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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sephardic Heritage Trip 2017/5777: Day 5 - Shabbat in Gibraltar

After a fun day of shopping and exploring the streets of Gibraltar, it was time to prepare for Shabbat. Everyone dressed up so nicely and classy to fit the spirit of the city. We made our way to The Great Synagogue of Gibraltar, also known as Kahal Kadosh Sha'ar HaShamayim. It was a beautiful shul with beautiful designs. The next day was a great way to spend Shabbat day. We prayed in Nefutzot Yehudah Synagogue, which is 200 years old! We were all stunned by the way they sang the prayers. They prayed with many western sephardic traditions that we related to. The shul had such intricate designs, it was hard to believe it was so old. The men sang in unison and surprisingly, our student, Aaron Harari, got the first aliyah! Then, Freddy Arazi and Aaron were up at cohanim which was really special and a great privilege for us. The day followed on with an amazing lunch where we discussed our most meaningful memories of the trip and gave Dvrei Torah. After two hours of free time walking around Gibraltar, we made our way to the botanical gardens. There, we saw the most colorful trees and bushes with flowers as well as soothing waterfalls.
While the boys went to pray Mincha, the girls had a nice Seudah Shelishit outside with a salad bar and snack. Shockingly, many guests passed by and our wonderful tour guide Sheila recognized them and introduced us. We made our way to the shul to say havdalah. It was interesting to see the different ways they sang the prayers from the way we know. All the children were so patient for the long prayers which was also beautiful to watch.
After Shabbat finished, we spent our Motzei Shabbat bowling. Everyone got so competitive but we managed to have a great time. We went over to Amar's Cafe and had spectacular pizza and fries. After a peaceful and long day, everyone went to their beds and knocked out. It was definitely the most memorable Shabbat we all had and will never be forgotten.
~Evelyn Turkieh, Class of 2017