Monday, October 13, 2008

Yom Kipur & trip to Jerusalem

Yom Kipur like a pro.
We had a very special Yom Kipur. This time I was prepared and I bought my own Machzor (prayer book) so that I can too feel like a pro. The prayers were very nice, everyone participated in the singing. Although many tunes were new to us, the most traditional ones are the same ones we know from Mexico and Pittsburgh. Isn’t it amazing how hundreds of years pass and around the world we are all praying the same prayer with the same tune?

I remember vividly how I singed and danced last year at the end of the long fasting day “Beshana Havah V’Yerushalaim…” (Next year in Jerusalem) hoping that G’d would show me the way to get to Jerusalem for next Yom Kipur. This year the singing and dancing took a different meaning because he did show me the way to Jerusalem, not only that but he made it so easy for us, with health and even a job. Being on the holiest of all days (Yom Kipur) at the holliest of all lands (Israel) was spiritually special.

The fasting was easier than ever. Because of the change in clocks last week the fast ended by 6pm.

Having a Brit Mila (Circumcision ceremony) during Yom Kipur is rare and very special. This year we had the honor to attend and participate in the Brit of the son of our good Mexican friends in Modiin. It was beautiful and he got the most beautiful name: Lior David. We felt very honored to take part of the ceremony as Kvaterim (Loosely translated as Godfather) of Lior. After the fasting there was a nice braking of the fast to celebrate the Brit. What a Yom Kipur, we got two shows for the price of one.

No Fui Yo!!!
As we were all getting dressed for Yom Kipur in white clothes Ilan wanted to wear a red T-shirt. He insisted and was stubborn about the fact that he wanted to wear his red t-shirt. In the end he did not wear that t-shirt but then it hit me. Yom Kipur is the day when we repent from all our sins and wrongdoing, right? Ilan’s red T-shirt had a legend in Spanish that reads “No fui yo!” (It wasn’t me). He might have known exactly why he wanted his “No fui yo!” T-shirt for Yom Kipur.

Havtacha vs. Haftaah
I did not have work today, Liora did not have Ulpan (Hebrew classes), however the kids did have school. Sounds like a perfect day to go out and do those tours we are never able to do with kids. Today we visited Jerusalem without the kids and had a very nice and interesting time. We started having a quick breakfast in the old city, then we went to the Kotel (Western Wall) and then attended two tours: The Chain of Generations and The Kotel tunnels. The first one was very moving and showed in glass sculptures the continuity of the Jewish people through names of our ancestors (take a look at the pictures). The other tour felt more like an Indiana Jones tour going through archeological tunnels that follow the continuation of the Western Wall (take a look at the pictures) it was very interesting and the best part was that it had a special religious significance as well. At one point in the tour there is a part of the western wall that is the closest a Jew can get to the Holy of Holies. Almost at the end of the tour, which was all in Hebrew, the tour guide said that we would be exiting and there would be “Havtacha” (security) which I mistranslated as “Haftaah” (Surprise). Well to our surprise the tour ended in the middle of the Muslim Quarter and required 2 armed security man to escort our group to the Jewish Quarter (see pictures). I must say that we were all very scared especially as we heard loud music in Arabic, people walking through the group, busy shops. Suddenly the heads changed from Kefiot to Kipot and we were back in the Kotel plaza.
After that we drove to Meah Shearim (Ultra orthodox neighborhood) to experience the Sukkot atmosphere, more on that on upcoming postings.
Enjoy the photos.
Chag sameach to all.

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