Yom Rishon – Let’s Get Ready to Experience It All!

Yom Rishon, aka, Sunday, is akin to our Monday. The streets are bustling early in the morning with people heading off to work and even school kids going to cheder or summer camp. The buses get an early start and this morning, so did the Cohen clan. With bus schedules on our ipods and tickets in hand, we were on our way!

JediYeled began his first day at Camp Rammah in Jerusalem. He was very excited but a little nervous about not wanting to be late and miss a thing. GeekAba and JediYeled found there way through to the center of town and then back into the little neighborhood where the camp sits nestled on private park grounds. Yesterday, we all went walking over to the camp wanting to make sure that we could find the mysterious unmarked green gate that would lead to the wondrous camp world for JediYeled. We found the green gate, but the grounds still seemed like a mystery. This morning, JediYeled and GeekAba, with the help of some fellow travelers on bus 22, managed to enter the gates and the wonderful world of camp! By the time we picked him up in the afternoon, JediYeled was exhausted and ready to head back to the apartment – ok, I think he just wanted to finish the game of Monopoly since he did already own Park Place and Boardwalk with two houses on each!

DovLev and I headed out even earlier. Today is Rosh Chodesh Tamuz and the Women of the Wall were gathering for their monthly service at the Kotel and reading of Torah at Robinson’s Arch. But to DovLev’s and my surprise and reminder that it is a small world after all, DovLev’s friend from Morasha, who moved to Colorado, was becoming Bat Mitzvah at the same time at Robinson’s Arch.

Not sure if she was doing this with Women of the Wall or not, DovLev and I headed out on two buses, to the Jaffa Gate. Thinking that this was going to be the only stop in the Old City walls, I led DovLev through the wondrous labyrinth of streets that I have come to know over the years. As the early morning sun was starting to shine on the stones, the city was truly golden and excitement began to fill me as we grew closer to meet with both of these wonderful groups.

DovLev and I approached the security gates entering into the Kotel plaza and there, standing at the side were two women, one of whom was holding the sefer Torah belonging to the Women of the Wall. I asked if they were still in there and if they knew if there was a girl becoming a Bat Mitzvah with them this morning. They did not know, but the group was definitely still at the Kotel.

DovLev and I went through security and on the other side of the gate I heard the kol ishot, the voices of women singing together, the voices that cause such a stir in the hearts of those who love them and unfortunately, those who don’t. They were singing: Ozi v’zimrat yah, vayihi-lee, lee’shu’ah – My strength balanced with the song of God will be my salvation (Psalm 118:14 and Exodus 15:2).

Tears welled up in my eyes, I took DovLev’s hand and we joined in the song and march with the Torah and the women and men who joined with us.Ā  Some friends encouraged DovLev to march in front with the Torah for she truly is the next generation of women to raise up her voice in song.

We walked slowly through the streets to the Robinson’s Arch on the south side of the Kotel. As we approached DovLev and I looked down to the Herodian street, completed in 64 CE, and saw our friends already with their service in progress.Ā  We took our leave of the Women of the Wall and continued down to our friends, yet the two services voices mingled magically together. While we were in different parts of the service, the harmony of Jews openly praying together, women and men, was the greatest harmony of all.

DovLev’s friend had no idea that we were coming – thank you Facebook for helping us Mom’s to get together and make this happen. Hearing her daven the service and chant Torah was so wonderful and DovLev was excited to be there to support her friend, thousands of miles away from home.

Jerusalem is magical and paved in gold in not only the stone but also the people and experiences. And this is only yom rishon, the first day of the week!

5 thoughts on “Yom Rishon – Let’s Get Ready to Experience It All!”

  1. Rabbi, I am glad u n urnfamily r enjoying ourselves.

    I have several questions from r trip to is real.

    One, is it true that it is illegal to proselyte in Israel?

    Two, r Jewish and Muslim children educated separately?

    We loved r visit n look forward to returnimg again soon.


    1. Dear John,
      I’m happy to hear that you had a great experience visiting Israel. It is truly a remarkable place.
      In answering your two questions:
      It is true that proselytizing in Israel is illegal. In speaking to some of my Israeli colleagues at the Shalom Hartman Institute, they said that it can get you kicked out of the county. And actually, it is becoming more of a problem especially with the Messianic community.
      Two, as for if Jewish and Muslim children are educated separately – it really depends on the neighborhood. There is no bussing of children from one neighborhood to the next. If you are in an all Jewish neighborhood, then your classmates are all Jewish and with Muslim students as well. There are some communities that there are Jewish and Muslim students studying together but they also live together in the same area. The “public” school system is not like what we have in the states. There are so many different types of schools here in Israel that it really can make your head spin in a very good way. šŸ™‚
      I hope you get back here soon as there is always so much to see. This is my 8th trip and still, there is still so many new things that we are experiencing.

  2. Heidi-
    Wow! What an amazing experience for you and DovLev! I got goosebumps just reading about it. Such a spiritual journey – and to have both services going on simultaneously in such a small gathering place!
    Looking forward to reading more!

  3. Dearest Rebbi, “Heidi” & Family, How exciting to read of your experiences & see a couple of Pictures. Allison & I will be following your journey.Have a wonderful spiritual time!!!
    Best wishes and Kisses & hugs.
    Shira and Allie

  4. Dear Heidi, I’m just getting around to reading your blog. Tears welled up when I read that you were there with Tova at her Bat Mitzvah – she and I have a history dating back to when she was 18 months old. I love your writing. You transport me back to when I was there riding the buses, walking the streets, praying by the Wall. What an amazing experience for your family to share…and I love their new names! BTW, did JediYeled win Monopoly?
    Love, hugs, and kisses to all.
    Natalie (Mrs. Stein) šŸ™‚

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