Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rutima & Abbavi

[h-y-s-t-e-r-i-c-a-l]

I plan on putting up a post soon with some of the wonderful words that were shared by the dude* (with her permission, of course. Of course. Like, really-would I dare do it without? Like I said, of course.) and I hope I really get around to it--unlike my Tenyo post. Big ahem to that.
[Esther, my dear Esther, your post is being smidgened AS WE SPEAK. (correct, we're not speaking)]

To a future of conversations as precious as the one I just had. L'chaim!

*I changed that as we were chatting ;)

Did You Know...I Worked In Marzipan Bakery??

Yup, it's true. That's why I loved the following article. Ok fine, that's not WHY I liked it. Also, cuz Itzik says he already knows what they mean when the students ask for 'marzipan' (instead of rugelach). That seriously cracked me up. And he says 'cacao' (instead of cocoa). That warms me. And cuz he lives in Nachlaot--my old hometown. And cuz it discusses Marzipan Bakery and I like the bakery and its workers and its rugels and its oven which warmed me during the winter evenings. And cuz it talks about the shuk people--my ol friends. And cuz they discuss the Friday crowd--through which I often pushed my way forward to wish my pals "Shabbat Shalom".
And cuz yknow, it's Israel.

A Conversation With Itzik Ozarko, Marzipan Bake-Master

by simone October 19 2008

The Marzipan Bakery's uber-chocolaty rugelach have been known to cause traffic jams on Agrippas St. as first-year yeshiva students crowd around to buy the treats for themselves, for their friends, for the people who tolerate them for Shabbat. While the rugelach are the bakery's main draw, especially amongst the Anglo crowd, Marzipan is a Jerusalem institution. Jerusalemite talked with Itzik Ozarko, the man behind the magic at the Marzipan Bakery.

Many proprietors of shops in the shuk are part of families with strong ties to Nachlaot. What's your connection to this neighborhood and what are your feelings on how it has been changing? My father, who moved to Israel from Turkey as a young child, opened Marzipan in Machane Yehuda in 1986 after learning the trade from some of Israel's finest bakers. Today, he's retired and I run the business with my brother. I'm in charge of the baking, and my brother does the business side. Our family also has strong ties in the neighborhood, and I've lived in Nachlaot for many years.

Regarding the changes, I think that both the neighborhood and the shuk are finally getting what they deserve: lots of honor, fame and glory. Nachlaot is famous, and it deserves to be famous. There are artists living there, government people. People used to run away from Nachlaot, and now they're running to it.

Machane Yehuda also deserves its fame. It used to be a simple place, and now it's getting fancy, as it deserves to. The vendors there work hard for their money - they work from early in the morning until late at night. They work on holidays when everyone else has off, they work on Fridays on erev chag (holiday eves) all the time. These people are the salt of earth, and the time has come when Jerusalemites have begun searching out the truth, searching out people like the vendors at Machane Yehuda. We're beginning to value not just the people who work in hi-tech and computers but simple hard workers.

In the English language, many brand names are so strong that they have become synonymous with their product categories over time - Band Aid, Kleenex and Xerox come to mind. Your rugelach are so popular, that many - especially English speakers who don't know what marzipan is - refer to them as marzipan. How do you feel about this? What's a good way to distinguish between actual marzipan and yChocolate Goodnessour bakery's rugelach? This sounds funny, but it's true. We used to think Americans called the rugelach marzipan because they thought there was a trace of marzipan in the rugelach. At first, we tried to correct this misunderstanding, but it didn't work, and there's nothing we can do it. Even though most Americans don't even like actual marzipan, they like to call our rugelach marzipan and not rugelach. At least now we know what they are talking about. If someone comes and orders marzipan, we give them rugelach.

Of course, there is no marzipan in the rugelach, and marzipan does not mean rugelach, but we work so hard and this is one of the ways we reap the fruits of our work. We don’t have a lot of branches - we just have one single place, but it's nice to see its fame grow. We now have close to 30 people working here - we're supporting a lot of families, and God has blessed our enterprise.

