To be honest, although I knew – rationally – this was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss, waking up at 6:30 gave me pause. Serious pause. After the hours of Passover cleaning, shtupped in after an 8-hour work day, knowing that tonight will be a very long one, and today, with the last minute preparations, even longer, the extra hour of sleep would have been appreciated.
But I did it. Woke up at 6:30, went to shul, davened the Shacharit (morning) service, after which the congregation climbed the steep stairs up to the synagogue roof, where we recited Birchat Hachama. There was a chill in the air, and the sun was struggling to show itself, but there we were, a crowd of around 30, standing over the streets of Zurich and blessing God’s name in unison. Fortuitous was that Cantor Nati Baram of Jerusalem, soon to be of Beverly Hills, was in town, and with his beautifully melodic voice, led the service.
So for any night owls out there, who may still be contemplating whether to make the effort, do it! And in case you need a further push, the morning coffee and last-minute chametz pastry will certainly make it worthwhile.