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Rosh Hashana - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
Rosh Hashana
This was my first Rosh Hashana in an Orthodox shul, and I had some trepidation about it. But, since I've been davening in Orthodox services for most of a year, it turned out really not to be a problem. I'm glad I brought my own machzor, because I found the Artscroll easier to follow than the machzorim they had there. But otherwise, it was just fine. But long. Very, very, very long.

As has been our recent habit, we spent the holiday with Ellen, which is always wonderful; her hospitality seems to be unending, her cooking divine, her conversation even better.

I brought a yummy carrot salad (spicy, not sweet), lots and lots of fruit, green salad with a non-vinegar dressing, Tofutti, wine, some pastries and a honey pot as a hostess gift. Ellen did the real work since she had power the week before and we didn't. She made Turkey, Sweet Noodle Kugel (which I found surprisingly tasty....normally I hate sweet kugels), fruit soup for one day and cold carrot soup for the next day, Brisket, Meatballs and, of course, several challot (not everything was served at the same meal)

Friday I left work around 1 or so, went home, ate some lunch and then went out for a gazillion errands, ran late, got home, frantically made fruit salad and carrot salad, cursed the fact that I'm too stupid to be able to use a melon baller correctly, yelled at my husband unnecessarily, apologized (I think), packed, and we were out the door loaded down with food and bags and flowers.

After we took care of unpacking everything at Ellen's, we headed to shul for Maariv (I believe we'd already missed Mincha). We arrived during the Rav's shiur, which was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, I don't remember everything he talked about. Of course, he discussed some of the reasons behind not blowing the shofar on Shabbos.

He also addressed something which has been raised as an issue in a couple of communities on LJ: fasting. Someone had brought up that it was unreasonable that RH services were so long because fasting is forbidden on yom tov (fasting, halachically, means nothing to eat or drink by halachic mid-day...around 1pm or so). Since may not eat or drink before hearing the shofar, what is one to do if services run so late that halachically, you've fasted? After about 20 minutes of pontificating on the issue, the Rav gave a very simple answer. It is not forbidden to have plain water, so his recommendation was to have some water upon arising before coming to shul. Fair enough.

Friday after Maariv, we went to the Jacoby's house for dinner. The Jacobys have been been at the shul for quite some time and are both very learned. Yitzy (Ellen's son) learns with Danny Jacoby regularly, and Sima (Danny's wife) helps facilitate women's shiurim on a regular basis. We had a fabulous time at their house and, of course, ate wonderful food.

Saturday I woke up around 6 and I was planning on getting to services when they started at 7:30, but eventually chickened out. I knew it was going to be a long day and I didn't know how much I could handle. Ellen and I went at 8:30 or so. I'm not sure what time Seth and Yitzy made it there. There were maybe a dozen women on the women's side from the time we got there until the haftorah. By the end of the haftorah, the women's side was packed.

Lunch was at Ellen's. She had invited a new couple, Daschl (?), Rachel, and their baby, Faye. Daschl just finished law school and moved here to work for the government. Rachel is very quiet and I wasn't able to ascertain whether she was working or if she was staying home with Faye. I hate asking that sort of question. I don't mean it to seem like I judge either decision. (I, personally, aspire to be a stay at home mommy. But I also would want to maintain professional ties so that I could go back to work once all my kids were school-aged. Some people get touchy when the question is asked). Anyway, we liked them a lot, and they're about our age (slightly younger, actually), so we're looking forward to spending more time with them, hopefully soon.

For dinner Saturday night we went to dinner at a friend of Ellen's. She's very nice, and her cooking is beautiful (e.g. her presentation is always amazing), though sometimes I don't like the food itself...it's still pretty to look at. But Yitzy was in a bad mood because it was about a mile and a half walk to her house, he was tired, he was hungry, and he was being picked on. Ellen's friend sort of thinks that because she's older than me she's got all the answers to every problem I've ever had, and I don't especially appreciate that, but I'm trying to think good thoughts about her. She's an incredibly generous and well-intentioned person. I just don't like having my opinion discounted just because I'm younger. I also didn't enjoy being forced to eat a piece of fish head. I know it's tradition. But I gotta tell you, I really thought I was going to toss my cookies at the mere NOTION of taking a bite of a fish head. But that's just me. Anyway, it was a very late night and I thought that I would fall right to sleep the second we got back home.

No such luck. Seth, Yitzy and I played a game for a while, and eventually all went to bed around 1:30. Maybe later. And I couldn't sleep. At all. Not even a little bit. I tossed and turned all freaking night. So in the morning, I woke Ellen up around 7, woke Seth up around 7:30 and I went back to bed with a throbbing headache. Seth left around 8 or 8:30 I think. I'm not really sure. I tossed in bed a little longer until I couldn't take it any more. I stumbled out of bed absolutely positive that I'd missed all of shul and somewhat irritated with myself about it. But I looked at the clock and it was a quarter to 11. So, against my better judgment, I got dressed and went to shul. I made it in time for Musaf, so I did get to hear the final shofar blasts.