Although your chalot, berry-filled pastries and cinnamon rolls are no slouches in the taste department, your signature is undoubtedly the chocolate rugelach. How many units would you say you sell per week? How many of those are on Fridays? I'm glad you mentioned the chalot. My father always focused on excellence and wanted all of the bakery's goods to be excellent. We are constantly improving all of the bakery's offerings. There comes a point when you can't improve anymore, but we are always trying to get to that point - not just with the rugelach, but with everything. We're really an international bakery. We sell Moroccan cookies, Syrian pastries, etc. A lot of Israelis buy these products because they remind them of the way their mothers and grandmothers cooked. But the rugelach are the most popular with the Americans.

We definitely sell the most on Fridays. I can't give you exact weights, but we sell as much as 10 other bakeries combined. We sell hundreds of units on Fridays.

What makes your rugalach so distinctive for people? Is it just the undercooked, oily gooeyness, or is there another secret? It's the chocolate they're made from. We use a lot of ingredients. They're very rich. We use lots of cacao, only a bit of oil, some coconut and other natural ingredients. It's the mix of these ingredients that is the secret.

Also, many bakeries try to make their rugelach as quickly as possible. We put a lot of work into our rugelach, and it pays off. Our rugelach have a great taste on the first day you buy them, on the second day and even after two weeks.

You used to ship frozen rugelach internationally over the web? Do you still do thThe scene in the store at? Yes, we're just starting that up again. The website (marzipanbakery.com) at this point is mostly for caterers, bakeries and stores but may ship to individuals in the future.

How much does volume increase over the holidays? How do you handle the holiday rush? This time of year is the hardest for us. We have holidays beginning in the middle of the week all the time and it's like having two Fridays in one week. This year it's been especially crazy. We're working all the time, but that's just what we have to do. We work long and hard, putting in many extra hours. It's basically non-stop work until the season passes. We just try to do as much as we can.

What are some of your favorite places in Jerusalem to relax after a long day of baking, managing staff and selling to the masses? For the last 20 years, I've taken less than a week of vacation each year. I never get out. I don't. If I have any time, I like to go to the Giraffe Gym off Ben Yehuda St. to work out, but that's about it.

Photos of Itzik by the oven (top), the gooey richness and the scene in the store (bottom) by Adina Polen for Jerusalemite.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Self-Control & Sin

I'm often reminded about a specific part of my conversation with Daniel.

He questioned if it's difficult to wear a long skirt in the summer. I answered that it is, occasionally. He wondered how it is that we don't get hot. I told him that we do get hot; it's just something we gotta do anyhow. He was somewhat taken aback by the straightforwardness of my reply.

Later on in the conversation, the issue of my back pain came up. When he expressed concern, I sheepishly admitted that I'm greatly to blame because I have a strict routine of exercises that I'm supposed to follow but I generally neglect. He asked why I don't have that same attitude of "it's just something we gotta do". After all, I have such control in the "religious" area of my life, he reminded me.

I was ashamed, at first. As if a religious girl ought to represent perfection in all departments.

And then, I was happy. What an excellent proof for my previous words. Let him see, firsthand, how a sin is to be considered. My modesty in clothing is non-negotioable, even when uncomfortable; yet in personal fitness, I'm constantly shirking. When it comes to issues of Kashrus-shechitah, waiting time, toiveling, pas yisroel- there's no doubt I can hold myself back from eating. But a weight-loss diet? Forget it.

I think about it a lot.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

He's not even here!

I walked ALL the way here with the brownish pink paper cardboard folder mechitzah in hand, giggling and reciting Tanya, and I didn't even meet him on the way..and he's not even here!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Real Ben-Gurion Moment

