Today is Shabbat (Sabbath), which officially began at sunset last night. The hotel was filled with people who came out to celebrate. The celebration begins with a candle-lighting ceremony; there was a tray of votive candles set out, with matches.

Women, young and old, singly and in small groups, came in, lit a candle, and covered their eyes to silently recite a blessing and pray personal prayers.

Several of us felt privileged to do the same, and we felt very privileged to be able to say we are sanctified by the blood of His Son, rather than “by His commandments”.

Our guide, Ohri, led us through the ritual of reciting blessings and breaking bread. We also could observe several family groups in the dining room as they recited the blessings and sang songs. We’re so glad we have another Shabbat in the Holy Land to look forward to!

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