Saturday, October 06, 2012

You Know You're in Israel During Succot When...

...when the police stop you for a routine traffic check, and send you on your way with a cheery "chag samayach" -- "Happy Holiday!"

... When the country's capital municipality teams up with the company running the light rail line and builds succas at various stations along the line "for the convenience of riders who need a succa."

... when the public radio station plays "Shlomit Bonah Succa" -- "Shlomit Builds Her Succa" as part of their regularly scheduled playlist.

... When Chabad's portable succa-mobiles fill the roads on their way to encourage holiday travelers to fulfill the commandments of the holiday (though I hear that you can see them all over New York too)

... When you wake up in the morning to the sounds of the synagogue down the street having a musical Hallel (holiday prayer service) on their porch.

... When you see non-Jewish tourists walking around with more than their usual air of bewilderment at bumping into little booths along the sidewalks and bumping into men rushing around holding palm branches and lemons.

... When the restaurants serve customers outside in flimsy structures.

... When the entire municipality and all government services just close down for a week.

... When the challenge of finding fresh fruits and vegetables becomes even more, um, challenging.

... When absolutely no one is prepared to make any kind of change, decision, or move because they'll do it "after the chaggim."

... When the threat of rain -- even light showers -- terrorizes an entire country. 

It's been a low-key week here with my kids coming in and out according to their schedules. The new deck made succa-building relatively easy, though the plastic covering over the bamboo had to be removed which necessitated calling in someone to help.

 Daughter #2 is now a vegan so our meal plan has included more vegan dishes and some completely vegan meals -- challenging, but OK with me. It makes our house a popular house for home hospitality for vegetarians. Son #2 finally got back from the army -- it's been a month since he's been home -- and he'll be here for the entire week, which is nice. Son #1 and daughter-in-law divide their meal plans between us and the machatunim (her parents) -- it was easier when the in-laws lived 10 minutes away, but it's still nothing to complain about since the walk is now about 1/2 an hour.

Last night is tomorrow night -- daughter is doing the cooking for dinner, she says, with a BBQ lunch on Monday, and that will end the season. The holiday, Simhat Torah, is celebrated with dancing with the Torah scrolls in synagogues. Here in Tzfat there's a women's group that often
organizes a women's Simhat Torah celebration (since Orthodox synagogues don't allow mixed dancing and most don't allow women to hold the Torah scrolls). I hope that they'll be doing it this year because it's an amazingly meaningful celebration and I love it.

What am I looking forward to most post-holidays? Aside from youngest daughter's return to school? A break from the endless shopping and the opportunity to do some serious job-hunting. It's time to make a move, and though I'm nervous, I'm also excited about the prospects and the opportunities to expand. I'm grateful that I'll be leaving with a good relationship with present employer. I have already been doing some training for one very interesting project, teaching Judaism and Hebrew online, and my first on-line classes will begin in November, so I'm keyed up for that to start. Will just have to take it easy and see what else comes up.

Time to go make the list for the final shopping.

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