My stomach is hollow.
I am twisting and turning, fidgeting and fumbling.
I try to feel calm but I can't. I NEED to get in already. I NEED to be in the land. I NEED to be free!
I try to appear casual but really, who can remain indifferent at a time like this!?
One by one, one by one..the lines are moving along.
I watch the passengers ahead of me. I gaze longinly at the ease with which they glide past the counter. Do they realize what it means to get in? Do they appreciate the fact that they've been allowed through? Do they know how badly I yearn to be on the other side and how difficult these last moments are for me?
My line straggles forward.
It's my turn.
I look straight ahead.
I answer all the questions, express all the right sentiments, make all the motions and walla! amidst warnings and wishes, apologies and explanations, he lets me pass.
He. lets. me. pass.
I cross the impenetrable invisible iron barrier of air and I'm in.
I'm in!
I'M IN!!!
Tears in my brain, a laugh in my body and weakness and energy flood my soul.
I glance behind me, suddenly frightened that they will take away my right to be here. Nobody looks my way. I'm relieved.
I think of kissing the ground. I dismiss it, though, wanting to save it.
I'm in. I'm in.
I'm shaking.
I'm trembling with gratitude, disbelief and utter relief.
I'm in.
Thank You, G-d. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
I'm in. I'm really in.
Oh yes, it's good to be back!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Some Of My Thoughts During The YK Tefillah

During Kol Nidrei: The Awesomeness and Incredibility of Us Jews

During Musaf: WhoShallLive

During Neilah: The Cantonists' Minyan

Reb Mordechai, a follower of the third Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (1789-1866) had been dispatched by his Rebbe to wander the countryside of Russia, journeying from town to town, and inspire the Jews scattered there with the teachings of Chassidism.

But one day -- it was the day before Yom Kippur -- he arrived at some town in the middle of nowhere, only to hear that all its Jews, about one hundred altogether, had left the day before to the city of Vitebsk to pray in the large synagogue there on the Day of Atonement. Suddenly he found himself, but a few hours away from the holiest day of the year, without a minyan -- the quorum of ten Jews required for communal prayer.

"You won't find any Jews here, Rabbi" one of the townspeople told him. "But about two hours away there's a small village of Cantonists. They're a strange bunch, but that's the closest thing to Jews you'll find around here now".

(The Cantonists were Jews who, by decree of Czar Nicholas I, had been snatched from their families when they were young children for a 25-year term of "service" in the Czar's army, where every cruel means had been employed to force them to abandon Judaism. The few that survived were so emotionally and psychologically destroyed when they left the army decades later, that they were never able to live normal lives. So they lived together in little villages, apart from the rest of the world.)

Immediately Reb Mordechai started walking, but after over an hour he still saw nothing. No... wait! There seemed to be something on the horizon.

Sure enough, there it was. There were only a few old wooden houses, but this must be the village he was looking for.

The first resident that saw that the rabbi enter the village called everyone else, and in no time they were all lined up with shining faces, taking turns shaking the newcomer's hand.

They were overjoyed. Such an honor to have a real rabbi as their guest!

Suddenly they stepped back, formed a sort of huddle, and began whispering to one another. Then they fell silent, looked again at the rabbi, and one of them stepped forward in great humility, cleared his throat and announced:

"Excuse me, Rabbi, but we would be very honored if his excellency the Rabbi would please honor us with leading the prayers of Yom Kippur."

All the others stood staring at the Rabbi with wide pleading eyes nodding their heads beseechingly.

Reb Mordechai nodded in agreement, and the joyous hand-shaking ritual was repeated once again.

"We only have one stipulation," the man continued. "That one of us leads the closing prayer of the holy day, Ne'ilah".

An hour later they were all seated in the solemn atmosphere of Yom Kippur in their little shul (synagogue) listening to the beautiful heartfelt prayers of the Chassidic rabbi, Reb Mordechai.

A very special feeling overcame Reb Mordechai. He had never quite experienced a Yom Kippur like this. He had never been in such a minyan; comprised of Jews each of whom had been through hell, things that he could never even dream of experiencing, only for the sake of G-d. And although he knew all the books and they knew nothing, he felt dwarfed by these simple folk.

His soul flowed into the prayers, and it seemed to him that he had never sung so beautifully in his life. First Kol Nidrei, then the evening prayer, then on the following day he prayed the other three prayers, and read twice from the Torah.

But finally at the end of the day came their turn; it was time for Ne'ilah.

Reb Mordechai stepped back, took a seat in the small shul with everyone else, and waited to see what was going to happen. Why did they want this prayer for themselves?

One of the Cantonists rose from his chair, took a few steps forward and stood at the podium, his back to the crowd.

