I went to the Old City today via the New Gate and the Christian Quarter after leaving Mea Shearim (which will be discussed later). Besides an interesting exchange with some Arab shopkeeps right inside Jaffa Gate (whom I wasn't even trying to patronize), and people asking for tzedeka for weddings and such, it was pretty uneventful. Except for something absolutely amazing, that is! I went to the Kotel and didn't realize that it was the annual swearing-in ceremony for the soldiers in front of the Western Wall. It was absolutely beautiful. There was a lot of pomp-and-circumstance, but also a lot of sorrow for those lost. They lit a cauldron for those lost and had a moment of silence. However, the Israelis around me chose to keep talking even then. There was a part when they recited a pledge and aftewards each division yelled out "ANI NISHBA! ANI NISHBA! ANI NISHBA!" ("I swear! I swear! I swear!"). They also received a gun and a siddur/bible (I'm not sure which). One of the most beautiful sights ever is the immense pride and awe people have for soldiers in Israel (such as a pizza guy saying Chamesh Shekel Bishvil Chayalim! 5 shekels for soldiers). But parents and families are so proud of their children and the new soldiers seem so happy (now at least).
Now for a little Yiddish:
Heint in ovent bin ich gegangen kein Mea Shearim tzu koyfen Seforim. hob ich gekoyft seforim un ich hob geraydt mitn farkoyfer en Yiddish. 'Siz geven a sach interesant.
Tonight I went to Mea Shearim to buy holy books. I bought books and I spoke to the seller in Yiddish. It was interesting.
That's it for now. Thursday night, time to party.