Lesson #144: Shabbat in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv

I started in Jerusalem — well, Ramallah, today and headed back to Tel Aviv by way of Jerusalem. The streets, which were full of people when I left yesterday, were completely deserted. There were only two or three cars on the road and the only people we saw (we being me and my French friend who is living in Ramallah) were families on their way home from synagogue. My friend in Jerusalem had warned me that everything shuts down for the Sabbath, but I didn’t think she meant everything. Now, I know that Jerusalem is considered the religious centre of Israel, but surely there are some non-Sabbath observant Jews. Given that, I was actually quite surprised when I got to Tel Aviv that everything and everything was bustling. Then again, it is a more diverse city, ethnically and religiously. My host and his wife — he’s Jewish, she’s not — picked me up from the bus station (though really, we got a shared taxi since there’s no public transport from sundown to sundown) and immediately whisked me off to a late night beach bonfire party. It was *great* fun!

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