PURIM and end of February

Week of February 24th

Okay. Incredibly not happy with Word Press because I cannot see anything on the screens and there is no way to contact them for help. I really want to share the wonderful things we’ve been doing with friends, so I am “documenting” everything and hoping to post it later, maybe on my Life Is Like a Library blog.

PURIM

Purim was amazing. Right after Shabbat was over, we cleaned up quickly and went to synagogue. I was amazed at how many women and girls came in costume. There was a lot of noise when Haman’s name was mentioned, and at the end of the reading, they blew the shofar. We came home, then Chaim and Moshe went back for a party with a live band.  They kept telling me I should have gone because there were a lot of women there. What were the women doing? Watching the men! (I’m glad I missed it). Dina and I stayed home and got the bags ready for the next day.

Sunday morning we went to a different synagogue, so I got to sit with my neighbors. Again, a lot of women and girls in costume. After the reading, we came home and got organized. We handed out our bags, which had an iced tea, a plastic container of chick pea salad and some little chocolate bars. We got some very nice mishloach manot, including cakes, a potato kugel, and lots of candy.  Chaim took Moshe to see his Rebbe, and they tasted some of his 4-year-old wine.

In the afternoon, we went to the cousins for the meal. They outdid themselves yet again with a menu that included cabbage soup, brisket, chicken cacciotore with spaghetti, and fried zucchini. We provided the baked goods of gluten-free challah, peanut butter balls, blondies, and some misshapen hamentashen. As hard as I pinch them, they always fall apart in the oven.

On Monday, for Shushan Purim, we went to Jerusalem. We were pleasantly surprised that the traffic wasn’t too bad. Our first stop, Sheyan, for a delicious Chinese lunch. After lunch, we tried to find a parking space in our usual spot, the Mamilla Mall, but it was totally full. We drove to the municipality lot, and we found a spot there. We came out of the parking lot onto a plaza, where there was a life performance of some kind of story. There were tons of people dressed up and enjoying the day. As we walked toward the Old City, we saw a troupe of African dancers performing in another corner. Chaim and Moshe went down to the Kotel; Dina and I went to the jewelry store, where she used her gift certificate to buy a necklace.

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From there, we drove to Meah Shearim to visit Rav Hurwitz. As we tried to park, boys started hassling us for money and blocking the car. They really have no idea of the impact of a moving vehicle. Chaim was very happy to see Rav Hurwitz, and they had a lot of family and guests, so we stayed a while and then headed to other friends.

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By the time we got there, around 6 PM, everything was quiet. They had had their meal at someone else’s house, and the husband was already headed to the airport to return to work.

Tuesday it was back to work, school and Ulpan. We went to the supermarket in the afternoon, where they were already setting up for Passover.

Wednesday was a busy and somewhat frustrating day.  I had an appointment with the vocational counselor at the Ministry of Absorption. Seeing that the bus takes at least 45 minutes and my appointment was at 9:15, I figured it would be the same if I had Chaim drop me off when he went to Ulpan, then I could just sit and read or do cross-stitch until my appointment. Well, my lovely vocational counselor showed up at 9:50, so it was a really long wait. She reviewed my test scores, which showed that I am not a good artist and that the best job for me would be one that is social, involves organizing things, and involves some creativity. I think I already knew that before I took the tests, and I already figured out that librarianship is the perfect career for me.

Then she told me that there is no money in the budget for training courses, and that I know more than she does about where to look for a library job. As they say, you get what you pay for.

Thankfully, I did not get sick on the bus back. I got off early to avoid all the twists and turns around the traffic circles closer to our house, and I stopped and got some bagels and cream cheese for the family. I walked home from the grocery store, and continued to work on the project.

After Dina came home from school, we went to the orthodontist and she had braces put on her top teeth. She was not in the best mood afterward, and I gave her a note to leave school early on Thursday.

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I made some fried fish for dinner that was very tasty. I would definitely buy the sole again, maybe bake it in the oven with the crumbs.

Thursday we met with the accountant and found out that our US taxes are not due until June 15th, and that taking on this project work, even though the pay is just okay, actually helps us because now we can deduct our moving expenses.

Friday was a great day. I did a little work in the morning, then we went on one of our local tours. We love them because we only have to drive ten to fifteen minutes, and we love finding out about historical sites just minutes from where we live. Today’s destination: Tel Socho and the mountain filled with lupines.

 Sochoh was one of the cities alloted to Judah, it lay between Adulam and Azekah (Joshua 15:35). Most famously Sochoh is the place where the Philistines gathered their armies to battle with King Saul (2 Chronicles 11: 5-12). Yes, this is where David slew Goliath, taking the stone from the bed of a small creek. We arrived at the site and saw a lot of other cars parked there. We started walking up the trail and up some steep hills. Then we hit the jackpot: fields of beautiful lupines.

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We lingered and looked at the flowers, then we walked the rest of the trail and saw what looked like the remnants of ancient houses. There were a lot of caves and some very big holes – some even looked like the bell caves where they quarried rocks for construction. We had a nice walk, and when we returned to our car, there was quite a crowd. Most came with picnic lunches and their dogs.

After a great morning, we came home, finished up work, and got ready for Shabbat.

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