Saturday, October 10, 2009

That Was The Week That Was

Tomorrow begins the Israeli season officially known as "acharei hachagim." Nothing much happens in Israel beginning in mid-August when any arrangements you managed to find for your kids ends and people go on vacation as they attempt to survive the last weeks of summer vacation and ending when the fall holidays are over (even though the kids don't go back to school till Monday).

Hopefully, job hunting (or job finding) will get easier though Arthur gets annoyed at me when I say that. But I'm optimistic (hard to believe, but true) and wanted to share some of my reflections about our Sukkot holiday.

First of all, only one day of chag!!!!! Can I say it again? Shout it from the rooftops? It is so great to have one day of chag and not be penalized for living in galut (Yes, that's right. As good as you think you have it you are in galut). It's weird to think that in our old community of San Jose they are not even done with shul yet on their first day of chag while here hakafot shniyot with a live band are in full swing (pun intended).

We were home for the first days of sukkot and our sukkah went up in record time thanks to the help of our neighbors. We were invited out for both meals and had a great time at both meals.

Although Arthur would probably disagree, one nice thing about being unemployed is that we were both at home during chol hamoed, which doesn't usually happen. This gave us the opportunity to visit friends and family and tour the country a bit. On Sunday evening we headed to Yokneam for a barbecue with friends, one couple we've known from our days on Kibbutz Beit Rimon and a couple from San Jose who made aliyah 2 years ago. It was great seeing them all again (and borrowing some books of course) and catching up. Both friends have businesses and web presences, so if you're in the need of a live band or DJ check out the Joel Abramson Simcha Orchestra and if you're looking for silk rose petals, spices, gifts from Israel, or pearls and semi-precious stones check out HolyRoses.

Monday we met Arthur's cousin in Beit Guvrin and checked out the many caves before heading to Beit Shemesh for pizza followed by Shemeshfest. We ran into some old friends, enjoyed the music, and headed home tired and satisfied.

Tuesday we headed to Akko with our neighbors where I stupidly managed to get lost and missed out on most of the fun but I think Maor had a good time.

Wednesday Maor and I headed to Nes Harim for a barbecue picnic with my aunt and cousins (Arthur wasn't feeling well and stayed home). It was great to hang out, eat, and celebrate my aunt's birthday (ad 120!) together.

We headed to Beerot Yitzchak for Simchat Torah, an almost annual tradition. Hosted by my best friend, Esti, who I've known forever (since first grade - you do the math), we also got to see people we haven't seen for a long while. I spent my year after high school on Hachshara on Beerot so it's always nice to go back. We got back to Zufim in time for hakafot shniyot and will take down the sukkah tomorrow. Maor already has plans for tomorrow, her last day of chofesh (vacation) before school starts up again.

For those of you not on Facebook, here's a link to some pictures from our Sukkot adventures.

Being back after 3 years in the states made me aware of some of the things I love about living in Israel. Not huge cataclysmic things, just small mundane ones.
1. The news broadcasts begin with "moadim l'simcha"
2. The electronic highway signs that announce traffic jams also wish me a happy holiday
3. National parks and restaurants put up sukkot so their patrons can eat there
4. Local councils and cities trim palm trees so people can take live schach (and sometimes dates) for their sukkot
5. Not only did the rock and soul concert at Beit Shemesh include a dvar Torah, the Rabbi who delivered it also had the crowd repeat a prayer for Gilad Shalit's release

If you haven't had the opportunity to spend Sukkot in Israel, I hope next year finds you here celebrating with us. Or even better, consider Aliyah today!