Category Archives: Holidays

Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement and Bicycles

Tel Aviv. Not exactly the ‘holy city’ like Jerusalem and not exactly the quiet atmosphere of the Galilee…. but every city in all of Israel comes together for this day.

No public transportation. No personal vehicles allowed on any street.  No stores or businesses open…. nothing but a day of country-wide fasting…. and bike riding.

It’s traditional on Yom Kippur, because of the no-car rule, for everyone to ride their bicycles in the streets.  Here are a couple pics down on the beach road of good ol’ Tel Aviv.  I will admit it was kinda cool walking down the middle of the road with everyone else, not having to worry about traffic!

שנה טובה! Happy Jewish New Year!

Today is the Jewish Holiday, Rosh Hashana, the New Year.  This Jewish year is 5771… as you can see a bit older than our current 2010.

One thing I love about living in Israel has been learning more about the rich Jewish culture I am apart of. Bringing in the new year with apples, honey, and pomegranates are a few things we eat as well as hearing the shofar blowing across the land.

In honor of the celebration and the New Year, I am spending a few days up north in Haifa, to get away for the busyness and craziness of Tel Aviv.  I didn’t hear too many shofars blowing up here last night, but I did hear lots of booming firecrackers.

As most of you are beginning a new school year back home, and fall is approaching, it’s a new season for you as well…. even if it doesn’t involve a new calendar year.  So, Happy New Year from the Holy Land… lets make this one a great one!

2000 + years later….

Its becoming a new tradition for me to spend Christmas Eve in Bethlehem…this was my 2nd year trekking across the border for the festivities.  Its crazy to try to imagine how it was back then, compared to now; but my mind wandered back to the night when HE was born (standing on the same ground will do that do you).

This year there were TONS of people there.  I think the fact that the weather was nicer this year, brought out more locals (and by locals, I mean Men.  Women were few and far between).  As I stood looking toward the crowd, I thought, “and what a contrast to the few animals that were there to witness his birth..”

I had other moments that took me back.  Moments of, “I can’t believe I’m seeing this here” like the infamous STARS and BUCKS coffee shop (close enough to attract Starbucks lovers, but not close enough to break any infringement rights).  Can you imagine if Mary was like, “Oh, Stars and Bucks!!!” We traveled all this way, I could really use a cup of Stars and Bucks coffee to get me through this…” hehehe. (ok, well even if Mary wouldn’t have been excited, I sure was)

And of course, we all have this nice little image of what it was like that night… in a cute little manger, surrounded by the shepherds, wise men, donkeys, sheep, and the shining star on top.  I’m sure our pop culture plays a big part in that; but as I stood, posing next to the famous “nativity scene” in front of the Arab Christian tourist shop I actually took a moment to imagine what it was really like that night.

More or less, likely in a small cave or some sort…cold…smelly…dark…birth-pains…

This is how our Savior was born.

And I was humbled.

For as I looked all around me, 2000 + years later, I saw an extreme of opposites surrounding me.  Now versus then.

But ONE thing remains the same: The REASON!  His LOVE remains the same both then and now.  He came for them; He came for us.  He died for you; He died for me. No matter how much our world changes, for better or worse, this one constant will remain the same….and I love HIM even more today than yesterday.

Bethlehem is a wonderful place to be on Christmas Eve, and I hope the tradition continues for years to come, but the location is just that…. a location.  What matters is what’s in our ❤!  That is the truth of Christmas!  Much love to all of you, from my beloved Bethlehem!

(and wouldn’t it be fun to join me next year!?!)

My gift backup plan…

I know that I said all I want for Christmas this year is for my to-be husband to come along, but a girl’s got a right to modify that list.  What I ALSO want (and have wanted for some time now) is a dog.  Not just any dog, but this one:

I mean, come on! How FREEKIN adorable is he???

He’s a teacup maltipoo.  While its true, I love big dogs, I also understand that they are not apartment dogs, and I would not want to subject them to a small, confined space. But, this dog is PERFECT for an apartment.  They even fit nicely in your giant purse!

So until my #1 gift comes along, I will gladly accept my #2 gift 🙂  R u coming Santa???

Charlie Brown Christmas, Makeover Edition

My Charlie Brown Christmas tree got a mini-makeover this year.  I bought a couple new “ornaments” (and I use that term lightly) for him.  Can you spot them? (you might have to zoom in) Last year on left, This year on right.

Christmas Bliss (in Russian)

I took everyone’s advice in order to get a little Christmas Spirit Spring back in my step, and went to the only place in Tel Aviv where one can find Christmas Goodies: The Central Bus Station!

Now, on any given day, one does not simple go to The Central Bus Station to “hang out“.  Its dirty, disgusting, urine-smelling, and just plain gross.  Unfortunately, because of where I work, I am there quite often and have become immune to the filth.  It is also the center hub for anything CHEAP!  Clothes, food, jewelry…the list goes on and on.  BUT, during the one time of year that I love most, it also happens to be the hub for Christmas.

The Russians take over a small area on the bottom floor and turn it into a Winter Wonderland.  This is where I got my Charlie Brown Christmas Tree last year, and where I went today to pick up some more little ornaments for him.  Actually, I should say its where I go whenever I need a kick of Christmas Cheer! (Russian Speaking Cheer that is) lol

(One Day After) Thanksgiving Day Bliss

What began as a Freak-Out Thanksgiving, ended up a Fantastic one!  While there were a couple moments of doubt, skepticism and “There’s a bubble!” the moments of eating delicious turkey, stuffing (from scratch) mashed taters, sweet potatoes, cranberries (we actually had some, and fresh ones at that), and both pumpkin pie and apple crisp for desert erased all else.

I honestly think that getting the turkey fresh from the market is the key, cuz it was the best turkey I’ve ever had!!! (and I’m not just saying that because I cooked it).

Turns out that Becca makes the most amazing, incredible, mouth savoring Apple Crisp IN THE WORLD! We taught our friends from Finland/Holland/Israel all about Thanksgiving Day Traditions (including American Football, Chia Pets, and Aluminum Trees w/rotating light discs….don’t ask!) We played a bit of Texas Hold-Um using 10 Cent Shekels, and all in all, it was a wonderful day!  You wanted to see some pics, so here you go….

The infamous “tweezing” of the quills and feathers left on the turkey (I finally got smart and starting using my tweezer instead of killing my fingers):

Our guy Before and After:

(To see the entire Thanksgiving collection, click here)

Hope Everyone had as wonderful a day as I did!!! Now….on to Christmas/Chanukah!

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