Some of us attend a service at a local synagogue. The rabbi is American and the men and women are separated here; I enjoy hearing some familiar prayers. We mostly just relax on Shabbat, just doing some group activities discussing Jewish identity. Some great discussions are sparked that continue long after the activity.
We have the Havdallah blessing, Shabbat’s closing, in a courtyard near a Jerusalem synagogue. A highlight of the trip happens here, when, as we all have our arms around each other in a circle singing, a Hasidic Jewish man, joins our circle. How touching—only in Jerusalem! Today is the first day of Hanukkah also. As we weave through the narrow streets of the neighborhoods, heading back to our hotel to light Hanukkah candles, a couple invites us to join them in lighting theirs. They turn out to be American. All the neighborhood families are visiting outdoors, playing guitars, children playing together, and lighting their candles.