Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Holidays in Netanya - a Letter from Jan Gaines

 How do we celebrate the fall "hagim" here in Netanya.?  Let's start right after Yom Kippur, (which I think of as the WHITE holy day because everyone puts on white pants, skirts, tops for the one day they go to synagogue.)  The day after is a regular work day with the kids back in school.  But that is a short interval because right away we go into Succot, just as you do.

  I love Succot here.  There are succahs  everywhere: every restaurant, every apartment with a balcony and if no balcony, on the patio entrance, and of course at every synagogue. People walk around with their lulav in their hands almost the whole week as they go to morning minyan. At the same time, school is out for almost 10 days and this is the time people take vacations with their kids, or go to one of the many programs, shows and events for the kids all over the country. The beaches are full, the national parks crowded, and those staying home are sure to invite friends and family for meals in the succah.

  I've had 2 meals already in a succah with different friends with another one tonight, the last night of Succot and Erev Simcha Torah, this one with a large Yemenite family. This is after the processions tonight, when of course many kids take part.   The sounds coming from some of the Sephardi synagogues have disturbed the sleep of their neighbors- - - at 4:00 a.m,men in. the nearby Morroccan synagogue started chanting the Tosafot !!!When my friend complained that they woke her up I reminded her that nowhere else in the world is there a sound like that; what a treat to be woken up that way!

  But today, most of Netanya is either at the beach or in the parks., altho some stores are open until early afternoon.  The lifeguards are still on duty. The weather is perfect: mostly low 80's;  the Meditteranean is still warm.  I see a mixture of many Russians who enjoy their food and show it- - -  a few French (there are many in Netanya), here for the Hagim in their second homes, and looking much more chic than the Russians,  and a good representation of young Sabras who look terrific.

Thank goodness I saw only 2 jet skis.  None of that horrible zooming sound they make on Long Island Sound.

   There are also lots of men fishing off the jetties at the entrance to Netanya harbor. One man is sitting on his little chair topped by  his little umbrella, close to the shoreline. I think he was half asleep with his fishing rod in his hands. Now that is relaxation!

  But I promise you, no one out in this gorgeous day is thinking about Iran, Bibi, Obama, the coming elections here and in the States or any other worrisome matters.  Israelis know how to shut all of that out and just relish the day.  They are thinking instead that they only have today and tomorrow, the final days of the fall Hagim, and they aren't going to waste them. 

  They will face up to the everyday on Tuesday the 9th.  Time enough to clear out their shelters, to find a gas 
mask distributor, to face their overdrawn checking accounts, and to go back to keeping this counntry safe and in the black.  Unemployment is low, projected growth for the last quarter of the year and the first quarter of the coming year is about 3.5%. As long as Europeans and Americans need Israeli products, especially electronic, pharmaceuticals,and IT, we will be fine here.
  Sounds like Utopia, doesn't it.  On days like this it is. 

  Hag Sameach.  Jan  Gaines

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