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Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Immigrants

I had to go to an office near one of the new supermarkets today. The supermarket is located near the Tzfat Ethiopian Absorption Center which, I had recently heard, had just absorbed several hundred new immigrants recently arrived from Ethiopia. So after I finished my appointment I went into the supermarket to pick up something, and the local ulpan (Hebrew language) teacher was standing next to the vegetable stand, giving the group of Ethiopians a Hebrew lesson. They were learning the names of the various foods and how to do their shopping. Shoppers were manuvering their way around the group who were standing there dressed pretty much as they must have dressed in Ethiopia. No one gave them a second look. Business as usual in Israel. My guests in the guestroom this week are a nice young couple from New York, soon moving to Vancouver. My cousins are hosting them for Friday night dinner tomorrow night so they should have a nice time. I would have loved to have hosted them myself, but my son is back from the army this week for the first time in three week and I know that he'd like a little bit of privacy, so I'll have to do my hosting next week. There's another couple from Atlanta who are coming next week and they sound very nice on email, so I'm looking forward to meeting them. They were also pleased to be set up for Shabbat meals. And the week after that, a couple from Germany......whew! Anyone who said that you never meet new people in a small town like Tzfat never had a guestroom!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gilad B'Bayit

I could hardly function yesterday. I simply kept watching the news like everyone else in the country -- couldn't get enough of seeing the few pictures and video clips that they provided of Gilad Shalit.

We have a Prime Minister who is not afraid to make hard decisions. And he made the right decision. Bring our captive soldier home and God will take care of us. There's nothing that we can do to these terrorists that will punish them in the way that they should be punished, but that will come in a divine manner. In the meantime, we MUST bring home our soldier. And that's what we did.

The emotions, they joy....for once, we weren't glued to the TV watching the aftermath of some horrific terrorist attack. The entire country was together, giving thanks -- each person in their own way -- and savoring the moment when a young man returned to his family and home.

Interestingly enough, the Psalm for Tuesday mentions both "Succot" (the holiday that we are celebrating now) and "Gilad." Coincidence?

Sunset view from our porch
Our succa (built by yours truly!)
Rappeport succa
The succa
Last day of succot -- goodbye 2011 succa!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Post Yom Kippur

Had a very quiet Yom Kippur. At the last minute someone called to rent the guestroom, so I went down to clean.

Three loads of laundry later (hagai came home from the army so I had his army stuff to add into the equasion) and a lot of cleaning and setting up, we were ready. VERY nice young couple came, and since it was Yom Kippur they didn't eat there or even spend much time in the room, leaving it, pretty much, as clean as when we started out. On the other hand, one of the nice things about having guests in the guestroom is having a chance to chat with them, and that didn't happen. I've started to offer a tour of Tzfat as an added (free) feature of a stay at the Rappeport Guesthouse for people who come for a few days, because it gives the guests a better overview of the town and it gives me a chance to actually spend time with these guests.

thankfully I had made the whole pre-Yom Kippur meal beforehand and then Gal went up to stay with a friend for Yom Kippur, so with just me, Hagai and the dogs, it was pretty quiet.

I went out last night but it was cold and I didn't feel like sitting outside at Beirav, yet i get claustraphobic when I go in, so I wandered around a bit and in the end, just went up on the Tzfat citadel (where it was completely empty -- i shouldn't go there without the dogs, not that they'd ever really do anything to anyone, but it would give someone some pause before starting something) and did my own prayer-thing.

Today, I kept meaning to go to shul, but I had a book, "Inspirational Readings for Yom Kippur" and reading ABOUT the prayers, their meanings, different intrepretations and ways of thinking about the prayers -- well, it was a meaningful day. Plus, I slept a lot. Probably won't get to sleep until very late, but that's what you get for taking two naps during the day.

I had some interesting dreams, but I don't remember much -- just one, where Gal was frying fish, and I was furious because she had already fried up tuna-fish patties and there was no one to eat the (expensive) stuff. Maybe it had something to do with my Yom Kippur resolution to worry less about money?

I did resolve to try to be more pro-active in helping people this year. One idea was to pair up people who live alone with people who would check up on them daily. The idea came about because of a man who lives nearby -- I know him a bit, but not beyond saying "hi" every once in awhile. He has Parkinsons, or something similar, and evidently he fell in his apt a few weeks ago and it was several days before anyone found him. He fell on his arm and it gangreened and had to be amputated. Horrible. But no one thought much about it when they didn't see him for a few days because no one was used to seeing him daily. Anyway, I was trying to think of something that we could do, as a Safed community, to insure that it didn't happen again. There are many singles who live in Tzfat without family -- I'm sure that it's a worry to them.

Ended the fast with the noodle kugel that I had prepared ahead of time, along with some VERY unhealthy cheese burekkas (the dough is, um, not exactly low-cal) and two cups of coffee. Now I'm REALLY not going to sleep for many hours. Should find something useful to do. I've got some freelance writing, which is great. I like it and am, I'm told, pretty good at it. I write for sites that are looking for including keywords, etc, and I'm learning a lot about how to write to optimize websites.

Onto Succot. The succa is pretty much built (a-hem!) and I need to get a new outdoor table, which I've needed to get anyway, so it's simply time. I didn't redo my porch structure before now, which I had planned to do this summer, and the succa is a bit flimsy, but I hope to have the project done this winter, since the wood is really rotting out. Ah, so much to do!

Will have to do some cooking too for the holiday. Some cousins are coming up to spend the first day of the holiday with us so that should be fun. I'm just going to make some one-pot meals with salads to carry us through. I did notice, though, that the weather forecast mentioned that it's going to be colder and a bit rainy during the holiday. Bummer.