Erev Shabbat at Beit Jabad Cusco
I've known about the Beit Jabad (that's Chabad house, for us English-speakers) in Cusco since my first week here, but I haven't had the time or the motivation to pay it a visit, until tonight. When I finished my three-day Apurímac rafting trip this afternoon, some of the Israelis on the trip suggested that I pop in tonight, for an Erev Shabbat shul service and dinner. So, tonight I had my first proper Friday night Jewish experience here in Cusco. The service was beautiful, the food was (kosher yet) delicious, and the company was (all-Israeli yet) friendly.
Having grown up with the Chabad service back home in Sydney is a real godsend. I never before realised just how handy it would be. There are Chabad houses spread out in more places around the world than there are any other types of shul; and no matter which one I go to, wherever it may be, the service is refreshingly and magically familiar for me. They did a beautiful service tonight, with all the songs and tunes that I know and love; and ironically, although I barely understand Hebrew at all, I was able to follow and to join in with the service much more easily than most of the Israelis! :P
For the dinner after the service, I managed to find a nice group of Israeli guys to sit down with (men and women were seated separately), and to schmooze with over dinner. The dinner was a delicious and bountiful array of mainly Israeli cuisine, with lots of salad, fish, rice, and hommus (I think it was vegetarian). It costs s/10; but since I didn't get a chance to pay before Shabbat came in this afternoon (and of course, they can't accept money during Shabbat), I'll have to come back during the week and pay them. Would also be nice to come back again next Shabbat, if I get the chance.