by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
In Israel I live in a mixed Jewish religious neighborhood. Mixed doesn’t mean religious and non-religious, it means Sephardi Jews, Mizrachi Jews, Chassidic Jews, Litvish Jews…Jews of every stripe of traditional observance.
How do they handle this? At the corner of the block there are 6 synagogues. Go down the next street and there’s another 4, each a different ‘flavor’.
People are friendly and cordial, but still they don’t generally interact.
On Chol HaMoed, the intermediate holiday days of Passover and Succot, everyone heads out with their family to visit sites all over Israel. Holy sites, hiking sites, shopping sites, museums, shows and events of various types. And when time for Mincha (the afternoon prayer) comes, they find themselves in mixed groups for the afternoon prayer.
Chassidim with big shtreimels are standing next to Sephardim, who are next to Mizrachi with knit kippahs, and a Na Nach, and a guy with a pony tail and kippah, long payos and trimmed payos, beards and clean shaven, and a few guys who pull kippahs out of their pockets just to join for the moment.
We stand together, praying to Hashem together, enjoying the Holy Land together during the holy holiday.
Perhaps the closest taste we get of the time of the Beis HaMikdash and aliyat haregel (traveling to Jerusalem together for the holiday).
Moadim b’Simcha, together.