Yeshiva Hopping

Jerusalem Travel Blog

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Shook
I can now say I know what Jerusalem does while Tel Aviv is out partying… they dance too—with the Torah. At the last minute (about an hour before the bus) my friend Dakota and I decided to head to Jerusalem to spend the end of Sukkot and Simcha Torah there… we had no idea where we were going to stay or what we’d do there—but we figured we’d just play it by ear.

We walked through the enormous shook that leads to Ben Yehuda street and then proceded into the old city. After spending quite a bit of time searching for this free, mythic hostel that a friend had told us about in the old city we finally tracked it down after talking to everyone over the age of 3 in the Jewish Quarter.
King David Gate
This hostel was crazy… picture a medium sized apartment except every square inch is covered with bunk beds. It was a hostel only for women and is run by Aish HaTorah- a jewish organization. The lady in charge immediately quizzed us on our Jewishness… and after passing told us that all the girls were going to the Western Wall to light candles.

The Wailing wall still amazed me even though I have been there and seen countless pictures… its such an overwhelming feeling to walk up to this ancient place surrounded by the old city walls. We spent some time there and then were told by our hostelleader that we should find this man Jeff who would set us up with a meal for the night… Being the poor college students that we are, Dakota and I figured wed go. We were paired up with a religious family from NY who was spending the Hag in Israel.
Security at the Wall
They told us it was a bit of a walk to their apartment and about an hour later after dragging strollers through the cobblestone we reached their door… The meal was really nice and the family was extremely welcoming but much of the dinner was spent discussing what Dakota would and wouldn’t eat (she’s a vegan)… the father of the house even had a little torah portion that said being vegetarian was a superior way of living—so everytime he took a bite of chieken hed exclaim that he was going down a peg…

After the meal one of the girls at the table insisted that she walk us back… but first she wanted to show us the men dancing with the Torah. We went from Yeshiva to Yeshiva watching all these men and boys dancing and jumping and singing while holding the Torah in celebration for their love for it. Everythign was shut down in the city so everyone was just walking through the streets talking to friends and going in and out of Synangogues. It was interesting to see it but strange to have to watch the men celebrate and the women all stand behind a wall peeking through a little hole to see the dancing.

We spent today walking through the Old city and getting lost in the Shook which was basically the only thing open today. At one point, while we were waiting for the sun to go down so the bus station would open, Dakota and I popped into a coffeeshop. After sitting there for a bit two Hassidic men came to the door and started yelling at the owner. They refused to leave and stood there chanting “Jews should not break the Hag (Holiday… nothing is supposed to be open on Simcha Torah) for over an hour until the holiday officially ended. It was pretty disturbing to watch this man spend what should be a joyous day of family and celebration, screaming at a shop keeper who was doing nothing to interrupt his holiday.

Despite the crazy experiences, it was so nice to be in Jerusalem for a few days, especially during the Holiday. Well, classes start again in the morning so I should get some work done.

here4crackhead says:
That sucks you couldn't dance! Next time just wear a fake beard and break down that wall...

Miss you here! Keep taking fotos
Posted on: Oct 26, 2008
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Shook
Shook
King David Gate
King David Gate
Security at the Wall
Security at the Wall
Jerusalem
photo by: daynnightraveller