Dear Na’aleh Parents,
I had the pleasure of spending another Shabbat with Na’aleh in Jerusalem. They have so much spirit and curiousity- despite the fact that we are still coping with the (hopefully) tail end of the virus that struck us last week. As always, one of the most moving parts of a Na’aleh shabbat is the “tisch” after Erev Shabbat dinner. The hostel we are staying in features a beautiful rooftop situated only a few hundred meters from the Tower of David. With that as our background we sang beautifully and shared personal highlights of the week.
On Shabbat afternoon, we enjoyed a one-woman performance- an actress who seemed to move effortlessly from the role of ultra-Orthodox woman, left and right wing stereotypes, a very savvy Palestinian woman and finally herself- an Australian immigrant with two sons in the Army sharing the dilemmas of all those Israelis who yearn for both peace and security.
The first presentation was done “blind” and very provocatively before she revealed her many identities. Nevertheless, even the other roles succeeded in generating questions and challenges, which of course was the point of the program.
Following “Parsha Players’ (which this time focused on making fun of me!), we concluded Shabbat and then held a reading of Eicha (Lamentations) together with a beautiful ceremony just beneath the walls of the Old City. After that, we gave the group the option of walking with us to the Kotel, expecting only a few hardy volunteers. Instead the entire group joined and we were able to join tens of thousands of pilgrims who congregated in the Old City from all over the country (and all over the world). Walking through the alleys of the Jewish Quarter, the group began singing spontaneously, and I was able to make a short video before my iPhone filled up. Click here to watch— it really helps give a sense of the ambience that makes Yavneh–and Na’aleh– so special.
This is our final week, and it will be a busy one. Right after dark tonight we will be gathering all of the Keshet youth groups together for an outdoor breakfast and then a concert. Tomorrow we will be participating in an archaeological salvage dig on the Mt. of Olives, and then departing for the Etzion Bloc where we will be meeting a group of Palestinians and settlers who have joined together to establish a dialogue group focusing on non-violence. Later in the week, we will be in Masada and then continue to Tel Aviv for our last Shabbat.
Just a final word–Thanks to this summer’s bus staff: Yaakov, Adi, Yossi and Maya
With best regards to all of you!