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Travel: Paris-Yom Kippur Oct 9th/2019

Place : Paris - Yom Kippur Day

Date: Oct' 9th 2019

There is nothing like a good walk for cleansing the soul and much more so on the holiest of days - Yom kippur- Atonement Day

So the long walk we took from the Monge area (were we rent on the Left Bank) toward Montparnasse (14th district), led us incidentally, by the largest Paris prison, where the importance of our freedom, free will and freedom to choose were heightened, and then by the old hospital were we felt blessed for being alive and healthy, and then by the iconic Closery des Lilas restaurant where we enjoyed dinning at, on previous occasions , and where we were reminded of how lucky we have been to have plenty of food we can afford and enjoy.

This Prison of the Health operating since from 1867, and located in the east of the Montparnasse, is one of the most infamous prisons in France, with both VIP and high security wings. The prison is located on the site of a former coal market and replaced the Madelonnettes Convent in the 3rd district, which had been used as a prison since the French Revolution.

Hospital Complex de L'hotel de Chalabre rue de Sante east

since 1836 started as a hospice

Closery des Lilas restaurant 171, boulevard du Montparnasse

A known establishment, one of the cafés of artists and intellectuals (nicknamed "Montparnos") who were attracted to it since 1860, and had peppered the life of Montparnasse. It was the meeting place of the "uncompromising", a group of painters including Bazille, Renoir , Monet and Sisley, soon joined by Pissarro, who will become the Impressionists. Also Émile Zola , Paul Cézanne , Theophile Gautier , Charles Baudelaire and the brothers Jules and Edmond de Goncourt as well as the americans: Ernest Hemingway , Francis Scott Fitzgerald and Henry Miller ... were regular visitors and made Montparnasse and the restaurant famous.

As it was a beautiful sunny perfect day to stroll leisurely in the outdoors our walk "dessert" was through the majestic

Jardin de Luxembourg - the famous royal garden, of gravel, lawn trees and flowers as well as populated with statues and large basins of water.

Originally built (1615–1645) as the royal residence of the regent Marie de' Medici, mother of King Louis XIII. Refurbished and changing functions few times, since 1958 it has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic

Sabrina - our rental landlord

Sabrina - our rental landlord a dynamic media marketing professional, as well as a Documentary films' producer, a 50 years old childless divorcee, was kind to invite us to accompany her to her parents orthodox Synagogue, for the Neila prayer, at the end of Yom Kipur.

Synagogue Vauquelin of the Latin quarter - 9 Rue Vauquelin,

The Synagogue is part of a Rabbinical School compound, which trains and ordains Rabbies of all the denominations in France.

Vauquelin (as the street's name) is considered the direct heir of the first Parisian Jewish community, the oldest in Paris, established on the left bank in the 4th century, under the Emperor Julian II. Probably a few families, installed, not far from the baths or of the imperial palace, by the current museum of Cluny, and this small group became a stump for the community which has grown up and flourished since then

We were glad to join and encounter the local community who was running 2 separate services, one for Ashkenazim and the other for Sefaradi, in 4 spaces on the compound's location.

The compound was mobbed with the larger sefaradi presence, and children of both sects were running between the 2 service's styles and between the women and men separated by the mechitza.

Although Sabrina’s parents usually attend the Sefaradi services and her father has one of the best sit at the main synagogue hall, there was no sitting space for the 3 of us women, at the sefaradi women main hall section, neither was and room at the portable - sukkah like structure one, added in the courtyard, specially for the holiday.

Thus we joined the Ashkenazi prayer service, at one of the study halls

where we could find seats. Throughout the one hour toward the end of services, more and more members kept filling the room standing, until the service ended with the blessings to the New Years and members' kissing on both cheeks, in the traditional French greeting..

In the prior day Sabrina had warned us to be vigilant of our surroundings, as antisemitism hostility is on the rise, not only from the Muslim of the near by mosque and residential neighborhood, but also by the old traditional catholic hate.

She shared that she had experienced it in her own building, in which one of the neighbors would not communicate with her because of her being Jewish, and would not accept her insistence on marking her mailbox by a number (13) instead of putting her name, so her her recognizable Jewish family name - Ovadia, wouldn't be flashed out as to attract possible hostility.

Getting to the restaurant we booked off Champ Elisee , at the end of

Yom kippur was a challenging ordeal in itself.

Once riding the bus over to the Right Bank, we discovered in the aftermath, that it was a very bad idea. Since the oct 3rd shooting at the Left bank police headquarters, the “talented “ authorities left only 2 bridges open to cross the rive for public transportation due to security concerns . That decision invoked by an inefficient prolonged investigation of the incidence which left 4 police staff dead, caused road diversions from the regular bus' routes, thus the traffic jam created made an half an hour bus ride with open bridge, an hour and a half diversion and heavy load of traffic,

However the excellent dinner, at this elegant hotel restaurant and which I all heartedly recommend, was worth the trouble

Hotel Vernet - 25 rue Vernet (off Champs Elise) 33 144 31 98 93

To be continued...


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