…Friday in Israel. Taking advantage of my first day off since last Shabbat, I slept until the late hour of 9:30. Pretty amazing, I know.
The morning was spent studying, doing homework, and ensuring everything is in order for the rest of the weekend. Come the early afternoon, I took the bus into the city to meet a bunch of friends from Chicago, some of whom live here now and some of whom are visiting for the month.
After wandering around an art fair at the top of Ben Yehudah, apparently a weekly event, we made our way to the shuk; my second trip this week. Mahane Yehudah before Erev Shabbat is truly an essential Israel experience. While the market is busy all week long, on Friday afternoon all the shops are packed, you have to elbow to the front of the line to get a Marzipan rugelah if you don’t want to wait for an hour, and you must fight for the attention of the merchants at every stand. It may sound obnoxious to some, but it’s fun for me.
While at the shuk, I had my random meeting of the day with yet another friend from Chicago who is here leading a Taglit-Birthright trip for Shorashim. We also ran into a couple friends of mine that I have now seen several times since I arrived. I also met the brother of another friend of mine who is here doing service with the Tzahal for a year or two. If you want to bask in the random generosity of strangers in Israel, try joining the army. At least two girls stopped him to give him candy, while the merchants gave him great deals on everything he purchased. I suppose there should be some perks for putting your life on the line to defend the state.
A bag of tomatoes, raisins, pita, an onion, and a zemirot book heavier, a few sheqalim lighter, and an hour later, we headed out and parted ways for Shabbat. I caught the bus back to Kfar HaStudentim and arrived home to find my roommates and a number of other people hanging out in my apartment already preparing dinner for tonight. We will have somewhere between 10 and 15 people here tonight for our Shabbat Seudah which should be a lot of fun. I’m taking the easy way out, making an Israeli salad and providing the Arak. When we make a meal which isn’t besari (meat), I’ll make something more substantial.
Before Shabbat comes in, I will spend the rest of the afternoon reviewing my IRB proposal, doing some more Hebrew study, and making more food for tonight. Not sure precisely what the rest of the weekend will hold, but I’ll keep you all posted. Until then, shabbat shalom, minucha v’simcha.