Shabbat in Jerusalem demanded attention, the lively concert at the Aish Center with the dynamite Ricka Ravel; the lighting of Shabbat candles surrounded by 100s of Momentum moms; the long walk to the Kotel through Jerusalem’s winding streets; and lunch with a family that exuded both holiness and a sense of cool.
Still, what stood out most was the chance before sunset on Friday evening to quietly visit The Wall—what remains of Solomon’s Temple.
I stand in line, and the courtyard in front of the Kotel is crowded: Haredi push baby carriages, beautiful young IDF officers hold guns that don’t seem to weigh down their slim shoulders, groups of Birthright students buzz together, and the “moms” of Momentum are filled with palpable joy.
I get to the front and approach: I leave small notes of prayer and notice the piles of folded wishes on the ground. I am surprised by how the Jerusalem stone feels hot to the touch, not as expected, alive with the hopes of the Jews who have made the pilgrimage to this moment and those who hope to one day. Or perhaps hot with the pure aliveness of the Jewish people at home. I feel overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. 2022 in Jerusalem, finally.
Paramus, NJ – Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey