Shabbat in Israel

April 24, 2015

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, April 24, 2015.

Shabbat in Israel

What an adventure! Thirteen of us from the Jewish Community Center are traveling together in Israel on the JCC Arts Tour of Israel. We’re exploring the arts scene here , meeting with artists and writers and performers and curators and journalists.  It’s been hectic. We’re up early and exploring all day and . . . of course . . . eating great food (in itself an art!).  We’ve celebrated Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzma’ut here with millions of Israelis. Exhausting. Inspiring. Tonight is Shabbat... and we’ll experience an entirely different way of understanding life in the Jewish State. Not everyone observes Shabbat here. Only about 20% of the Jewish population here are observant. Most Jews here don’t go to synagogues. Yet Shabbat in Israel is special in a way that it never is outside of Israel. Things slow down. Stores and offices are closed. Almost all the restaurants are closed. Shabbat is a time for slowing down. Shabbat is a time for families. Almost everyone has a Shabbat dinner – some with full Shabbat ritual, some with a simple glass of wine and a “Lechayim,” most as a family time. By two or three o’clock in the afternoon, the grocery stores are closed. Traffic slows down. Even the incessant honking of Israeli motorists stops. And we too will be spending an unforgettable Kabbalat Shabbat. Services at Kol Haneshama – Israel’s most well know reform congregation.  Tomorrow morning at one of the more traditional synagogues. Sabbath dinner tonight with lone soldiers (soldiers from America and other countries who have immigrated here and don’t have families to spend the Shabbat with).  A special time with a special group of our JCC people.

Even the stop signs are Middle Eastern... Shaped like a Chamsah - a classic Middle Eastern protection against the Evil Eye

The Shuk - the outdoor market packed with people buying food for Shabbat

 Shabbat Shalom