Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Simchat Torah this year we were invited to stay at friends of ours in a different part of Jerusalem (Ramat Eshkol). We went to do hakafot at Ohr Samayach since we both know people there. But after like an hour or so it got boring, so we decided to go shul hopping. We went thru a few random shuls nearby, but nothing too exciting. We walked into Geulah, checked out the Mir Yeshiva (not very exciting, it was only Israels there since it was the first night of Chag-only night of Chag). Then we went into the shul of the Slonim Chassidim. I didnt want to go since I wasnt dressed the part, and wasnt in the mood for all the dirty looks and quick Yiddish talk as I walked by. But we went anyway, and I was pleasantly surprised. Slonim Chassidim are very nice people. There most have been over 5,000 guys dancing. I cant find the words to describe it. The Bet Knesset was enormous, and they had what at first looked like hundreds of little circles of people dancing. When we joined in, we realized it was all one big chain of people, but instead of going in a circle they went in and out and around so every inch of ground was covered. It took around 25 minutes to get back to where we started. The whole time they sang ne tune, no words, just a repetitive tune with like seven notes. Over and over and over again. We left after one circle and went home to eat. In the morning we hopped around a bit more and ended up there again. This time we bumped into a Rabbi my friend knows. He said they had finished the Hakufes at night around midnight (we were there at like 8) and they usually finish in the day at around 4PM. In order that everyone can get an aliyah tothe Torah there, during dancing they have a Torah open downstairs and everyone stands in line and gets called up one by one. It was the most organized aliyah factory ever! While we were waiting, the Rabbi brought us cups of cold chocolate milk. Turns out, they take a regular sink with six or seven spouts used for washing, and hook it up to a giant vat of chocolate milk!! Then we danced there for a bit (another tune, not as good as the night one) and went shul hopping some more. But nothing matched up to the warmth, and spirit of Slonim.


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