Sunday, September 16, 2007

Rosh Hashanah Sweetness

We had a sweet Rosh Hashanah.

On Wednesday evening, we had an early dinner and then hurried to synagogue, where Bruce and I ushered. I love ushering, because I see and hug so many people that I have known for over 20 years, many of whom I have not seen recently! I get a high off of just standing at the door and greeting them and saying "L'shanah Tova!" (A good year!) and "Gut Yontiff!" (Good Yom Tov--which means holy day).

A funny thing happened this time. An elderly woman unknown to me came in the doors. I greeted her, and because she looked European in her dress and manner, I greeted her with the Yiddish "Gut Yontiff!" rather than the Hebrew greeting. She sniffed at me and said: "I don't speak Yiddish." So I said, "Aht m'diberet Ivrit?" (Do you speak Hebrew?). She said, "I speak German." I apologized that I have not learned German yet and wished her a sweet new year in Hebrew and in English. Then she went up to M., another greeter, who has a Spanish surname, and said testily: "What kind of name is G. for a Jew?" M., without missing a beat, said, "I'm a Spanish Jew. My family has been here for four hundred years." She muttered and went on in. M. wondered what that was all about. I suggested that she is probably Israeli. She clearly understood Hebrew although she did not answer me in it. She spoke English with a German-Hebrew accent, and she was offended by Yiddish. She was forthright to the point of rudeness from an American point of view, which is typical for Israelis, especially the 'Yekkies,' (German Israeli Jews--so called by other Israelis because they insist on formality and wear suit jackets even in the summer heat among the much more relaxed and pragmatic Israelis).

On Wednesday, after morning services and hearing the Shofar, we brought S. and J. home with us to eat Rosh Hashanah Dinner. They are the most wonderful couple that have known for years. We enjoy their company very much. They are retired teachers who love children, too, and they get along wonderfully with N. They do not have grandchildren, so they are informally local 'grandparents' for N. and he is their "kadishul"--the person they expect to remember them by saying kaddish for them when they return to G-d, may that be a long time coming!

They were here last Rosh Hashanah and the weather was cold and windy. They were also here at Passover, but we were busy with the Seder. So this was the first time they had a chance to walk around outside at "the new house" and enjoy the beauty of what Bruce call's "our little piece of paradise."

N. has been enjoying being up in trees lately. He climbed up in "his" tree and blew the shofar on Rosh Hashanah afternoon. I did not get a picture of the shofar, but upon hearing it ran in and got the camera. By that time he was done, but here he is in the tree.

On Friday, we went over to Oak Flat for Second Day services. It was warm and beautiful. There is something special about praying together surrounded by the fragrance of Ponderosa Pines and the sounds of birds and children.

N. climbed up about 25 feet in a Ponderosa Pine there, too. I had several of the Yidishe Mamas (Jewish Mothers) shouting at me and frantically pointing, telling me that he was up there. I smiled and waved at them, not the least bit worried. N. has been climbing trees for years. I know what he is capable of, and I saw that he was close to the trunk of the tree and perched on thick, strong branches. The YMs shook their heads, certain that he was headed for disaster. But we finished the services with N. intact, and after the Aleinu he came down from the tree, eager to join us for Kidush and lunch. When admonished by one of the YM's, he gave her a look that plainly said 'Poor earthbound one, you don't even know what you are missing,' and bit into the cookie she gave him. " Thanks," he said, "I'm starving." She looked gratified and handed him another cookie. He's got the YM mentality down. Just eat what they feed you and all will be forgiven.

He said to me: "Two cookies on the second day of Rosh Hashanah! It's going to be a very good year."

Happy 5768!


Melora said...

I'll admit I'd be with the Yidishe Mamas, freaking out at N. up so high. Sounds like he knows his trees, though, (and it must be glorious to be unafraid and up so high!) and I love how he has them figured out. Two cookies does indeed seem like a sign of a good year to come!

Nikol said...

That's all fine. What, however, do you think about Obadiah Shoher's criticism pf Rosh Hashanah as aholiday that has nothing to do with New Year? Here, for example

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Melora: Yep, he does have them figured out. Maybe because he lives with a somewhat reformed YM!

Nikol: See comments from the last Rosh Hashanah post.