Holidays past; Normalcy resumes

Its been such a lovely week. There was a jovial atmosphere everywhere you went. “Chag Sameach!” was heard on the street, in the stores and wherever there were people. It literally means ‘joyous festival.’ Its appropriate for Sukkot, Shavu’ot and Passover. It was fun to say to people as you passed them on the street and it usually came back in a joyful, lilting tone.

Last Wednesday Verna, Missy and I had a ladies day to the Suk. Sukkot started that evening so everything was buzzing with activity. We had lots of fun though. Found food for great prices, explored a bunch and even got some amazing falafel for lunch. It was a good day and here’s what it looked like…

The Suk! What fun. What crowds. What noise.
At first I thought this man had fallen then I realized he was a cripple.
They begged to be photographed
Falafel. Fit for a king.
and we even got to eat it in a sukkah!

After dropping our loads at school in time for Missy and my class, Verna loaded things in cart and stroller and headed home with the boys. She came back later and we went to the Kotel (Western Wall) to see what was happening. You can see from the pictures below that it wasn’t nearly as crowded as the morning of the blessing. Its always incredible for me to go and watch the excitement for the Word. Their desire for peace and the deep passion with which they display their desires.

We got back to school in time for the weekly cookie night. This week it was held in JUC’s own sukkah! Yay for the industrious people who built and decorated. Here it is…

Its totally legit!

On Sunday morning Melissa and I walked to the Western Wall early. We wanted to be there in time for the priestly blessing at 9:00. Well, we actually got there early, 8:15ish. First we walked to the lookout balcony that we often frequent. It had extra railing with soldiers paroling the entrance, and it was so packed you couldn’t even get to the outer rail. Every tiny lookout was packed so we headed down to the plaza area at the wall. It was pretty full already and people just kept pouring in. A bit before 9 they started singing through the loudspeaker. It sounded like it might come from one of the synagogues inside. The rabbi would read a line and the congregation sang back. Sometimes it spread through the crowd outside. The air of anticipation and joy could be felt. Then the priestly blessing was spoken. I picked out a few words, but only a few. Immediately after that there was a mass exodus. You almost had to go with the flow or get shoved over.

Western Wall on Sunday for the priestly blessing
versus how it looked on the first evening of Sukkot
The elaborate sukkah at the Wall. People brought their dinner and ate inside.

We joined the CAM group’s service in the Old City in the evening. A wonderful evening of fellowship and encouragement. II Corinthians 4 was read for devotions and the last three verses struck deep.  “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Monday evening there was this awesome little street fair for Sukkot just a street down from our apartment! Missy and I went to investigate and this is what we found:

Crazy. Food. Fun. Much people. Sukkot Fair!
And always brush your teeth…
Hmm, strangeness. We couldn't quite figure her out.
We spotted Melissa's favorite vehicle!
Just couldn't resist.
Umm, such yummy food!

On Wednesday evening we visited the Kotel again for the celebration of the scrolls. The scrolls were brought out in their elaborate cases and there were circles of men here and there singing and dancing around them. People were standing four rows deep along the barrier of the men’s section at the wall. There were happy shouts and singing. It was incredible and I totally can’t convey the feeling without having you here to show you. Missy has a video that I might post sometime if I remember.

And then the rest of the week is just sort of a blur. I kept thinking of all these lines that I wanted to post and didn’t so now I’ve forgotten them.

There was the, ‘AHH, don’t step on the frog!!” warning from Melissa.

The time when Wendall wanted the ‘fingernail tripper.’

When Ravi fell asleep outside our bedroom door and this is what I found:

And then there was that evening before our four day Galilee field study when I planned to go to bed really early and ended up writing a blog and doing umpteen other things instead of sleeping. Opps, that’s right now.


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