Friday, June 21, 2013

Shabbat in Israel

Shabbat in Israel is like nothing you have ever seen. You may seem something nclose to it like in Utah where all the shops and restaurants close, everyone is with family and so forth but there is a little more to it. On Saturday in America people still go about there day as though Sunday is nothing and even on Sundays many stores are open in most cities, Even Salt Lake is starting to open it's doors on Sundays. Here in Israel Friday comes around and you know it. Thursday begins the smell of the chunt or anything slow cooked and delicious. It is a smell that changes through out the weekend up until Friday night when stoves and ovens turn off. In one house there is Morrocan style fish being cooked, in another A kibbutz style chunt and the door right next to us has the scent of mixed herbs that were just tossed in a soup. Friday noon time stores begin to close up until about 5 when everything is closed except for a few restaurants and cafes putting away their seats and closing the kitchen. Each place has it's owner lock the doors go to the cars and drive off to their homes where food is being cooked, the dinner table is being set and the family is on their way.

Saturday, Shabbat, the day after a fullfilling dinner (in more ways then one),  is a magical day. I go for a walk on this day usually and it is as if everything is shut down except for the gas station on Moshe Sneh on the way to the movie theater and the movie theater itself. The mall as well is open but it's stores closed. It's as though the dorrs were left open so that those who got bored at home or who have children who need to get moving can enjoy the Shabbat outside of their homes. The movie theater is open so they can enjoy something to do. Maybe the older kids need something to do so a movie is wise, or maybe the family can see a movie together while at the mall, or maybe just the parentals need to watch something more than just Sefer Hajungel, Alladdin or whatever they have up for their kids. There is still the feeling of it being a holy day. As you walk the streets, pray, watch a show or movie there is this feeling of closeness to your religion in some odd way whether or not you are religious or not. As I return from my walk I see the orthodox men returning from shul with there Talit still on, bag with Tefilin and a sedur on hand, some wish you a happy Shabbat and others look down at the ground because I am a female which I have learned to respect actually.

Eventually comes Saturday night. Night comes around, the three stars in the sky are seen and Tel Aviv is propably the first to bring the festivities. It's like a Thursday night on a college campus. the restaurants open first, then some stores, and of course as it becomes late at night the pups and clubs open their doors and just about everyone goes out to enjoy themselves.

Today is Friday, I am at CafeNeto in Ramat Hasharon, one of the last places opened on a Friday. I am watching people enjoy an early dinner as the kitchen begins to slowly clean up and close and at the bar the cakes and cookies in the display glass are being brought back to the kitchen and the coffee machine is about to be cleaned. I feel at home, I feel as though this is how life should be on a Shabbat.

I have one more Shabbat like this after this week. One more till I return to San Diego where Saturday is just another day. The Starbucks on Campus and at the Mall are open as with all the stores, seeing someone walking to and from shul is difficult to see because the closest synagogue is a reform synagogue where most people drive to shul if they go at all. This isn't something I am judging and it's certainly not something I look down upon but imagine a day where you can put everything aside, put work away, you already have food cooked and ready so you don't have to worry about what to cook or where to go to eat, your family is all at home so you can enjoy their company and life for a moment has stopped so you can contemplate spiritually and mentally. On this day you can just be happy.

For myself Shabbat in Israel has been a day where me and Hashem get to hang out. instead of praying to him and for him there is no questions, no begging, no thanking, just the time to say "Hey, what's up over on your side." He may not say much but from Friday afternoon to Saturday night It's just me and him, either on the streets or trails going for a walk, watching a movie, or just resting. Coming back to San Diego, I ask myself what can I bring back with me. It's like being in Real Life Fitness again. I am asked "What new habits are you going to take with you when you go back?" From here I am hopefully going to take my conversations with Hashem.

1 week and 2 days left!

Till Next Time

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