- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On July 26, 2019
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, our weekly reflection as we make our way toward Shabbat.
I left Israel late Wednesday night, but, one really never leaves that land. Its smells, sights, and sensations weave its way into the mind like images in a dream.
Most days, early in the morning, when the air was still cool and the streets were mostly empty, I would run from my apartment near Emeq Rafa’im up toward the center of the city. I’d pass through the renovated train station turned into a hub of restaurants, stores and gathering places over the tracks up toward the King David Hotel. I’d pass the park with the iconic Windmill and then the Hebrew Union College where I studied for a year many decades ago. I’d turn right into the Mamilla Mall, an ironic twist of a poor, dangerous neighborhood pre-1967 resurrected into an architectural masterpiece of an open aired high end commerce and shopping center. I couldn’t help but smile as I ran along the corridor of re-claimed stone.
At the end, a stairway led up into a different universe. I ran up the two flights of stairs.
Right in front of me, the old city with its thick walls, Tower of David, and the doorway of Jaffa Gate presented itself with all its glory and storied history. Each time I ascended, I felt like it was waiting quietly and majestically for people like me to behold its presence. It’s hard not to feel small, not just in size, but also in time against the backdrop of its long existence.
I’d run along the outside to the left, up and around the corner toward the Damascus Gate and East Jerusalem, and then turn back and trace the same path. There is a great distance between the western part of the city where Jaffa Gate stands and the eastern part near Damascus Gate, not in meters though. The hard stones of the wall face the realities and difficulties of the Palestinian population who reside there in East Jerusalem. The early morning stillness may mask some of it, but it is there: dormant for the moment and in need of resolution.
As I run back past the walls, the city is waking up, as yeshiva students rush toward their classes and people of all nationalities head toward their day.
I end up back at my apartment just a few blocks where I had lived during my first year in rabbinic school. I head up the hill toward the Hartman Institute and dive in with my study partner deciphering the texts before us, which regardless of the topic, take us on another journey of what Rav Kook, the first chief rabbi of Israel espoused about this land.
The old becomes new and the new becomes holy.
It’s good to be home with Israel in my mind’s eye. I shall not forget you, O Jerusalem.
We are OUTSIDE tonight for Qabbalat Shabbat at 6:00 p.m. If you are unable to join us, please live stream HERE.
Torah Study begins at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow with a short service and Torah reading followed by a lively discussion.
Connect with me HERE and share with me your reflections.