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The Final Heat - Closing in on Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat

September 4, 2013

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Shabbat message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shanah Tova message for Wednesday, September 4, 2013.

The Final Heat – Closing in on Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat

One of the amazing things about living in a Jewish country, and particularly in Jerusalem, Ir HaKodesh (the Holy City) is how crazy things get just before Rosh Hashanah. In the Diaspora, traditional Jews are used to having two days of Jewish holidays, as opposed to only one in Israel (a long story – perhaps the topic of a future Shabbat Shalom message). But in Israel, Rosh Hashanah is ALSO observed for two days instead of one. And if you add to it that these holy days are on Thursday and Friday, the week goes directly from Chag (Holiday) to Shabbat. A complication, because there is a LOT of eating on these three days, and basically most things need to be ready before the sun sets on Wednesday with the start of Rosh Hashanah! And... since it IS a Jewish place, all businesses in the Jewish part of Jerusalem [supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, shops) are closed. The town closes up FOR THREE DAYS! It was crazy today (Tuesday). I myself am doing a little cooking to bring desserts with me to three of the meals I’m invited to, and while I was shopping for groceries at “Super Deal” in Jerusalem, I ran into 3 people whose homes I’m going to for meals... all shopping for the weekend! Tomorrow morning will be the last opportunity to buy supplies, challas, groceries, wine, etc. for the 3 day weekend – you can only imagine how crazy the markets will be.

Most Israelis, religious and non-religious alike, make a big deal for the meals on the holiday. It’s a time for families to get together. In a Jewish place like this, the spirit of the holidays is absolutely everywhere. Mounds of round challas are a racks outside of bakeries. The florist shops are doing a landmark business. The wine shops are packed with customers. The rhythm of the country pulsates toward the holidays. There is certainly nothing like this in Milwaukee.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and sweet New Year... and a year of Peace. And... Shabbat Shalom.

Getting ready for Rosh Hashanah

So many round Challot!

Even the buses say "Shanah Tovah"

Rosh Hashanah sales

Last minute Rosh Hashanah preparations

Shanah Tovah! 

Are there particular Shabbat foods that are traditional in your family? Let us know! jhirsh@jccmilwaukee.org