Sunday, December 01, 2013

A new "Only in Israel" Story

(Too good to save for Independence Day)


Just a fast "only in Israel" story for you.


Friends of ours just got married and spent part of the honeymoon in Safed, the city of kabbalah and mysteicism.  There they wanted to join in one of the local synagogue congregations for prayers that were devotes of Shlomo Carlebach.  For those not familiar with him, Carlebach was a singing "hippy" rabbi in the US active in the 60s and 70s, who composed some beautiful melodies for prayers and religious songs.  (I met him a number of times in the 60s when he came through Philadelphia.)   His songs are popular among Jews all over the world, but there are some congregations that see themselves as special followers of Carlebach and sing as many prayers as possible using his melodies.  You can hear many of these on Youtube, including Carlebach Yom Kippur services.


Our problem was to find the Carlebach synagogue in Safed.  As it turns out, there are five Carlebach congregations, two main ones, just in Safed.  At the hotel we asked the doorman to show us on the map where the main congregations were.  He sat with us patiently at length, explaining the pluses and minuses of each congregation, one closer but the further one has some charms the closer one does not, and marking the map to let us know the best way to get to each.  The doorman seemed to know everything there was to know about the local Carlebach congregations.


The doorman in question is an Arab whose first name is Jihad.




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