A Blessed Day, A Challenging Day, But A Good Day

As the morning began, we were all still spinning from the wonderful and meaningful Bnai Mitzvah service last night. I have been to a fair number of services, and for sure each of them is special and memorable in their own way. But there was something about the way this community came together and embraced our three Bnai Mitzvah, that something truly sacred was created. And, thankfully, the luster did not wear off over night and people were still speaking about the most significant moments from the service the night before. I count myself as truly honored to have been a part of such a moment.

Our family track assembled on the bus after breakfast and made our way to the City of David. This is an archeological park that enabled us to better understand how King David captured a small Jebusite city called Jerusalem and how that seed has blossomed over the years to become the Jerusalem with which we are all familiar. Of particular significance to me was the moment when we assembled atop of what would have been one of the houses reserved for the elites in the society, just below where King David’s palace would have been, and gazed upon the homes built into the side of the hill across the short distance of the valley. It was there that the story of King David and Bathsheba came to life, for we could see how easily he would have been able to spot the beautiful Bathsheba had she been bathing on the rooftop of her home. And it brought to live the Leonard Cohen lyric from his song, Hallelujah: Your faith was strong, but you needed proof/you saw her bathing on the roof; her beauty in the midnight overthrew you.

I have to admit my own discomfort with visiting the City of David. A privately owned area, under the administration of the Settler affiliated Elad group, the behavior of the administrations has been utterly distasteful. While years ago they began purchasing homes from the Palestinian population living near and, at times, on the property, they have since taken to engaging in scare tactics to intimidate those still residing in the neighborhood. They have even used the military and the local police to challenge the safety and security of the Palestinian populace. Our group saw none of this, but my knowledge of their practices makes me conclude that it was a mistake for our group to visit this spot. I don’t want to reward those behaviors and will strike this spot from any future visits to Israel until the intimidation stops. My own minor decision may not change much, but at least they won’t receive any funding from my groups visiting their city and paying the admission fees to the park.

Many of us in the group walked through Hezekiah’s underground water tunnel, the tunnel originally used to deliver water to the inhabitants of the city from the Gihon Spring. The tunnel was a fun experience and we learned a great deal about how King David used the tunnel to bring his soldiers into the city to ultimately capture it. He did not have to scale the walls and it proved to be an excellent military move.

We were then able to board our bus and make our way to the Kotel, or the Western (or Wailing) Wall. Widely touted as the most sacred landmark to the Jewish people, the retaining wall of the Second Temple is also the spot where people put folded-up pieces of paper with prayer written upon them into the cracks between the stones. Many in the group found this to be another spiritually moving moment in our trip, as the Wall is one of the more visible landmarks in Israel. I would venture to say that, before we knew as much about Israel as we now know, this visit was the most anticipated by our travelers.

Following the Wall visit, our group ventured to the Western Wall tunnels and many of us stayed behind to play a fun scavenger hunt in the Old City. It was a fun way to learn about the city as we ran around answering trivia about this amazing place. Needless to say, we earned a much-deserved trip back to the hotel and a relaxing night.

Following dinner, Rabbi Perry and I made good on a promise we made to the adult-only track and took them to the Waffle Lady. Enjoy (and salivate over) the pictures below.

Warmly,

Brad

Pomegranates!

Pomegranates!

Hezekiah's Tunnel

Hezekiah’s Tunnel

Brad and Sarah-Anne Seligman Kotel Selfie

Brad and Sarah-Anne Seligman Kotel Selfie

Craig and Preston Seligman at the Kotel

Craig and Preston Seligman at the Kotel

Craig and Preston Seligman at the Kotel.

Craig and Preston Seligman at the Kotel.

Dinner with the Gottliebs, Barrys, Blooms, and rabbis

Dinner with the Gottliebs, Barrys, Blooms, and rabbis

Alan and Cathy Gottlieb's Waffle

Alan and Cathy Gottlieb’s Waffle

Jon and Susan Barry say

Jon and Susan Barry say “yum!”

Larry Faskowitz enjoys his waffle as Maxine Rosen awaits delivery of hers.

Larry Faskowitz enjoys his waffle as Maxine Rosen awaits delivery of hers.

Marc Cohen and Terri Heyman enjoying waffles

Marc Cohen and Terri Heyman enjoying waffles

Judie Jacobs and Eleanor Schwartz enjoying waffles

Judie Jacobs and Eleanor Schwartz enjoying waffles

My waffle!

My waffle!

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Published in: on June 14, 2015 at 11:33 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Another sacred day!


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