For those of you who are runners, you know there are mornings when you go out for your run and everything is right – you fell great and rested, the weather is cool and clear, no cars on the road – and you glide through your workout. You also know days when nothing goes right, every step is a challenge, and the best you can do is left, right, left, right and get through it. You can imagine which kind this was!
Having survived the morning, we headed into the Old City. First was lunch at a great little schwarma place in the Rova (the Jewish Quarter). It is pure bliss watching my three little ones eat schwarma, falafel and chummus.
From there we went to Moriah, a large bookstore right above the Kotel.
When the San Diego Jewish Academy opened and I entered fifth grade in 1979, I received my first Chumash (Five Books of Moses) from my Great Uncle Israel Weiner. Uncle Is was the chakham of the family. I still remember receiving it, and I have used it for almost 30 years. It is in my office at the shul if you would like to see it.
Today, Jen and I bought Shayna her first Chumash. It is a beautiful five volume edition. The books are beautiful, and the look on Shayna’s face when she opens them is even more beautiful. The books are sacred, and the love and excitement Shayna has when she reads one or two p’sukim (verses) every night from her new Chumash is the most wonderful reflection of that sanctity I can imagine!
A very special and blessed moment.
It was also fun seeing the new book by Rabbi Phil Graubart of Congegation Beth El in La Jolla.
And then we went down to the Kotel. Actually, on our way down from the bookstore to the Wall we thought we lost Maital’s hat. I ran up the steps, in the bookstore, searched around the lions in front of the bookstore, asked strangers. Finally, dejected, I returned to Jen and the kids and found her hat in my backpack. Yeah, people do tend to function better with sleep. Oh well.
As I was saying, we went down to the Kotel. Maital and Nadiv with me, Shayna with Jen, we went to our separate sides, placed our petitions into the Wall (we had written them that morning), blessed each of our kids, kissed the Wall, and marveled that last year “Wall” was one of Maital’s earliest words!
We returned from the Old City in a cab – by far the easiest way to navigate this city – and made the kids animal-shaped schnitzel in preparations for tomorrow’s visit to the zoo.
I mentioned that the apartment was filled with all new appliances, but I meant that in the Israel sense – all new appliances, but no clothing dryer! That is what the mirpeset (porch/balcony) is for.
Then Robin arrived. Robin is the young woman who was a participant in the program for college-age students I ran in Los Angeles for a number of years (BCI) who is in Israel for a three year program at the Pardes Institute training to be a day-school teacher. She did a lot of babysitting for us last summer.
With Robin babysitting, we felt totally comfortable returning to the center of the city for a night on the town – granted we are no longer twenty-somethings, but rather the parents of three and you know Jen’s condition.
For us a night on the town consisted of schwarma (from Moshiko for those who kept tabs of the best schwarma in Jerusalem contest last summer, shopping (we bought the Hebrew original of Meir Shalev’s A Pigeon and a Boy which is on the Readings with the Rabbi list for next May) , and after more than an hour passed from dinner we returned to our favorite frozen yoghurt shop to enjoy dessert and resume the discussion of whether it is fundamentally wrong or just odd for Jennifer to have halvah mushed into her yoghurt!
A wonderful night to cap off a very special day.