Suddenly, before he began to lead the prayers, he started unbuttoning and then removing his shirt.

Reb Mordechai was about to say something, to protest: You can't take your shirt off in the synagogue!

But as the shirt fell from the man's shoulders, it revealed hundreds of scars; years upon years of deep scars.... each one because the man refused to forsake the G-d of Israel.

Reb Mordechai gasped and tears ran from his eyes.

The Cantonist then raised his hands to G-d and said in a loud voice.

"G-d...Send us Moshiach! Redeem the Jewish people now!

"I'm not asking for the sake of our families, because we don't have any families.

"I'm not asking for the sake of our futures, because we have no futures.

"I'm not asking for the sake of our livelihoods or our comfort, or our children, or our reputations, because we don't have any of those things either.

"We're just asking: Assey l'maan shemecha -- Do it for Your sake!"

And then he put on his shirt and began the prayer.

Monday, October 06, 2008

There is a young Chabad rabbi trying to build a Shul in La Jolla and he's having loads of opposition from people in his community. There is a vote on the local newspaper's website right now….can you please vote yes to the vote on the top left corner of www.lajollalight.com?

Takk.

-a forward to others would be appreciated-

Yom Kippur is this week. No, seriously.

The word for "forgiveness" in Hebrew, mechilah, is related to the word machol meaning "circle." Life is meant to be a circle encompassing all our experiences and relationships in one harmonious, seamless whole. When someone hurts us the circle is broken. Forgiveness is the way we mend the fracture.

Though I've mentioned this before on my blog, it is so powerful and guideful that I am sharing it again:

The Baal Shem Tov taught that in the heavenly court there is no one who can judge you for what you have done in your life on earth. So this is what they do:

They show you someone's life -all the achievements and all the failures, all the right decisions and all the wrongdoings -and then they ask you, "So what should we do with this somebody?"

And you give your verdict. Which they accept. And then they tell you that this somebody was you. Being now in heaven, you don't recall a thing.

Of course, those who tend to judge others favorably have a decided advantage.

Better get in the habit now.


PS-Today we have no High Priest and no Temple. But the Holy of Holies still exists—in the depths of our own soul. On Yom Kippur we attempt to reach that purest part of our selves and to connect with G-d there.

We might not be able to stay in that pure place for a long time. It might only be a few minutes. But, as we know, the most special experiences last only a moment. We prepare for these most special times for hours, years, and even decades, and the effort of the preparation is well worth that split second they last.

Begin reviewing the Yom Kippur prayers in order to connect fully with the words when the time comes to enter your personal Holy of Holies.
--
[The writing here in this post is from meaningfullife.com and chabad.org]

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The New Normal

"Ima?" I hear my youngest daughter's sweet voice on my phone, "Where are you?"

"I'm at the hospital," I tell her, marvelling at how small she sounds, over the phone.

"You're at chemotherapy?" She asks, not quite pronouncing the "r".

That's my baby, asking if I'm at chemotherapy, the way other kids ask their parents if they are at work, or the park, or at home.

I guess I should be glad that is seems so normal for her.

It's not scary.

It's not threatening.

It's just part of life.

"Yes, honey," I answer cheerfully, "I'm at chemotherapy."

"When will you be home?" she wants to know, just like every other kid.



Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,
RivkA

Friday, October 03, 2008

O City of Spain

Sefardim!

To breathe your air
To breathe your spirit
To draw from you and then effuse onto you

To walk your streets
To walk your lives
To draw from you and then extend onto you

To view your lights
To view your courage
To draw from you and then reflect onto you

To hear your sounds
To hear your conviction
To draw from you and then pour onto you

To deal your people
To deal your customs
To draw from you and then bestow onto you

To grasp your stones
To grasp your history
To draw from you and then lavish onto you

To return your past
To present your future
To draw from you and then bless onto you

Sefardim!
I was "SUPPOSED" to fly to Madrid, Spain today.

