Yesterday's Shabbat was nearly perfect (emphasis on nearly, it would have been perfect with one specific person here).
Dusty and Leah had organized together to make a very good breakfast; french toast and frittata. It was very well done and was very tasty. The whole group of us sat together to eat breakfast and it was very pleasant sitting on our back porch. After breakfast we had a short Shabbat Schachrit service in our living room.
I love the fact that on vacation, instead of everyone sleeping in as late as humanly possible, we had breakfast together and made a point of holding a service for Shabbat. It was very nice and it felt like almost everyone was able to do something that they really needed to do during services for it to work for them.
Then it was a beach day.
The beach in Haifa is a lot nicer then the one we were at in Tel Aviv. It was less crowded and the water was a lot warmer. A major difference though was that there was actually undertow. I've never felt anything like that before. The feeling of having the water come crashing over you and then a few seconds later the undertow tugging at your ankles. The warm water was so relaxing.
We sat around and played Phase Ten (a game I needed to relearn) and just chilled in the sun. We were on the beach for a good five hours and I didn't get burned one bit. The rest of the night is when the action started.
Brian A and I went to get lighter fluid and vegetables from a grocery store. We thought we'd go to the semi-main drag and catch a bus up to the city center to find the Super Saul (an Israeli grocery store). When the one bus that came by passed us, we decided to walk up Mount Carmel towards the center and maybe catch a taxi up.
Alas, no cabs came on our way up so we walked about 25 minutes. At the little grocery store we found the attendant asked if I needed help. I asked for vegetables. His response was, "Lo kahn," meaning, "not here". Strike one. We kept looking for lighter fluid. When we gave up searching and asked for help, the man at the store was very confused and wanted to sell us lighters and then something else that I didn't understand. It took Brian A, a customer and myself all trying to get across to the attendant what we were looking for. Then, SUCCESS! We found lighter fluid and caught a cab home.
Except for one small problem. There was a woman already in the cab on a hurry to get to work. The driver wanted to take her all the way down the mountain to drop her off first and then take us home. For some reason he didn't understand that if we took a side street, our house is on the way. Halfway down the mountain we asked him to stop just off the road from our house so we could get out. We most definitely overpaid for the ride, but hey, we got home quickly.
We tried to start the grill with charcoal and lighter fluid. This was a lot more complicated than we thought it was going to be. It took three rabbinical students, one cantorial student and one education (possibly rabbinic) student to light the fire. I know there needs to be a joke in this somewhere. I will also give props to the woman that actually got most of the grill started -NICE WORK ALLIE!
We made Havdallah as the grill was burning down to coals and barbecued way too much meat. Yet somehow 10 grad-school students who spent the day chilling on the beach managed to finish off all of the burgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers.
I think this is what Judaism means, honor the Sabbath and keep it holy;
Kabbalat Shabbat Services
Fantasic Dinners with new friends
Sleeping late (until 9:00 AM woohoo!)
Home cooked breakfast
relaxing shabbat morning services (complete with Torah reading and Haftarah)
friends and fun
Really a great day!