Video: Holiday Bustle in Meah She'arim
US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and his wife Julie Fisher on Tuesday accepted an invitation from Hareidi "Consul", Rabbi Mattisyahu Cheshin, to tour the picturesque hareidi Jerusalem neighborhood of Meah She'arim.
During the tour, the Ambassador and his wife saw for themselves the hustle and bustle of pre-Passover preparations in the neighborhood.
The tour included a rooftop view from the great Synagogue of Breslov, a walking tour of the Batei Ungarim (Hungarian houses), and a visit to a Passover lesson at a local cheder (boys' elementary school).
Shapiro also had a chance to hand grind some of the meal for matzas and to witness the thin dough rushed in and out of the oven. Matzas must be made within 18 minutes to prevent leavening.
The tour then proceeded to the famous century-old challah bakery of Lendner, where the Ambassador and his wife plucked challah out of the oven to discover that they spelled out "U.S.A."
The tour concluded at the great synagogue of Belz, a centerpiece of the Belzer Hasidic sect, which can seat 6,000 in its main sanctuary.
"We're very excited about the Seder our family will have," Shapiro said, sending his well-wishes to every Jew in Israel. "And we wish everyone a very happy and kosher Pesach."