I am a bit sad that the Holidays are already over. That is not a normal reaction for me. Normally I am filled with mixed feelings of relief and guilt over that relief. But somehow the holiday season here in Israel feels completely different. Less tiring, less stressful. First of all, almost no-one, except those in the service industry (grocery stores, etc.) works all through the holidays. Almost the entire country takes a holiday. Everyone goes on Teulim (tours, day trips). We ourselves went to Neot Kedumim twice, Bet Guvrin, and of course, the beach in Tel Aviv. The weather was glorious, and there are lots an lots of things to do & see, even for people who have lived here for years. Our Sabra (native Israeli) friends, the Skuri family, stopped in from Haifa to see us and told tales of their wonderful holiday adventures. It is a cultural thing. Most of the tours are relatively inexpensive, kid-friendly, fun and informative. But that is only the background. The real event is the holiday itself.
Our first Succah in the land turned out really lovely, despite the fact that our lift has not yet arrived and I was without all my carefully collected and treasured Succah decorations. We had many friends in for meals, and were invited over to other friends Succot. The food was wonderful, the friends even more so, and an overall festive atmosphere filled the days. It rained a little during Succot. But now that the holiday is over it has really started raining. It rains almost every night, sometimes during the day for an hour or two. (Keep praying for rain - we need lots lots more!) But the sun still breaks through, and the temperature still lingers in the 60's & 70's (Fahrenheit).
We took advantage of a dry afternoon & took down the Succah. Carefully packed away all the little decorations. Swept off the mirpeset & washed up the piling mound of dishes. I spent a day catching up on the laundry & cleaning the house. Now everything is back on schedule. We are back in Ulpan 4 days a week (Sun - Thur) and they boys are back in school 5 days a week. Maybe I'm a little sad because it's time to get focused on the normal mundane things life brings, which we have managed to sidestep until now. We need to get our Israeli drivers licenses. I need to get my American Passport renewed. We need to try to sort through all the confusing mess of the Israeli school system. Trying to communicate with the boys teachers, who speak only Hebrew, has been challenging. I confess I have not put forth the necessary effort to find out what they need, what they need to be doing, and how I can help them get it all done. We need to learn to speak Hebrew. We desperately need to get jobs. I'm not sure how we're going to juggle all of this as yet.
I wouldn't say that the honeymoon is over. I still have to pause each time I walk out my front door and look at that incredible view. I still find a feeling of awe each night when I put Ari to bed. We look out his bedroom window and see headlights on the highways to the west going to and from Tel Aviv. We see the lights of the neighboring Moshav. There is a rhythm, a melody to the way of life here.
We just need to take a moment to write the notes for our particular instrument into the overall symphony.
We've started watching the news again. Our TV has rarely been on in the past 3 months. But JDC turned it on yesterday. Big news in America and here in Israel. On the local front, yesterday night an arab broke into a home in the Ben Shemen Moshav. He had a knife and there was an altercation with the homeowner. The arab was shot and died later at the hospital. We don't know if he was a terrorist, or simply a thief. When we first heard I was worried that the Moshav was actually Gimzo, where our dear friends, the Goldrings, lived. We rushed to call them and were greatly relieved to learn it was not even in their Moshav & they are all well and safe. Not that the whole situation isn't upsetting. Sadly, I reflected that in America we were so numbed by the high level of crime, that a single break-in 10 miles away wasn't even news there!
Currently the big news is the American Presidential election. We are less than a week away from election day & the race is very close. My kids have asked me who I support and why. Of course, the issue for me is who is going to make the right choices politically for Israel. I have made my choice & already emailed in my absentee ballot. I do have an observation to share. Antisemitism is growing world wide. The level of tolerance, of that growing antisemitism, evident in the American political arena, is alarming. I suspect it is all in the guise of "political correctness". Such was the case as Hitler was coming to power in the late 20's & early 30's. When I contemplate that Iran's leader claims that the holocaust never happened, and publicly calls for the destruction of Israel http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/03/AR2006080300629.html , additionally that he is implementing a nuclear weapons program that will probably produce a nuclear bomb within the next 12 months http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/123037 , and then I learn that the arabs in Gaza are supporting a certain presidential Candidate. The Syrians are also backing the same man. This candidate of choice has advised, as part of his campaign platform, that America should sit down at the negotiating table and talk with Iran. Now that is truly frightening. But I believe that HaShem has a plan. No matter who wins in America. No matter who wins in our general elections here in Israel in February, HaShem will have his way. That gives me comfort. I may not know or understand that plan, that's OK. I don't need to. It is enough for me that we are here, that we can participate in the politics of the day, and try to live in such a way that fulfills our moral and religious obligations.
Sorry I wax politic.
JDC and I have always been interested in alternative energy. Earlier this year we heard about a man in India that had manufactured a car that runs on air. We were fascinated and I started an Internet search to learn about whether such a thing could be true. I have attached a new link in the upper corner of the blog about a company I found that is actually beginning to mass produce and mass market an air car. Please take a moment to check it out. I believe it is the way of the future. I believe that one of the reasons this attempt may succeed when others could not, is because this company is not operating inside the U.S. The Oil and Automobile PACS that wield so much power in the U.S. have no clout at all in France. Plus the car is being marketed at less than $20,000, a very competitive price in the American market. It appears that there are no legal obstacles to importing such a vehicle, and the company is currently taking orders for cars to be delivered in America in 2009 & 2010. I have signed onto the mailing list & hope to obtain one for us here in Israel. Imagine, not having to pay for gas!
As I watch the news today I see that the Stock Market has rallied. The Federal Reserve has announced another drop in the prime rate, and I see that in some areas gas prices in the U.S. has dropped to around $2.00 a gallon (something I never thought I'd see again!) I hear that there are things in the works to create an assistance package with mortgage payments for those hard hit by the recent financial shenanigans. I can only hope all this will create a turn around in the housing market which I suspect in turn will stabilize the overall American economy. HaShem will have His way.
I wish you comfort and prosperity in the coming year. May your life be sweet!
Rav Kook's Ein Ayah
11 hours ago