This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for November 22nd, 2009

Yeshiva at Night

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 22, 2009

Merkaz haRav, Jerusalem

Handheld, ISO 400, f/4.5, 37mm (35mm equivalent – 60mm), 1/5  sec. Taken from the sidewalk across the street.

Merkaz haRav Kook Yeshiva in Kiryat Moshe, Jerusalem, is one of the largest and best-known Religious Zionist yeshivas in the city.

This yeshiva is a boys’ high school and men’s post-secondary  institute for Jewish studies. I often pass it when I’m in Jerusalem. In the yeshiva world, it is customary for pairs of students (called a chevruta) to study together aloud. A pair of students is visible in the second floor window of the beit midrash (Hebrew: study hall), tipping their “shtenders” (Yiddish: book stands) so that they can read the texts easily.

Merkaz was the site of a terrible terrorist attack in March, 2008, in which 5 boys (students at the high school) and 3 men were shot and killed by an Arab driver who had worked for the yeshiva. Eleven others were wounded, five in serious condition.  The Jerusalem Post has the story. Israel National News has photos and details but be warned: these are pretty graphic.

I was pretty shaken up by the event because my son is the same age and studies in a large, well-known Religious Zionist yeshiva in Jerusalem. Some of his friends go to this school but, thank heavens, they were at the Western Wall at the time and hadn’t yet returned (these are dormitory schools, so the boys sleep there during the week). A friend who lives around the corner heard the whole thing. Had it been the night before our regularly scheduled photography class, I would have been there, too. It was quite a while before I could pass the yeshiva without thinking about the attack.

I had a photography class (not my regular one) the following morning in Machane Yehuda, in the center of Jerusalem. We were a pretty subdued bunch. After the class, I waited on Yaffo street at Davidka Square for a bus home. The police started blocking traffic and clearing the street. The funeral cortège bearing some of the victims for burial on Har haZeitim (Mount of Olives) passed by, followed by busloads of mourners. Everyone at the intersection was very quiet.

This photo shows that life has (almost) returned to normal at the yeshiva except, of course, for the families and friends of the victims.

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