The Rabbi's Simple & Brilliant Sermon

"The year was 1994. It was my first Rosh Hashona that I was spending in a small synagogue. Until then, I had spent every Rosh Hashona either in New York where thousands prayed together in one building or in London where, though smaller, our congregation, too, had a sizable crowd-perhaps two hundred worshippers. But that year I was in a city in Delaware, in the middle of nowhere. Really nowhere.
On Rosh Hashona day, the people trickled in and we had, at one point, thirty men. So that was fine. Comes Mincha, and there were only eight people present. Including myself, nine. We needed one more to make the minyan. The rabbi called his eleven year old son over and instructed him to go outside and search for another Jew. The child did as he was bidden. About fifteen minutes later, the eleven year old came back...with a jogger in tow. The guy was wearing sneakers and shorts. That's it. Until this day, I remember the color of his shorts; blue. Why was I so taken? Why do I still remember? Because I learned a most powerful lesson that day. A lesson that would later serve as a reminder and guide for me; it was a lesson from the child. He was told to bring back a Jew and that is what he did. He did not see any outer cosmetics, he saw a soul. A man jogs by. "Excuse me, are you Jewish" "Uh yes I am" "Good! Can you please come inside? My father needs you for a minyan". And then, the Rabbi went upstairs, got him a shirt and pants and then proceeded to pray the Mincha service with a perfect quorum."

That is the message of today. We must look, as the child did, past the external and into the internal and ultimately, eternal. A Jew is a Jew is a Jew. And if you're Jewish, you're as Jewish as Moses.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

How was my Rosh Hashona?

Calm n chaotic, baruch hashem. Twas outgoing and ingoing, usual and extraordinary, hilarious and solemn. Thank you for asking. Oh? More details? K.

MONDAY
Erev Chag was a bit of a wacky day. (Tell me, which pre-holidays are NOT wacky?) (Don't really tell me-when I ask questions in my writing, it's not for you) 'Sides for runnin around town huntin for soy milk (on my toilet paper n printing paper expedition), I also got some time zones confused and called, all chirpily and chattily (patented by Chana'le patented by Shua. Esther you should be the ONLY one laughing now, though Mum you will "get" some that Esther won't), some friends n fam that were NOT chirpy and chattable in the weeeeeeeeeee (shoutout to all playground kiddies) morn. Nu nu.
I called my boss from two years ago-"Hi I bentch you that Hashem should give you a million brochos for everything you've done for me, all the kindness and care you've shown me..". He, with whom I did NOT have a joking relationship with, responds-"And I bentch you that Hashem gives you TWO milllion brochos for.." LOL
Someone brought flowers.
I made a "tshuva tfilla tzdaka" project with the three little ones. That resulted in much nachas over the chag whenever Mendele would chant "usishuuuuuva usifeeeeeeeeeela utzidaaaaaaaaaka" Oy he's sucha yum.
So time goes (it's always doin that) and next thing I know, its time to speed into the shower. I'm gettin dressed and Rabbi knocks, "Patricia's here. In how long you gonna be ready?" Gulp gulp gulp "Is five minutes enough?" "Yes, for sure, way more than enough" (one more sin to klap for).
I bring along paper for a pan, and tzedaka for tzedaka. (Now I feel like SD who says they use tzedaka in the bowling alley). Hehe I just read that last line over and it's so funny cuz you can read it like "paper for a pan" like a pot and pan. Ha.

