Shabbat in Jerusalem

Shabbat in Jerusalem
Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem, Israel

This is the first day we don’t have to get up early, mercifully! We must walk everywhere today. Since we are 50 women- we were split up into 4 groups to have a Shabbat lunch at a family. Our LA group plus a few from another city went to a young couple home, ( it was a condo in a high rise overlooking Jerusalem). They had just married one year ago. Finally, they were going on a honeymoon to Italy and their first stop was skiing in the Dolomites. Our host had lived in Montreal for one year and of course that’s where he learned to ski. We were served a delightful lunch and we’re a least 20 women! We were to meet at the hotel around 3pm for a lecture but some group member went directly to the old city, where we were to have dinner, that never happened because we all had given up our phones for Shabbat, so no communication!. A lot of us ended up staying in the lobby and dozed off. For dinner we went to the home of Pamela and Abba Claman, who made alyah a few year ago. They use to live in Brentwood, CA. Their home was in the old city, very close to Aish. The dinner took place in many connecting rooms close to the top floor. We were 50 women and at least 20 Israeli soldiers. It’s a stunning home on several floors. The mission for this dinner was for all of us to talk and mingle with Israeli solders. The Clamans formed a nonprofit called ” Thank Israeli Soldiers” the purpose is to give them moral support, visit the various bases, give them comfort gifts, and thank them for making Israel a safer place. At our table, Jakki and I were sitting next to a Druze soldier, his name is Eyal. The soldiers we were with that night are the elite and the special force soldiers, on the field. They are all extremely bright as their position involves tactical and psychological skills. Eyal educated me in the Druze religion, they are peaceful , they have no formal religious establishment, their book of prayer is almost a secret, the prayers are passed on by their family or where they meet in a nondescript building. They’re believe in one God, but they have no formal holidays and no rituals, because their religion is an interpretation of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Their religion is secret and accept no converts. How can one convert?? I’d be so confused I wouldn’t know what I am converting to! Must of all 80% of the Druze young men and women join the Israeli army and their population in Israel is only 120,000. Most of them live in Syria. Their population is minute in the world. After our dinner, we had a musical Havdallah. Everyone danced and sang( of course I don’t know most of the songs- but I’d like to learn them) this was taking place on the Claman’s rooftop with a view of the old city. There were tons of celebration on other balconies and all over the old city.. We had a free evening to ourselves. So the La group went to shop at Ben Yehuda. There are 2 streets parallel to each other, the first one is really whimsical with canopy of balloon lights. We bought hamsa for our children, Stacey, Jakki and I bought a tallit for tomorrow’s ceremony. I couldn’t believe that there was an Italian synagogue as well as a French synagogue. Then we had a fallafel on the Main Street and topped with a gelato. Every day is a great day! Some of us meet in the lobby after our expeditions. Estee joined us again with her cookies and teas. I don’t remember what we talk about but it only mattered that we were together.

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