Sunday, November 25, 2007

I just spent about half an hour reading the recent posts on my blog. It's difficult to remember what I've written or even when I've written (it's actually difficult to remember what I did an hour ago or what I said five minutes ago, but we won't get into that right now).

It's actually sunny and hopefully will continue to be so all week. After so many months of sun and warm weather, fall finally arrived with cloudy skies, wind, and temperatures between 15-20 degrees (that's Celcius in case you were shivering as you read that). We've also had enough rain to keep our yard muddy for the past week. Emma's so funny; she knows when she comes in from outside I'm going to grab her and wash her paws in the sink, so she just stands there when I open the door, hoping I'll back up enough for her to rush by me. I've had to resort to holding treats out, but she doesn't fall for that any more. Now we just have a standoff, with me closing the door in her face a few times, and even then I have to let her come all the way in and close the door before I try to grab her. She, of course, runs for the couch (light beige in color) and by the time I get to her she's run the length of it before jumping off, leaving a trail of muddy paw prints. It's going to be a long winter.

You're probably wondering what Israeli Americans do at Thanksgiving time. I would have to say that everyone does things differently but I actually have very good memories of Thanksgiving and enjoy celebrating it. We joined forces with our friends, and had a Thanksgiving feast on Friday night. Miryam made the turkey (rather well, I might add), Penina made the stuffing and green bean casserole, and I made the candied sweet potatoes and a deep dish apple pie, pumpkin pie, ice cream pie, and the whipped cream. Oh yeah, and I opened a can of cranberry sauce. There were ten of us, and even though we were extremely crowded in our dining room, we all had a great time. I read a great article from called "It's my Party" about being thankful for what we have, and not feeling entitled to have anything. We sang lots of zemiros; Penina's family have great voices, and it was very uplifting.

I planned to go into Yerushalayim this afternoon to meet up with a friend's husband and stepson visiting from St. Louis (looking into yeshivot), but he never answered his cell phone. I have to go into town tomorrow and again on Tuesday, so I'm not so disappointed. Tonight is my ulpan class. Did I tell you about that? Four of us (all women) are learning with an Israeli woman at my house one night a week. Unfortunately, we're all at very different levels so the teacher has her work cut out for her. I've actually been surprised at how much I remember from ulpan last year, or have learned throughout this past year. I really think new olim shouldn't take ulpan until they've been in the country for at least six months. After you've heard Ivrit spoken a lot, and you get used to hearing it, learning it gets a whole lot easier. Right now we're just going over the basics, but we want her to teach us conversational Hebrew so we can talk to the people at the post office, the grocery store, the bus station, and things we need in our everyday lives. B'seder?

Let's see, what else is new?

Penina's daughter, Rachel, who's going to seminary in Bayit Vegan, told us Friday night of another "only in Israel" story. She related that she and some friends were at a bus stop near their school when they struck up a conversation with a young mother. The woman invited them all to Seudat Shlishi that week! I told about a time when I was at a crowded bus stop when a very pregnant woman walked up and people made room for her to sit on the bench. The woman then started searching through her backpack and finally pulled out an apple. She held the fruit out in front of her and very deliberately, enunciating every word, made the blessing ha'adamah. Everyone said "Amen." It was so beautiful! And then, last Wednesday (in the pouring rain) I had to go into Yerushalayim for a doctor's appointment. Afterwards I got on the #11 bus (the seats were drenched) to go to Givat Shaul where I went shopping at the Cheaper Kol. This is a grocery store that has a lot of American products. I was looking for mandarin oranges, chow mein noodles, canned pumpkin, and cranberry sauce. While there, another woman heard me on the phone with my friend, Lisa, who was trying to direct me to the correct aisle where the chow mein noodles were located. She helped me find several products that I was looking for. Before I went to check out, I thanked her for her help and we began playing the Jewish Geography game. It turns out I know her mother-in-law, who is a big supporter of Aish St. Louis, and I had even seen her mother-in-law when I was in St. Louis in August (she lives in El Paso but was in St. Louis for the same bat mitzvah I had attended). She ended up inviting David and I for Shabbos whenever we wanted, and we exchanged phone numbers. I LOVE being part of a world-wide extended family where everybody knows somebody you know!

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