-time out for a little nap. will continue mirtzeshem-

So Patricia is all French and lovely and we unzoom to l'hotel. I'm wondering if I put back all the pieces of my sechel (that apparently fell out when I was choosing footwear for the eve). I'm not sure who's helper and who's hired helper. Reminds me of when she danced with hotel guests, thinking they were from the groom's side. Lolll. So I sat near Rachel. Her hub is prez (or sompin) of the Don't Be Mean To Jews Club in this country. Maybe it's called Anti-Semitism for short. And she's a mean shtachim hold-onto-er. SHE'S not mean, but she's a mean holder. Know what I mean? So that was pleasant. (The part where she offered to take me around, obviously) Patricia thinks I'm the funniest thing since sliced bread (cmon, that IS funny--why would they slice bread when it can be eaten in chunks?? The difference in taste is enormous!).
I'm so glad to see that the kids brought their projects-the "Minhagei Rosh Hashona" placemats and their deluxe (slightly floppy) honey dishes. (thanks mum)
So I'm the only one at my table that's eating. And eating. And STILL eating. (what is WRONG with the kid??) So I leave for a bit to go visit some other 'friends'. Oysh that's so mean of me to put '''s the DAY after rosh hashona. Tsk tsk. Shoulda waited a week (y"k??!) or two (much better!).
I'm trying to get closer to the Israelis table. (Notice-it's not the Israeli (bli 's') table cuz there are tons of tables that are filled with Israeli folk..I'm talking about the table with The Israelis. Yeah, you know what I'm talkin about) (not tons like "A unit of weight in the US Customary System equal to 2,000 pounds") I see a few girls in the corner and I am SO thrilled cuz uh cuz I saw Israeli girls in the corner. :D (M,M & B-reminds me of our day trip)
I try not to care that Adam was clapping but I did and it bothered me but then I got over it. In fact I'm so over it that I didn't even feel the need to write about it nearly 72 hours later. hehe.
Chana (Annatchke) counts my earrings, of course.
I'm checkin out little (then) unknown (David) blonde. Finally succeeded at makin faces at each other. Delightful! (see the next day for an update on our relationship)
I'm gaspin as I realize that after all my drei with Yehi Ratzon etcetera (ooh I LOVE writin it like that) I didn't even do the dip. Ha.
Sara tells me to join their table and I say I will but I think we both realize I won't. Heh.
It seemed that their (nearly) 150 Jewish brethren enjoyed and spired (that's the receiving end of inspired) and wiped some dust off their shiny souls. A blessing, indeed.

TUESDAY
IZC IZC IZC IZC IZC (that's my alarm clock at seven thirty am) Ye, on the Day of No Touchin Electricity. Whatever. It wasn't so unappreciated cuz I DID needa get up for tehillim but sheesh, two hours of buzzing?? Like I said, whatever.
In shul, I was the congregation.
Ye, you read that right (er if not, it aint my prob). I was the congregation.
On the women's floor, literally and in general, kiilu'ly. Cuz like yo I was the only one doing the whole "Congregation and Chazzan" "Chazzan reads first line and then Congregation leads" "Congregation followed by Chazzan" spiel. So as he was trying to daven faster than fast (no, you haven't heard sucha service yet) I was frantically trying to stick in my praises and pleas. Admittedly, I think that my gloating expression whenever I squeezed in the tefillah was a bit unnecessary.
Twas freezing.
When the Rabbi apologized for sendin the females upstairs (vs side by side like last time) I witheld the tempation to quip "Oh, we'll be closer to G-d in that case!" considerin it was the Day of Being Serious and Not Offerin Quips to The Rabbi. Ok I'll be honest-I only thought of that after I was seated and outta sight. Outta-sighted sounds better. Only after I was seated and outta-sighted.
Chava was there so that was nice. Chava helped her a bit to follow along and say some prayers. Chava felt like she could learn at how nicely she was davening. It took Chava so long to read the prayers. In the meantime, Chava was racin through some. Much to learn, much to learn.
The whole key-home-bathroom thing :) (like last time)
Me preppin the two gals for the Priestly Blessing...enthusiastically describing the holiness and awesomeness (shalom "nora")... getting them all emotional...and then "Sim Shalom.." Uh ya, no Kohanim-thanks Chav for the climax building.
I send the entire kids section to the Rabbi's house cuz he had to come up and shush them at one point.
Nice davening, nice davening.
Open house from 1-6.
I ask Rabbi if I needa hear the extra thirty blasts or if I'm yotze with the five hundred and thirty I'm hearin as each guest/group o guests arrive. He says I'm cool. (oh cmon, that's NOT what he meant!)
I take each wave of visitors as an invitation to eat once more. Only to make them feel at home, please please.
David and I are bestest of partners. "hva heter du? hva heter du? hva heter du" heehee he is SO my speed.
Two goyims come over, but REAL goyims-not goyims married to Jews. Real real goyims and cuz they're from here, they LOOK really really goyimsish. hehe. O Mendy.
Six oclock and it's time to head to tashlich. I mused to Ms O about the communitiness and niceness of going as a group. The comment fell flat, flat. Yea, no more musings from me, thank you.
I'm happy I didn't take a coat and I'm happy I wore my bone boots (oooh that is SO awesome sounding-whether you admit it or not) and I'm happy I looked YomTovdik. Bh. Moshe says we should make a bonfire and get Lag Ba'omer with if we're already here. I tell him we can throw in our chametz for the same price. He agrees and suggests we import a clown and zehu. I think that was going a bit overboard. Don't you? (Again, I'm not asking you.)
Back at the house, b-r-e-a-t-h-e.
It's like the calm after and before the storm. Hehe.
I mean it was platter after platter after platter all day. And for me, it was chatter after chatter after chatter. VERY draining. You know how emotionally straining every "Tom meet Bob. Bob meet Tom." is for me.
So now it's just family and a bit. Simple style.
I cough myself to bed.

