The Holy Land: Tzfat and Jerusalem

on Monday, 27 October 2014.

From Rabbi Gottlieb, 10/27/2014

Shabbat has come and gone, so I will resume blogging now...

Our Friday was shared between two of Israel's four "holy cities", Tzvat and Jerusalem (the other two are Tiberias and Hebron).  We began in Tzvat, the city of the Mystics, visiting the beautiful Ari synagogue and learning a bit about Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah in the place where it's masters lived. Stopped to sing Lecha Dodi together in the place where the Mystics used to go out to greet the Shabbat bride, knowing that our first Shabbat in Israel was only hours away. 

Then we traveled south to Jerusalem, entering into the city and stopping at a vista point overlooking the Old City, where we sang Yerushalayim Shel Zahav and a Shehechiyanu.  Erev Shabbat took us to services at Kol Haneshama, one of Jerusalem's Reform congregations followed by a festive Shabbat dinner at our hotel. 

Shabbat morning Torah Study was held in the park near Yemin Moshe, across the valley from the Old City, and then we walked to the Old City, and explored the sites of the Jewish, Armenian and Christian quarters of the city, as well as the Arab Market. 

There is something which is unique and indescribable about Shabbat in Jerusalem. Traffic drops to a mimimum, most shops and restaurants are closed. Jews across the spectrum from secular to Ultra-Orthodox share the parks and sidewalks of the city. "Shabbat Shalom" is heard everywhere. We marked the end of Shabbat with Havdalah and then spread out in several directions for a "night on the town". Feeling right at home...

Another thing that is unique to being in Israel. Sunday is a regular work day. So the city returns to "busy" and we continue our formal touring, with trips to the Israel Museum, Supreme Court, Machane Yehudah and the Davidson Center for Archeological Studies at the Temple Mount. 

The contrast between ancient and modern that we seem to experience as we move from one neighborhood to the next, and from one site to the next is a constant reminder of the richness of each day here in The Land. Our evening concluded with a tour of the Kotel tunnels, where we walked on a 2000 year old Roman street and along the length of the Western Wall (underneath the Arab Quarter)...

...and a victory by the beloved Giants (whom the faithful can watch at 2:00am on Channel 5--play by play in English, color commentary in Hebrew!!)

You can find photos of our journey posted on the new BIJ app.  If you don't have it yet, go to the home page of the web site and follow the link...

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