Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Rosh Hashana
Ladies and gentlemen, I have survived my first Rosh Hashana (New Year) celebration in Israel. I think it’s safe to say that I surpassed my ability to eat and retain food more than any other event I have ever taken part in. Most assuredly I have put on a few pounds as my pants are a bit tighter and I am moving slower. Thankfully we have a much needed hike tomorrow… all going well we can walk off some of this food we have been packing on. (for those wondering about the picture that's a friend of mine in the program, Jared. We thought we looked so dapper in our white clothes that we had someone take a pic of us!)

It all began Monday night with candle lighting, singing and a sharing of hugs and kinship. We had a large gathering at the dinner table as guests and strangers came to join our table and the evening was spent dining, singing, banging tables rhythmically, and sharing words of wisdom. I also ate my first date, and it was GOOD!! (it tasted like maple syrup and made me miss home!) I don't know why I didn't eat one before... I think because it looked like a prune. hahaha)

My mother will be pleased to know that I used her wise words in the lesson I shared with the group, one of the most valuable lessons I think my mom ever taught me…. “choose your battles (wisely)”. That is to say, don’t make everything into a petty little fight… is the cap off the toothpaste really worth it, for instance? The point I made, as Rosh Hashana is a time for reflecting, atoning, apologizing and forgiving, is that perhaps if we chose our battles more wisely we wouldn’t have to do so much apologizing at the end of the year. :- ) See, mom? And here you thought I never listened!

Tuesday night we were welcomed into the homes of host families throughout the city of Tzfat to share in their Rosh Hashana celebrations and see how they do things. The host family I had was originally from England and moved to Israel 30 years ago. I had a wonderful time at their table and enjoyed a very tasty meal. They showed us great kindness in welcoming us to their table and were simply charming to talk and spend time with over a nice hot meal. It’s host families like that that make this experience so nice. As a note, it seems to be hit or miss with the host families… two of the guys went to one house where they plunked down a whole goat’s head on the table and served up some on everyone’s plate. I was lucky and only had to munch on a bit of fish head.

Tomorrow we begin to get back into the routine again. This will be our first hike since the painful 3-day hike and I am looking forward to seeing what my body has to say about it. Friday we are being taken to Tiberias where we will be turned loose for a free afternoon. That night, as I understand it, we are spending the night in the Golan area, but I’m not exactly sure of where… details are sketchy at this point as no one seems to really have an answer for us. Saturday we return to the Tzfat campus and then Sunday we pack up and head back to the Jerusalem campus for a month. Finally, I can call and hopefully meet up with John and Rinat! (Yael, wanna come up and make it a party??)