WEDNESDAY
At least this time I wasn't surprised. And I knew whom I was supposed to wake up.
So I get to Shul earlier than yesterday which was a good thing. And again, I'm the congregation. This time I bear a tray of cakes so I'm popular amongst the congregants. (No seriously, there WAS a minyan). The afternoon before, when Rabbi is askin for the minyaneers to come back, Shalom asks "Oto zman machar?" I interrupt the Rabbi's nod with an urgent "Lo!", explaining to the surprised observers that he had come an hour late and made the minyan wait. Hehe.
Of course now that I bring a sweater vest and a jacket, it's not so cold. Duh, I was wearing them.
Chav n I are jolly to see each other on this Day of Coronation.
The Rabbi gives a simply brilliant sermon which I will G-d willing write up, soon. ("soon" is relative, mind you). It was brilliant for its simplicity.
"Chava, they're thanking you for the cake" "Wha?" "Todah al ha'oogah!" "Todah al ha'minyan!!"
Back to the shtub which is around the corner. (kid says "I know the way HOME from the shul but I don't know the way TO the shul." Uh ya, like I said-it's AROUND the corner)
This time it's for shmancy folk. (Argh I already used 'folk' to describe the Israeli segment). Close call when some noninvited turned self-invited but they quickly self-devited, so everyone can breathe easier.
Yes, the fancy proper CITIZENS ended up being quite warm n unsnobby. That was a gigantic relief and comforter. Ye, the blanket kind. (why'd u even ask?)
Said the man, "This salad is quite tasty."
Said the woman, (in jest)"Shall I pretend I prepared it?"
Said the man, "Tell me when you are ready to get married"
Said the woman (gasping covertly) "hmmm"
Said the man, "You must know, there is a saying 'The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.' It was a joke. Do not be alarmed"
Said the woman, (very alarmed) "No, not at all. Yeh, a joke."
I'm glad I met Ms. Not Dion. I see a future. (O crystal ball)
Much funny things (ahlan lolla) were shared. (But now I forget what. I know that the first day, by open house, someone was on a roll. "You should be a comedian!" "But I am-look at how you're laughing." "Yes yes but I intend for real, as a business" "Oh but I am--I am sending you a bill after the holiday. You're paying for this!")
I tell a woman, in the kitchen, that I only help clear so that I can pick at the leftovers (I would stick in a disclaimer that it's only from the serving dishes, not the individual leftovers. But that would be lying. Ma, stop looking so horrified. You did it first YEARS ago with the (ok fine devastating) drink).
Apparently I was quite the hostess (o alright, it was the food :p) and seudas yom tov lasted till mincha time. No minyan. But man! We have a torah on the freezer! Beat that! (Nooo! Not the TORAH, chochom!)
Seder niggunim was stressful cuz I knew how to start some niggunim that some other holy males did not and I was unable to help. Hello excema.
After havdala, I went to my room and Rebbetzin tells me "You know, usually right after Shabbos/Yom Tov people rush to the phone to call people-but you have nobody to call."
Ya, ladies n gentlemen, when you see those tears during these Ten Days of Returnance (that's a compromise b/w Return and Repentance), you'll know from where they originate.