It’s 5:00 a.m on Shavuot morning and I’m having trouble finding an empty seat at any shul in Jerusalem’s Old City. Every synagogue is already packed as I make the mistake of lingering a few minutes too long at the Kotel amongst the tens of thousands who have made their way there after a night of learning.
After dropping in at three shuls, I finally find a spot on a bench under an outer archway of the women’s section of the tiny synagogue inside the Old Yishuv Court Museum on Or Hahayim Street. After Hallel and the reading of the Ten Commandments, a swift Haftarah reading brings us to the Yizkor memorial prayer. Only a few women are left inside as the young girls who filled the place and have not yet lost parents file out. It’s about the same proportion down at the Kotel -- it seems that at least two thirds of the masses thronging the Kotel plaza are under 30.
Coming barely a week after Jerusalem Day, when similar numbers of mostly young people filled the area to celebrate the reunification of the city, the Shavuot early morning spectacle is another affirmation of the strength of the connection of the people to its roots.
There's more, of course.
It's been a busy week, what with the holiday and a nice few days' visit with my mom and stepfather. My muse appears to be on vacation and so does my motivation for getting my act together and moving this blog to a permanent home. I'm hoping to get back to that next week.