I wish I could say that my Yom Kippur was extra meaningful, because I was in Israel. But in reality, I faced YK as I faced every other fast day. Overburdened with dread, oozing worry and twitching from Nalgene withdrawl, I took to Kehillat Kedem for Kol Nidre (YK Eve), morning and Neilah (the closing service).
The services were pretty good. My new ArtScroll? Filled with fun facts and Rashi (really famous Jewish commentary). My attempts at mostly-white outfits? Pretty successful. Waking up with a headache? Not a good start to a fast day. The fast ending at 630? Pretty fabulous.
Friday night was pretty good. Hot in the room where we had services (a ballet / gym / multipurpose area for a school on Emek Refaim), but cool outside. Roommates and I took to the streets after Kol Nidre, where there was a Simchat-Torah- (Jewish Mardi Gras-esque celebration of the Torah) in-New-York quality. Everyone was out, everyone was taking to everyone else. But, unlike NYC, where you are contained to sanctuaries and sidewalks, on Yom Kippur, Israel stops. The one police car out patrolling struggled to avoid the people who were filling Emek Refaim. Kids rode rampant on their bicycles on the one day a year when they're not going to get in trouble for it. They may, however, get hurt: approximately 200 bike accidents are reported every year when kids take over the streets on YK. No cars, except for the errant police cruiser, are on the streets. Even the most secular of Israelis sit and relax, and wear white next to their religious friends.
Saturday morning, I looked around services. Things aren't so bad from the back row of Kedem, because there is a ballet barre to hold up your droopy head. I knew some of the songs, and while I was too tired to sing along, I hummed and mouthed the words. Services weren't as long as they had been in NYC (still too long for my tastes without a sermon, but I'm a very straightforward kind of girl when there is no food in my belly), and I got to napping at approximately 2PM. Allison and I returned to shul at 550PM for the closing of services, and immediately proceeded to a lovely breakfast at soon-to-be-Rafi's apartment. Robbie's dairy fest was delightful!
Every year, at the end of the fast on YK, and at the end of the Passover seders, we sing the words "Next Year in Jerusalem." Now, last YK, I wasn't thinking I'd be in Israel. I figure next year I'll be back in NY, where I belong. But it was interesting to utter those words in a service, not really believing them the way I did when we said it on Passover.
I've added some feeds to the beelog, as you can see on the sidebar. The first is a link to my roommate Rachel's blog. For some Israel observations, I choose not to repeat myself. Rachel, in this case, speaks for me.
I also added links to Haaretz.com and Jpost.com, because if you're not getting enough news from me, you can see what's going on in my new town.
I leave with you a few pictures (for more, see my roommate Rachel's blog.)
Here is what the cable box fed into our TV just an hour before Yom Kippur:
Here is the Israeli cable channel wishing us an easy fast and an inscription in the Book of Life:
And, my pre-YK purchase: my delightful new backpack that holds my laptop!