Monday, September 13, 2010

Rosh Hashanah in the Holy Land! Happy New Year!

Rosh Hashana is finally over! Thank God! I can’t eat any more. Seriously I think I may have stored enough food to last me through the sweltering Israeli summer. Have I mentioned it is freaking hot here? It is. The kind of hot that makes you want to jump off a high rise just so you can feel the breeze on the way down. We’re currently in the dry and hot season..up next rainy and hot season…oh joy.

The holiday season in Israel is in full swing. Our holiday season begins on the eve of Rosh Hashanah Sept. 8-10, through Yom Kippur Sept. 17-18 and ends with Sukkot Sept. 22-29. There are a couple of other holidays thrown in between too, but I have no idea what there are. I even forgot about Labor Day back in the States (does that make me a real Israeli yet?).

We spent Rosh Hashana with DH’s family. All of them. Have I mentioned DH has a huge family? He does. They are very warm and inviting and funny…even in Hebrew. I have spent many a Rosh Hashanah in the States, but had no idea there was more to this Jewish New Year other than eating apples and honey. Apparently there are tons of symbolic foods to stuff yourself silly. Since the entire seder was in Hebrew I didn’t catch all the symbolism, but here’s just a few of the traditions:

  • Wine (blessing for the fruit of the vine)
  • Figs
  • Green beans
  • Squash 
  • Pomegranate (for as many blessings as the seeds of the pomegranate) 
  • Apples and honey (for a sweet new year)
  • Challah
  • Fish head (yes, you read that right-so that we’re always the head and not the tail)
  • Spinach
  • Leeks
  • Who knew?  Not this shiksa.
Then there’s dinner. And breakfast. And lunch. And dinner again. And another lunch. These aren’t small meals either (think all out holiday feasts for each meal for two and a half days). It was a gastrointestinal adventure and I thoroughly enjoyed it all. Now if I could only find a gym.

We’ve also taken quite a few trips around this tiny nation and spent some time bonding with DH’s cousins. We took a day trip to Caesarea, an ancient Roman port city, and lunched with a fellow expat amongst the Roman ruins.

DH and I are definitely heading back there to go snorkeling for 45 shekels (about $12!).
 We also went to Dimona in the Negev desert to see my brother-in-law graduate from commander’s course. And boy was it a desert…complete with camels and nomadic Arabs on horseback.

That wasn't a speed hump you just drove over.
We had a late night in the company of a few pints at a pub named The Hobbit in Zikhron Ya’acov. Apparently they only had 5 songs in English and kept playing them over and over again. We even took a quick dip in the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea at Herzliya beach.  I saw more naked children and half-naked adults than I ever wanted to see in 2 hours.

And of course, last but not least, we finally moved into our own apartment this week. Life is beginning to take form. We live right in between DH’s school and my ulpan and a short walk to the supermarket, the dog park and the best mall in Israel (uh oh). Life is really different, but exciting. We’ve become a walking family, we’ve learned which stores have the best prices, learned how to haggle prices at the shuk, learned how to pay our bills, learned the train system.

We still have a long way to go. Our apartment is just a shadow of what we want it to be, we have to figure out how to transition to life without a car, we still have tons of trips to the government offices in the next month, ulpan and school begins in a few weeks and we’re still settling in our new world. I am even getting a little more comfortable doing a few things on my own. I’m trying to give myself time, but when life is coming at you full speed and in a different language it is hard to get on fast enough.

Oh and the dog is back to normal (i.e. charging at cats and other small animals, getting into the trash and thinking everyone in the world is in love with her). She can’t handle the heat very well yet and takes a long nap after just a 30 minute walk. She even has a new vet near our apartment building.

1 comment:

  1. Life sure is exciting for you right now. I'm real excited that you and DH have found your apt. Life will become more 'normal', I'm not sure that is the right word. lol I love you and am still looking for your list. love ya