Tali is a super chatty middle-aged Sephardic Israeli woman who drove me to the airport on my recent trip to Israel. Her parents are Moroccan, and she recently traveled with them to Morocco for a visit. She told me that the Muslims in Morocco are so wonderful, kind and hospitable – they literally keep their doors open for guests. There is a reverent relationship from the Moroccan monarchy to the Jewish people, such that every Yom Kippur, at Neilah, the king comes himself to the Jewish synagogue to ask the congregants for a blessing. This is a tradition that has been practiced for years, passed down in the monarchy from father to son.
The air is cooler, softer. There are new starts, new school supplies, new shoes and haircuts (and backpacks and socks and hair accessories). “First day of second grade!” my social media accounts proclaim. The new season blows in the the new Jewish year. Lots of firsts.
It was a long time ago – at least 30 years. I was in junior high school and I don’t remember the circumstances. But here’s what I do remember: there was some food that we didn’t want to throw away, and someone said “I’ll eat it, so it doesn’t go to waste.”
She walked into the doctor’s office, trailing behind her mother. The feeling of overwhelm was everywhere. New office. New smells. New staff. New protocol.
Hey OOTOB readers,
First, you may have noticed that my writing style has changed somewhat. See, as of August I’ve been writing a column for the Cleveland Jewish News, our local paper. The pieces have to be 500 words and as I write, I have a certain audience in mind. Then I publish here. Also, I write every few weeks for our congregation’s newsletter. In the past seven years that I’ve been blogging (started in July, 2011) my tone and content have shifted and fluctuated, but I never thought this was the place for “Jewish inspiration” per se. But now I’ve decided to publish those pieces here too. So pretty much you get a mosaic of my writing.
I’ve been doing a lot of traveling recently (Philadelphia last week, California today, Dallas and South Bend in June). Each time, a few day before I travel, I get these benign feelings of travel anxiety. Now, in general I am not an anxious person, so I wasn’t really sure where these feelings were coming from.
Passover approaches like a returning visitor bringing melting snow and sunshiny Sunday afternoons to clean your car in the driveway. Every year it marches forward steadily, predictably. The smells of Passover coming: frying onions, potato starch cakes, hard-boiled eggs.