Right before Rosh Hashana, two reporters arrived from the Detroit News to write about locals, originally from Michigan, who had made their home in Tzfat. They spent a lot of time in our house, and we feature in their upcoming article. Here's what's up in the meantime, (check out the link on the top of this post) but the reporter who is writing the story sent me a draft of the longer version, so there will be something more extensive written. Kind of fun. Glad I lost that weight last year, since my photo is obviously going to be seen by a lot of people!
Yom Kippur went well. We had a call from some high school girls a few days before the holiday....friends of a friend of a friend of Ariella....who were going to be in Tzfat with their school over Shabbat and wanted to stay on for Yom Kippur. Four girls. So Margalit moved out of her room for 2 nights and we basically let them move in. It was very sweet, and by the time we had our break-the-fast dinner, they and Hagai and Yochi were chatting away like old friends. It's the kind of message that I want to imbue to my kids...that we are an open home for guests, friends, and drop-ins. After the girls left, we talked a little about having guests for Shabbat, which traditionally the kids have shied away from. They admitted that they "don't mind" having guests (OK, I take it to extremes sometime), and I think that they also like the idea that someone can call us at the last minute (as Ascent did for last Shabbat's lunch and another friend of Ariella's did for erev Yom Kippur) and we always have plenty to serve and are happy to host. Certainly, having guests their own ages this Yom Kippur helped bring that message home (usually they're older).
Now on to Succot. I promised that we'd make chili for Friday night (thank GOODNESS Succot comes out together with Shabbat), and I'll make "mukpatz" -- chinese vegetables/chicken; tofu and veggies for the vegetarians) for Shabbat day, which Avishai likes.
It's interesting how a Shabbat or holiday can be made or broken according to the food. I mean, the food definitely makes or breaks the day. Vow for the new year...that's a lesson that must never be forgotten!
Here's the article, preserved here forever so when the Detroit New's webpage disappears, we'll always remember our 5 minutes....
SAFED, Israel -- Metro Detroit's large and active Jewish community has sent millions of dollars in donations over decades to support Israel.
But an even deeper tie resides not in dollars, but in people: Jewish families who have left Michigan and "made aliya" -- emigrated to Israel.
More than a half-dozen such families live in Safed, a small town high in the hills above the Sea of Galilee, a center of art and Jewish spiritualism -- and, for 34 days this July and August, a target of rockets fired from just a few miles to the north in Lebanon by the militant group Hezbollah.
For many of these families, the rain of Katyusha rockets was a vivid and all-too-personal reminder that the peace of their quaint mountain town is easily shattered.
"We live in a tough neighborhood," said Laurie Rappaport, who grew up in Oak Park but has lived in Israel for more than 20 years. A single mother, she and her children hurried south, along with hundreds of thousands of others from across Israel's north, when the war began in mid-July.
Certainly, Metro Detroit's ties are more than familial. The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit has raised more than $13 million to aid families affected by the war; several thousand Metro Detroiters attended a July rally in support of Israel's campaign against Hezbollah, a militant Islamic group which most Americans consider a terrorist organization.
The local Jewish federation has for several years supported educational and other programs in communities near Nazareth in central Galilee, communities at the southern edge of the area struck by rockets from Lebanon.
But among the many former Michiganians living among the North American emigrant community in Safed's artists' quarter, the connections are to parents, friends and extended families back in Metro Detroit.
"I'll always think of myself as from Detroit," said Sarah Miriam, sitting in the kitchen of the small home in which she rode out the 34-day conflict. Born in Highland Park, she spent most of her childhood in New York and lived around the country before coming to Israel permanently several years ago. "I always say, it's Aretha, Madonna and me."
The families of Safed endured hundreds of rocket strikes; their town was one of the hardest hit in northern Israel. In all, the Israeli government estimates that 4,000 Hezbollah rockets struck Israel, hitting as far south as Haifa on the Mediterranean coast and Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee.
And while their families back home worry, none of these immigrants say they have considered returning to Michigan.
The worries over Hezbollah rocket attacks aren't really much different than the worries of parents in the United States, said Avraham Heller, who grew up in Petoskey and now lives in Safed with his wife and children.
"You get used to the kinds of fears that you have to get used to," he said