As a child growing up near Prague, Mila Nishball saw her weekly trips to the synagogue as a chance to gab with her girlfriends rather than to participate in her family’s religious tradition.
But today, Nishball still tears up when she recalls visiting the site in the late 1980s to discover that the synagogue was gone. It had been torn down by the Nazis after she’d gone into hiding and then fled Czechoslovakia with help from an American-born boy.
On Friday afternoon, the 51-member choir on the bima of Congregation B’nai Jacob had just torn through the gospel song “Hallelujah, You’re Worthy” and was now tackling an uptempo version of “We Shall Overcome.” Choir members started with singing and clapping.
Mayor Toni Harp officially Friday afternoon greeted King Melchior (aka Joey Rodriguez), one of the Three Kings who arrived at Casa Otonal on Sylvan Street in the Hill to get a jump start on celebrating Three Kings Day.
The holiday marks the arrival of the kings to behold Baby Jesus in Bethlehem— and is also known as Epiphany. (Its official day of celebration was Sunday.)