Manado wakes up early. The morning light and the sound of scooters and horns woke me up at 6:00 a.m. I covered myself with mosquito repellent, grabbed my camera, and went for a walk. There are no sidewalks in much of Manado, so pedestrians play a crazy game of chicken with cars and scooters. I survived to tell the tale and find a lively market.
At 8:30 a.m., our host family arrived and nine of us crammed into a car built for seven. We headed off first for a traditional Manado breakfast featuring vegetable porridge along with odd but very delicious fried fish fritters and banana chips, washed down with coffee with a heavy dose of sweetened condensed milk.
From there, we piled back in the car and headed UP. In 2009, an eccentric governor of Manado who had an inexplicable love of the Jewish people decided to construct the world's highest menorah. It stands at about 500 metres above sea level high above the city. It was an epic journey --an hour each way, including a heart stopping 1.7 km as we closed in on the top. Here it is:
After many photos, we drove back down into Manado. My favourite part of the trip was an exchange of tunes to the beloved hymn Adon Olam, including lots of rousing singing in the crowded van. Delightful!
We are back at the home synagogue tonight to lead evening services and for me to have a turn at teaching. Tomorrow we head back to the airport for the trip back to Jakarta, where we are looking forward to a very busy Shabbat.
Rabbi Shoshana Kaminsky
I've been the rabbi of Beit Shalom Progressive Synagogue in Adelaide since 2006. As part of the Council of Progressive Rabbis of Australia, New Zealand and Asia, I'm preparing for my second trip to Indonesia to meet with Jewish communities there.