As you may know, today I went off on the Od Avihu Chai March, in memory of Avihu Keinan, who was killed in a badly planned army action, from Shiloh to Jerusalem, with a little riding here and there.
The compromise plan approved by the army was to march from Shiloh until the turn-off the Maale Levona, then be bussed to Waadi Charamiya, from where we'd walk to Ofra. Then from Ofra be driven to the northern entrance of Jerusalem, Pisgat Zeev. It was disappointing to many to be deprived of the right to walk on our own land, but the organizers wanted army approval.
And the army was there in force. They were so forceful that at times they wouldn't even let Jewish Israeli cars drive on the road where we were walking. It was embarrassing, especially when we got to Ofra and saw the major traffic jam that the army had caused for us?!
It was high noon when we got to Waadi Charamiya, so I availed myself on one of the accompanying cars. Our job was to pick up stragglers, generally young kids. We had to go all the way back to the turn-off to Neve Tzuf to turn around, and suddenly the army and police wouldn't let us rejoin the march, since they told us that
"The road is closed to traffic,
since there's a march."
"But we're part of the march," we
tried to explain.
It took us a couple of minutes, but they finally let us back on the road, and we gave kids lifts.
There were double the amount of marchers expected, so the bus had to make two trips. So when we were waiting in Ofra, I went to my daughter and soaked my foot in ice; then I iced my knees. I'm not as young as I was last year. And just like last year, I was the oldest female participating, meaning that whatever I did, I came in first!! There was nobody else in my age bracket.
By the time we met up with the first batch in Jerusalem, they were approaching French Hill. From there we all walked to Beit Orot, which is past the Hebrew University Mt. Scopus Campus. It was a long walk, probably the longest part of the march, at least for me.
At Beit Orot, we ate in their succah, dovened Mincha (prayed the afternoon prayer) and rested. Then Chanan Porat came to speak about the Liberation of Jerusalem.
The sun was setting, and the Moslem prayers were very loud on their electric loudspeakers, so it was hard to hear everything Chanan was saying. Then we started our walk to the Old City and the Kotel.
We didn't get very far when Chanan told us all to stop, explained something and then pointed down the mountain. Suddenly it hit! He expected us to walk down some frightening path, without railing and in the dark.
I turned around and told the neighbor who was "in charge:"
"There's no way I'm going down
He quickly phoned someone who had just taken some of the Keinan family who couldn't walk it, by car, and they quickly came back for me. I still can't believe that I missed the most exciting part of the march and for such an embarrassing reason.
But honestly, I don't think my sore foot could have handled another few kilometers, and my knees would have protested quite violently if I had attempted that mountain path.
So that's it for this year. Let's hope that the Moshiach comes real soon, since the neighbors were talking of marching the whole route next year.
Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom!