Three Day Yom Tov
My family came to dinner the first night - my brother,my mother, her husband, his son and his son's wife. And it went very well. Mom and Linda lit candles with me; my stepbrother Barry carved the turkey and Mom carved the pineapple, and it was just, well, perfect. Or, at least, very, very good.
I got to shul just in time for the Torah reading. My seat was where it always is for Yom Tov - a small section of chairs facing the mechitza and next to the wall. Since the seats are perpendicular to the Aron (where the Torah scrolls are), we have to turn to face the wall to pray, and because of where they are, we have to move to a more central part of the women's section during the Priestly Blessing to make sure we're in line of sight. But - this is the third year we've been together in that section. We get some wonderful spirit and it's just nice.
We couldn't find my Artscroll Rosh HaShanah machzor (machzor=holiday prayerbook, as opposed to the weekday and Shabbat prayerbook, which is called a siddur) so I used my all-Hebrew Israeli one and a Birnbaum translation. I ended up mostly using the Israeli one just because it was smaller. We broke between the Torah reading and the shofar blowing for a kiddush outside in the courtyard, my rabbi gave an inspiring speech, we had the shofar blowing and the Priestly blessing and, as it does every year, I'm find myself more in tune with what is going on and less impatient.
We had lunch with friends of ours. It was an intersting experience. They adopted their children late in life. Their son is in yeshiva in Israel, but their daughter, a tall, lovely and bright girl, is just fourteen. She looks older. :) And they make our house look neat. Also, they only recently started eating meat, so Sarah is not comfortable cooking it yet - she made a cut called a "French roast" as a roast. Not surprising, of course, but this cut does better braised. It was fine the way it was, but a tad tough. Otherwise, it was very nice. Came home, took naps, Jonathan went back to shul and we had cheese omelets for dinner. And we began to hit the real problem with a three-day holiday. My salads and tomatoes started to go bad, and that's a real problem when you can't replace them.
This was momentous. I even made an effort to get to shul before the Torah reading, and for a very good reason - Jonathan was to get Levi for the first time ever. I'll let him tell it in his own words.
I should have brought candy. :)
We had a family we've known forever for lunch - these are people who are science fiction fans who became religious sometime before we did. We've watched their kids grow up - I'm still amazed at how tall their son is, and how deep his voice is - he's in his last year in high school. Their daughter will be bas mitzvah next year, and it's an amazing thing about that. You see, the daughter of another friend of mine will also be bat miztvah next summer, so they're both just eleven now. (Orthodox Jews consider girls bat mitzvah at 12.) One girl is practically a young lady, starting to, well, develop. She's taller than her mother. The other is still clearly a little girl. Human variation. It's neat.
I had one tomato and one bag of salad still servable. I served this with tuna salad (and one child ate the salad and one ate the fish. :)) I followed that with the beef stew, and then a choice of honey cake or ice cream, or both. That entire family chose the tofutti, so that's what they got. We got the cake. :)
We had Shabbat dinner with friends, and that was fun because we had to remember it was "just" Shabbat, not Shabbat *and* Yom Tov. Also because we sat with the "kids" - our hosts' youngest daughter (only one at home - the oldest is married and the middle was in Israel), plus the kids (son and married daughter and her husband) of another set of guests. We discussed Harry Potter. :)
(One odd and sad thing - our rabbi's uncle died on Thursday afternoon. They had the funeral on FRIDAY. This is very odd - it's unusual to have a funeral on second day yom tov, although it is permitted. In this case, though, they would otherwise have to wait until Sunday, and it wasn't as if they needed to wait for out-of-town relatives. So they had a non-Jewish driver take a minyan, including our rabbi, to the cemetery on Friday. He came back soon enough after services that he could get the shofar blown for him.)
People were still buzzing about Jonathan's "promotion". The Shabbat between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Shuva, the Shabbat of Repentence, and it's traditional for rabbis to give "Shabbos Shuva drushas" - long discources related to repentence - on that day. We have ours after morning services instead of between afternoon and evening services. And, um. It was...um. Good. But I kinda dozed off. And I really arrived just in time for it, too. Ah, well.
We had guests for lunch. And here I'd totally run out of salad greens. I ended up making an emergency salad of cucumber, onions, oil, vinegar, salt and a touch of honey. It would have benefited from sitting over night, but, well. We also had left-over turkey, store-bought kugels and more honey cake.
Next holiday is Yom Kippur, which is this coming Shabbat. And then...more holidays. Just not quite so intense as R"H and Y"K.