Israel is a nation that moves into high gear in eager anticipation of the High Holy Days beginning with Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year. For many of our families it is a day to be dreaded. Yet another painful reminder of an empty chair and an empty place setting. While the market is bustling to overflowing with shoppers, our families do not prepare. No cooking, no baking, no joyful laying of a festive table. Some indeed just go to sleep for twenty-four hours in the vague hope of avoiding painful memories.
All of our ladies are the traditional superb cooks. They are used to cooking for twenty without batting an eye. Wonderful Moroccan delicacies, Kurdish Kubeh… what could we possibly teach them??? Traditional apple pie!!
They loved the idea, pie crusts, lattice work… Sleeves were rolled up and flour flew in every direction. They compared their pastry with each other, criticised each other’s artwork… spoke about taking the famous pie home to the family!!!
While the pies were baking, we made lunch from food they had prepared and brought with them. A feast indeed. The meal came to an end, time to take our pies and go home. A wonderful Kurdish lady, we lovingly call her the Rebbitzen, stood up, unprompted and decreed blessings on us all. A blessing is always welcome. Coming from Drora this was like receiving dew from heaven. A lady in her late 60′s, she buried her husband some years ago. More recently she has buried her two sons both of whom were killed in different terror attacks. A lady with a reason to cry. A lady with a reason to curse.
Drora rose to her feet, ”I bless us with a year of peace!”
The ladies in one voice chorused ”Amen!”
“I bless us with a year where our children and grandchildren
can come and go with safety and without fear!”
”I bless us with a year where we will learn to love our enemies!”
The ladies shouted in unison “Amen! Shana Tova!” (Happy New Year)
The sweetest Rosh Ha Shana gift…
hearts which are full.