Saturday, October 10, 2009

Holiday Season

Although, sadly, Sukkos is over here in Israel, I am currently sitting in our Sukkah. Why? Because I'm super frum.

Just kidding.

It's because Mavis discovered that we can actually get internet in our Sukkah. It's not amazing internet, but it's enough that I can write the past few blog posts!

Israel has been incredible - I love coming here. In the distance, I can still hear the music and singing from hakafot shniot in Baka and in Gan Hapa'amon (although what I'm hearing is probably the ones in Baka). For those who don't know, in Israel they have hakafot shniot with music and dancing after Simchas Torah is over. It's like a community-wide chagiga. On Yissachar street, they're having hakafos now for Baka and in Gan Hapa'amon, it's for all of Yerushalaim.

After coming to Israel two years in a row for Sukkos (not to mention my year in Israel when I was here for all Shalosh Regalim), I cannot help but point out the distinct difference between chag in Israel and chag in America. In Israel, the entire country is saturated with festivity. Chol hamoed feels like a moed. On Hoshana Raba night, there are shiurim and people learning. All throughout the chag, there are shiurim, activities, chagigot... The holiday is in the air. You breathe in the experience of Sukkos just by walking down the street. On every street corner, teenage boys are calling, "Aravot! Aravot!" by their little aravos stands. Everywhere, everyone is wishing each other a chag sameach. Signs are telling you to have a shana tova. Ads and commercials are about sukkos, lulavim, and etrogim. The stores that are actually open have Sukkos specials. Concerts are everywhere. Sukkos are everywhere. It is impossible to be in Yerushalaim and not feel the chag around you. The smell of the Etrog is the country's perfume.

Isn't it so nice when holiday season is about our holidays?


(Picture: An Etrog tree we saw in Ne'ot Kedumim)

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