|Oct 17, 2005
Today (or to be more specific tonight) was Sukkoth a Jewish holiday.
Also known as the Feast of the Tabernacles, Sukkoth marks the beginning
of winter and lasts for eight days. During this time Jews are supposed
to be build sukkahs, a freestanding house of material that is constructed
outside. You are supposed to see light through the roof so often
the roof is covered with palm leaves. It is decorated sort of like
a Christmas tree with lots of decorations and becomes a very festive
place. Over the period of Sukkoth all meals are supposed to be eaten
in the sukkah.
The Beliks had a head start in the sukkah making; they have an outdoor
pagoda out the back and can throw up some sheets to make an instant
sukkah. The boys chopped down every available tree to get leaves
for the roof whilst Ayelet and Fee decorated the inside. It looked
pretty good. It was a good time to be in Israel, it was holidays
and there was excitement about Sukkoth. Each city had a market selling
decorations and other associated items and it is a festive and communal
time. Actually I think Israel in general is quite a friendly and
communal place. I don’t know if it stems from kibbutz’s
or it is solidarity due to the troubles but every house seems to
be open to family and friends. Neighbours invite each other to share
in meals and on holidays like Sukkoth many meals are big with many
friends invited. If someone has no place to go got Sukkoth there
is always a sukkah available with people ready to welcome them with
open arms. I certainly haven’t experience anything like it
Once everything was ready for the big night, Harvey, Daniel and
I went for an hour bike ride around Ra’ananna and surrounding
villages. Ra’ananna is quite a big town/suburb with a population
of 70,000, many schools, two universities and seventy synagogues.
Being quite close to the beach and with so many palm trees it almost
has the feeling of a Miami. There are many parks, a version of the
Sydney Opera House and even a small zoo. It can also boast one of
only three kosher McDonalds in the world. It has two levels- ground
floor for milk products and the second floor for all meat products.
Those guys from the Golden Arches sure are flexible.
Israel is quite an expensive country, almost on a par with Europe.
The only problem is that wages are comparatively low and so many
people must live beyond their means to survive. Despite this Israel
has almost as many mobile phones as people. Every person seems to
have one and they are constantly talking on them. Many walk around
with glued to their ears; I have never seen so many people on phones.
This also adds to overdraft and credit problems as people rack up
huge phone bills. Even now as I sit on a bus and type, over half
of the people on the bus are on their phones.
Once again we went to synagogue but as it was not a Friday night,
the service was just twenty minutes long allowing us to get home
and get stuck into another huge meal. This home cooked food sure
is good. The best was dessert- chocolate fondue with a variety of
fruits and lollies. This was the best way of getting Fee to become
a convert for life. Any time she can sit in front of a huge pot
of chocolate is bound to be a hit. Mmm chocolate.