Thursday, August 19, 2010

This Yid's final Trip Log

The trip came to an end this past Monday. But what a time we had in Jerusalem. The vibrant city is teeming with life from the young and old, tourists and non-tourists alike.

Walk the streets in the Old City and the yeshiva kids are out playing during recess. We stayed at the King Solomon Hotel and fortunately for us we were only 10 minutes away - if you turned right walking out of the hotel - from the top of Ben Yehuda Street. If you turned left we were 10 minutes from a beautiful shopping and eating district along Emek Refaim. The five days culminated in an out-of-this-world concert put on for us by Rabbi Yom Tov Glaser.
Given my past involvement with youth groups and working for six summers at a Jewish camp in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, I fell in love with the Havdalah service.

For those of you who do not know, Havdalah is the short service on Saturday night that concludes Shabbat and prepares us for the start of a brand new week. When done right, it is a powerful and moving experience. This was indeed the case as Yom Tov led us through the blessings over the three-wick candle. One wick symbolizes the spiritualism of Shabbat, taking a rest from work and the everyday stresses; the second wick symbolizes the neshama or soul within us; and well, the third wick...I will leave for you to discover its meaning. Then we blessed the besamim (spices) and the wine. Of course what is a Jewish service without a little horrah action to follow it up? What a truly fulfilling end to a two-week adventure in our ancestral land.

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