Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Sort of Locked-down Jerusalem, Corona COVID Life

Yesterday I escaped to Jerusalem for a few hours. To be honest, it's rather risky. For me, my age makes me one of those who should be avoiding people. And in terms of corona COVID statistics, Shiloh is much, much greener/safer than Israel's Capital Jerusalem. But I'd been home for over a month and a half. To say I was going stir crazy is no exaggeration. As "jails" go, Shiloh may be rather benevolent and friendly, but waking outside, zooming with friends and family, facebook, whatsapp etc just aren't enough. 

Following are photos, some with captions of sorts to illustrate what I found in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Body language says it all. 

No eye contact. People are masked in more ways than one. No unnecessary touching of anything. It's like we're all within our personal portable jails, even when on the lightrail.

Depending on where you're looking, life looks almost normal, but for after 10am too many stores are totally shuttered.

With typical Israeli ingenuity, these fabric and notion stores are trying to sell their wares. Those who know how to sew are the lucky ones, because clothing stores were boarded up. 

Shopping for fabric required explaining to the sales staff what you wanted, choosing and then "ordering" for immediate "delivery." I discovered that many storeowners adopted this method of sales, as if they were pizza or felafel places.
Very lonely Jerusalem street with most stores totally shut until the government allows them to open.
Even some shoe stores have adopted the immediate order/delivery system, though I presume they permit people to try on their shoes first.

I just can't imagine buying shoes I haven't tried on. My feet and body are just too unique and delicate to trust online shoe shopping.
I almost bought a few packs of these gorgeous masks, but then I ran into a good friend who told me that she bought the same ones much more cheaply in Rami Levi. I must find someone to buy me some pretty colored masks there.

One thing for sure, disposable masks have dropped dramatically in price.
Prices have dropped, but the stores are locked. I guess you can order online, but I like to see and touch items first. That's how I judge quality.

Just in case those trying to get into the main post office have no idea of what two meters, aka social distancing, means, there are little boxes on the sidewalk to show you where to stand. 

People were very obedient. It's taking awhile, but Israelis are beginning to accept the concept of physical distancing when downtown doing errands.
After filling my backpack with Israeli craft beer, Shapiro's to be exact, I was overjoyed to discover that HOBBY was "open." Of course "open" meant that customers couldn't enter.
I stuck my head and phone in as far as I could to see the colors of the jersey yarn HOBBY was selling. Then the salesgirl had to bring them to me. 

Not all of them looked the same up close, but I had no time to have her run back and forth the way I would have chosen. Also there were people lined up waiting to "shop." I'm glad to have a new stock of jersey yarn to crochet more bags.

In all honesty, I think that these craft, sewing notions and fabric stores should be open the public just like pharmacies are. For many of us crafts are valuable medical tools, occupational therapy. And this is a great time to teach children these wonderful arts and crafts instead of their just using computer apps to make "works of art."

Gd willing corona COVID will disappear quickly, and everyone should be healthy and healed. Let this lockdown nightmare be quickly over. 

I'm glad to have accomplished a lot in my Jerusalem escape. And in case you're wondering, I ate nothing while there, but I walked a lot.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Save The Date: Rosh Chodesh Kislev


Chances are that Rosh Chodesh Kislev will be colder than Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan was. And Gd willing we'll have already been blessed by a nice rainfall or two or more by then. But whether we'll need to equip ourselves with coats, umbrellas or whatever's... we'll still need to mask up. 

The world has changed, but the Jewish Calendar hasn't. We're still governed by the moon's cycles, adjusted periodically so holidays will fall in the correct seasons. There's nothing more amazing than the Jewish Calendar which has rooted us to the Land of Israel, even during millennia of exile. I consider our ancient/modern calendar the unmistakable proof that the Land of Israel is the true home for the Jewish People. Our religion/calendar revolves around the seasons in the Land of Israel.

Rosh Chodesh Kislev falls in early winter. I keep track of Rosh Chodesh, because of our Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh, Shiloh Hakeduma. This year:

Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers, Tel Shiloh

Tuesday, 1st of Kislev 17-11-2020, 8:30am

For more information shilohmuse@gmail.com

תפילת נשים שילה הקדומה

יום ג', א' כסלו תש"פ 8:30

לפרטים נוספים shilohmuse@gmail.com 

Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh is a stunning archeological site, the location of the Biblical Tabernacle. Tours can be arranged for the entire family, all ages. 02-5789122 visit@telshilo.org.il 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Simchat Torah in Stereo Plus

Eleven years ago I didn't celebrate Simchat Torah. It was the Jewish year 5770 I had rushed to New York to bring my elderly father to Israel. The holidays fell like this one, 5781, with Succot beginning on Shabbat and Simchat Torah the following Shabbat in Israel and Sunday in New York. I kept thinking of that crazy time yesterday as I could simultaneously hear the prayers of two, and sometimes three different outdoor prayer groups near my house. Yes, stereo plus.

Perched in my "private row of seats" by my front door I could usually hear most words very clearly from the outdoor minyan (prayer group) in the park across the street and the sounds of the prayers from where our neighborhood synagogue was praying behind our house. Sitting in our livingroom I could hear much of the prayers across the street and sometimes even some of the praying even further away.

Photo of the outdoor minyan prayers in the park across the street, taken on Succot Chol Hamoed, when permitted.
But the stereo plus, three different outdoor prayer prayer groups could be heard very clearly when I went to hear the Yizkor* prayer behind my house. The Yemenite minyan was praying outside on the other side of our synagogue building very loudly. So I heard them, our prayer leader and the prayers from the park. 

Simchat Torah was full of songs and prayers in the air.

Our neighborhood has so many outdoor prayer groups; it's amazing. I think that more people are praying together than ever before. We're in lockdown, so few people have to rush to work or school. I really enjoy that the sounds of prayers fill my house.

We have turned life of lemons into lemonade.

*Yizkor is the prayer said for the dead on certain Jewish Holidays.