I write as we begin to get ready for our second Shabbos in Yerushalayim with our two oldest grandchildren Moshe and Adina. It has been a whirlwind week to say the least, in general, and from a saying kaddish point of view, as well.
Monday started off as a bit of a disaster. We were scheduled for a tour of Ir Dovid at 9:30 am so I decided to daven at the Kotel with Moshe and then go straight to Shaar Haashpot to meet the guide. Unfortunately and highly unusual for me, I overslept. We came late and waited for a minyan to form. That took longer than I would have liked and then the chazzan was clearly not under the same time pressure that I was. I ended up rushing to finish davening to make the tour. In the process I missed kaddish since, in most places in Israel, kaddish is said only at the end of the davening and I had to leave before the minyan finished. Can you imagine – missing kaddish in Jerusalem and at the Kotel no less! It was very unexpected and quite upsetting. Things, however, were about to get worse.
Just as we got to the tour assembly location Adina called to say that my wife had fallen in the Rova. Her arm was injured and she needed my assistance ASAP. To make a long story short, I put the kids on the tour and Marilyn and I went to the hospital were she was diagnosed with a broken wrist and put in a cast. Marilyn did not let the broken wrist slow her down, however, and sling and cast notwithstanding she resumed our hectic trip schedule in the afternoon.
Monday evening I tried to daven mincha near our apartment in a small shul/minyan factory on Yoel Solomon Street.
Unfortunately, I arrived as the first minyan finished and after waiting twenty minutes for another minyan to form had to leave and walk to Geula where I found another “hole in the wall” minyan factory where I davened. I then went to meet everyone for dinner. Maariv was at the Kotel after the sound and light show at Migdal Dovid.
Tuesday morning we were leaving early for a three day trip up north. I davened at a 6 am minyan at Yeshurun on King George Street. It was very efficient and taught me a lesson about reciting kaddish in Israel. Practically every minyan/shul in Israel has a different nusach and includes parishioners of different types, e.g., Ashkenaz, Sefard, Edot Hamizrach etc. When it comes to when to say and how (what nusach (version)) to say kaddish every minyan is different. Yeshurun follows a basic Ashekenaz nusach but has Spehardic Jews who daven at the minyan. When it comes to kaddish Sephardic Jews recite a different longer version of kaddish. To avoid complication, at Yeshurun those who say a non-Sephardic kaddish wait silently as various points in the kaddish to allow the Sephardim to say their additional words and phrases and then all rejoin in a joint recitation. I am now employing this approach when saying kaddish in a Sephardic minyan instead of trying to recite the Sephardic kaddish.
At 8 am our guide and friend of many years, Gershon Rechtman, picked us up to begin our three day trip to the Galil and the Golan. Our plan and hope was to give the kids not only a fun trip but more importantly an educational and emotional experience – one that would install in them a love of the Land of Israel and the State of Israel. We planned a very jammed packed three days and, of course, our plans required consideration and planning for finding minyanim wherever we would be. As luck would have it we were generally able to daven at a close-by Charadi resort on the Kinneret which although did not generally follow its announced minyan schedule did nonetheless have minyanim which we were able to make. I really lucked out when we learned that they had a Vasikin minyan at 5:30 am which enabled us to keep our “start early end late” touring schedule on Wednesday.
On Thursday morning Shachris was a challenge because we left the hotel at 4 am (yes that’s right) to travel to Afula where we were taking off at 5 am on a hot air balloon ride over the Galil. Once again Chabad was the answer. The Chabad shul in central Afula is a minyan factory. After the conclusion of our balloon ride we drove to the center of the city and davened at Chabad – all without missing a beat. The shul was interesting. Our minyan began in an outdoor venue and then moved indoors when the earlier minyan concluded. Hanging on bulletin board in the shul were plans for the third beis hamikdash!
Upon our return to Jerusalem it was back to the minyan factories. Mincha on Yoel Solomon and maariv in Geula. All in all a lot of walking!
In discussing our daily plans, Adina commented how I am “always” talking about when and where I am going to find a minyan! The life of an avael – even in Jerusalem.
Wishing all a wonderful Shabbos from the center of the universe – Yerushalayim.