Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Swirling Thoughts #225 – happy new month!

 You know it’s Rosh Hodesh when….

Your children wake up and run from room to room scrambling to find the white school uniform shirt (which they haven’t looked for since last month).

You pass the local park and spy 30 loosely supervised nine year olds roasting hot dogs over an open fire at about 9:30am.

Your gan-aged daughter comes home with her lunchbox untouched and reminds you that the Morah gave them lunch “hagigi” (holiday lunch) consisting of pizza and vafflim. It took me about two years before I realized vafflim are not waffles...
Your 7th grader explains, with urgency, the need to bring a bag of Doritos and 30 plates to school because, ‘You know, Mom, we are doing Master Chef today. Likvod (to honor) Rosh Hodesh!’

The significance of Rosh Hodesh (literally, the head of the month) as a cultural phenomenon in Israel surely stems from its religious importance. So important that if you forget the special prayer that pertains to Rosh Hodesh on that day, you need to repeat a good portion of the entire prayer service. But why is the start of a new month so religiously important? I asked my friend David Zeit who explained it like this:

Rosh Hodesh determines our entire calendar (a lunar calendar) - as such it determines when holidays and other significant events will take place. Additionally, the first misva given to us as a Nation, was the misva of Qiddush HaHodesh (the sanctification of the new month)

"This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months" Exodus 12:2
(referring to the month of Nissan). Because this misva was given to us upon our redemption from Egypt, the misva was performed by the Elders of the Sanhedrin in the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Thank you David!

And in case you forget it’s Rosh Hodesh (imagine forgetting Thanksgiving Day in America?), every clerk, tremper, and neighbor you see will wish you a....

Hodesh Tov!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Swirling Thoughts #224 - euphoria

I love to run.
I love my family.
I love Jerusalem.
And I love a strong cup of coffee.
My list is in no particular order.

And so it occurred to me, just minutes after I started out in the 10K portion of the Jerusalem marathon this past Friday, as I passed my husband and kids who were cheering me along the hill that is Bezalel Street, I am running. In Jerusalem. My family is with me. Does a Friday morning get better than this? Coffee would have been  nice but the port-o-potties at the start line were, well, let’s just say I skipped the pre-race coffee.

Some highlights of running 10k through Jerusalem:

* Running with a unit of airforce trainees whose shirts read hashamayim hem hagvul – literally, “the heavens are the boundaries” or in the idiomatic “the sky is the limit”. They were singing Rabbi Nachman’s famous words of emunah (faith) at the top of their lungs,

כל העולם כולו גשר צר מאוד והעיקר לא לפחד כלל
(all the world is a very narrow bridge and the important thing is not to be afraid at all) 

* Catching a glimpse of Batman stealthily running atop the walls of the old city (yes i stopped to take this picture and no, i did not do it fast enough to catch the elusive super-hero).

* Seeing a lean black runner and mindlessly assuming he was a Kenyan who’d come to participate in the race, then noticing the tzitzit hanging from under his race shirt and realizing, “he’s one of us!”

* Finishing up the race behind THIS couple - their shirts read Faith Church Hungary and each carried a small Israeli flag as they ran.

* Receiving my complimentary Turkish coffee, prepared in a most authentic manner, post-race.

* Comparing notes with Barbara who managed to find a clean bathroom along the route of the 5K race. (That’s my daughter!)

There was much talk about next year's race. (The rest of the kids want in.) 
Becky, "i can run 60 meter!" (and she says meh-ter, not mee-ter)
Asher, "i can run 200 meter!"
Rosie, "i want to run, mommy!"
Peetoosh, "i also want to run!"
Barbara rolled her eyes.
I said, "we'll see."
Next Year in Jerusalem!
post-script: thanks to our generous supporters, we were able to have all this fun WHILE raising 7500 NIS for SHALVA - an amazing organization that provides activities and support for mentally and physically handicapped children in Israel. kol hakavod! and thank you to SHALVA for making it so easy to run!