Sunday, September 30, 2012

Yom Kippur One Day, Passover The Next

That's how Ophir said it in class. "Time flies, doesn't it? Yom Kippur tomorrow and Passover the day after that--usually there's six months in there!"

Our outside time on Yom Kippur was restricted, as every Jewish establishment and then some would be closed as all the Jews spent the day at home or in the synagogue in fasting and prayer. The Old City was still open to us, though, and I went there. All seemed pretty quiet to me, but I was aware of what was happening in other places around the city. It was a day of reverence.

The next day I had another turn at the Red Cresent hospital. It wasn't as thrilling an experience as the first time, but still great. The first nurse we worked with started showing us how to take vital signs and check the tension in a woman's uterus. We then informed her that we weren't medical students, and then we ended up doing other things. I worked in the normal nursery with Lorina for a while. Those dark little Arab babies are so cute. I even got to see one have his first bath. He wasn't too happy about it, but I was.

We had passover the next evening. I was signed up to be a narrator and to sing two of the prayers with groups. I was also twenty minutes late. There I was, doing my hair and putting on my nice clothes and thinking myself to be making great time, when Sister Bench (housing couple sister) poked her head into my apartment and said "Are you coming to the Sedar?" "Of course. Five-thirty," I said, glancing at my clock (5:20). "No, five o'clock!" she says. "Hurry!" So I raced up four flights of stairs to the oasis and bashfully slid into my place at the head table--though I don't think anybody really noticed. The Sedar proper was only just barely starting, so the timing was alright. I sang both of my numbers--the four questions (before which we were totally shown up by Ophir's eight year old daughter, who sang the first verse in flawless Hebrew into the mic before we went up) and Y'vareh et Bet Y'israel, a blessing of rejoicing. I also read part of the Haggadah about the greatness of God and His blessings. Let down of the evening: when the time came for the bitter herbs came, I was totally prepped for pure, undiluted horseradish like I endured at BYU--but it turned out to be romaine lettuce, which doesn't have quite the same effect. Highlights of the evening: First, the dessert for the meal was a chocolate covered bannana with ice cream--AMAZING. Also, a group at the end sang my favorite Passover song--"Who Knows One"--as a rap. It was awesome.

The whole program was marvelous, and I even got to enjoy Charoset that I helped to make. Ophir made it a great experience, and his little daughter was great, too. When he told us he needed to keep the afikomen safe for after desert, she said loudly, "He won't keep it safe! He's going to hide it!" And we pretended we hadn't heard. When, after dinner, Ophir informed us that the afikomen had "disappeared," she said again, "No, he hid it!" Than ran off to help everyone hunt for it. Alex found it and split the candy prize with the little kids. It was a wonderful evening.

I will do more in the next post, just for the sake of keeping things coherent. More soon!


  1. Rachel- We just read your post as a family tonight. It was awesome! We loved reading about the passover dinner. We're glad you made it on time! What a great experience to enjoy Passover in Israel. We're going to have family prayer and get the little ones in bed. PS- Daniel just got asked to Preference and he has no idea who asked him! This has been a rather funny evening dissecting carrots. Daniel will email you the details!
    love, your family :)

  2. Please have him do it! I'm curious now. Carrots...? Tell Daniel I want more details. :)