My companions and I separated for Shabbat. Steven was interested in going to the Kotel for services, I was not. And then I had all the problems of the day, particularly the wet phone. So I decided to go to a nearby synagogue—one I could walk to. It is Yedidya, and is similar to Beth Israel in
There was no rabbi and the service was led by a young man whose suffered from a common problem of youth—mumbling and speed. And yet, I found I could follow and the congregation took up melodies or silence in a comfortable rhythm that was incredibly moving and powerful. Unlike in
After services, I headed back to the apartment. I was a bit disappointed that no one had asked me for dinner, but there hadn’t really been a way to communicate my desire. And, as it turned out, I was happy to be alone and quiet.
The next morning, with a phone still only working intermittently, I decided that I should take my cue and not try to go into the city by cab. Besides, I wanted to see what a Torah reading at Yedidya would be like. Services in
During announcements, one woman said that if we wanted to be hosted for Kiddush lunch, we should see her following the service. There was ample food below, but I wanted company, and so talked with her. Her name was Linda and she knew the Bay Area and Stuart Kelman, who had hosted her. And she found me a couple who were looking to fill their lunch table, a short, round couple (Esther and Steven) a bit older than me, who were as gracious as could be. Esther went off to set the table; I found people to converse with. When Linda came back, I asked for her full name to pass onto Stuart. “Linda Gradstein” she said. My expression must have shown that I was trying to remember why the name was familiar, so she added “from NPR, but that’s my other life.” Yeah, so I had a long conversation with the
Lunch was amazing—Esther and Steven had been married only five years, second marriage for both and they were a pleasant, contented couple. Along with me, there were two young women from Birthright, and a man who lived in
Towards evening, I went to tea with a Servas family. While that was nice, there is little more to say about the day—I went, we talked, and I returned to get ready to leave for Tel Aviv the next day.