Sunday, August 15, 2010
Ramat Beit Shemesh, First Glance
My husband and I spent Shabbat in Ramat Beit Shemesh at a family Bar Mitzvah. He has relatives there who made aliyah a year ago. I had never been there before, no real occasion to. And when they had invited us to an open house, my father was living with us, and there was no way I could go.
So, when we were invited for a Shabbat Bar Mitzvah now that my father is with my mother in Arizona, it was a great opportunity. I checked out travel options and was very impressed that they have bus service every five- ten minutes from Jerusalem. Even better was the discovery that the bus route coincides with ours for a bit. We got a tremp (ride) from Shiloh to the Shmuel HaNavi junction where's there's a stop, so that's where we took took bus.
From things I had read, I expected to see chareidi ladies in burqas and other odd sights, but basically, it reminded me of a flatter, newer and greener and prettier version of Har Nof. There's a similar mix of chareidi and dati le'umi, mostly English speakers, like Har Nof was when recently built.
We prayed in an English speaking shul, where everything is in English, as if we were in Brooklyn or Monsey. I liked the tinted mechitza window and had a feeling that I had seen Rafi of Life in Israel when peering down. Being an "honorary aunt" of the Bar Mitzvah boy, I had a front seat. So when my husband told me that he had met him, I hoped to see him, too. After Mincha ( I was the only woman in shul) Rafi bravely broke with public protocol and said "hello" to me on the sidewalk. Unlike in Shiloh, men and women only say "Shabbat Shalom" to the same sex even when walking as married couples.
More after my swim etc.