For those of you who may be concerned that Jerusalem is a very religious town, you should have been here for Yom Kippur. Interestingly enough, there is no car use in this country on YK - at all. From sundown to sundown, cars are for the most part absent on Israeli roads. Even the busiest thoroughfares in our 'hood, like Derekh Hevron and Pierre Koenig and Emek Refaim, were devoid of car traffic. (I did see a stray motorcycle and late on YK day, the occasional car). The roads were full, though - walkers, strollers, bikers, roller bladers and skateboarders. The days before YK are generally the busiest in the country for bike purchases. Every kid spends the day out on the roads with their bike. Israelis have taken to biking in recent years and they appear to have the same love affair with the stuff that Americans do. Israelis in bike shorts, complete with Camelbacks, bars and goo to eat if they need some carbs. They are even wearing helmets too altho most do not.
Sunday night, on the way back home from Kol Nidre at Shira Hadasha (a woman did KN which was really nice), we walked on Emek Refaim and greeted people that we knew. Even Natan and Gabe met a few aquaintances from school, including Gabe's homeroom teacher, Irena. He was polite. We strolled, chatted and laughed - there was a holiday atmosphere to the evening, a giddiness brought on by lack of water (naw, we were all still sated from dinner) and the lack of vehicular traffic. We reached tzomet ha'bank'im - the bank junction (literally, a busy corner at Derekh Hevron and Rivka Sts that used to have 3 banks but now only has one but another is due to open in a month or so) and were stunned by all the pedestrians boldly walking on Derekh Hevron, a 6 lane thoroughfare (the two middle lanes are for busses and taxis) that is always busy. We pushed Akiva through the throngs of people and came home and went to bed - what else does one do on YK eve?
YK day went well. The day was short - the fast ended at 6:00pm!!!! That's because they changed the clocks on Saturday night. No one should have to fast for to long a time but to us it was short in comparison to NYC fast times. We spent the day at Ma'ya'not which was ok. Ira snagged himself a last minute davening/leading gig of YK Minhah service. For those of you snickering, I suggest you calm down immediately. He said it was odd to lead at a different place than Kane St but it went well and that was good. The person who was supposed to lead is not a good faster and tends to late day migraines and was grateful for Ira to stand in.
Break fast with Jess and her niece and nephew, Noa and Adin. We had a nice meal and it was good to relax in that post fast sort of way where all is well with the world now that we can all eat again.
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