Sunday, August 16, 2009

Seven Things I Love

This week Haveil Havalim is here and last week it was here.

I owe Batya at me-ander a meme of this title.
So here goes:

1.The defining things in my life have always been about being part of a Jewish family, people and country. The first two were easy being born into a loving Jewish family helping develop my Jewish identity through the home as well as school. (The Jewish country came later.) So number one definitely is my family.

2.I love relaxing somewhere peaceful and interesting with someone I enjoy being with. This week David and I went up north and on our way to Tzfat (Safed?) we stopped to picnic at the National Park in Zippori where we had a picnic overlooking the Galil under the shade of very old olive trees. The tree on the right is a pomegranate. Years ago we had a pomegranate tree in our front yard. It sprouted on its own from seeds that fell to the ground from pomegranates we had hung as decorations in our first succah in that house. It took a few years before we even realized that it was a tree. That just shows how much pomegranates want to grow in the Land of Israel.

3. I love being a part of the chain of history of the Jewish people. Visiting an archaeological site in Israel makes me feel like getting personal regards from the past. At Zippori, it was the members of the Sanhedrin who after the destruction of the temple kept Judaism a living religion by enabling the focus to shift from the sacrifices in the temple to prayer and study of Torah. It is where Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi compiled and edited the Mishnah.
In this photo you see a menora scratched into a paving block of one of the streets in the town, those very streets that the tanaim (rabbis quoted in the mishna) walked on. They were here with their families, living in these homes and walking these streets uncovered over the last 20 years or so. And here we were, walking along discussing the events that led up to their move and its effect on us today. (See #2)

4. Safed (Tzfat, צפת) is a beautiful city nestled 900 meters (3,200 feet) above sea level overlooking the Kinneret. It has a long rich history almost all of it Jewish in nature. It's one of the four holy cities in the land of Israel, Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias being the other three. Tzfat's Rivka Ziv Hospital, which has a breathtaking view of the Gallil can't help but contribute to speedy recovery, is where I spent a month waiting for my twins to be born. It is definitely a great place to be when summer's high temperature and humidity make Rehovot icky-sticky and uncomfortable. For three amazing nights Safed hosts a Klezmer Festival. Each night at each of nine (9!) different venues in the old city and artists quarter there are four different performances of klezmer and Jewish music. It's all free and one can wander from one show to another. There were tens of thousands of people all sitting on plastic chairs, steps, benches or standing and clapping. I love being part of a happy crowd having a good time!

5. We stayed in a lovely tzimmer (a room attached to someone's home) which had it's own entrance, patio overlooking the Kinneret, kitchen corner, TV-radio-CD and who knows what else entertainment center, and Jacuzzi bath. The house was about a ten minute walk from Tzfat's old city where the Klezmer Festival was held. I have never taken the time to really enjoy a Jacuzzi so this was a first for me. (See #2 which applies here as well.)

6. I love new beginnings. My twins, now fathers themselves, are both in the process of moving this week. My youngest begins sherut leumi, national service in two weeks. My oldest granddaughter goes to first grade on September 1.

7. I love Jewish weddings. On the way home from Tzfat we went to a wedding at a winery just outside P'sagot a settlement outside Jerusalem with an incredible view. I love having the chuppa symbolizing the home the couple is setting up outside. I love the way the crowd (see #4 happy crowds) dances and sings to accompany the groom and then the bride to their new 'home'.

OK, I don't know who hasn't been tagged yet. Last time I had to tag no one did it. But anyway I'm tagging Esser Agaroth and Life in Israel although they might have been tagged already. Whatever.


Batya said...

Risa, I love having friends like you!

Leora said...

What a lovely post! I love Tsfat. I would love to visit Tzippori - it is very close to my cousin's home.

Risa Tzohar said...

Batya! Thanks for encouraging me to blog - even if it's sporadic.

Leora - you will enjoy Tzippori, you are also invited to Rehovot, not as interesting as Tzipori but we'll find something to show you.

kathleen said...

Hi-over from blog gems. What a lovely interesting post. I love learning new things. :)

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