We are spending Shabbos in the center of the universe – Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). We arrived Thursday morning with our two oldest grandchildren, Moshe and Adina for a two week visit – their first. Our journey began Tuesday evening when we drove to Teaneck to accommodate my saying kaddish. I was able to make a 10:45 pm minyan at Bnai Yeshurun. In the morning I made a rather “efficient” 6:15 am minyan also at Bnai Yeshurun so that we could avoid traffic, get some food and get to the airport in time to check in. As it turned out it was a good thing that we drove up because I do not know if a flight early Wednesday morning would have been able to land in New York because of a torrential rain storm.
Our El Al flight to Israel was uneventful – except for my minyan situation. I have never liked to daven in airports and especially not on flights. I particularly do not like the “outside the bathroom” minyan on flights to Israel. Aside from the obviously less than desirable location, the minyan clearly disturbs the flight crew who I am sure are sick and tired of the chareidim insisting on davening in their work space. This time I felt as if I had no choice since I needed a minyan to say kaddish. As things turned this flight only served to increase mu distaste for airplane minyanim. Mincha was a disaster. First, I missed the “main” mincha minyan which of course was not announced. Then a number of other passengers were nice enough to assist in making another minyan for me but this minyan greatly interfered with the flight attendants. I was so uncomfortable that when I returned to my seat I questioned to myself whether I should repeat the same fiasco in order to say kaddish at maariv. As it turned out maariv was uneventful and I even was able to use my IPhone to light a siddur for an elderly chassid. Nonetheless, I have to believe that it is better to miss saying kaddish then to disturb the flight staff and non-religious passengers, make them upset and increase their dislike for religious Jews.
Once in Israel you would think that saying kaddish would be less stressful. Not really. I still need to schedule my day around minyan times. Since we arrived in Jerusalem yesterday at 7:30am I was able to run to the Kotel and catch a shachris minyan. Mincha was also at the Kotel and in the evening we took the kids to the Mechilot Hakotel, the Kotel tunnel tour, and then we made a maariv minyan at the Kotel with the Reiss family from St. Louis with whom we eat dinner and did the tour. This morning I davened shachris at the Churva Synagogue in the Old City. What a beautiful shul and what a nice minyan. I enjoyed it so much that think I will make the Churva my primary shul for shachris on this trip.
After lunch today in Mamila I peeled off to go daven mincha at the Kotel. Tonight we will take the kids to the Kotel to experience Kabbolas Shabbos there and tomorrow we will daven in the Churvah and meet up with the Reiss family again.
Kaddish stress notwithstanding there is no place in the world like Yerushalayim. Shabbat Shalom.