The sun is surrounded and trapped in a khamsin looking more like a stubborn, fading moon that refused to exit after a bloody sunrise. (A khamsin is a dust storm from Africa.)
Less then a week before Rosh HaShannah we were forced to move. The mover gave us an estimate at 1pm on Monday afternoon and at 5pm on the very same day brought boxes. He was supposed to come at 8am the nest morning but I asked him to put it back to 9am. He agreed. Tuesday morning at 7:30am the mover, with three helpers, was knocking at our door.
Hours later, hot and tired and surrounded by boxes in our new apartment, we didn’t know if we were too electronically challenged to work the remote or if the A/C didn’t work. It was about 90 degrees. We opened all the windows and the next morning everything, including Mick and I, were covered in fine red silt.
Our landlady came by to see if everything was alright. She wanted to know why we didn’t clean before moving and I told her we did but with all the windows open, it was a worthless exercise. Before she could ask why the windows were open, I smiled and said, Ruthie, are you hot? She looked at me with an expression of gratitude that we will turn on the A/C for her. I hand over the remote control. She presses every button and to her astonishment nothing happens. Mick and I look at each other relieved. We might still be hot and tired and covered in dirt but at least we were not too hopeless to turn on the A/C. Ruthie calls a repairman.
We have no wifi, we are surrounded by packing boxes, and soon depart for the center of Naharyia to eat, use the restaurant’s wifi, buy new mezzuzot, and fruits and vegetables for Shabbat and the New Year.
The owner of the fruit store is taciturn. I usually wait for him to look at me and then while his eyes are locked into mine, I wish him a gusty boker tov (good morning). Today, he wears a big smile, reaches for my hand and wishes me a L’Shannah Tova (may you be inscribed for life in the coming year), and L’bracha. (a blessing)
At the mezzuzot store, the owner Yossi tells me he has had time to check only two of the five mezzuzot I ordered but tells me to take them anyway and to come back on Sunday. When I try to pay he tells me to wait until I come back. “I won’t lose any sleep”, he tells me.
On line at the grocery store I examine a jar that says dates, but it is in liquid form. I ask the woman in front of me if it is date honey.
“No. But you must buy it. It is delicious and on sale.” She asks if we have the store’s discount card and when I shake my head, no, she tells the cashier to use her discount card for our groceries and then wishes us a LShannah Tova and showers us with blessings.
I went to Cofix to buy freshly sqeezed carrot juice for five shekels ($1.25) and while waiting I see two very young Chassidic boys. With their very young eyes they swallow everything in front of them and when the cashier places a coffee milkshake on the counter for another customer, not only the eyes drink everything in but a thirsty mouth descends on the straw. The cashiier snatches the drink back and looks to see if the intended customer saw this partial theft of his drink. He didn’t. She throws the violated straw out, places another straw in the drink and smiling widely, hands it to the unsuspecting customer.
Aah, finally time for Shabbat. Since our stove top and oven are not yet hooked up, I cooked on our two burner hot plate and we readied for a quiet evening alone Friday night and for our luncheon guests the next day. I suddenly remembered right before candle lighting that we had been unable to reach our guests to tell them we moved. I wrote out a note and put a piece of tape on the top.
The next morning I walked down eight flights of steps, two blocks to the old apartment, up seven flights, posted the note on the door and then retraced my footsteps with my grand finale of collapsing on our couch. We were so happy when our guests arrived and thanked us for the note.
For those of you not living in Israel, we hope you too will sometime soon enjoy the warmth of the people here, the feeling of being close to G-d and the beauty of the land.
Wishing you a year filled with joy and good health followed by more of the same for years to come.
Below is the view from our living room window. In the distance is Lebanon. From our bedroom window, at night, we see Haifa all lit up.