Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tel Aviv

After a very long week of class a bunch of us were headed up to Tel Aviv. One of the Israeli Rabbinical Students is a part of a community near Tel Aviv that leads Kabbalat Shabbat services at the Port during the summer. I had a fantastic experience at services, but that will come to the end of this post. In the morning we caught at Shirut to Tel Aviv. When we got there Ashley took us towards an art fair that is on the street every Friday during the summer. Brian A and I decided to check out the food Shuk before looking at the art.

That was a great idea since it was covered near the food Shuk. We found a great place to grab Falafel. It was pretty cheap and really good. There was a great Charif (spicy) sauce that he put in with our falafel and when they're made fresh as you order, it's hard to beat that taste. After a quick perusal through the art section, we decided to grab a coke and play some backgammon before meeting up with the women we came up with.

When we met up with them we went to chill on the beach. First of all, the beach was burning hot. Not just the sun on our backs, but also the sand. I guess there was a reason that they have the spouts of water near the beach. You're supposed to spray off your feet before you step on the sand. That helps get to your towel without frying the soles of your feet. A little bit of sunscreen and we were off to the water. I hadn't swam in the sea since last summer on Long Island and I have to say that was really different than the Mediterranean. The waves were awesome to float in and I know I had a great time just chilling in the water.

We spend a good three hours on the beach just relaxing, playing backgammon and every once in a while hopping in the water. I learned an important lesson though. Just because it feels like you put sunscreen on your back doesn't mean it actually rubbed into your skin. Ouch. I definitely didn't get enough on enough times. The good thing is that although I burned, it already doesn't hurt and I'm expecting some nice tan to show through in a few days.

A small group of us that were there walked down to the port to check out services. We were a little late, but it was worth it. Listening to a large group of people singing and praying together on the shores of the sea was fantastic. I know there were some other people in our group that didn't have as good of an experience. I think part of why it was so great for us at the back was that there was a small group of HUC students (April, Brian, Dana, Dusty, Gila, Ricky and April's wife Emily) clearly praying together at the back as we could hear the music from the leaders at the front lead a very large group of people. Some were singing and dancing, some praying and others just being a part of the services at sunset. I really liked some of the melodies they used and even heard for the first time that I heard someone sing "What a Wonderful World" in Hebrew. I am still looking for the lyrics in Hebrew, so if anyone knows where I can find them online that would be fantastic.

After T'fillah we hung around the port for a while. I really enjoyed watching another of the students' daughter run around and play. We saw a ton of people just our and being together. This was a very different shabbat experience than what we have back in Jerusalem. Tel Aviv was still bustling as we left the city. When we returned to Jerusalem it was quiet. Almost silent. I really want to go back up sometime to experience that Kabbalat Shabbat again. Look at the pictures below for a small sampling of what I was able to shoot. As always, there will shortly be updates on my facebook account.

It has been a great end to the first week of class and now there is homework to do today since class is tomorrow morning. I can't wait for Havdallah again tonight.


Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea during Kabbalat Shabbat Services

A large group of people dancing during some of the prayers

This sunset was amazing!

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