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Ra'ananananananana, Israel
Oct 17, 2005

11:59


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 in Australia.

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.