TL-45-103/79 Update 6

Today we experienced Shabbat together as a group, and went on a journey through ancient history, local landscape, and present-day life. We “slept in” today and had breakfast until 9 am, then departed for the Israel Museum. We stopped along the way to admire the Knesset building, and the brass menorah across from it which features scenes from Jewish history.

For many of us who do not have the joy of living in a Jewish community in our everyday lives, being able to see an entire city resting was an incredible experience. Not only that, but Jerusalem has an eruv and other Shabbat-friendly features, so we could carry things with us for the day and, when we reached the Israel Museum, proceed through a special security process that was Shabbat-compliant.

The scale of the Israel Museum is enormous: not only does it include local finds, but it has a world-class collection of Aztec, Mayan, contemporary, and other art that surprised many of the people in our group. And, of course, there are the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was overwhelming.

From there, we had lunch back at the hotel. The food was nice and toasty, kept hot overnight after being prepared the day before in order to follow the Shabbat prohibitions, including the prohibition on lighting a fire. After lunch, we had a “Q&A” session to learn about Jewish observance and heritage, and then had time to rest before Havdalah (marking the end of Shabbat).

With the previous day behind us according to the Jewish calendar, we embarked on a new day as Jerusalem inhaled the life of a new week. Shops reopened, restaurants set out tables, and suddenly it was a busy weekend evening in the city that feels like one giant family.