This is a hard Rosh Hashana - we will be sharing Amira with her in-laws - that's the good news. It's her birthday so she's wonderful about sharing - and so they get half and we get half and we're all happy. Aliza will be home - and that too is wonderful.
Elie and Lauren are going to close friends/family so they won't be here. Shmulik and Naama will be going to her family and won't be coming and Davidi is in yeshiva and so won't be home either. We have guests for almost every meal, so we'll have a house full of people...and quiet time too. Nice.
But I won't be back online until Saturday night - so I'll cheat and list three blessings now.
Day 19 - as the challah rises for the holidays - today's blessing is yeast. It makes our bread what it is; it's a blessing. It really is. So today's blessing is the yeast that makes our bread rise...and the bread itself.
Today we will shape the bread in a circle - indicating the way the year goes around and around. It has no real beginning and no real end - and that's what we want from life - for it to continue...and so - thank you, God, for the bread you give us (and the yeast the makes it rise). I guess I should thank you for the flour and the other stuff, but let's wait till I get closer to 100 - I doubt I'll run low on finding things with which You have blessed us, but I'll hold those for later, just in case.
Day 20 - I'm not sure if this blessing is daughters in general, sensitive daughters, pen and paper, or English teachers - but this blessing is about a note that Aliza wrote to me and left on my computer last night. I didn't have time to do any real cooking or baking before last night and so in a whirlwind couple of hours, I made a tray of chicken, two trays of mixed potatoes, a tray of roasted squash, a meaty stew that I'll put in the refrigerator and serve on Shabbat (cholent), two different kinds of noodle casseroles, cucumber salad...and I'm pretty sure something...oh yes, two kinds of fish. In the middle of all that, I was feeling really sad and overwhelmed by life and things I can't change (see Starting Over). And as I passed my computer, I saw the note she had left for me. The outside says 'Dear Ima [mother]. Shana tov [good year]. Love you." Her English teacher told the girls - write your mother a note - as the classroom assignment, and she did. She took it very seriously and wrote all the right things to make me feel a bit better about all that is wrong. So the 20th blessing I will acknowledge is a combination of sensitivity - the teacher, my daughter; the elements that enable us to communicate - pen and paper, perhaps computers, whatever.
Day 21 - This blessing is about community - during this three day holiday, we will immerse ourselves in our community - dear friends who gather together to pray, to talk, to eat. We have guests coming for three of the six meals; one will be a shared community meal; two will be just family. Over the last year, my community has joined together to help us so many times. They brought many meals over for weeks and even months after my operation and then again for a week or so after my car accident. Every year, there are numerous events to help raise money for the needy in our community and in our country. So many events, so many offers to help. If you are truly blessed, you live in an amazing community that reaches out to help others. I am truly blessed.
God willing, I will post Day 22 after Shabbat ends. For now, as I go back to my kitchen - I wish you all a most wonderful holiday and a most wonderful year. There are many who celebrated births this past year - as we celebrated Michali joining our family - may all our families be blessed this coming year to continue to grow in health and number. Many suffered by losing a loved one...all of Israel lost so many - may these families find comfort in the new year and may the memories of those they love, always be blessed. May this year be a year of peace, safety, prosperity - but most important, may it be a year of health, of love, of forgiveness, of unity.