A beautiful and holy Shabbat. Every day in Jerusalem is a gift. Shabbat is one whose grandeur and worth can never be measured in any term other than holy.
In the morning, Jennifer and I walked to Kol HaNeshamah – one of the stellar liberal synagogues in Israel. It is one of the synagogues I frequented when I lived here. Rabbi Levi Kelman is the son of Wolf Kelman, one of the great Conservative Rabbis of the twentieth century.
The last time I was at Kol HaNeshama, about fifteen years ago, they were in the process of completing their building. Then, we davened in a building that had been framed but had minimal walls, no windows, and no finishings in the interior.
Now the building is gorgeous! And the congregation is thriving! Jennifer’s parents arrived later with the kids. In fact, they walked in exactly as the congregation was singing the Psalm 150 – which has become something of a family favorite, as the kids have begun leading it Shabbat morning at Ohr Shalom.
So they entered their first Shabbat Tefilot in Jerusalem singing – a powerful, joyous holy moment!
I bumped into a number of friends at shul – a rabbi from Ohio, two rabbis from Los Angeles, the Director of the Wexner Foundation Alumni programs, an educator from New York who was a classmate, the wife of a rabbinic friend and classmate (Rich was home riding bicycles with his kids – seems rabbis in Israel don’t necessarily go to shul as often in Israel as they do in the US) and Rabbi Kelman!
The morning was a Bar Mitzvah which was neat to see. I am fascinated by liberal Judaism in Israel where language (Hebrew) is not the issue. There is far more liturgical innovation since everybody understands the Hebrew of the prayers they are saying!
At the Kiddush, we befriended some Jewish educators who were in Israel for a different program, including a young woman who lives near Jen’s parents in Los Angeles.
After lunch, we walked from the shul to the Tayelet (Haas Promenade) – a wonderful park with an incredible view of the Old City from the south. Of course, my in-laws were very excited because Walter Haas has also been a benefactor to U. C. Berkeley, which for them is a Holy Land behind only Israel and anywhere their grandchildren are!
After the Tayelet we walked home – completing a very long walking day. An hour letting the kids play in a park in our neighborhood, back home for Seudat Shlishit (the Third Shabbat Meal), and the kids went to bed exhausted!
So did I.
(Jennifer, her mother and her sister walked into the center of town to enjoy the nuttiness, shopping and ice cream of Motzei Shabbat in Jerusalem!)