This was the day I was waiting for — Shabbat in Jerusalem.
In the early afternoon, several of us went to Machane Yehuda shuk, where I repeatedly got lost — it was so crowded, I couldn’t see my friends 10 feet in front of me.
Everyone — everyone — was preparing for Shabbat. It reminded me of the supermarket on the eve of a snowstorm, when people load up on staples.
But this was people buying pastries, wine, nuts, tea, produce, and challah — loaves of Challah piled several feet high. Someone in our group remarked the Israelis were choosing Challah like we do cantaloupes — they pick them up, they squeeze them, they rap on them and listen for the hollow sound, they smell them. I’m not sure what makes a loaf ideal, but people seemed to know what they wanted.
And while the market was crazy busy (especially in the Marzipan stall, where I scored chocolate rugelach), it was just hours from being completely shuttered. Shabbat is coming.
There was a lovely concert with folk musicians as we waited for the sun to set — we lit Shabbat candles, and I thought of how grateful I was to be there.
I am not sure what I was expecting when I went to the Kotel, but dancing with 600 women was exhilarating. I truly felt their joy and was glad for the chance to welcome Shabbat with them.
Pozez JCC / The JFGW