We are counting the omer very seriously this year:
We made an omer sticker chart for Rafi, since he is very much into numbers right now. He takes it very seriously and burst into tears tonight when he forgot to say amen to the blessing.
Jeff is counting the days until his deadlines, which are only a couple of days before Shavuot.
As for me, I’m counting the days until I have Jeff back. He’s been holed up, writing, writing, writing (and occasionally thinking), except for Shabbat when he comes up for fresh air and tells me to sleep and rest while he serves and clears.
I realized today that I forgot to write about Pesach in Israel, except to complain about how long Rafi was off school.
So the coolest thing, in my opinion, was that if you needed to boil or blowtorch your stuff, you didn’t have to stand over the hot stove. You could go to a community hag’alat kelim (הגעלת כלים–the dictionary definition is “scald in order to kasher for Pesach) and for a small donation, let someone else do it! Jeff recommended going early, and it turned out to be a wise move. When we got there, there were only a few people in front of us, and it was still a long wait. By the time it was our turn, the line stretched across the courtyard.
I had been worried that it would be a huge vat of water made lukewarm by all the people using it, but this was the real deal. The boiling guy had a hot poker that he plunged into the pot every time he stuck a basket of utensils in.
I learned the Hebrew word for kasher by blowtorching, used it three or four times in conversation, and promptly forgot it by the time I got home. Just now I looked it up, and I think it’s this one: ליהוט (lihut)
On erev chag, people were burning their hametz in great big piles on the street corner.
We had seder with Jeff’s family in Hoshaya. We had two high school students from Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim (TRY) staying with us, and they came with as well. It was pretty interesting to see Israel through their eyes. Also, I learned what Human Geography is. Apparently I am old and out of date already because this is apparently a real course. I thought it was something the student’s school made up.
The other cool thing about Pesach in Israel that if you go to a museum (most of which are free over Pesach), the cafeterias have kosher for pesach hot dogs and buns, pizza, etc. I did not have any desire to eat a matzah meal bun or matzah meal pizza crust, but it made me happy anyway.
I expected that we would eat kitniyot, but it felt funny, so we did our usual menu of meat, potatoes, vegetables, yogurt, and of course zucchini crust pizza! (It gets better every year.) I didn’t even buy peas. However, we did a seven-day holiday instead of eight days. I can’t imagine doing it any other way in Israel. The eighth day is actually a semi-holiday called mimouna, which as far as I can tell is a hametz sweets-eating and cookout holiday.