Also, almost at the end a young woman fainted on her way out of the sanctuary. I felt awful for her, but she was immediately swarmed by concerned ladies (and a few men that came over to see if she needed help...I think at least one of the men was a doctor)... I figured I was better off staying out of the way. She immediately had at least four (no joke) doctors taking care of her. I think she was overwhelmed, overheated, and probably dehydrated. She looked more upset at having caused a stir than anything else. Obviously she needn't have worried about that; we were just concerned for her welfare.

Lunch was again at Ellen's, this time with more people. I really enjoyed the company and the food was excellent. Lunch finished around 4 (it didn't start until after 2, remember), and at 5 we went to the creek for Tashlich. On the walk back to the house we met another couple and several of their children (they had 4 with them, but there were two more at home). They seemed really sweet. I can't remember the husband's name, but the wife's name was Naomi, and I look forward to getting to know her better. She can't be much older than I, but she has 6 kids. Wow. Of course, she got married when she was 20 and I didn't.

After Tashlich we killed some more time, chatted a bit amongst ourselves, didn't make it to shul, played some more games with Yitzy, and then made havdalah and WENT HOME!!! Home sweet home. Home to starving kitties (they weren't starving, they just thought they were). Home to a messy kitchen. Home to OUR BED. Home to cooler air conditioning. Home to no attention deficit 16 year olds. Home to no food in the refrigerator because of last week's power outage. Home sweet, sweet home! :)

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

10 comments or Leave a comment
beaniekins From: beaniekins Date: September 30th, 2003 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know you don't have to eat the fish head. It's not halacha or anything. hehe Heaven knows I don't touch it. And anyway. Look on the bright side! If you were Sephardic, you'd have a ram's head on the table!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: September 30th, 2003 05:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Either way, not thrilled about the possibility. No, I didn't have to eat it, but it did get forced onto my plate, and I sorta picked at it and pretended like I was eating it. I just wasn't thrilled about my "no thank you" being answered with a large helping of fish head.

I liked our first night's hosts' answer to the problem better. Their kids apparently objected to the sight of a fish head on the table, so they took the gefilte fish and cut each piece to LOOK like a fish head (with a carrot for the eye). It was a nice compromise, and sorta funny.
jeannegrrl From: jeannegrrl Date: September 30th, 2003 04:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I also didn't enjoy being forced to eat a piece of fish head. I know it's tradition.

Uck. What's up with that? Never heard of that one (or the ram's head for that matter)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: September 30th, 2003 05:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's minhag, not halacha, as Bea pointed out. I've heard of it, but never observed it. And I never planned to. The point is that you eat the head of a fish (or ram) because you want to be at the head, not the tail in the new year or some such thing. All I gotta say is ICK.
yermie From: yermie Date: September 30th, 2003 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

Fish heads

Everybody sing!

"Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads.
Fish heads, fish heads, eat them up, yum!
Roly poly fish heads are never seen drinking cappucino's in Italian restaurants with Oriental women..." - Barnes & Barnes

Also, didn't you mean "ichthy" (Latin for "fish")

Or am I just being a freak again?
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: October 1st, 2003 06:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Fish heads

you, sir, are a freak.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 30th, 2003 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Melon Baller mishaps?

>ran late, got home, frantically made fruit salad and carrot salad, >cursed the fact that I'm too stupid to be able to use a melon baller >correctly,

You know I love you hon, but how hard is it really? Pick up the baller, scoop the melon, empty the melon ball into a bowl.

Man, a Roosevelt diploma's not worth what it used to be. :-D

Steve L.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: October 1st, 2003 06:31 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Melon Baller mishaps?

Look, mister. You're being mean.

My problem was that the balls weren't coming out spherical. It irritated me. They always had one very flat end. Maybe that's the way it's supposed to be, but I found it irksome. I also felt that I wasted a lot of melon.
sethcohen From: sethcohen Date: October 1st, 2003 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)

bits and pieces

This was my first Rosh Hashana in an Orthodox shul, and I had some trepidation about it.

Mine too, as you know, and I think it went beautifully. If we're not walking for Yom Kippur, I'd like my own machzor as well; using the Artscroll helped when I had one.

She had invited a new couple, Daschl (?), Rachel, and their baby, Faye.

When I heard his name, I thought of author Dashiel Hammet, who wrote books such as The Thin Man and The Maltese Falcon

(and a few men that came over to see if she needed help...I think at least one of the men was a doctor)...

Yes, at least one was, from what I overheard.

Home sweet, sweet home! :)

Glad to know that you like it here. :) :) :)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: October 1st, 2003 06:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: bits and pieces

Turns out, as you know, it's Dashielle. Oh well.

And yes, I like it at home. I'd like home better if it were bigger, but ultimately, I'm always going to prefer my own bed, my own couches, my own kitchen, my own cats, etc.
10 comments or Leave a comment