February 18, 2008
Shabbos Two: Avi's Bar Mitzvah at OU Center - Israel Trip 2008
I skipped Friday from Thursday, because nothing really significant happened Friday day. Now, although Avi was officially Bar Mitzvah'ed on Thursday, Shabbos (Friday night and Saturday) was a continuation of that celebration.
The plan was for many of us to meet at the kotel and pray Shabbos night services there. Many of us took taxi's prior to Shabbos beginning and got there early to prepare for services. When we arrived, we secured a place to pray in about the same location as on Thursday. As more people came, we decided to start. If I remember correctly, Avi lead services for both afternoon and evening services.
The thing is, soon after we started two new groups formed in front and behind us. The ones behind us were a Carlebach group, extremely loud. Then in front of us was a "mission" from the US. Great cause, they basically take a group of children who are ill, to Israel for a week or so, to experience it. So that group, although very nice, was a bit loud, as you can imagine. It was almost impossible to hear Avi lead us, but we managed.
After services, we walked back to the area of our hotels. It was about 20 - 30 minutes to walk, but it was a bit hilly. My sister and brother-in-law reserved the OU Center in Jerusalem for the shabbos meals. They had a caterer and more at this place, and it turned out very nice. They hosted meals for Friday night, Saturday day and Saturday night. Shabbos morning, we held services at the OU Center, where Avi read the whole Parsha Trumah, as opposed to just the first Aliyah, which is done during the weekday. He read perfectly and he wasn't nervous. When I did that, I was extremely nervous. Yes, he was only in front of 30 or so close friends and family, while I was in front of hundreds who were looking for me to make mistakes - but still, impressive for a 13 year-old.
My wife wasn't feeling well, so after the meal, we went back to our hotel and tried to sleep a bit. Then came back to the OU center for the third-meal. After that, we were pretty much done with Israel. It was time to go back to the airport to catch our flight to Newark. More on that later...