How do I recapture our first full day in Jerusalem?
We woke later than usual, tired after a long day of travel through time zones. We had discussed attending Shabbat services but had come to no decision, made no plans. Robin was willing to go if I wanted, but neither of us wanted to spend the whole morning in worship. My sister had given me a list of synagogues nearby with her assessment of each, from past stays in the city. She was enthusiastic. I struggled with the thought that prayer in Jerusalem would feel special, an experience I wouldn’t want to miss, and with the fact that while I enjoy the community of prayer, I don’t often actually join it. I struggled with the idea that Jerusalem is a unique and fundamental experience for me as a Jew. The inherent political charge of that claim troubles me. The inherent spiritual condition implied by that claim troubles me. If Jerusalem is a spiritual vortex of a city, I hadn’t experienced that yet. I wanted most of all to experience the city, to walk through it and let me feel it flow around and into my body and soul first. Without preconception and without asserting any inherent claim to it.
And that’s what we did. We set out to walk from our cozy comfortable cottage in the German Colony to the Israel Museum, a singular destination open, as few other places were this day in Jerusalem, on Shabbat. We had a map, we had GPS on our phones, and we got lost. A walk our phone said should take 45 minutes took 2 hours, up, down, and around hills. But we arrived.
I want to get this up & posted, so more about the museum later. More about whether or not it’s polite to make eye contact with & greet strangers in Jerusalem. More about our cottage. More about the niceness of Israelis. More about telephones and losing touch with our daughters until Melissa helped us. More about Emily’s birthday, and speaking with her, and speaking with Catie, and the joy of hearing their voices. More about food here. More about having no power in my laptop, fixing it, then blowing a fuse when I plugged in my laptop charger. Later, and more.