Sukkos

Friday was the day I had been waiting for for a very long time. Finally, finally, I would go to Geulah. It wasn’t easy to make the trip; Geulah is the best to visit on Erev Shabbos or Yom Tov, both days which I never have school, so sleeping in is always an irresistible temptation. The problem?  Candle lighting here is extremely early, so I never have enough time to make the trip. This Friday, I was determined to do it, and do it I did. My friends and I stepped onto the packed train, and made our way through the slight drizzle, the unusual mugginess and fog towards the center of all things Chassidish- the place where modesty is a must, where Jews jostle for a place on the sidewalk, where the narrow streets are dwarfed by the tall stone buildings welcome to Geulah.

We walked and walked and walked some more, and that would basically some up the majority of our day, only the things we saw were so amazing I have to go into semi-detail. First of all, our school is hosting a photo contest for all things Sukkos related, the winner gets free frozen yogurt for their room and I want to be that girl.

Hence, my camera joined us on that trip.

First stop, down Kanfei Nisharim, a bunch of Israeli children play-fighting with Lulav leaves refused to let me take a picture, and threatened to hit me.

I resolved to shoot first, ask questions later.

The next few hours were filled with shooting pictures of innocent passerby who I deemed as worthy of being captured on my camera, and I shot with abandon. Lulavim, Esrogim, little kids, old men, nobody passed by unscrutinized, and if they did, it was only because I was busy capturing someone else on my precious little black Canon.

The streets were packed with people purchasing last-minute Arbaa Minim and other items for Sukkos, and although we wanted to stay forever, we finally headed back to seminary, exhilarated and ready to start the Chag.

My friend and I took a cab to my cousin, who had all her children and grandchildren over, and we enjoyed a wonderful meal. We walked over half an hour to get back to our dorm, talked late and I slept in. I had to be on the same street by noon the next day for my other meal, but I didn’t realize how long it would take so I only arrived at 12:15.

Thankfully, they had only just started, and I made Kiddush, washed and joined the meal. I had a wonderful time there as well though I was sweaty like a crazy person from my long walk and felt a bit gross. I met some really cute girls though, and I stayed afterwards chatting with random third cousins for a few hours.

One thing someone said really got me thinking, how they had been to the Kosel a bunch of times already, and I’d only been 4 times.

Walking back around 5 pm, I decided to go to the Kosel at the next opportunity.

Little did I know that would be sooner than I thought.

As I walked into her dorm room, my friend who I had eaten with the previous night informed me that she was planning on going to the Kosel and invited me to come along.

I realized that this was my chance, and despite my exhaustion, I agreed.

I was kind of in the mood for an adventure, and boy did I get one.

One other girl joined us, but when she found out my friend, E, wanted us to find a meal in the Old City, she left.

After asking some directions and getting a bit lost, we finally arrived outside the Old City.

So began our CRAZY, INSANE night.

We asked a family that E knew if we could eat by them, but they don’t have American meals, so then we asked some random person, who said no but to look around the building.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a girl I know walked out with another girl, and after talking a little, they realized we wanted a meal and so invited us in. E and I could not belive our good luck, we had found a meal, and when we entered the apartment, we were blown away. This was all in Rechavya, the stunning upper class community and this apartment was luxuriously done up- we ate on the porch with china plates, crystal goblets and the best food we’d had in weeks.

Ok, words CANNOT describe, the sparkling floors, light fixtures, couches, the way everyone was dressed we had just stepped foot into a wealthy, wealthy home, and they couldn’t have been any nicer. In fact, they waited us hand and foot and refused to let us get up and help. They were wealthy out the wazoo. E has stayed in five-star hotels before and she was BLOWN AWAY. Let’s let the imagination run for a few minutes….

Well, curfew was at 12, and we had a long walk back to the dorm so at about ten o’clock we took our leave, with much thanks and appreciation (we could NOT shut up!)

we decided to go to the Kosel which was probably not so smart seeing as we could very possibly arrive late to the dorm, but I refused to turn back, not once we had gone that far.

The following three hours were filled with people, adventure escorts, running, davening (we made it to the Kosel finally) free Gatorade, tissues, more escorts and lots of freaking out. Being vague on purpose here, but we finally started back home, way too late to talk about, and we heard wolves howling, I was freaked out of my mind, and suddenly more escorts a religious family, appeared out of nowhere (Ok, it was close to 1;30 a.m.) Basically, every time we were afraid of walking ourselves, or struggling with something, G-d sent a saviour.

The rest of my Sukkos was amazing. I went to Birkas Kohanim Wednesday morning, incredible experience, a lady almost fainted on me, you couldn’t breathe, I nearly got to the front. The place was PACKED I don’t think I ever saw quite that many people. Afterwards I went with my sister and cousin to Holy Bagel, my first official time going out to eat.

We hung out and then my sister and I went shopping, got flowers for my amazing Rechavya hosts and had some fun adventures.

Thursday I went to the beach with my friend and saw the most amazing sunset EVER!

Friday was pretty much the usual, up late, some errands, went to two teachers houses, one for each meal, had amazing time.

Sunday I took a bus to Neve Yaakov where I spent my second days of Chag with my two good friends at one of their sisters.

Although one of my friends got really badly sick and had to go to the hospital (she’s OK, b”H) we still managed to have a wonderful time!

I cannot believe Sukkos is OVER….here comes the rest of my life!

Can’t wait to hear your comments!

Keep UNraveling!

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