Last minute invite over to Jess and Daniel's tonight. The barbecue was fired up - Ira was immediately intrigued. They were hosting a Sheva B'rachot for friends Clare and Jeremy who were just married this past Friday. Brief background. There are 7 blessings recited at a wedding ceremony and there is the custom of celebrating for the week following the wedding (for all sorts of reasons that I won't enumerate here) with the bride and groom. Every evening, friends and family gather to eat (of course), sing, do a little Jewish discourse and finish up with Grace after Meals and those 7 blessings.
The couple looked appropriately relaxed and happy. The friends were drinking and laughing and enjoying. Ira and I were greeted as celebrities - "Oh, you just got here, welcome, good luck with your k'litah (absorption)." One always feels sheepish about this but we are newbies, nothing we can do about it. We answer questions about our past, our present, our children, our new apartment (which remains unfortunately devoid of our stuff) and our the state of my father's health (everyone knows and everyone asks). I had a funny discussion with Jess's friend, Aliza, about joining the Ramat Rachel pool as a lesbian couple (with Jess, that is - more on this another time). With another friend, I discussed local schools and our impressions of the boys' first days of school (yes, yes, I'll handle that one day too). The groom's brother asked me about making Aliyah with kids - his are little and mine are big, I said, big difference in issues. It was all nice though, especially the singing and passing of the wine glass around to all of the woman who said the different blessings. It was a mixed crowd in terms of observance styles and in keeping with Jess's shul, which is "halachically egalitarian," that is egalitarian for women in a style that works for some Orthodox Jews. The women, who numbered at least 10, led the bentching and the blessings. I looked around the room at the women with both covered and uncovered heads, the women with pants and the women with skirts, the guys with beards and the guys without and I thought, "cool." It was lively and lovely.
The boys are in bed and it's early really for them. They're not used to this early schedule. Forget the whole school thing, Israel is an early AM country. Ira and I will try an "intensivi" ulpan tomorrow and see if will give us the right push in the language. We'll keep you posted.
3 hours ago