Monday, September 25, 2006

Shanah Tovah

Word is out among the families here that I have moved into town, so now I'm receiving invitations by phone from people I've never even met. Fortunately, Rosh Hashannah is a two-day holiday, so it gave me the opportunity to meet many of the families who have been trying to get me to come over.

Friday night, I went to Tzvi's house (his wife's name escapes me.) He is from Miami, his wife is from Iraq. He had one son at home, one is in yeshivah, and his oldest son lives in Berkeley (20 minutes from Walnut Creek.) For the first night of Rosh Hashannah, Ashkenazim like me just eat apples and honey and call it a wrap, but they followed the Sephardi tradition of taking a plate loaded with different fruits and foods, and saying different blessings over each for a successful the new year. I.e., we eat a fish's head and say that, "We should be as the head and not the tail."

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:20AM to daven Netz, the earliest time it's possible to say the morning prayers. Being Shabbat, there was no shofar blowing so we were finished at 9:30 AM. Steven (my American dentist friend) invited me over for kiddush and breakfast. He, his sons, and I went through some Mishnayot and learned about the origins of the two-day yom tov, or at least we learned as much as we could with his seven rambunctious kids squirming in their chairs.

At 11:30, Steven's chevrutah (study partner) came over and I headed downhill to Moshe and Nogah Cohen, friends of my cousin Galila. I tried to follow the conversation, as it was all in Hebrew, and I was at least partially successful. They both immigrated to Israel from Iran twenty years ago, so we ended up talking about their own immigrant experiences, seeing what was the same and what was different.

At 1:30 I went to shul for minchah (afternoon prayers) but realizing I had arrived late, I decided to catch the next one at 6:30, so I went to the washroom. When I came out, everybody was gone, and I was locked in the shul! Unfortunately, most of the windows were protected with iron bars, but I was able to find one unprotected window after half an hour of searching, and I crawled out through that. I spent Saturday night at my cousin Rafi's father's house.

On Sunday I met the Samuels', who had invited me over a week ago without ever having met me. He's from Toronto, she's from London. Almost all of the English speakers have some connection to me since Galila teaches high-level English for at the local school. I ate, played with their kids, slept, and generally hung around their house for something like seven hours until the end of the holiday.

Today, Monday, is a fast day, so last night I decided to load up on water so as not to be thirsty. And here we see the perils of living without a fridge. I didn't remember at the time, but I had opened the liter of water I had been drinking before the holiday, almost 36 hours ago. I guess the water had spoiled because I became violently ill and have been spending the last 15 hours or so rotating between sleeping, trying to sit up and do some work and blogging, exploding from the inside for a while, falling back a sleep again, getting up... well, you know the picture. Fortunately I think I've gotten through the worst of it, but I'm still feeling a bit foul. At least I'm not in the least bit tempted to break the fast! And I did purchase a fridge on Friday, at long last, so it should be arriving some time this week. Until then, I'm just going to have to be more careful.

1 comment:

SefarditO said...

I hope and pray you will feel better amigo!
Refuah Shelima!