Have I mentioned…

that I love living in Israel? That I find the people here to be kind and friendly and open and helpful? When we were in Malta, meeting other Israelis on the street was like meeting old high school classmates. (OK, that’s especially true for me because as I’ve mentioned before, I somehow was invisible during high school and none of my classmates remember me, so that this is exactly the same– we have a lot in common although we don’t know each other at all!)

Here, in the gym, there is a woman who frequently swims when I swim. Because we swim at about the same pace, it is very comfortable for us to swim in the same lane. We only know each other by sight, and only recently have we begun talking with each other as we get ready to leave the changing rooms. Last week she asked about my Pesach preparations. She talked about what she was doing, how this year would be different since a new son-in-law had a custom in his family that for the bitter herb, they eat tart apples. While we were talking a third younger woman was listening and she said that in her family they also eat tart apples for the bitter herbs, but put chopped liver in top of it. As we talked others offered their traditions. These women were not women who by their dress or manner most people would identify as “religious.” They were typical Israeli women. The discussion ended with someone who was leaving saying שיהיה שקט “Sheh yihyeh shaket” — it should just be a quiet* holiday. We all nodded in agreement.

Tonight on the news, the feature was afikomen gifts for the children– what children wanted and how much parents would be spending on them… What a country!

Outside this evening, the streets were filled with busy people and the restaurants were hopping with people taking a break from the Pesach cleaning and preparations.

In our house tonight, we searched for chametz by candlelight. With the gefilte fish made, the roasts and the potato and apple kugels made, about 50 giant matza balls were born.

Have a wonderful Pesach and שיהיה שקט

*Here, by quiet, we mean with no terror.