "tourist" and he said, "Oh, I'm going according to halacha [Jewish law] you can go in front." I should have said, "I'm going as a Jewish tourist."
I got up very early in order to get there when it opened. I went with the Mechina a year and a half ago, and was wearing skinny jeans--yet for some reason my knee-length, not form-fitting skirt was not long enough this time, so I was forced to buy a twenty-shekel scarf to wrap around my legs. Which is what you see here.

The mosque is absolutely beautiful. Apparently, the gold for the dome was donated by Osama bin Laden's father. Who knew? And yes, even the Dome of the Rock gets renovations... This is closer than I was when I went with the Mechina. Then, I didn't go up the stairs to the platform of the mosque, although some people did. Although I wasn't allowed to go into the mosque, there was one window with a tear in the screen, so I could see inside.

I'm not sure what the "baby mosque" in front is here. But the shadows in front are the shadows of the ancient arches behind me.

All around the courtyard were groups of 5-15 men studying the Koran. It was very cool.

Immediately outside the exit of the Dome of the Rock... lots of graffiti.

This is actually on Friday. Some of you may have heard about all the protests going on in Israel right now. These are members of the student housing protest, they are speaking out against the high prices of rent in cities, and that they are being pushed out by people who, for example, buy an apartment in Israel but only spend two weeks here throughout the year. They have set up tent-cities around the country (and here you see a guy who's built a tent-like structure on his bike). Sunday night in Jerusalem was a huge protest--a combination of those protesting rent prices, parents protesting the increasing costs of pre-school, and many others (at the beginning of the summer there was a protest against a monopoly on cottage cheese).

Doesn't it just make you smile?

Gandhi! This is my favorite graffiti, and I pass it nearly every day. Israel loves stencil graffiti.

In the German Colony, where I live, and Baka (the neighborhood next door) there are all these buildings with cool geometric-design tiles on the floor. Friday, on my way back from walking Gabe to the bus, I popped my head into a few of these buildings to take pictures of the floors and the light patterns. 

Another stencil graffiti. It says "LOVE." It's actually a parody on the painted-on-walls signs that point out the nearest bomb shelters.

On a gate near our apartment. Israel has the prettiest gates and the doors with the prettiest colors.

Ricky came over on Saturday and played piano. I almost fell asleep.

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