Frenzied Shopping

Frenzy.

We are busily assembling all of the items we need to take to China for us and for our group. The process is tiring, but very exciting. It reminds me of that old show I used to love on TV when I was a kid. It was called “supermarket sweep,” and it was a competition to see who could amass the most costly shopping basket full of goods when given 2 minutes free to load up in a supermarket. I remember enjoying watching the people tripping over their own feet to move as fast as possible and grab as many things off the aisles as they could with the ever-ticking clock ready to rob them of their last treasure.

Well, here we are doing a similar kind of running around, but we are not able to find all of the items we need at only one store. In fact, we can’t even find all of the like items in one store. It seems that after-Pesach stocks are limited until weeks of factory production and as a result, we must go from store to store buying the same item at different prices and hoping that ultimately we will find enough.

We are preparing not just to have the essentials, but to “spoil” our group with all sorts of things (that I cannot, for reasons of utmost importance, reveal), so we have bag filled with a variety of items spread down the length of our entry hall, piled on one another. Still having the remains of the boxes of Pesach wines and grape juices, and added to the suitcases at the ready, the place looks like a veritable “going out of business” sale.

But it will all be worth it as we greet a bunch of happy people on Monday morning and set off for a beautiful, magical, wonderful adventure.

Turkey redux

My anonymous commenter asked whether the person who preferred “mehadrin” meat could have eaten something else. Of course the answer is yes. But in my universe, that answer is no. And I will tell you why:

Because of the way I was brought up, I am very sensitive to the issue of respecting other people’s choices. Unless the other person is causing himself or others HARM, I feel that I must respect his or her choice. After all, all of us have made choices that may be unpopular or inconvenient to others. However, part of being a grownup is to accept that I do not possess perfect wisdom and that others have the right to decide for themselves.

Now as to the turkey. The gentleman in question who prefers a “mehadrin” hechsher is not the type of person to make a big fuss about having things his way. He is gentle and kind and giving and accomodating. Why should I be any less so?

So my choice to do what I did wasn’t at all about him. It was about me and the way I like to treat people. And although it was a saga, it was an adventure and I believe it was the right thing to do.

There’s no place like home

If you’ve never spent a Passover in Israel, you cannot understand this fact: it is the only place to be for Passover.

The fun begins just after Purim. The stores begin stocking Passover goods. No, I am not talking about matza, which of course they bring in about then. Nor am I talking about gefilte fish which of course shows up around then. I am talking about housewares– all sorts- from dish towels and tablecloths to dishes and flatware and pans and pots. Suddenly, it’s impossible to forget that Passover is on its way.

Schools let out a full week before Passover. Why? Because all of the teachers need to clean too. There are all sorts of activities for children the week before Passover as their parents endeavor to find a place for them to be besides underfoot.

Yeshiva boys too stop their studies a week before Passover so they have plenty of time to do cleaning jobs to earn some extra money. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they even show up when they said they will (mine disappointed me this year!)

Seder night, everything really is different. The street quiet down as everyone is having something of a seder, even those who would not consider themselves “religious.” The children, freshly scrubbed, enter into a new reality as they see their homes and their grandparents’ homes transformed for Passover.

But for me, the real highlight aside from hearing my just two year old granddaughter (she turned 2 on March 14!!!!!) ask the first of the four questions, was the first day of chol hamoed.

We drove up to Sachne (Gan HaShlosha) to drop off our son-in-law at the annual juggling convention. Sachne is a park with large beautiful deep ponds where the swimming is idyllic. The water was warm and the pond was almost devoid of people and we swam there feeling such happiness amid the verdant beauty. In the distance there were bougainvillea already in full bloom. There was the sweet sound of the waterfall downstream from us. It was perfect.

Of course Israelis love to get out into the country to enjoy nature on holidays. Only a week ago we too had been in a hike on a nearby mountain and we had enjoyed seeing the vast variety of wildflowers. However, that meant that going home was going to be something of a trial with the heavy traffic.

In the end, we chose to drive back through the Jordan Valley on a road we had not taken since the start of the most recent intifada. The trip was very pleasant. We looked over at the nearby villages in Jordan where the agriculture has developed notably in the past couple of years. We stopped at a service area and I was stunned to see TWO certified kosher for Passover restaurants! (in the middle of the wilderness).

We have lived lots of places. We have enjoyed all of them. But there’s no place like home.