Ufruf - the Bridegroom’s Calling to the Torah



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A Calling Up…

By Carol M. Fineblum

“Keep the Windmill as your marker,” our friends and family advised.

So my husband and I crossed Jerusalem’s King David/Emek Refaim Streets against the sparse Sabbath traffic and headed for Yemin Moshe’s Synagogue. Easy enough so far, I thought as I carried the hundred pretty white and blue candy lace packets destined for Rafi’s Ufruf - the bridegroom’s wonderful calling to the Torah - his appearance before G-d to celebrate his rebirth. It was just the day before that my husband, son-in-law and I had excitedly fashioned these sweet bundles as the happy bride, Rebecca, looked on.

Onto the pavement and across to the steps that led down to the quiet, increasingly quiet, neighborhood of Yemin Moshe. The Ufruf candies swung quietly at my side. The emptiness of the streets increased; our attention was fixed to the silence so much that I was distracted from the Jerusalem spiked stone steps digging into my thin-soled Sabbath shoes. And as we descended to the synagogue, we, from noisy Boston, felt at home.

Unlike the streets around the synagogue, the women’s section was crowded. But there was no one there whom I recognized. The men’s section was beyond my sight and with a panicky feeling, I grabbed the candies and exited desperate to find the bridegroom somewhere before the Torah was brought before the congregation. Not able to call my husband, I enlisted the guard outside to find him but soon the unhappy news came; no one answering my husband’s description could be found.

And so I was alone - left to deliver the candies in a seemingly abandoned neighborhood, one that I did not know, one whose lovely, gleaming houses were silent to my search.

And so we, the candies and I, stood on the quietest street I have ever experienced. Each door and gate was bolted shut. The streets sparkled cleanly; not a speck of trash could be seen. The silence was profound. It was the day of rest in Jerusalem.

Someone at the synagogue had suggested that I look in the Sephardic Synagogue. So I quickly reclimbed the many steps to find it. The candies accompanied me as I peeked into the men’s and then women’s sections only to again find no one I knew. Stepping back I watched a lone fly circle me, its wings emitting an audible hum. And then the impossible occurred; I heard steps come from behind and when my eyes searched for a human at my level, I spotted a lone cat whose paws loudly announced its coming. Imagine, so silent it was that I heard a cat walking.

With David’s Citadel before me, I stood transfixed. So this is G-d’s City. And then the realization came- of course, we were not alone.

And now that I am at home stateside, I understand that I was not really lost that lonely Sabbath morning. Even though I had missed my new grandson’s Ufruf, perhaps I had found my own.




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