Thursday, August 09, 2012

Riga Old Town walls

Saturday started out with a slow bang as we all went to shabbos at the local synagogue. Very interesting from an anthropological standpoint. Deborah had to sit upstairs away from the men. The long-bearded rabbi (who spoke Russian in a brief sermon) stood with his back to us and chanted for an interminable 45 minutes, the congregation also chanting but not in unision – a semi-audible chatoic mumble with an occasional outburst of Amens (?).
City wall abstract

Meanwhile Ran and I thumbed back and forth in the prayer books, which although having English translations, didn’t help us, because we didn’t know where they were reading from in Hebrew. Fascinating...did you know that if you put the (myriad, arcane) ingredients for the holy incense together incorrectly, the Torah advocates being put to death? All made me nervous as a cat, as uncomfortable as I do in any church service but moreso since I was totally lost linguistically.

Fred was invited to join in reading part of the Torah once it was unrolled and brought to the back of the synagogue...the men followed the rabbi and gathered around. Most ranged from 50-80 years old, with a smattering of younger ones and a couple of small boys. Of course no cameras were allowed...the interior was a very light blue, with an almost Egytian gold/maroon decorative motif on pillars and wainscoting.
Rooms where they used to live

Cat house

Old wall, new walls

Cathedral Museum: War and religion

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