Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yom Kippur, Ulpan, Sukkos, Ants

Yom Kippur.  First of all, in Israel they change the clocks right after Rosh Hashana.  They do that so that Yom Kippur ends at around 6:00 pm (at least I think that's why they do it.)

That means that Kol Nidre night, we are done at around 7:00-7:30.  Weird, right?  Usually you get home from shul on Kol Nidre night, it's around 9:00 or so, and it's bed time.  Not here.  It's like early evening.

So what do you do?  Well, if you are not religious, this is what you do:  You ride your bicycle in the middle of the street.

You read that correctly.  Here, Yom Kippur is also known as Yom HaOfanayim (Day of the Bicycles).  Since it is generally accepted that no one drives anywhere on Yom Kippur, it is considered "de rigeur" for the non-religious to ride their bikes in the street.

We walk out of Kol Nidre to the vision of kids literally sitting in the middle of the street, families walking in the street, and non-religious kids riding bikes (fast!) up and down.  We are definitely not in Kansas, Toto.

So we went to our apartment and sat outside watching the mayhem.  My grandkids were happily running around in the street with tons of other kids, feeling the sense of freedom.  My 2 year old grandson Nadav discovered a happy digging place between the curb and the sidewalk that was filled with rocks and dirt and sat there jabbering away in Heblish, happy as a clam (not a good analogy for Yom Kippur, I agree).

OK, new experience!  Check!  Today was more of what we are used to.  Beautiful davening, great singing (I love that our shul is filled with people who love to sing), etc. 

In Ulpan news, since you deserve an update, I have the ultimate ironic story for you.  When we returned to Israel in mid September, there was a message on my Israeli cellphone.  It was my Ulpan teacher.  She called to tell me about my test. 

And? I didn't understand the message. I am not kidding you.

I listened 4 times and I still didn't understand her.  Either I got a 9 on my test or I got an 86, or I got a 986.  Not sure.  Anyway, my certificate is waiting for me, so I guess I passed.  The new class (level daled, I think) may or may not start after the chagim, and it may or may not be 2 or 3 days per week.  I'll let you know.

Sukkos starts Sunday night.  Our sukkah is on our mirpeset and we are very excited about having one for the first time since we moved out of our house in 2006.  The sukkah is on part of the mirpeset that is already covered, and has a huge "window" that looks out onto the hills.  We replaced the cover that came with the apartment with a covering of wooden slats to keep out the sun, so it is looking good.  Now that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are over, sukkah stalls are going to pop up all over the place selling arba minim (lulav and esrog), decorations, etc.  Can't wait to see it all, and I'm so thrilled that we are living here, not just here for a visit. It ain't the same, Jane.

Ants.  We have them.  It is a very common problem here, as I understand it.  So tomorrow a (female!) exterminator is coming to treat our apartment.  I hate, hate, hate, hate bugs.  I will not tolerate them.  They give me serious willies, I literally shudder if I see one.  So, you see, we need to get rid of them.  Last night I saw one of those humongous bugs that look like some kid's stick drawing (I think it's actually called a stick bug) and I walked on the other side of the street to avoid it. I mean really, do I think the bug is going to look at me and say, "Oh, boy, there's a juicy victim, I'll just crawl across the street and attack her with my stick arms and legs."

Anyway, he would have gotten run over by a kid on a bike.


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