Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reaction of Gilad Coming Home

So many other people can express things far better than I can.  Here are some links I found interesting.






Gilad Shalit is home!

Today is a truly joyous day in Israel.  Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier taken hostage over 5 years ago by the Palestinians, has been released today, in exchange for over 1,000 Palestinian terrorists.  I'm really not going to comment on the politics of this deal.  There is really no right answer.  I am just happy that Gilad is home.  I am happy to live in a Jewish state, that values life so much.  The entire country is just so happy right now.  Signs like these have been put up all over Jerusalem.

I just watched Gilad's first TV interview.  He seems to be in relatively OK shape, although he is definitely overwhelmed, breathing heavily and not really sure what to answer.  I really thought he would be much worse off, so I'm happy to see him at least physically OK.
Regardless of how anyone feels about the deal, it's a true simcha to have Gilad back home.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chag Sameach!

Just a quick post to say Chag Sameach.  I really should have posted on Thursday night after our ONE DAY OF CHAG was over :)
Yerushalayim is simply amazing.  Check out photos from blogs of friends of mine here , here and here.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in Yerushalayim

The High Holy Days have just ended and I am still on an emotional high from singing L’shana Ha’ba’ah B’Yerushalayim while sitting in shul IN Yerushalayim.  I’m not going to sugar –coat it –- it was not easy being away from my family and my beloved shul on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  There was no rabbi’s sermon here, which is a major component of inspiration for me on Rosh Hashanah and especially Yom Kippur.  But my pre-holiday tefillot at the Kotel were inspiring as well.  And I am so fortunate to have really wonderful friends here, many of whom davened at the same shul, so I didn’t feel quite so alone.
Mostly familiar tunes and some new ones – but the words are all the same.  And knowing that my family and friends across the ocean were singing the same tefillot made me feel very connected to them.

Rosh Hashanah was beautiful, although 3 days is hard no matter where you are!  I was so fortunate to get invited out for the meals by wonderful friends, many of whom feel like family.  Walking through the streets of Yerushalayim on the 1st night of Rosh Hashanah (I had a 55 minute walk home from the Meah Shearim area) was incredible.  The entire city is celebrating the start of a wonderful New Year.
I can’t even begin to explain how it felt when singing parts of the tefillot that mention Yerushalayim.  It was incredibly emotional for me to be here.  I kept thinking back to last Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur when I sat in Queens, knowing that my dream of aliyah was going to be coming true in the coming year.  It seemed like such a short time ago.  What a year!
The buses wish everyone a Shana Tova before Rosh Hashanah
On Shabbat I went to the OU Center to hear the Shabbat Shuva drasha given Rabbi Weinreb, formerly of Shomrei Emunah, so I got my Baltimore fix!

In between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur they now say Chatima Tova :)

On Erev Yom Kippur I went to the Kotel for Shacharit.  The streets were already quieter than usual, with most shops closed and everyone preparing for the holy day.  As the sun began to set, the silence was overpowering.  Not one single car was on the street for the entire Yom Kippur.  Living near a very busy intersection, it’s never this quiet outside my window.  It was amazing.  The davening was very beautiful and inspiring.  And now I hear the sounds of sukkot being put up.  The decorations are already being sold on street corners throughout the city.  The holiday season is palpable here and it’s the most wonderful feeling.

Sukkah being put up at the Kotel