This last week has been so jammed with events, activities, incidents, etc., that I haven't had time to write much.
First of all, the Bar Mitzva went really nicely. It was simply and friendly, which is what I wanted. Hagai read the Parsha and Haftorah smoothly with hardly a glitch, slowly and clearly. It was such a pleasure to hear him, and I was really kind of emotional, hoping and praying that his Bar Mitzva will be the beginning of a strong committment to his Judaism. Afterward, the kiddush was packed, and all the cakes that I'd baked all summer were eaten! After having been in the freezer for weeks, some of them stuck together a bit, but basically, they were fine. Tasty, which is what counted. I don't think that I ate much, actually.
That evening, we had the Melava Malka at LIvnot. Lots of people came, and the only "takala" (hitch) was that the pizzas arrived late. And, of course, as soon as the pizzas came, no one wanted to eat the salads and rolls -- I had SO MUCH left over, it was unbelieveable! I left a lot for LIvnot, but took the tuna salad home, and some rolls, and I'll still be making my work sandwiches with that tuna for months to come. (Of course, no one else around here eats tuna, so it's just me, trying to keep it from totally taking over my freezer).
I took Sunday off of work, thank goodness...I was so physically exhausted from the set-up and clean-up at LIvnot that I walked around in a daze all day. But I had to get to the supermarket to do the next load of shopping, since Rosh Hashana was the next day, and if I waited until later in the day, I wouldn't get my delivery until midnight! Those poor delivery guys -- they probably know every house in town, and get to every single one on the days preceeding a holiday. But I need them too, so I wanted to make sure that I got there.
Rosh Hashana itself was, after all the preperations were completed, quite nice. We were at home for 2 meals, one with guests, and out for 2 meals, one being a bring-your-own barbque. For services, the first day, I went to a neighbor's house where they've been developing a "Tzfat Alternative Service". Quite avant-garde for Tzfat, if only because the service is mixed (men and women sit together). But there are very few traditional prayers -- it's more explainations, meditations, discussions, etc. When I came in, they were acting out the Torah portion for Rosh HaShana, which happens to be the story of Avraham sending Hagar and Ishmael off into the desert. It was interesting -- they really got into the psychology of what was happening in the portion. How did Avraham, who was caught in-between these two feuding women, feel? How did Sarah, who saw her position as matriarch of a nation, feel? What were her personal feelings? She might have been a matriarch, but she was purely jealous. Was Hagar evil? That's how we always imagined her, but she really wasn't -- the Torah never hints that she was. She was just a stranger in the land who had tried to carve out a place for herself in Avraham's home by giving birth to his first-born son, and was now being upsurped by the new arrival and HIS mother.
Anyway, everything was friendly, interesting, meaningful, and in good taste, and although I have some personal conflicts about going the non-traditional route, all in all, I'm glad that I went, and will again.
Got to get to work -- Part II of this week will follow.