From One Party to Another. . .
To my utter surprise, I’m still recovering from the most whirlwind 3.5 weeks I’ve had in a long time. And our young guests really had a good time, even though it didn’t snowstorm the way my son wanted it to, because he really misses snow and the mountains, even living in Yerushalayim (he should have been there this past week).
We had, let’s see: Shabbat dinner at the Rav’s the first Shabbat they were here;
same Shabbat’s lunch was a shul member’s huge (200+ people) sit-down bar-mitzvah affair at another shul about a mile away—not enough room in ours (for us old folks, that’s already enough partying to last a while. . . )
Then, our young guests had expressed a great desire to be “in the mountains.” In the course of a casual conversation with a friend in the kehilah who just happened to own a rustic campground down south, we received an invitation to spend that time in the woods at his campground which had some cabins, and he casually said ‘hey, why don’t we make it a Shabbaton and invite everybody?!’
So from a spontaneous remark, and through a grass-roots effort, the campground owner and his wife and we developed a Shabbaton, complete with the Rav’s son & his wife who flew in from____, a Sefer Torah, drashot, divrei Torah, and families and babies and three sweet kids—and FOOD: how could I forget the food?!
Everyone (strictly kosher of course) contributed and was responsible for various and sundry pieces of equipment, pots, a dish or two (or three!) for Friday night and/or Shabbat lunch. Some even made extra salads for seudah shelishit (which we ended up not needing: we had leftovers for a week after!)
My son was in charge of cooking the chicken soup (from scratch) and cholent,
and brought up food, our pots and pans and utensils and other paraphernalia on Wednesday (I mean, he’s entitled to a little honeymoon with his new wife, before his parents come up, right?) so that he could cook on Friday morning.
When we arrived Friday afternoon, all the men got together with their ropes and their lehis and built a temporary eruv (my husband had learned hilchot eruvin and had previous experience building various eruvin for the Boy Scouts when he was Scoutmaster for our Jewish Scout Troop here, and he tutored a couple of guys at our home two nights before).
Our son, who also knew the halachot from when he was a boy scout (both our sons achieved the highest rank of Eagle Scout) and had helped build them in the past, also participated.
All in all, we were about twenty-four people including families with newborns, three kids, and singles--and it was one of the most uplifting, delicious events I've ever attended, let alone organized!
We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful kehilah, where a core group of us mamash feel like family. I hope, when it comes our time to move back to Israel, that we can find a community as warm and close as ours is here. Hey, maybe we can ALL move there as a kehilah, en masse!
The Shabbaton was the middle Shabbat they were here. For the last Shabbat, we invited several hundred (it seemed like it) of our (and their) close friends for Friday night dinner. When I was younger, I remember inviting 25 people to our Sukkah. Today, a total of 18 folks leaves me winded (all I can say is, thank G-d my husband cooks!)
And the above didn’t include the other stuff we did: Western Stock Show & Rodeo, Musuem, concert, day trip to the mountains (on the other side) and huge fund-raising dinner (complete with stage production) at another shul. And they also did their own thing too, without us—ice skating, visiting old friends, movies, shopping, etc.
It started to wind down when we were already into the last week of their visit, a couple of days before they left (now all we have to do is process the pictures!)
But the party isn’t over 'till the fat lady sings: in almost three weeks, we (G-d willing) fly to Israel for our older son’s wedding. I have three weeks to take a breath (not really: have to find a place to stay there, buy shoes, a bag, alter a dress, etc.) before I pack. I hate packing.
And there was so much more I wanted to write about, for example: my youngest daughter developed hypothermia in a cold wind-driven driving rain while sitting in an open hummer on her way to an operation. She was on gimmelim back at her base for a day. Thank G-d she’s ok. A true test of my bitachon.
I’m done now (did you miss me?)
Shabbaton: a weekend retreat over Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath
Sefer Torah: a scroll of the Torah.
Divrei Torah: words of Torah, Torah insights/exegesis.
Food: food. yes.
Seudah Shelishit: the traditional third Shabbat afternoon meal.
Cholent: I can't describe this; go ask your grandmother. (ok, fine; the name may be derived from the French chaud-lent or "hot-slow" for the type of dish it is: it's a hot, slow-cooked one-dish meal which varies in content, but often consists of meat, some veggies, potatoes, beans, barley, hard-boiled eggs, knaidlach, water, herbs & spices which is prepared before the Sabbath and cooked overnight & all day in a slow-cooker or oven, in order not to violate the proscription against cooking on the Sabbath. It’s indescribably delicious.)
Knaidlach: oy vey. go ask your grandmother.
Hilchot Eruvin: the laws of building an eruv
Lehis: poles or standards for use in building an eruv.
Eruv: a "fence" built around an area enclosing houses or buildings, creating a private domain out of a public place, which enables Orthodox Jews to carry from one home to another on the Sabbath.
Sukkah: the temporary hut Orthodox Jews build for the 8-day holiday of Sukkot
Mamash: virtually, truly
Gimmelim: sick ‘leave’ from ops in the IDF
Bitachon: trust in the Almighty
(-did I forget something?)