Shabbat in Jerusalem

Shabbat dinner, to which several lone soldiers were invited, was held at our hotel. The soldier at our table was originally from Ohio and gorgeous. The soldier at the next table was not as biblically beautiful, but totally cute and adorable, and smart too – he graduated from Penn in three years. Both guys were tall and well-built they could be poster boys for the IDF. I am thoroughly in awe of American kids who leave their comfortable lives and come here to defend this country!

On Shabbat morning we went to the Israel Museum. The museum has expanded tremendously since I last visited 15 years ago. The space is light and uplifting, the collection is top notch, and its arrangement aesthetically pleasing. It became a world-class museum! What shocked me is that you can get so close to the exhibits, to all those Rothkos and Warhols, that your nose could easily touch the unprotected paintings. I even asked our guide if the art was original. He looked at me as if I needed my head examined, and confirmed that the art was indeed quite original. When asked how come it was not protected from the visitors, he said that the museum never had any problems. Well, except that one time when a boy on a school trip decided to improve a painting and stuck his pencil into a Picasso.

We spent 4 hours at the museum and didn’t cover the whole collection. And sadly, we didn’t have a chance to linger in the sculpture garden and just sit and absorb the tremendous picture perfect panorama around us.

Actually, the view is quite spectacular from the hotel lobby also. Our hotel, Mount Zion is on a hill and the entrance is on the 6th floor. If you walk across the lobby, you end up facing a domed picture window that frames a stunning view of Jerusalem stretching over several hills and valleys.

In the afternoon Kenny and I went to Gilad Shalit’s parent’s tent, set up outside the prime minister’s house. His father keeps vigil there day in and day out to keep alive the public’s awareness of his son’s captivity, now 1,742 days. The sight of this grief-striken father is heart-wrenching, especially to a fellow parent. The thought of this kidnapped boy, the same age as my own son is even more heart-wrenching!

In the evening, we went to a sound and light show at David’s Citadel. The show itself was ok, but the space was simply incredible! I had never been inside David’s Citadel before, and the sight of its walls, arches, towers, turrets, and all the nooks and crannies illuminated in the dark Jerusalem night was astounding.

And best of all, was an Israeli flag flying in the wind on top of the highest tower.

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