We have now been living here two months!!!
The last time I was in Israel for Simchat Torah was when I spent a year studying here after high school. Interesting that I don’t really have much of a recollection of the chag at that time since celebrating Simchat Torah in Israel is quite an memorable experience. Michal and Chezky and Chezky’s cousin Yocheved joined us for the chag and we enjoyed the tefillot, dancing, and singing. The boys went off to shul, while we girls hung back for some rest, reading and relaxation. We then decided to check up on the boys to see how the hakafot were progressing. Chezky enjoyed leading a hakafah (he looked very Israeli on Friday night) and Yechezkel sang ‘Mi Pikel’. There are many shuls in our area and we were serenaded with a variety of songs as we walked the streets: sefardi singing and dancing, Ashkenazi, nusach achid, and others. On Shabbat we all went to shul and Michal, Chezky, and Yocheved also walked down to Mitzpeh Navo to the Carlebach shul to experience hakafot there. We were treated to the Maaleh Adumim Hesder Yeshiva boys who made the rounds to all the shuls here and brought their own form of ruach, singing and dancing. It was really beautiful. There was a small Kiddush of cholent, kugel and drink provided in the courtyard of the shul which served as the transition from hakofot to musaf davening and Yizkor. For one who must say Yizkor, it takes a bit of adjusting ones sense of familiarity to acclimate to this new way of davening. For the remainder of the day we relaxed, played games, and ate. After yom tov, Chavi Skolnick came by for a visit with Michal and of course we all enjoyed her company. Laughter abounded.
Sunday was a low key day, in that it was still yom tov for Michal and Chezky. The rest of us went about our day doing errands, shopping, whatever. After Yom tov, we treated Michal and Chezky to farewell dinner (really didn’t want them to leave). Monday was departure day for Michal, Chezky and Yechezkel. Michal and Chezky departed for NY (boo hoo) and Yechezkel to Poland with Yeshivat Hakotel. We are eager to hear about his trip, his impression of Eastern Europe today and how the visit compares to all that he has studied about the Holocaust in High school and on his own. He has always been one to study history-Jewish history and world history and it will be interesting to hear about his experiences and what we’re sure will be his rekindled commitment and conviction to Israel. More about that later. We were so thrilled to have Michal and Chezky with us and shared wonderful experiences with them. We can’t wait for them to return. It feels so lonely without them.
The rest of the week has been fairly uneventful, save for the visit with my mother and David. Mom came to stay with us on Wednesday night and both are spending Shabbat with us. We went house/apartment hunting today with them Friday and it was great to have another pair (or two) of eyes to help us with our decision. Mom and I shared a great day together on Thursday cooking, conversing, and ‘tiyuling’ around our neighborhood of Maaleh Adumim. I do miss that time with mom.
I continue to study in Ulpan and Meyer has been working part time and will be starting full time work in November. I really enjoy Ulpan and am learning a great deal and meeting people from all walks of life. There are two women from Egypt in my class, three from Holland, a few men from England and Scotland, one young married man from Nicaragua (a convert who is a very sincere, religious tzioni man), one woman from France, some Americans, Canadians, and one woman from Japan who married an Israeli man, converted, and who now lives here. A wonderful diverse group of people of all ages, occupations, and nationalities. Some Now if I only would review more, I would be more proficient in my speaking abilities. Ulpan is challenging, exciting, and stimulating. As a friend noted, Ulpan has served to not only help me with the language but to introduce me to new friends. Our homework assignment for this week is to convey to the class a nostalgic event or feeling. I have a notion I know of what I will discuss.
Nothing else is new here except for the ongoing news of the lies and omissions of the Goldstone Report and the UN and our continued interest in following the news of the incident this week with Turkey and Israel. The world is becoming increasingly pro-Islamic and Israel increasingly isolated. There is so much to discuss about this, but as the hour is late here and it is almost Shabbat, I will write about this in later emails.
I heard from a few of you that Simchat Torah in West Hempstead was beautiful and lively and the best ever which is wonderful.
I must go now and I sign off with my usual wishes to everyone for a wonderful Shabbat, a wonderful week, and prayers for health, happiness, and freedom for all.
With much love,