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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rosh HaShanah 5769

Background: I though I was going to have chemo on Sunday, so I made sure to set us up for meals on Rosh HaShanah. In the end, chemo was postponed one week, but we still were invited out for all the meals. We had such a wonderful time!

First Night:

Arrived at shul (synagogue) late. Missed davening (prayers), but got to socialize!

Dinner at O & Y G's. Great conversation!!

TG, their eldest daughter, was studying for her 12th grade bagruyot (national exams) in safrut (literature). She kept "testing" the other kids about words (which none of them knew!). For hours, the kids sat around learning new words and laughing! It was SO COOL!!

Sometimes we also participated in the guessing game, but mostly we sat around discussing politics. O & Y are so interesting!! They live part time in Homat Shmuel, and part time in Ma'aleh Rehav'am.*

Their son, who is in 10th grade, is also studying for his bagruyot. One of his exams this year will be in civics. But O & Y object to the curriculum that the state teaches. I am curious to know more about it. I am particularly interested in the way democracy is taught. What does the State say is the relationship between the government and its citizens. (i.e. who is meant to serve whom?)

More on this another time (hopefully).....

First Day:

Shul began at 7:15. I arrived at 9:15. Perfect.

The kids and I davened Shacharit (said our morning prayers). Then, we joined the shul for kiddush (blessing over wine, sanctifying the day), followed by some pastries and snacks, and saying "hi" to everyone! It was fun. Then, at 10:15, we went back into shul for t'kiyat shofar and musaf (additional prayers). I enjoyed the davening, which ended around 12:30. There was a lot of singing.

We went to Y & A C for lunch. Y is in Ezra (youth group) with their eldest daughter, D. Conversation was much lighter than the night before, but no less interesting. Lunch was a lot of fun, and we talked for a long time, before benching (reciting Grace after the meal). The kids took a break in between, to play cards, and basketball. When Moshe and I left, our kids were still there, throwing hoops.

Moshe went home to rest, but I stopped by my friend IA, who lives in the same building as the C's. We hung out for a while, then we popped over at RD. I wanted to introduce IA to RD, and that seemed like as good a time as any!

Second Night:

Almost as soon as I arrived, I left to go to shul, to daven ma'ariv (evening prayers). On the way, I deliberated going home, to make sure that my family was on awake and coming to shul. If I went home first, I would be late to shul. I decided that my family would be okay without me and that I wanted to be on time to shul.

As I was about to walk in, I realized that one of my earings had fallen off. I rarely wear earings, but I was wearing my one and only really nice pair, in honor of the holiday. It was already dark, and I realized that the chances were slim that I would find the earing. I quickly retraced my steps, silently praying to God to help me find the lost earing. All sorts of scenarios flashed through my mind (eg. when I hugged my friend good bye, me earing might have gotten caught in her scarf. Then, as she walked in the opposite way to her shul, it could have fallen off anywhere...). I was almost all the way back to RD's home, when I glimpsed something out of the corner of my eye. I backtracked, bent down, and.... there it was! I couldn't see it, but I feel it! I stood up, and thanked God. Then, I practically raced back to shul! When I arrived, they still had not started! I walked in. There were almost no women there. Just the Rabbi's wife and daughter, another handful of young teenagers, including Moshe's cousins, and me. I glanced into the men's section, and did not see my husband. I tried to relax. I would trust that Moshe and the kids would be there.

A few seconds later, davening began. Our neighbor led davening nicely. During the amida (silent prayer), my daughters came in. I was so happy to see them! They quickly joined in the prayers. I felt happy, and at peace. I love davening with my kids. I feel surrounded by all that is important to me. (it sounds goofy, but it is so true)

We had dinner with J & Tz B. It felt like eating with family! Our kids are totally comfortable in their home. MD and E, their second son, have known each other since gan (kindergarten). A loves playing the "older sister" to LT. And, when she got tired of the adult conversation, Y just hung out on the couch, reading one of their books. We "grownups" talked for hours. It was just so nice!

They live really close to us, so the walk home was easy, despite the late hour.

Second Day:

I arrived a bit later the second day. But davening was more or less the same. There was more singing, which I liked, and good ruach (spirit).

For lunch, we walked down to C & D V, in Shlav Bet (the second stage of building), which is down in the valley, and a bit of a walk, all downhill. They just moved into the neighborhood, but I know CV (one of three CVs I know!) for years! (I know her since before I was married, but we became good friends when my eldest daughter was little) I could hang out and talk with her all day long... and I did! We played a fun, new game "Apples to Apples," which is meant to be a kid's game, but is so much fun when played with adults or older kids! We played one game with the four adults, and two more with CV, the older kids (two of her triplets and Y), and I. We all had a lot of fun!

Before we knew it, the holiday was over. Moshe and Y both left with borrowed books, and CV was kind enough to drove us back home (up the mountain).

Once we walked in the door, it was back to business!

As strange as it felt to be returning to the "real" world, we could not forget that it was a school night!

Thanks to A, everyone got ready really fast, and we sat down to watch Battlestar Galactica (which we hadn't watched in months).

Then, without further ado, we all went to bed....

It was a full, and festive, holiday!

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,

* Ma'aleh Rechav'am, named after Rechav'am ("Gandhi") Ze'evi, was founded on three principles: Jewish Labor (our friends built everything themselves, including the back-breaking work of moving stones for their large, and beautifully, cultivated garden), No Fence around the Yishuv (artificial border, placing the community in a cage), and Co-Existance between religious and secular Jews (we are all part of one nation and need to live together as part of a unified community).

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