Holiday Hectics

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The holidays have felt like such a whirlwind, there seems to be so little time to write. I spent a very nice Rosh Hashanna at Becca and Avraham's, the highlight of which for me (besides playing with Ashira) was getting to know their friend Uri a bit better. Uri seems like a quiet, sensitive type to me, which is what I find absolutely lovable in a man. But while he's unmarried, I haven't much idea how to tell if he plays for my team (if you'll excuse my Sienfeld-ism). I've never been expert at subtle social maneuvers, and striking up a date with someone when you aren't certain whether their sexual orientation is compatible is one of the most tricky tasks I can think of. Perhaps it's just as well, since my limited Hebrew coupled with Uri's limited English would make for rather limited conversation.

Not much to say about Yom Kippur: mostly just spending all day in shul. The short time between Yom Kippur and Sukkos was a bit worrisome since I came down with some sort of 24-hour flu a couple days before the holiday. I was able to purchase a nifty sukkah kit at the hardware store before Yom Kippur and it was easy enough to assemble it after, but I could feel the illness encroaching beforehand and didn't feel up to any but the most basic Sukkos preparations. Fortunately, I was all better by the time the holiday arrived, and I spent the meals quietly studying a book on Aramaic grammar in my sukkah.

This past Shabbos, I had Friday-night dinner with Yoseph and Chava Saban, who had their customary assortment of random young men around the table. I was impressed by some of Yoseph's new art work. He does Hebrew calligraphy, and he has a habit of making little laminated cards with various mystical meditations printed on them. The stuff that was new to me tended to include an increased use of graphical elements other than letters, which I appreciated, and it also demonstrated his relatively recent use of the computer to assist in production, the effects of which I thought were pretty slick.

I spent Shabbos lunch with another couple I know, Shani and Sheva Chaya (whose last name I seem to have forgotten if I ever knew it: the circles I seem to run in can be very lackadaisical about keeping track of last names). Besides me, they hosted some old friends of theirs, a couple visiting from New York named Jamie and Rachel. I took the opportunity to pick Sheva Chaya's brain about glass-blowing, since I was impressed with the various glass pieces she had made which were lying about the house. After lunch, we left Shani at home with the kids and went for a walk around town. We found our way to the Metsuda, which is the old ruined fort at the peak of the mountain on which the town is built. It's been converted into a lovely park and provides a really expansive view of most of the Galilee area, especially lake Kinneret. The air was unusually clear today, so we could see really far. Quite fun.

Next week promises to be busy. There's of course the final holiday of the season, Simchas Torah, on Tuesday. And the day immediately afterward, I'm invited to celebrate a friend's birthday in the Jerusalem area with a rousing round of paintball. And the day immediately after that, I'm scheduled back in Tzfat for a date to welcome the Laderman family to Israel with a small hiking trip. Yes indeed, this is the same Ladermans that are famous all throughout Randallstown for their Biblical Animal Farm, which demonstrated first-hand all sorts of relevant ways that our common (and not-so-common) domesticated fauna friends apply to Torah practice.

And I guess that officially catches y'all up on the latest. Till next time.


Comment from Tim Meushaw at

I had been wondering if you'd have your own sukkah, or if your apartment building would have one really, really big one on the balcony for everyone to share.  Where did you put it, just outside your door?  Say hi to Jacob for me, I sent him an email about possibly getting together before he left the country but never heard back.  Chag sameach.

Comment from Daniel Pearson at

I put the sukkah right outside my door. I'll try
to remember to pass on your greetings to Jacob.