I don't know how to write this. How about: WOW! What a powerful Yom Kippur!
The Kol Nidrei service was beautiful and only 2 hours - we were home by 7:30 PM last night! David and I sat out on our glider and watched the clouds moving across the moon. I wished we could have videotaped it; it was so pretty. Both of us agreed tonight that we were able to follow the davening today with no problem. Our Hebrew is so much better than in past years (not because we're in Israel, but just because it's starting to sound familiar after all these years). The singing where we daven is so beautiful. My back is really in bad shape, so I had to sit a lot. After mussaf Shemoneh Esrei I went home for awhile. Then I really got homesick for St. Louis. Actually, not for St. Louis, but for all the times I spent those couple of hours with Shifra and Lynda and Malky (and Emunah only once!). So I kept myself busy with reading The Way of G-d (Derech Hashem) and then davening mincha Shemoneh Esrei and reading the Torah Portion about Jonah before I headed back to shul for Neilah.
The intensity of the davening just kept building, especially with the beautiful singing. By the time the shofar blew at the end, I was really crying. All the other women were hugging and kissing and giving each other brachot, while looking at me out of the corner of their eyes. One by one they kept coming over and patting me on the back; it was a little embarrassing. It was hard to describe the feeling of being in Eretz Yisrael and feeling the relief and happiness of the whole teshuva process. And then someone pointed out Rebbetzin Twerski standing next to us; her husband, Rabbi Avraham Twerski was the one leading the davening at the end. It turns out that our rabbi's wife is their daughter! They're going to be here through at least the first days of Sukkot and he's going to be giving some shiurim. Pretty amazing!
Now begins a really busy week of getting the sukkah up, cooking, making plans for all the days of Sukkot, and oh yeah - studying for our ulpan test on Wednesday. I spent a little time this evening going over verbs and infinitives and plurals and vocabulary, but tomorrow is really going to be rough. Hopefully it will just be review because I'm sure I'm not the only person who hasn't even looked at any of our learning since last week. David ended up going to daf yomi at our shul tonight when someone came and knocked on the door to remind him. He started daf yomi right after we moved here, but didn't stick with it; we just had too much going on. Now that we're a little more settled, and he knows a lot more of the men at the shul, he'll hopefully stay interested.
Tomorrow after ulpan I'm going all by myself on the bus to Super Sol (grocery store) in Beit Shemesh and get a lot of groceries for the holidays. You're probably thinking, "What's the big deal?" Let me tell you - it is. Just getting anywhere takes a lot of time and planning when you don't have a car. Then I have to figure out not only what everything is, but what the hecsher is. Then I have to take a taxi home (20 shekels!) because I plan to have a lot of stuff. Hopefully David will be home to help me carry it all upstairs. He might be going into Geulah in Yerushalayim to pick out his lulav and esrog. They sell it here, but there you have a bigger selection and it's everywhere out on the streets. Maybe he'll go on Wednesday so I can go, too.
I should probably get some sleep. It's going to be a long (but hopefully enjoyable) week.