Friday, October 05, 2007

On Succot and Jewish Holidays


A long series of no-work rest days – nine days to be exact – because of the Jewish holiday Succot, will soon be over. I enjoyed all the seemingly endless free hours I spent on many worthwhile things – mostly on morning Jaffa Beach and Tel Aviv walks, house cleaning (at long last and I actually enjoyed it), lone videoke sessions in the afternoon, picture-taking at the Jaffa Hill (for the nth time!), hours of surfing, emailing, finishing quite a good number of articles for my other weblogs, and more surfing.

Indeed, observing and celebrating this list of Jewish holidays are a major thing for the Israelis. They just love their holidays, either by commemorating or celebrating them. And because of the holidays, they are given the opportunity to rest their minds and bodies from the stresses of business and work. I think that many Israeli lives somehow center and is shaped around these holidays.

I somehow have grown at ease with Tel Aviv being almost like a ghost town during the daytime of a holiday or even the Shabbat, with obviously less cars and no autobus. Many stores temporarily close for the day, and everyone seems in hibernation, like having hours-long siesta.

Then suddenly the city becomes full of life in the evening. Stores and shops open for their waiting customers. The appliance shop down my apartment opens at around 7PM of Saturdays to eager patrons. Restaurants enjoy great patronage as people line up to get in and get served. Sidewalks are filled with couples enjoying some promenade and groups simply chatting the night away.

It does make me wonder why Israel has a great “boom town of an economy” despite the numerous days Israelis consider as non-working holidays. Obviously, the country is one fine example why serious work and ample play go hand in hand for the benefit of the Israel economy as well as Tel Aviv tourism.

Well, I am definitely looking forward to another more-than-a-week long celebration of Succot next year. By the way, they put up a Succah (see picture above) along Rehov Louis Pasteur at Jaffa, near Ilana Goor Museum going to the Hills. I just learned that Succah should be built in a Kosher way, like walls not swaying to the breeze and roofs only be partially covered for people to be able to peek through and see stars.

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