Shabbat – Jerusalem Style!

The Waffle Lady Riseth. But more on that in a moment.

Our Shabbat in Jerusalem started by imitating the behavior of God: we rested, at least a bit, sleeping in and enjoying a later breakfast. After we had another nourishing breakfast, we made our way to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the church is actually on three spots that are imperative to an understanding of Christianity: the spot where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, the slab of rock on which Jesus was placed to be purified for burial, and the cave into which his body was placed. The place was mobbed – on Shabbat, with not many Jewish options, tour groups often seize the opportunity to learn about Christianity.

Rabbi Perry and I insisted that our tours visit this spot, the most sacred spot in Christianity, for two reasons: first, it will help us to understand our neighbors, as being in an historically relevant spot often provokes questions and provides a more detailed understanding of others. And second, because we believe that many of Christian friends back home will naturally wonder about our trip, and while they may have a passing understanding of the Wailing Wall or the Golan Heights or Tel Aviv, they will most certainly have a personal connection to this church. Thus, by our visiting, we have given our tour the opportunity to connect with others back home in a more meaningful way.

While we were in separate groups, and I am with the family group. Some of our members are Christian, and while the Jews in our group made their way through the church with ease, asking some questions but experiencing the site as tourists, our Christian travelers had an altogether different experience. I spoke with one member about her thoughts and, with tears streaming down her face, she told me that she could not find the words to express what she was so profoundly experiencing. But you know what? She didn’t have to – her tears said it all.

We then had some down time in the Old City, taking lunch and doing a bit of shopping. But before we knew it, it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready as LaWana Streger, Preston Seligman, and Ty Klein were becoming Bnai Mitzvah!

We gathered at Blaustein Hall at the Jerusalem campus of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. It was a wonderful bookend to our Reform experiences – first meeting with Rabbi Miri Gold, then attending Shabbat services at Kol Haneshamah, and finally uniting our two tracks where my path, as well as Rabbi Perry’s path and Rabbi Ron’s path, to the rabbinate all began. It is a beautiful space, overlooking the old city, and Rabbi Perry and I both enjoyed seeing the collective “gasps” as our groups entered the room. It really does take your breath away.

But the beauty of the space honestly and truly pales in comparison to the beauty on the bima. This was one of those amazing ceremonies. Three incredible students, each a wonderful personality and each with an inspiring story, and each with a support system that was enviable. Our students (two teens and one adult) and the family members who blessed them from the bima were open and honest about the blessings and the challenges that they have each addressed to get to this point. Needless to say, the tears were streaming. After the ceremony we had a lovely dinner and, though it was scheduled to end at 8:00, the majority of us stayed well beyond and chatted about the ceremony, the people, and the trip. Our guards down, we embraced each other anew.

A few of us went out later to one of my favorite haunts, the Waffle Lady. And, yes, she did once again rise to the occasion, recruiting 10 new adherents to her tasty treats. A fitting and delicious end to a wonderful (and delicious!) day.

Shavua Tov from Jerusalem,


With the Bat Mitzvah! Yay LaWana!

With the Bat Mitzvah! Yay LaWana!

Mazel Tov to the Bar Mitzvah boy; have a waffle!

Mazel Tov to the Bar Mitzvah boy; have a waffle!

Waffle Ladies! With Brooke, Sarah-Anne, and Grace!

Waffle Ladies! With Brooke, Sarah-Anne, and Grace!

Abi and her Waffle!

Abi and her Waffle!

Love and Waffles!

LaWana and Michael enjoying a post-Simcha treat!

Published in: on June 13, 2015 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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