Well today was the big day and yes it was. We took taxi’s over to the Dung Gate (entrance to the Jewish Quarter and Western Wall). We congregated just outside the security at the Davidson Research Center and Archeological Park. After everyone arrived, we followed the Rabbi in and set ourselves up at a section under Robinson’s Arch along the Western Temple Mount wall within the Archeological park. We chose this venue because it was part of the Western Wall and it was an area where Conservative and Reform Rabbis could conduct a Bar-Mitzvah with men and women together.
The service was beautiful. I will post a video of it along with a Bar Mitzvah Program. It included a blessing over the family, readings by many family members, passing around the Torah, dancing to Hava Nagilah, Gabriel’s Torah Portion (Bamidbar/ Numbers 1:11:19), blessings, and final prayers. It was a moving experience for most everyone. The Rabbi was a terrific leader and ran the service in a very inclusive fashion.
After the service, we walked around the archeological site. It included an underground building with a nice collection of antiquities along with a detailed explanation and video about the temple mount, its construction/ use, and the active work going on. Very eye opening and enriching. Once we took in our fill (I expect Rob Walker and Dad could have stayed all day there), we went to eat lunch at Ima’s Restaurant.
And what a grand lunch it was, the meze/ starters flowed with many small salads that everyone dipped pita in. Some avoided the hot (or harif) food, but there was plenty of different choices to meet the palates of picky eaters (like Pearl). The main course was vegetables stuffed with rice in a salty sweet sauce, chicken and lamb kababs, rice, and a few other items. The food was served family style and kept coming as soon as serving plates were emptied. We drank wine through the meal. Desert was light with special cookies/ biscuits and mint tea or coffee. If we ever come back to Jerusalem, we’ll need to come back. It was divine.
After the meal, we split up. Susie and Anne went to a market/ Shuk, Leora, Fred, David, Gabriel, Pearl, and me went to the Shrine of the Book. I don’t recall where the rest went (maybe to take a nap), but most everyone was happy with being footloose and free. We ended the evening joining Edie and Robert at the pool and dinner.
What a terrific day…