Shabbat: A Walking Tour, Dinner, and Drinks

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On Shabbat, we got the morning to ourselves. I used the time to go to the gym and the sauna; both were good but I prefer the latter! There's a special Shabbat elevator in the Inbal that operates by going up and down all of the floors without anyone needing to press any buttons, but it goes very slowly. I accidentally took it down to breakfast, which was a confusing experience.

The Frank Fellows went to the Fuchsberg Center for Conservative Judaism to have a lunch meeting. We discussed what the opportunity to participate in the fellowship meant to us, and what we felt was the most appropriate way to "pay it forward" as a group. While we were talking, I heard a group of teens behind us singing some USY standards. It turned out that they were Nativ participants being housed in the adjacent hostel rooms. Hearing those tunes gave me a wave of California feeling in the middle of Jerusalem.

After lunch, we joined a few of the JCPA members for a walking tour of Jerusalem. No one in our group objected to me taking pictures, so here they are!

The highlight of our tour was a rooftop with a great view of Jerusalem. It was part of a series of rooftops that all the children come to in order to learn to ride their bicycles: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. 

Our tour guide, David Eisenstadt, concluded our tour with a Yehuda Amichai poem:

Tourists by Yehuda Amichai
Visits of condolence is all we get from them.
They squat at the Holocaust Memorial,
They put on grave faces at the Wailing Wall
And they laugh behind heavy curtains
In their hotels.
They have their pictures taken
Together with our famous dead
At Rachel's Tomb and Herzl's Tomb
And on Ammunition Hill.
They weep over our sweet boys
And lust after our tough girls
And hang up their underwear
To dry quickly
In cool, blue bathrooms.

Once I sat on the steps by agate at David's Tower,
I placed my two heavy baskets at my side. A group of tourists
was standing around their guide and I became their target marker. "You see
that man with the baskets? Just right of his head there's an arch
from the Roman period. Just right of his head." "But he's moving, he's moving!"
I said to myself: redemption will come only if their guide tells them,
"You see that arch from the Roman period? It's not important: but next to it,
left and down a bit, there sits a man who's bought fruit and vegetables for his family."
Yes, je suis d'accord, Yehuda. 
We got back to the hotel in time for Havdalah, which felt especially significant in our hotel courtyard in Jerusalem. Afterwards, we went to First Station for dinner. It was originally an old train station, but it's since been restored and converted into a series of restaurants, bars, and shops. 
Dinner was excellent, and afterwards we went with our Israeli tour guide Tamar, our group leader Andi, and some of the Frank Fellows to a different part of town for drinks. We chose the first bar because we were promised free shots with a round of drinks, but the bartender had so much trouble making a vodka-tonic that the benefit was basically canceled out. We did get a hookah, though, which was great. I also met up with my cousin Racheli and her husband Dror!

It started to rain, and we went to one last bar, followed by one last falafel stand, before taking a cab back to the hotel. We were up early the next morning for the last day of our trip!

Marina Gafni

Marina Gafni is a 28-year-old speech pathology student. She lives with her husband in San Jose, CA.


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