The 11th Floor

A Perpsective Overlooking Jerusalem, Israeli Life, and Talmud Torah

Thursday, September 21, 2006

שנה טובה ומתוקה

My lovely wife went to the large appliance store to get a plata, the name for the large electric hot plate (a.k.a. the bleeeeeech) that is used to warm foods on Shabbat. She was amazed to find the vast appliance store filled with workers strolling about, with drinks on the desks, cookies and cakes being shared, and a very informal atmosphere in effect. This is not what one expects from an Israeli store- except, she knew, that this is a store having a New Year’s Eve party. In Israel, Rosh Hashanah is the start of the new year for everyone- it really is a Jewish culture and calendar. Justinian and his calendar (as well Mr. Gregorian and his) are guests in this country in many ways, for in Israel January 1st is just another Monday in winter. Cliché it might be, but Judaism permeates life here; Rosh Hashanah is a holiday for secular Jews as well . . . although they don’t endure a 5 hour Musaf service, which may be why the ultra-Orthodox get so angry with them.

Agron Courtyard, CY, Jerusalem

We wish you all new year filled with joy and delight,
a year where war is diminished and peace abounds,
a year where success and prosperity replace doubt and shame,
a year of delicious fruits,
a year where diseases are cured and hunger is met with generosity,
a year of Torah, labor in the service of God and acts of loving kindness in the service of humanity.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shana tova! Here's hoping your new year remains as adventure- (and humor-) filled as the last month.


9:11 PM  
Blogger mangofan said...

Shana Tova, my friends. May your New Year be filled with non-vomit filled toilets!

and good health and stuff too.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Berzerkomandor said...

The Jewish year 2012 is upon us.

We are a Nation of Teachers. And although society continues to plummet into unrecognizability, a new generation of family has entered the ranks of the teaching professional. Mom's kids have some competition now. Karl gave a summation of his recently procured employment in charter schooling. From what I understand, we all have a lot to learn. I'm waiting for them to clone up some kids for me to teach. Until then I remain the default overseer of daily Deuteronomy.

I arrived at the house for Rosh Hashana meal just as did the Player Mobile. The Mobile is a marvel of heuristics; the trunk opens with automatic mechanism, accompanied by dome light flashes and chimes. It brings to mind a grand aircraft carrier. With a handicap decal-- its all kinds of legit. Old stuff coming through... Grandma was escorted inside. She is able to do the stairs again, and moves with a walker. Slowly. Slower than one might imagine possible. The marathon to the table became a logger jam. Only so many people can actually help Grandma walk. I often resort to the moonwalk bringing up the rear.

Mike called from Switzerland. He was settling in there. Abby handed me the phone and shortly thereafter the pronouncement of dinnertime was sounded from below. I ignored the repeated summons as I listened to my brother describe a hike through the Alps. It was midnight in Zurich.


"WHAAAAAAAAT?????" I screamed, not adjusting the proximity of the phone receiver, as I was in the middle of a conversation.

"Well, I have to go bro. Sleep well."

I hoped after dinner I could throw the baseball with Carl. The Old Man stressed that the recently mowed lawn was not to be trod upon and to play in the street.

The festive meal was indeed that, as I had not had anything to eat yet that day. Chicken Soup-- is there any better breakfast? A wonderful brisket meal was had by all. It was not, evidently, a Sunny "Mister Brisket" brisket... "I think its very good, though--don't tell Uncle Sandford." Mom confessed.

"Its actually better." I observed. Live and learn.

"I'd like some potatoes." Grandma requested.

"And some farfel, and meat." Abby sprung into action to meet the request and Carl dished things as fast as one could.

"Some Gravy too."

"We're working on it!" My sister assured as she fixed the plate. (And a baby. Send a baby this way too...)

Dinner conversation was the familiar flurry of pomposity and derision. However my Aunt Dee Dee recounted some interesting rememberances to Abby. "Did you have a relative who was a musician?"

"Not Really."

"Because you have a nephew who is in a career with music."

"And I'm pretty good too." I put in, and Abby agreed.

I had no role in the conversation, except at certain intervals.

"Matt WHY do you leave the air conditioner on when you are up stairs?" The latest shortcoming of mine to be gleaned for public awareness could not be argued. I shrugged.

"Don't just shrug!"

Things of great gravity and immense boredom and inanity were brought to the assembled's attention to illustrate the societal implications of our lives. The Mishpucha is paramount in all things, and many permutations and stretches were made to make mention of far flung relatives of admirable accomplishment. Foundations and grants, big shots and elbows, real estate and propriety were bandied about as I filled my head with food and wondered about the air supply. The recent to do in the PD was then made the order of discussion after a prolonged reference to a somehow relatives surgical procedure. The gruesome affair in the paper was not something I or anyone could do anything about except feel good about jails and hope the Iraqi police force doesn't take on the shortcomings of American Law Enforcement in their quest for democracy.

"I wasn't going to read it but then I was hooked." Abby related about her relenting to propaganda. The only part of the paper I read is the Sports. I would read the Cartoons if they were funny.

I tried to interject an experience I had had of pitching from a mound backward into the outfield at Monticello field, a neglected baseball diamond where I was practicing with my friend throwing new kinds of pitches. I was able to throw sinkers from twice the distance of a major league diamond, the rubber on this mound being raised and bowed. I didn't get nearly that far. The mention of "Monticello" prompted the Old Man to hijack the remarks and launch into a detailed description of the origin of Monticello's field-- it had been a charity fund run, and he the Federation envoy of its oversight.

Thus silenced I stared at my dish as the Old Man continued and kept the volume at a sufficient level to reach across the dining room table to Grandma. At one interval though, a pivotal shift in the accoutrement of the Old Man's seating arrangement and his seat ensued: He sat back and compressed his government issue sidearm-- the automatic car key that was a preponderance in his pocket.

Through the glass of the unshaded window, directly behind our house-- beckoning all to enjoin the New Year-- the Player Mobile sprang to life. Lights lit and mechanisms whirred at being dully prompted. The thing had considerable range and signal power, I was impressed.

"Is-- is someone stealing the car?" I raised the tone of vigilance as everyone burst into laughter.

"Good thing you didn't sit on the panic button."

I deputized Carl into playing some catch.

"Your Dad said not to play on the lawn." Carl recounted dutifully.

"I've lost all respect for him."

We played until dark on the lawn of dreams. God listens to ME.

ramble on warp speed

8:42 AM  

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