Sunday, July 14, 2013

If I Ever Forget Thee ... Jerusalem

Shavua Tov. We had a nice Shabbat at the base. My teammates went to practice and touring yesterday; I took the concept of Shabbat being a "Day of Rest" literally, by catching up on some much needed sleep. I had a chance to relax on the base with some others who had stayed back. As Shabbat came to a close, we recited Havdalah with the rabbis at the Kibbutz and then had some pizza, rather than trekking to Kfar Maccabiah for a BBQ with the rest of the delegation. Apparently, when the group from Shefayim made their way to the Kfar for the BBQ at the last Games Motzei Shabbat, they only spent about 20 minutes at the BBQ when you factor in the end time of Shabbat and traffic. I was just as happy leisurely relaxing and having a few slices of pizza.

Today was our third practice session. We continued our individual competition on "freshly oiled lanes," at least according to the head mechanic at the bowl. We all bowled within 20 pins of one another, so bonus pins today were critical. Marc still holds a small lead on me, though Uri picked up a little ground while Jared continues to stay close, as well.

Our sightseeing today is in the Old City of Jerusalem. The largest city in Israel with a diverse population of 800,000 people, Jerusalem is a holy place to many and has some of the most breathtaking views you can find. We began at the Haas Promenade, a common spot for groups to begin their time in Jerusalem. After taking in the view, we recited the Shehecheyanu to mark this occasion and received a quick overview of what makes up the city.

We then walked through the Old City, absorbing more than 2,000 years of history in our few hours. Out guide also took us through King David's Palace and to Robinson's Arch, as we looked at how it was constructed and how it was destroyed.

Finally, we approached the Western Wall.  We had a chance to we view it from an overlook point earlier in the day and it didn't disappoint. But there is nothing like came to the Wall, holding your breath as you approach, taking in this site that we face each time we come together in prayer. I felt my heart beat louder and louder as I walked down the ramp to recite Mincha, the Afternoon Prayers. As usual, I was overcome with emotion, soaking in as much as I could, not knowing when I'll return (but I will return, that is a guarantee). BTW, I kissed the Wall for you, Meryl.

Tonight is a quiet night at the base. I have to turn in our passports lest we don't get our Games credentials. I'll also probably get a few things for work out of the way before relaxing with everyone and enjoying another Israeli evening. Laila Tov.

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