This past week was a very busy one for most everyone, with annual fall events returning and new ones planned after two too quiet years.
While driving north we admired the beauty of the land of Israel.
At times it was hard to distinguish between the blue of the sky and the sea.
In the land of milk and honey, natural beauty abounds.
We learned about honey for the Rosh Hashana holiday
and also about bees at Neshikha in Kfar Hananya.
After we returned to Jerusalem, I made time to get to Takhana Rishona, First Station, on Thursday night,
where Silo, located off the parking lot, was hosting an event.
The Woodstock Revival crowd seemed pleased with the music.
Now hoping the crowds come back for the September 29th Ethiopian-Israel Festival for families that start at 4:30 pm.
However, this week’s highlight in Jerusalem was the annual Selihot service, very late at night after Shabbat.
Remembering back in 2015, Ohel Nechama Synagogue was so crowded with Yitzhak Meir leading a musical Selihot that I could not enter.
The Jerusalem Great Synagogue was where I ended up that year before going to the Old City for a memorable night of beautiful and inspirational music that filled the Jerusalem streets.
Thousands were back at the Great Synagogue this year, after two years of being closed for corona, for Selihot 5782, with an impressive choir and amazing acoustics.
I featured the impressive sound of the Great Synagogue with a series of short clips of other places I visited.
It was hard to leave, but the biggest show in town was still to come.
Deputy Mayor Arieh King introduced the Jerusalem municipality’s Selihot held in the large auditorium of the Jerusalem International Conference Center.
Idit Silman was one of several politicians running for the next Knesset at Jerusalem Selihot but she did not go after the media attention as did others.
Yitzhak Meir was the star attraction, drawing thousands, with those without tickets disappointed and frustrated outside the building trying to gain entry.
Meir was on stage accompanied by a group of musicians. His beard was longer and his tallis bigger than it was the past.
In 2015, then-President Reuven Rivlin had Yitzhak Meir lead the Selihot in the President’s Synagogue on the Beit Hanasi grounds.
Sephardi Jews started saying Selihot at the beginning of the month of Elul, and continue every morning for the entire month prior to Rosh Hashana. The first night of Ashkenasi Selihot began after Shabbat, with some in Jerusalem starting as early as 10:00 pm. Selihot with Yitzchak Meir began at 12:30 am.
The full 2 hours of Yitzhak Meir is available on YouTube HERE
Nights of public Selihot continue until Yom Kippur, one at Kikar Safra.
Selihot are held not only at synagogues but even at Jerusalem community parks.
As I walked home, one group was just finishing and more sessions are scheduled at the public park space near the major intersection.
The sounds of Selihot and music filled the Jerusalem streets.
Happy New Year! Chag Sameach!