Saturday, October 07, 2006



The dog ate my homework. My grandmother died - for the third time this year - and I had to go to the funeral. My computer was down. Pick any excuse. The truth is - the computer died - not my grandmother of blessed memory - life got in the way - the Holidays came and were duly celebrated - I am, once again, the Rosh Va'ad (head of the Building Committtee in case you forgot) ---- nevermind - here I am again.

Anyway - I got through Rosh HaShana without too much damage to my (perennial) diet and without spending too much time in the kitchen. I was invited out for meals, and although I came with my contributions toward the dinners and lunches it still wasn't the same as having to do the whole thing myself. I survived the Fast of Yom Kippur - very easy this year I must say, as the weather wasn't too hot - and did no damage to my diet at all.

So, yesterday was back to real life - although Succot began last night - and Marallyn and I went out for our usual Friday morning breakfast. We missed last Friday as it was erev Yom Kippur and we had a lot to catch up with. I mentioned how much I love to be in Israel for the High Holidays. We're all on the same page - so to speak - you know that almost everyone will be celebrating in some way - some of us go to Beit Knesset (synagogue) - some of not - most of us will be attending festive meals - many of us will have been cooking and preparing and shopping and shopping and shopping - and eating and eating and eating - and on Yom Kippur the whole country is observing this Holy Day. And while not everyone fasts and while not everyone goes to Beit Knesset - no one drives and everything is closed down. All restaurants and shops and places of entertainment are closed, there is no radio - no television - no one drives - the normally very busy streets are absolutely empty except for people walking and kids riding their bikes. (That's another crazy custom that has begun here - kids go out bike riding on Yom Kippur because it's safe - there are no cars on the roads. But somehow this year there were fewer kids than usual on their bikes.) In short - Yom Kippur here is like no where else in the world.

As we were talking - Maralyn and I came to the conclusion that in order to really know Israel and the Israelis you have to be here for three particular days. Yom HaZikaron (Remembrance Day for our Fallen), Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day). On Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaShoah the whole country is in mourning. The television plays - and replays - films of our fallen soldiers and films depicting life as it was in Europe and in the camps. Restaurants and places of entertainment are closed as these days are not times for celebrating. Can you just imagine a day where a siren is sounded in the morning and wherever you are - whatever you are doing - you stop. If you are at home you stop whatever you are doing and just stand and remember. And if you are in your car you stop - get out of your car and just stand and pay hommage to the dead until the siren tells you to go back to your life. The whole country just stops. And when Yom HaAtzmaut comes along we Israelis go back to being the way we always are - caring, loving, rude, sensitive, insensitive, brash, loud - and always hungry. The whole country barbecues - and eats and talks, and laughs and eats some more - and we get on with our lives until next year - when, once again, we remember. Actually - we never forget.

Shana Tova and G'mar Hativa Tova.

Stay Safe.


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