26 Cheshvan 5759

(November 15, 1998) – Jerusalem

What an absolutely glorious day! From the Sheraton’s “Israeli breakfast” to Ben Yehuda Street tonight, and everything in between.

Went to the Masorti shul this morning. Wow! I knew the songs! The chazzan looked like the movie version of Moses and had an incredible vocal range – from a Blackwood Brothers bass to a Mandy Patinkin tenor. Very dramatic in leading the service, lots of gestures and “choreographed” movement. Yet, it wasn’t distracting or overly theatrical, only beautiful.

I actually stayed for Kiddush. Enjoyed watching all the General Assembly Americans schmoozing. But I stood to the side, observing. And Moses introduced himself. His name is Arye, and he “works” at the Four Sephardic Synagogues in the Old City. He invited me to stop for a tour. I believe I will!

But I did not follow my original itinerary – Dan’s itinerary – this afternoon. I slept from 12:30 – 6:30, on the verge of collapse from utter exhaustion. Funny isn’t it, coming to a country on edge because of terrorism, in order to find a wedge of peace and rest. Shalom. I have not slept that well in months. Perhaps our stressful lives create a unique brand of American terrorism, personal, not national.

When I awoke refreshed, I finally unpacked, then dressed and went to Ben Yehuda Street. I walked up King George and turned onto Ben Yehuda, and there weren’t many people out and about. I thought, “Guess I need to tell Dan that last week’s bombing did affect the city after all.” He was so sure it would not.

And suddenly, I crossed to the pedestrian zone and found myself swimming upstream in a living, breathing mass of human beings. What fun!

Started to eat at one little cafe, but it was nearly empty. Turned the other direction to Cafe Rimon and it was almost full. So I ate at Rimon’s. Pretty good – first steak in a hundred years. Of course, I exaggerate, but it was an excellent meal.

Now to the lobby to find a glass of wine. Or a Radler (shandy).

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