The Good: Rosh Hashana
September 27, 2009

“what’s the jewish year? well then let’s party like it’s 5770” – neezyP
From Tel Aviv I took a bus east to Jerusalem to experience the Wailing Wall, or the Western Wall most call it. Almost everyone speaks Hebrew here but there are quite a good amount of people who speak english. They were helpful in pointing the way to the wall. So after three hours of trekking on foot I finally made it to the Wall.
I never really was a religious person. My sister and I weren’t brought up with religion of any kind. Our parents didn’t practice any religion either. So as a consequence I’ve never, and still haven’t, been to church in my life.
Having said all that, while approaching the wall I became inexplicably mesmerized and experienced something that was totally greater than the moment itself. The wall is a behemoth and espouses authority over you.
I walked past kids, tourist, and orthodox jews all having private moments with the wall. I found my own spot on the wall and said a prayer. The prayer was for everyone I loved to have greater clarity through life. And for Trang to find a job. I wrote more prayers on a piece of paper and slipped it into the highest crack I could reach. Maybe it will be answered ahead of all the other thousand written prayers slipped into the lower stones. I walked backwards away from the wall as to not turn my back to it, and left.
I decided to explore Jerusalem a bit before returning to Tel Aviv. That night I met Debi and we had dinner at a good place she knew. The food was decent but the best part was being asked to join her family for Rosh Hashana dinner the next night. I accepted and we made plans for me to arrive in her city east of Tel Aviv in time for the traditional dinner.
Rosh Hashana is the Jewish new year. It’s a time when families get together and have dinner. The table is set with symbolic foods that represent various good blessings for the new year. For example, there was a plate of sliced apples and honey, so that the new year is sweet. Sweet.
Debi was nice enough to pick me up from where the bus dropped me off in her city. We drove to her parent’s house and her dad was at the door to welcome me into his home. Debi’s dad is very much a kid at heart and really made me feel welcome in his home. Which, by extension, felt like a welcome to Israel and the kindess of the Israeli people.
Since the hostel I was staying at was nearby a famous pastry shop, I bought a box of assorted treats/cookies. I didn’t want to come empty handed. Debi accepted the box and gave it to her mom to set for later.
The dinner itself was splendidly delicious with dishes that symbolizes different blessings for the new year. Before we ate Debi’s dad said a prayer.
Over dinner we talked about everything ranging from tattoos to American movies to politics. In the middle of these conversations Debi would explain to me what each dish represented as I took my portion. There was a fish head on a plate, representing the head(beginning) of the year. The fish head was placed on the table but was quickly removed once we started eating because nobody was a fan of it.
We finished with dessert Debi made that was a cake/ice cream creation with the pastries that I brought. She’s pretty good in the kitchen.
I thanked her family for welcoming into their lovely home. But I’d like to thank Debi again for being kind enough to have me over for dinner.
I’m so grateful for the Rosenthal family for letting me be apart of their Rosh Hashana dinner. It was such an incredible experience.