My first Rosh Hashanah in Israel has come and gone! It was a great weekend, and a much appreciated break. Rosh Hashanah, for those who don’t know, is the Jewish New Year. As Adie translated so adeptly, it literally means head, rosh, of the year, hashanah. 2 interesting things about Israel from this weekend:
1. 1. This is the New Year here. January 1 is a work day; Rosh Hashanah is the time for huge meals and big outdoor music festivals (next year…)
2. 2. Never believe anyone who tells you that absolutely everything is shut down for the holidays. I found this was only mostly true, and as a result, I am still wondering what Yom Kippur here will be like.
For the holiday at home, we usually go to synagogue and then see family either in Washington D.C. or Frederick, MD, where I am from. It’s always a really nice two days, and important in the Jewish scheme of things, but understated. Here, as I said, there is a much more festive atmosphere. I was pretty eager to take a break from Be’er Sheva, so as soon as class was over Tuesday afternoon, I jumped on the train to Tel Aviv to spend the long weekend (we had Wednesday and Thursday off) with some distant cousins. My cousin and I cooked all day Wednesday, making quinoa, gazpacho, chicken, tofu and honey cake… many of my favorite things. There were some friends over Wednesday night for a more formal dinner, and Thursday was all family. My cousins have a great three-generation compound family, only some of whom I had met, and needless to say, it was a lot of fun.
I had hoped to be able to see Tashlich in Tel Aviv. Tashlich is a tradition where people will throw bread in a flowing river or ocean to symbolize their sins for the year being taken away. Don’t ask me more about it, I really don’t know any more! Once again, in D.C. it’s a pretty quiet thing, and it’s really just nice to go walk in Rock Creek Park with family. In Tel Aviv, though, on the Mediterranean?! That would be pretty cool. Anyway, I ended up napping after a huge afternoon meal, and going for a walk later that night in HaYarkon Park. While I did not see anyone throwing bread crumbs, I saw maybe the highest concentration of young families EVER. It was like a carnival. So! Not everything shuts down, and things are definitely not quiet.
CAPTION: Since I’m not really a big picture taker (I got a smartphone here so that I didn’t have to also remember to bring a camera around all the time), here is a screenshot of HaYarkon Park in Tel Aviv! There is a brand new walkway along the river and at the port that is so nice and filled with people during the holiday. I had fun dodging bikes and small children; there are lanes for pedestrians and cyclists, though in true Israeli fashion, the lanes are all just a suggestion!
Till next time. I promise to have more stories of classmates, and more pictures, this time of Be’er Sheva! - blogger of the month Ariella Krones