Today was Sukkot in Jerusalem. In the States, I spend two days celebrating the holiday parts (Chag) of Sukkot, but when you’re living in Israel, one of the perks is only one day of Chag, and more of Chol (regular day during the middle of a Chag).
I started off by attending a quick service and an equally lovely meal at the sukkah built by my friend Robbie (aka, Rafi's roommate). The food was ridiculously good and the people were fun. This morning, I attended services at Shira Chadasha (A New Song), a Torah-Egalitarian (They let women read Torah and lead many parts of the service. This is revolutionary for the Orthodox movement.) Modern Orthodox synagogue about 8 minutes from my apartment. I wanted to go to Shira Chadash because I knew I would be one of many women with a lulav and etrog, and I also knew that it would be a scene. Sure enough, I couldn’t shuffle a few feet in any direction without running into someone from Ramah Darom, someone from JTS, or someone from Cornerstone 2007! And that was just in the women’s section.
After shul, I made my way to the Rafi/Robbie apartment for another decadent meal in the sukkah. The only problem was the heat – I was so exhausted from being hot and sweaty that after lunch I passed out until the sun had set and the Chag part of Sukkot was over. I slept three hours of my afternoon away!
After a quick shower and a meeting of the minds at my apartment, Rafi suggested that we go to Abu Ghosh for dinner, because, hey, our friends have a car! For those of you who are worried (Mom), don’t be. Abu Ghosh is an Arab-Israeli Village outside of Jerusalem, but it is inside of Israel and the Green Line. The people in this city are Israeli citizens. They are “our brothers,” to quote our illustrious driver.
The only thing you may have to worry about in Abu Ghosh is overeating. We went to a restaurant and ordered a vegetarian selection of delicacies…hummus im tznubarim (Cheryl, I remembered!), olive oil so cloudy and so decadent that you could cure a new baseball glove with it, salatim (Israeli salads: babaghanoush, taboule, cucumber/tomato/parsley), falafel, cheeeeps (chips = French fries) and warm, sweet pita bread. I didn't NEED to top off my meal with thick, heavy coffee with cardamom…so I had only a little shot glass of it. The restaurant was filled with Israelis, and the Israelis were full.
After the meal, we did a quick drive around to see the famous Abu Ghosh church (couldn’t find it) and we ended up getting some ridiculous baklawa from a Arab-Israeli-New Jerseyan. We ate it back at Rafi’s, in the Sukkah, as we are commanded to dwell (ok, I may interpret “dwell” in this case solely as “eat”) in the Sukkah on Sukkot.