One of the many great pleasures that come with living in Israel is the joy of celebrating the Holidays.
Celebrating the holiday of Rosh Hashanah which this year due to the fact that it was on Thursday and Friday turned into a three day holiday, was then followed by Yom Kippur. In Israel like no other country in the world the clocks are turned back one hour the Sunday morning before Yom Kippur so that the fast can end an hour earlier. True, it is still a 25 hour fast but we all realize that the day of the fast is always the hardest part, we here in Israel get to end a hour earlier. There is a huge controversy because this policy and the debate goes on each year as to whether this is the right thing to do .
We are then treated to the beautiful holiday of Succoth. This holiday consists of one day at the beginning , followed by 5 intermediate days and then one more holiday at the end, unlike in the Diaspora where there is 2 days at the beginning and two days at the end. That creates some great hardships for the chefs and homemakers of the world that have to prepare food for 2 consecutive three day eating and feasting marathons.
Besides all the food prep that is required, there is also the building of the Succoth and the purchasing of the four species that are used during the holiday. In Israel it is quite a joy shopping for the 4 species. Each city and town across the country , has open markets set up with many vendors displaying their goods. Not only are the species available for sale but so are everything needed for the actual Succoth. That is the huts that the Jewish people sit in during the holiday. They are temporary structures that have between three and four walls and are covered with branches or bamboo stalks or any type of foliage that grows from the ground but is no longer attached to the ground. It is reminiscent of the times in Jewish history when Jewish people would make their way up to Jerusalem from across the country to celebrate the holiday. I myself personally purchased new temporary walls for my Succoth and some new decorations for my children to hang. It was a very enjoyable experience that one can only enjoy in such a festive manner while living in Israel. I also purchased my four species at a temporary store set up just for that purpose and is open just for a few days. Now we all know of those temporary stores that are set up in neighborhoods across America. They are usually selling anything from fireworks for the Fourth of July to Halloween costumes to even dare I might say X-mas trees and decorations. It sure beats running over to the synagogue the last minute and picking out an over priced non impressive set of 4 species, that really lacks any pleasure or enjoyment.
I would like to invite all of you to come to Israel. Join in the festivities of the Jewish Holidays where people both secular and religious young and old truly enjoy the holiday spirit, People aren't trying to figure out how they are going to take off from work, who will cover for them and how many vacation days they will have to use. In Israel everyone gets to celebrate the holidays to their fullest without any of those concerns that one may have the outside of Israel. It is all waiting for you and don't forget "we"ll leave a light on for you.
Dedicated to my friend Martin and family who loves getting into the holiday spirit.
A View from Jon's Place 09/22/10 #7