Monday, September 28, 2009

First Shabbat in Yerushalayim


Shabbat was a blessing.  Many of us davened at Yakar, a Modern Orthodox, Carlebach-style schul.  We got there early and were confused that there were only about twenty chairs set up in the back with the rest of the room empty.  We quickly learned that people come in and stand the whole time.  The singing was abundant and the voices of many more people than a fire code probably allows in one room made an extra spiritual Kabbalat Shabbat.  I stood next to the mashgiach and friend from Ramah this summer, Joshua, who's a Zeigler rabbinical student, and I also saw a guy named AdAm who used to work at Ramah - he has an inspirational level of kavannah in his davening.

We headed back for a tasty Shabbat dinner at Agron.  I can't say I remember too much more about it other than that the chicken was delicious.  Afterwards we had a Nativ-a-tisch, with Marzipan rugelach and a cake that David's parents had ordered for him in honor of his birthday, which was over Shabbat.  I brought V'yitnu Lecha Keter M'lukha to the tisch, it was great singing it and sorta brought me back to camp this summer.  The whole tisch was fun, especially when my friend Jesse picked Modeh Ani for his song.  It was a lot of great singing.

I went to Shira Hadasha in the morning and enjoyed it a lot.  It was a little bit interesting that the shatz for Shacharit was an American using Ashkenazi pronunciations, but it was fine.  I got a little upset during the davening because I still don't understand why Conservative synagogues in America have not worked harder to spice up their davening without compromising tradition; for example, instruments are unnecessary if you have a service with the quality of Shira Hadasha.  I'm not saying it's easy but I think a better effort could be made.  I do enjoy davening with a mehitza, at any rate, and it's great that women are included at the same time.

After schul, we had a fine lunch at Agron.  Then I took a Shabbat walk with Sarah Ziskend (best friend from home) to the windmill at Yemin Moshe and we chatted for a while.  I'm very happy to have Sarah around, to have a best friend who has known me for a while and in many different contexts.  Then I took a very long nap, a little longer than I intended.  It happens, it felt good.  Afterwards two guys from the kibbutz track Joe and Josh (a buddy of mine from camp) put on a great parashat ha-shavua discussion, followed by mincha, se'udat shlishit, some singing (not enough in the end!), and Ma'ariv.

After Shabbat, we went out for David's birthday.  We went to Aldo's ice cream on Emek Refa'im where we had great waffles with gelato.  Afterwards we went to Ben Yehuda and hung out a bar on Yafo for a little bit.  The boychick is 19!

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