Memories: Shabbat in Israel

9 years ago Leighest 0

By Carly Meisel

San Simon Park in Jerusalem, Israel on a Saturday afternoon

After a calming morning service at a nearby shul, my friend and I walked the Jerusalem streets. We went to a park and unexpectedly came across a haven of sorts, one that held the most picturesque Shabbat scene I had ever witnessed. The park on this Saturday afternoon was nothing short of inspiring; it seemed that every one of the dozens of people there were experiencing Shabbat to its absolute fullest.

At the sound of unrestricted and almost heavenly singing, we looked up in time to see the flock of brightly colored birds flash across the sky. A group of seven? eight? young siblings skipped and tumbled in the lush grass of the expansive park, each dressed in a coordinated set of striped skirts and shirts: the little boys uncaring of their tzit tzit becoming stained in the grass, the little girls fully conscious of maintaining the shiny new look of their Shabbos shoes.

A new couple illustrated a beautifully natural contrast to the parents of the matching, striped group of children: they checked on their newborn every few steps, unnecessarily fidgeting with the straps of the already mega-safe and brand new stroller. The parents of the striped family lounged on the huge blanket they had brought to share with another family; the two sets of tired parents laughed and relaxed, checking on their children by glancing every once in a while to ensure they were all within eyesight, trusting the safety of the park filled with other families.

The group of American young adults, who recently made aliyah, lay squashed on their too-small blanket in the sun, soaking in every ray. A little boy runs at full force into his dad’s waiting arms which, as if it’s a step in a dance that’s been practiced a million times, lift his boy into the sky. The boy throws his head back and giggles hysterically, his eyes locked in admiration on his father.

The park filled up by midday, every piece of grass covered with picnic blankets. The Shabbos feeling was as alive, and beautiful as ever.