In general with this blog, I try to focus on issues that I feel are not always adequately covered by the international media and therefore I hope to provide an alternative picture of what I see as the true lifestyle here in Israel.
This time I want to focus on a couple of events, that together with my wife, we enjoyed immensely and for several hours took our minds off the problems of Gaza and Hizbollah on our southern and northern borders.
Friends from the UK had decided some time ago to fund the writing of a new torah scroll and donate it to the Western Wall in Jerusalem http://english.thekotel.org/ .
As is customary, the completion of the last few words was done in a ceremony in which friends of the family each wrote one letter. On the conclusion of this writing, the scroll was “danced” from the beautiful hall adjacent to the Wall and on to the plaza in front of the Western Wall to the lively music of a band of musicians.
After almost an hour of dancing, the scroll was placed in its ark (cupboard) to be used for readings during the normal services and also on those special occasions when boys reaching the age of 13 have their barmitzvah celebrations at the Wall.
The guests then proceeded into the Western Wall Tunnel complex http://english.thekotel.org/content.asp?id=116 and after a fascinating walk down into the depths we reached the Hasmonean hall, see pictures, for a celebratory dinner. What an atmosphere there was, sitting there in a place of history thousands of years old. A night to remember.
The second event was the evening of the festival of Shavuot, (Pentecost). We had decided on this evening we would invite some friends for a meal. What started out as a small group gradually grew until there were 11 of us. The evening was very interesting as the guests were originally from USA, S.Africa, UK, Holland and Switzerland, quite an international gathering. Barely 48 hours earlier I had met a journalist first time visitor to Israel, a Roman Catholic from Ireland, who I felt would be interested in meeting people living here and so it was that he also joined us.
The conversation flowed non stop and it was almost midnight before the guests decided it was time to go home. Again an evening to remember,