TUESDAY, 16TH JULY
Today is Tisha B'Av a day of fasting for the Jewish people when they remember now only the destruction of the Temple but also all the deaths and tragedies throughout their history. Today's Siddur meditation from Maureena was on God's great love. 'How deeply you have loved us' depicts an intimate approach to God as the Giver of the Torah. A quote from Zeev Yaavetz 'This blessing, preceding the Shema of the morning service, bears the name 'Ahavah' Love. Meditating on it influences holiness and purity in one's heart since it is in essence an expression of absolute love.' Study of Torah is considered a manifestation of love. Words from the Siddur prayer 'O merciful One have mercy on us by making us able to understand and discern, to heed, learn, and teach, and, lovingly to observe, perform, and fulfill all that is in your Torah.' So our study of the Torah commenced.
What a morning with Marcie Lenk who brought us wisdom and knowledge coupled with enthusiasm, humour and fire, on Lamentations & Tisha B'Av followed by Parashet Behar.
The afternoon brought two hours of Hebrew with Sarah Israeli.
WEDNESDAY, 17TH JULY
Today's Siddur prayer with Maureena was about the Shema as a confession of Jewish faith; it is the oldest and most essential part of the liturgy and has been said since Second Temple times so would be a prayer which Jesus would say twice a day. 'Shema, Israel, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad' - 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.' Art Green, the Jewish mystic, says God is just behind a screen, the screen dissolves when we are present to Him, enabling us to step out of this world into the next which is all around us.
After two morning lectures we were due to go off on an excursion 'Sacrifice of a Son' in the afternoon and I was ready to take a taxi to the start point and join in from there. One problem though, I had a swollen face and mouth which meant I needed a visit to a dentist. This was booked by Natalie, the Bat Kol Adminstrator, and a 1.45 we duly arrived at the dentist's. 15 minutes later I had had three X'rays, an injection, a filling removal, input of four capsules of antibiotics into the root canal, a lot of manipulation to remove 'gunk', a temporary filling, a prescription for more antibiotics, and a bill for 300 shekels - ouch to all of it! Didn't feel like the excursion after that so stayed back and did other things.
Good evening with some social time - Mark and Curtis keep us entertained with their guitar playing so we can have singalongs, a glass of vino and some fun times.