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Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Israel Diary - Monday

On Monday, I decided to head over to the Israel Museum, which isn't too far from where I was staying. It was a gorgeous day, as was the entire week I was there. (And according to a friend last night, I actually got tan! Not bad for January.) I headed up the hill towards the Israel Museum, passing the Gan Sachar playing fields and the Kenesset on the way over. After entering the museum, I took a stroll through the sculpture garden. It really was beautiful, for the sculptures it featured, for it's beautiful view of the city behind it and for the landscaping around it. After the sculpture garden, I wandered inside to see the archaeological and Jewish history exhibits. The archaeologist's exhibit I found fascinating because I love seeing the artifacts and bits and pieces left over from a time long gone. The beauty with which people put into their handiwork, the painstaking care that must have taken so much time, is really just beautiful. While walking through the more recent Jewish history area, I was struck by both the similarities and differences in the different ritual pieces from over the years and the different areas of the world. They had beautiful exhibits showing the different clothing and ritual objects that people all over the world have used for the last couple centuries. They had moved a shul from Germany into the museum. As I walked in, I was struck by the feeling of spirituality that emanated from the walls. I could feel the last few generations of people davening there and it really touched me. After the museum, I met up with the friend I was staying with and we decided to take a stroll through Meah Shearim and Geulah. I always enjoy it because it is so drastically different from my regular experiences, I often feel I have stepped into another century based on how people are dressed, but it is quite anachronistic when someone with long, curly payos and short pants takes out his advanced cell phone. We walked through, stopping in some shops, taking our time to stroll through the religious neighborhoods. We meandered our way down, and while the sun was setting, walking into the Old City. We just took a few minutes in the Old City, shopping around a bit, looking for a non-kosher tallis for my co-worker (didn't find that one). We then headed to Ben Yehuda, where we bargained with one of the shop owners for some souvenirs. The shop owner gave me too much change, and when I pointed it out, he gave me an even better deal on a challah board I wanted to purchase. After shopping, we met my friend's husband for dinner at Cafe Rimon, a nostalgic restaurant for me. We had a nice dinner, and then while my friends went to a shiur, I headed back away from town, taking a pretty stroll to end the day. "Only in Israel" story of the day - While walking back home, a man stopped to ask me directions in Hebrew (I still can't figure out why it happened so much, I felt like it was obvious that I was American). When I explained to him that I didn't speak Hebrew, he pointed to me and then himself and said to me, "Shidduch?" I was a bit startled. He then asked me for my phone number, which I declined to give him. We parted ways, and I returned to my friend's apartment to relax at the end of the day.

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