Is this a Jewish country, or what?

I’m sitting in my new writing corner in my parents’ home, listening to the Shabbat begin. What does that sound like in Jerusalem? Less traffic, a quiet calm as people finish up their preparations, some sounds of kids interacting and, of course, the siren.

Have you all heard the siren that sounds at the time of candle lighting? I assume this happens in all cities in Israel but I definitely know that it happens here in Jerusalem.

The funny/weird/freaky thing is that we use the same siren to announce the descent of missiles (God forbid) as we do to announce the descent of the sun as Shabbat enters. It plays a different “tune” – during an attack the siren goes up and down and when Shabbat comes in it is just one flat note (like when the siren gives the all-clear signal) – but it’s the same one anyway.

I wonder what the story is behind that. Who thought of this and how did it come to be so accepted as a normal part of life here?

This city, Jerusalem, is so unbelievably hectic and loud and rambunctious, it almost makes no sense that right now, at this moment, it’s so calm. So calm, it’s like all week people run and rush and chase and now they say, “OK, good. All’s good.” Just like when God created the world and it says at the end of almost every day, “וירא ה’ כי טוב.” And God saw that it was good.

Very good.

Shabbat Shalom


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