OK, enough philosophizing--on to the event itself. The Goldman Promenade is on the edge of the desert, just outside the city, which arrays itself in full splendor across the valley. We looked out over the entire old city as the sky filled with light, the first rays of rich orange sunlight gleaming off the pure gold Dome of the Rock and then illuminating the full landscape of Jerusalem stone. Hundreds of people had the same idea, so the place was mobbed. We went to join a Jewish renewal group, which greeted the sunrise with tamborines and fiddles and wonderful chanting. There were also more traditional groups, who had set up their own mechitzas, and many individuals, wandering around, davenning, or just taking in the spectacle. I wore my beautiful new fleece tallit, which Shira Kronenberg made for me. It was perfect for the occasion--warm, comfortable, and decorated with the four elements, in keeping with this unique celebration.
On the long walk home, I watched as the day began to unfold for Jerusalemites. Some were scurrying to do their last minute Pesach shopping and cleaning. Others were getting in cars, vans and buses to travel to family for the holy day. And all around town, children were lighting bonfires in the streets and parking lots, in order to burn their families' remaining chametz (bread products, forbidden during Passover.) Some things transcend all cultures: whether secular or ultra-Orthodox, boys love making fires and burning things.
Just before coming back to my guest house for a long nap (since seder will start late and go long) I stopped at the "Super-Pharm" in the bus station shopping mall. Two young male soldiers were in line in front of me, in uniform with their M-16s hung around their necks, as is the custom here. The first was buying about five huge packs of diapers. The second purchased three packs of condoms. I wished them both Chag Sameach--a happy Pesach (though I suspect each will experience a different kind of happiness!)
And so with that, Chag Sameach--a joyous Pesach to all, from the City of Gold. Next--no, make that this--year in Jerusalem.