Dozens Stranded on Highway Before Shabbat Are Hosted in Adam
This Shabbat, dozens of Jewish families were stranded in a traffic jam as Shabbat came in and were hosted in the town of Adam (Geva Binyamin).
The traffic jam was caused by an accident between an Israeli and Palestinian car between the Hizme and Adam junctions, northeast of Jerusalem. Several Jews and Arabs were injured in the accident, which occurred at 6 PM on Friday evening, and police forces arrived on the scene soon afterwards.
By 7 PM, when Shabbat was coming in, traffic was at a near standstill, catching many drivers on their way home before sundown. As driving on the Shabbat is forbidden by Torah law, many Jewish drivers parked their cars on the side of the road, took their belongings, and walked, some of them more than a kilometer, until they reached the Jewish town of Adam. Some even continued to the towns of Pesagot and Kochav Yaakov, which are several kilometers further down the road.
The first small groups arrived on foot as the Jews of Adam were beginning their Friday night prayers in the synagogue. "There was a giant traffic jam on the road," said the walkers, breathless. "The sun was setting. We realized we weren't going to make it," they explained, setting down their backpacks and belongings.
The word spread like wildfire. Once the townspeople understood the situation, they mobilized immediately, sending several runners to help the stragglers enter the town, alerting the security apparatus, and quickly allocating stranded families to the Adam residents for Shabbat meals and places to sleep.
Michael, from the town of Maaleh Michmash, and his 14-year-old daughter were among those stranded.
"We were coming back from Jerusalem quite late but we thought we had plenty of time to make it back home," Michael explained to Israel National News, "but suddenly we found ourselves in this huge traffic jam, and at some point it became clear that we were going to have to get out and walk." Michael parked his car on the side of the road, and along with another group of ten Jews, walked with his daughter along the margin until he reached the town on foot.
Not one family was left without a host, meals, or a house in which to lodge. "It was wonderful," said Michael. "The people of Adam were so hospitable. Even though the experience of being stuck on the road was totally new to me, and quite surreal, our hosts soon made us feel right at home."
One of the parked vehicles was reportedly stolen on Friday night. Later that night, police forces towed the rest of the 11 cars into the town of Adam, to prevent further vandalism, theft, or safety risks. According to another report, Druse residents of the town of Adam helped in the towing effort.
Most of the stranded managed to call their families before Shabbat came in, to notify them that they were okay and to prevent unnecessary worry. Adam security officers notified the security teams of other towns, for those who were not able to get the word out in time, to prevent unnecessary searches.
"This was a truly beautiful experience," said one of the Adam hosts. "On the one hand, you have Jews who refused to break the Shabbat and got out and walked, and on the other, you have a great case of 'hachnasat orchim', the Jewish mitzvah of hospitality. It was amazing to watch."