05 October 2007


Hoe-Shee-Aah-Nah is part of the Simchat Torah prayer/celebration singing.

While you Diaspora fools are nursing your Simchat Torah-related hangovers, here in Israel I have (part) of a day off between the end of Sukkot and Shabbat. What do I mean? Let me explain...

In the Diaspora, Jewish holidays are 2 days long. That means the chag/holiday parts at the beginning and end of long holidays like Sukkot are two days long, each. In Israel, chag is only one day long at either end. Annnd, when it's Sukkot, the closing Chag days of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are hybridized into one fun day.

Things for Simchat Torah in Israel are a little different than in the States. The getting-drunk-for-the-Torah parties aren't in huge abundance, but the getting-sweaty-while-dancing-and-singing services are in full force. My friend Shiran came to visit, and we all went to Shira Chadasha for the evening Hakafot (that means something like dancing in circles with the Torah). Shirah Chadash was NUTS! I saw everyone I've known, ever. Really. There was my Nivo '04 waterskiing camper, my Wheels Bus D '02 camper, my supervisor from Skills for Teaching and her daughter, a colleague from the Foundation for Jewish Camping. There was also the crowd of JTS and A-Jew (they go by "Ziegler" or "AJU") kids, of course. To round things out, I spent some time talking with my friend Jordana, with whom I went on USY on Wheels '97, and Baylene, from Pilgrimage 99, and pretty much everything from high school.

There were other people there I was excited to see, too. It felt like Simchat Torah on the Upper West Side, more than I'd expected. Next time, I'm getting my eyebrows waxed BEFORE the social scene, not after. I thought it was going to be (relatively) low-key.

After Hakafot, we had dinner at my apartment, which ended up including 12 people! Food was good, and we all had a good time. After dinner, a bunch of the guests stayed up until the wee hours, but I went to sleep. I figured I needed my strength for services the following morning, at Kedem. They were pretty fun and great.

Shiran, Allison and I hung out all afternoon, eating the (amazing) baked stuff from Shiran's sister's bakery job, and enjoying Nurit's visit, late in the afternoon. When the holiday ended at dark, Rafi and I went to a really cute restaurant, where I learned to stop ordering Israeli ravioli (Disappoint me once, shame on you. Disappoint me twice, Israeli ravioli, shame on me.). After dinner, we celebrated our friends housewarming (quite literally across the street), and went to be relatively early, considering the hard-partying nature of my friends.

Today, I prepared for Shabbat...partially by buying challot at the neighborhood amazing bakery, and partially by getting my eyebrows pruned. It was all-in-all an exciting start to Shabbat. And to think, I could have spent today in shul for Simchat Torah...instead of yesterday.

No comments: