When the mystics wanted to prepare for Shabbat, they would wander off to the mountains to spend hours in silent meditation lost among the trees . . . or they would sit for hours in silent peacefulness . . .
They clearly did not have three little kids and live in Jerusalem!
The day started with breakfast at a wonderful little breakfast nook in our neighborhood. Is the distinction between breakfast nook and delicious bakery blurred in the United States also? Forget my fitting my clothes, the plane may not be able to lift off at the rate I am going/growing!
After breakfast, we had a peaceful meandering through an Israeli toy store – some wonderful Hebrew/Jewish games and activity books. Do you know why it is so much fun buying birthday presents and Chanukah gifts for little children? Because you leave them at home when you go shopping!
Actually, the kids were pretty good in the store and we had a lot of fun explaining the various toys to them!
A quick run to the supermarket (Mister-Zool) and then off to the produce shuk (market) – Machane Yehudah.
Ahhh, I hadn’t been there for more than a decade. The crowds, the yelling, the smells (stench?), hadn’t changed a bit.
We bought everything – chummas, pita, veggies, fruit, challah, cookies, rugelach, salami, pizza (kids needed a snack) and more, and more, and more! Even kippot from the Kippah Man.
Did I mention that it was crowded, very crowded? Ever push a double stroller through a heavily constricted crowd, with a third child on your shoulders? Amazingly, the people who spoke to us were incredible polite and helpful – clearing things out of our way, making the kids smile, sharing sweet comments and stories.
However, the people who didn’t speak to us were not so polite. I wanted to say: “How day you ‘tsk-tsk’ me in that tone of voice!” Ahhh, the people Israel, preparing for the holiest day of the year, moving into a space of kedushah (holiness) and glaring as if my children were personally responsible for the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash! If it should happen that some of those people had their toes run over by a very heavy double stroller, I am (mostly) sure I have no idea how that happened!
The last stop in the shul was a wonderful bakery called Marzipan! Yummy!
By the time we got home we were broke and exhausted. So what do you do on a very hot day being broke and exhausted? We walked into town for lunch!
Along the way, we passed this little take-out place that we pass all the top, though generally at night when it is closed. It looks really cute, and I love the name: Heimishe Essen.
It was open, so we popped in.
Oh, I forget to mention that throughout Machane Yehuda Jen really wanted to find a Jerusalem Kugel for Shabbat. For those who don’t know, Jerusalem Kugel is a specific variant of what I think of us a traditional Lukshen/Noodle Kugel. (Barbara – adult education opportunity, maybe we should speak to Shelly Goren or Ruth Levy about a Sunday Seminar?) Jen looked and looked, but didn’t find.
But Heimesha Essen had them, and chicken soup with kenedelakh, and pickled cucumber salad, and . . . yep all the good stuff! And in informal Israeli fashion, we bought the food and justify it there to be picked up on our way back from town.
Then walked in to town, and Jen found hats! Her head covering has definitely become a theme of this trip! She found three beautiful hats at a place in the center of the city. If you want to see them, she is planning on modeling them on Saturday mornings at shul throughout the coming months.
And then, finally, we got schwarma at Melekh Hafelafel. Now I know that most people say that Moshiko is the best. In fairness, Moshiko is pretty good and the location is great, but no schwarma beats Melekh Hafelafel schwarma! This is definitely one of the more important disagreements in our family this past month. But since the hat store was almost right next door, and Jen got those really nice hats, I got to pick the schwarma place.
Now I know that the Talmud teaches that parents are obligated to teach their children to earn a living and swim, but also think it is an obligation to teach them to enjoy a good, hot schwarma or falafel on the streets of Jerusalem. I don’t generally like to toot my own horn, but I feel that I have been quite successful fulfilling this mitzvah over the past month! And boy is it fun to watch them eat!
Well, at some point, sweating and full, it was time to pick up our Heimishe Essen eats (I believe that is redundant) and walk home for final Shabbat preparation.
By the time we got home, sweaty and tired. We had to make the difficult decision to shower and dress quickly and rush dinner to make it to services or to have a wonderful Shabbat dinner.
We chose the latter. For some people, being in Jerusalem affords the opportunity to explore wonderful synagogues, for us, it is affording the opportunity to really celebrate Shabbat, slowly, as a family.
Candles, dinner, singing – it was a wonderful, darn near perfect family Shabbat dinner in Jerusalem.
Just to prove the point, Jennifer fell asleep putting Maital to bed. I woke her, helped her into her PJs , tucked her in, and then finished a wonderfully odd novel – Lamb.
The beginnings of a wonderful day of rest!