Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Succot -- also a festival of freedom!

Our succa is up, and if you can ignore the fact that my digital camera is now favoring a pink hue (gotta get to the camera store today), one can see that I, constuction-challenged Laurie, have succeeded in, once again, erecting a kosher succa for my family.

OK, it's not the wood boards with a window and doors that we used to have when Yoni, a master craftsman by anyone's standards, was here.

The walls are plastic canvas which tie onto the permanent poles that have been here for years. Most of the schach is also roll-up bamboo-type.

But, by golly, it's up. The tree was successfully pruned to fill in the schach where there is none, decorations are up, and the food is being prepared as we write/read.

It's succot, more than any other time of the year, when I am aware that I can do the things that I always relied on Yoni to do. I can put up a succa. I can fix a leaky toilet. I can silicone when needed, check mezuzzas (taking down and putting back up), put up pictures (making holes in the wall), take care of the garden, do barbques, bury dead animals, check halacha on questions that I don't know....

It's on succot that I most strongly feel the saying that God doesn't give us any tests that we can't pass. If you would have told me that, 3 years ago, I'd be doing all this, in addition to working full-time, taking care of all the kids' needs (and my own), keeping up the house, and doing all sorts of extra things to make money (teaching english, renting out our room downstairs, working in a gallery-office, selling t-shirts, making Shabbat sushi to sell) I'd have said, no way. I can't.....I can't.....

But guess what? I CAN!

So when I sit in my succa this evening (well, we're invited out this evening, so tomorrow....), that's what I will be reflecting on. That God gives us strength when we need it, courage when we need it, wisdom when we need it. We just need to be open to accepting what He's trying to give us.

Living as a single mother is not a test that I wanted. Raising my children alone, being alone.....that was for someone else, not me. I couldn't handle it, right? HA! LOOK AT MY SUCCA!

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Angora z"l

Have thought about posting for weeks, but it's almost impossible to get near the computer when I have time (too many competitors around) and anyway, there's just never any time....

It's the night after Yom Kippur, and since I slept

for a good part of the day (till 11:00a.m., and then a nap in the afternoon) I can allow myself to stay up while everyone else has gone to sleep to surf, write, and generally allow myself some downtime.

So far, the holidays have been nice, though all the work has been kind of draining. Everything is double-time, the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. We had quite a lot of company during Rosh Hashana, so I haven't been inviting too much for Succot, though if anyone asks, they're welcome to come. A cousin who is studying this year in Jerusalem is planning on coming up for the Shabbat of Succot, together with some friends, and that should be fun.

Angora, our daushaund, died on Rosh Hashana. Sad. She just started breathing heavily during the morning, and while I was thinking about how to get her to the vet on Sunday (no car now, new story...later) we saw that she'd laid down on the porch and was breathing her last. Aside from the sadness of loosing an animal that we'd cared for for many years, there was also the practical aspect to deal with -- what do we do with the body? In the end, we wrapped her up in a sheet and laid her in a corner of the yard until Saturday night, when some neighbors came over to help me bury her. We buried her near Sparky, and Margalit made her a nice headstone (it was a shallow grave, because it's hard to dig too deep, so we put a lot of stones over her to keep any visiting creatures from digging her up!)

So, the car. The yearly expenses were coming up, and I just didn't have the money to cover my half, even though it's still half my car. So I gave Yoni permission to take it to his new home -- he said that he was moving to Mitzpe Ramon, in the Negev, though I'm not sure that that's where he ended up. No matter, the car is gone, and it's hard not having that freedom to run errands easily, get my shopping done quickly, or especially take the kids to where they need to get to. New reality.

Avishai gets out of the army in 2 weeks, and he'll be coming home to live, for awhile anyway, while he does his matriculations at the local community college and tries to save some money. That's got to be my next priority....finding him work that's flexible so that he can go to classes. It's on tomorrow's list.

List for this week:

  • work for Avishai
  • get pictures developed for relatives (I do this every fall -- hopefully they'll remember me a bit)
  • shopping for Succot
  • cooking for Succot
  • lulav and etrog
  • eggs (I get them separately from the regular shopping, since they're cheaper if I get them at the fruit and vegetable store)
  • errands and bills at the Post Office
  • blankets (need some new ones)
  • winter shoes for Margalit (Hagai needs too, but he never gets shoes until it's so cold that his toes freeze in his crocs)
  • get succa up

I'm sure that the list will grow as the week progresses. Truthfully, I always dread the closure of the english library every Tishrei....they close for 4 or 5 weeks. But at least for those weeks, I don't worry about working around that hour that I would otherwise be spending in the library on Friday mornings.

A friend told me about someone who makes sushi in JErusalem every erev-Shabbat and sells it for 25 shekels/roll. So I advertised to try doing it in Tzfat, for 15 shekels, which would still give me a reasonable profit. After all, no one else is doing it, and it's relatively easy to make. So we'll see if I can make it work...maybe earn a few extra shekels, which would be helpful.