Monday, September 28, 2009

My Hottest Yom Kippur

Hope you all had an easy fast.

I write to you from a rooftop, where I am enjoying a summer night breeze (at the end of September!) and stealing internet from another network.

A Brief Summary of My Shabbat Shabbaton

It’s a little different here, in the desert.

  • Location: Kibbutz Ketura

  • Accommodations: Wonderful! My single room with A/C. (But, I did not spend much time in it.)

  • Food: Sub par.
    • They served chicken, hummus, challah, and salad for the last supper. While that would have been fine, they took it away before I could eat a sufficient amount.
    • Break Fast – Well, I successfully did not overeat. I walked away feeling ok. This may have been for two reasons: 1) They only provided dessert plates for the meal. 2) They were not serving the plethora of delicious entrees to which I am accustomed after the fast.

  • Davening: Traditional egalitarian. Facing North (pretty cool)!
    • On my own accord I decided that I would be present for the entire davening experience. I arrived early for every service. I guess this full autonomy thing changes the way you operate and think.
    • Although I was under the impression that services would be shorter here, they were not. Nevertheless, I enjoyed them (as much as that is possible on this day). They had pleasant shlehei tzibor and no English interruptions. Again, I was really able to concentrate on my davening and the liturgy, because I had no familial distractions.
    • It was amazing, especially during Neilah as the setting sun reflected eastward, to look out at the volcanic mountains of Jordan with their beautiful red, purple, brown, and black ridges. How amazing is it that I could daven completely in peace right on the border?! This is truly an extraordinary place.
    • I guess it’s not too hard to make friends in shul, because I was honored with the fourth aliya during shacharit and led ma’ariv as well as havdala.

  • The Fast: I did not think it was harder than usual during the day.
    • But, now I’m feeling it a little bit.
    • Although Rabbi Shlomo Goren, former Chief IDF Rabbi, whom you may recognize from this picture:
      published a t’shuva saying that people fasting in the Arava can drink one cup of water every hour during daylight, I did not feel the need to do so. I spent the day in an air conditioned sanctuary, so I was not feeling dehydrated.
    • As the fast came to an end, however, I felt the onset of a headache, which is not yet relieved. Don’t worry, I’m hydrating like crazy.
    • I don’t mean to complain, but I’m also experiencing some lower back pain. I think this is just from standing in one place for so long. I believe a good night’s sleep will remedy this.
    • Finally, as I drank the grape juice after havdala, I was a bit shocked/electrified. First, I think I forgot that I had not eaten all day and then gulped this sugar high down my throat. Second, it was the best tasting Israeli grape juice I have ever had!

And, now the fun begins in the next few week…

But, tonight is a school night (yeah right…beginners Hebrew), so I must be going.



In shul today I was reading TEN RUNGS: Hasidic Sayings, Collected and Edited by Martin Buber. It turns out that he, through the Hasidic Rabbis, has given us all a good excuse for sleeping in, instead of shul:

Sometimes a man lies in bed, and the household thinks he is asleep, but he is spending this hour in solitude with his Maker, blessed be he… (Buber, 24)

I guess Dr. Buber really believed in the great shul Shaarei Shayna.

Shoutout #22 (redo): Andrew Rosler – I guess you did not realize that I have multiple friends with your name. That’s ok. You’re such a loveable/huggable guy, I just think of this every time I see you. I urge you to reconsider certain decisions…but keep up the valorous service you provide!



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