Jerusalem Preparing for Yom Kippur

Jerusalem Preparing for Yom Kippur

Rosh Hashanah is over.

It is back to work and school and routines

after three days of eating and praying for some,

and trips to state parks and nature reserves for others.

Now in Jerusalem, Israel,

it is time to prepare for Yom Kippur.

The late night Selihot are a major tourist attraction.

These special prayer services are now accompanied by music.

Most of the words are the same as boring recitations of old.

To get you in the mood, and save you hours of sleep,

here are a few short videos from recent years.

I was on my way home from the Kotel, the Western Wall,

going through the Old City late at night,

when I heard the beautiful sounds of these selihot.

I had to stop and listen to Chizki Sofer,

and share the beautiful service he led.

Another star is Yitzhak Meir,

who was invited to lead the services at Beit Hanasi,

the Israeli President’s Residence, two years ago.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin got up to participate.

Last year there was a different musical tradition

with Sephardi Chazan Chaim Israel.

Once again President Rivlin sang, this time

 calling for “charity and good deeds.”

The traditional greeting this time of year

גמר חתימה טובה

May all be sealed for a good year

bus sign Yom Kippur

will again be displayed on Jerusalem buses.

Jerusalem before Rosh Hashannah

The week of preparations for Rosh Hashanah in Jerusalem, Israel,

begins with a very late Saturday night.

selichos Jerusalem

Hundreds tried to pack into Ohel Nechama Synagogue

for special musical selichot service at 11:30 pm.

It was too crowded and hot for me,

Jerusalem sehilchos

so I went to the Great Synagogue,

where over a thousand people,

came to hear the Chazan who always draws a large crowd.

western wall prayer

Then on to the Old City and the Kotel, Western Wall,

where groups of men gathered to read the Selihot prayers.

Selihot at western wall

Thousands of people were there.

Remember this is already after 1:00 am,

and people were still arriving as I left.

old city sleichos

But walking through the Rova, the Jewish Quarter,

I heard singing and music.

I followed the sounds to a small synagogue where another

Carlebach-style minyan was going on and on.

There were other large crowds

on the Jerusalem, Israel streets this week,

but you probably did not hear about them.

security

This bus blocked Emek Refaim Street,

Yad2 street fair

for a neighborhood street fair sponsored

 by Yad2, a second-hand selling group.

crowd on Emek Refaim

Huge crowds turned out and the streets were full.

Young and old were able to stroll and shop,

to the music of many different musicians playing along the street.

costumed dancer

A man inside this inflated costume performed all kinds of contortions

as a Klezmer Band played in the background.

child entertianer

This puppeteer had an impressive collection of puppets

and put on a show that involved children in the audience.

entertainer at Yad2 fair

Many street entertainers performed,

two people in costume

it was a colorful event that went on for hours,

but I had to leave.

Muslim man and woman going to Emek REaim street

I was walking over to Hansen House

for a special event.

A much smaller crowd gathered in the courtyard,

of the Old Leper Hospital,

under renovation as a cultural and tech center.

Hansen Hospital courtyard

Six impressive Israeli StartUps presented.

Lishtot, a way to test water quality in two seconds,

won the StartUp Open 2015 competition

of the Global Entrepreneurship Network.

Lishtot will represent Israel in the global contest to be held in November.

And then,

Ols City view during sandstorm

the skies filled with dirt,

with particles too small to be called a sandstorm,

but a miserable haze,

where the Old City Walls were difficult to see.

Hot and dirty air is keeping me off the streets today.

Tower of David

But, before Rosh Hashannah I would rather go

back to photos from earlier in the week to end,

Maillma Mall art work

on a much more pleasant note.

שנה טובה

Happy New Year.

Statue of musicians in Mamilla Mall not enough,

here are links for two short videos

of Old City selihot.

 Chziki Sofer not only sings Carlebach, he sounds like Reb Shlomo.

Erev Yom Kippur

Before Yom Kippur, whether late at night or before dawn,

one can attend special Selichot prayers all around Jerusalem.

It can be difficult to get to the Old City due to the huge numbers of people…

every night and all night long.


During the day, beside the usual crowds at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

there are bus loads of girls on school trips.

 This is a special time for tefilah,

prayer

and zedakah,

charity

and also for many, special Torah study and classes.

As Yom Kippur  begins, all regular traffic stops.

At least for one day a year, the signs,

  “Do not murder” on the road

and “Do not drink and drive” are obeyed.

And to end with a favorite sign, the erev Yom Kippur bus sign…

  Chatimah tovah

may all be sealed for a good year.