Friday, April 20, 2007

Pre-Shabbat Shuk Shopping

"The Shuk," Jerusalem's huge outdoors market, is where all the action is on Friday mornings as anyone concerned with feeding themselves, family and guests for the 26-hour marathon of feasting, drinking, singing, praying, napping and more feasting that is Shabbat in the Holy City, must find themselves deep within the myriads of maze-like streets, side-streets, corners and kiosks in complete "Hunter/Gatherer" mode.

Hundreds of stalls with fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, pastries, bread, meat, chicken, fish, olives, pickleded everything, spices, salads, cheeses and everything anyone could ever want or need are jammed together and thousands of Jerusalemites struggle to complete all their purchases while their way through the crowds of thousands of other people, each of whom is doing the exact same thing. Colorful, fragrant (or, politely put, pungent, depending on the temperature and location), crowded, close, noisy, Shuk shopping success depends on maintaining a kind of Zen-like serenity balanced with a precision-edged focus on the ultimate goal: getting the best quality of whatever you need at the best possible price as quickly as possible. Get in, get what you need, get out, get home. The race is on: everything has to be purchased, prepared, properly stored and made ready for THE MAIN EVENT - Sundown Friday night, when the weekly command to rest and remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy commences.
Shabbat Shalom, everybody, both near and far. May we each have rest, peace and renewal.

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