We recently celebrated the Jewish holiday Sukkot. The main part of Sukkot is to eat (and sleep if you will) in a homemade hut. Since our patio is covered and have no other space to create this structure hubby made Sarah a Sukkah for her stuffed animals. Then Sarah and I decorated it and even went out to find leaves for the roof.
It turned out really cute! We even bought Sarah a stuffed Lulav and Etrog.
We spent most of the week in and out of synagogue. Ate inside of our friends sukkah and hung out indoors (it was a very very hot Sukkot!). I hope to one day be able to host Sukkot in our Sukkah. Maybe next year?!?
It’s been three years in a row that we have “celebrated” Yom Kippur at the Hyatt hotel.
As an observant Jew we walk to synagogue multiple times a day, fast (yes that includes no liquids or food of any kind) and no use of electricity for 25 hours. Doing this becomes quite difficult with a toddler, therefore we gather with 100+ observant Jews to “celebrate” together.
I grew up going to hotels with my parents and siblings to observe the fast with our synagogue. It was easier and more convenient for my family then and it seems to be the same now with my own family.
However, this year was different. The first year I was pregnant and leisurely walked around the hotel. Last year Sarah was an infant and was able to be pushed around in a stroller. As a toddler this year, she did a lot of running through out the hotel.
Luckily they had hired babysitters to watch the kids in a separate room filled with lots of toys. Theoretically, this meant that I could leave her to play while I went downstairs to pray. This was an ideal situation, however Sarah was sick (again)! Which meant for a very needy baby who didn’t get enough sleep.
After 2 hours of trying to put her to sleep we let Sarah cry it out. It took 10 agonizing minutes but she slept through the night and woke up around 7 am refreshed. It was a hard parent moment but I knew if she didn’t get sleep, I wouldn’t get sleep and therefore be a miserable faster.
We spent the day walking around the hotel, going up and down the stairs, playing in the kids room and hanging out with my mommy friends Ellah and Chana (they have kids around Sarah’s age). Later in the day my mother-in -law came to help and hang out. She took Sarah in the play room while I relaxed and read some magazines.
Sarah napped for only 45 minutes as did I. Hubby took her for a walk and I prepared for evening services.
We counted down the hours and waited to hear the Shofar blown. As I finished reading Neilah I made sure to connect with g-d and share a few words with him.
After a quick sip of delicious water we headed back to our room to pack up. We got home quickly. Bathed and put Sarah to sleep. Ate the food we prepared before the fast and went to bed. Fasting takes a lot out of you and having to run after a toddler didn’t make things easier.
All in all it was a successful Yom Kippur. My dad use to tell me and my sisters that if it was easy for us to fast then we were a good kid that year and if it was a hard fast we were not well behaved. I don’t believe it as an adult but a lot of planning and being with friends that are going through what you are going through really helps make the day go by faster.
I love hosting events and dinners. I especially love hosting the Holidays!
But when your whole family is sick, what is a host to do?!
I did something I have never done before, I canceled my Rosh Hashanah Holiday dinner.
It started off on Wednesday night. Sarah woke up screaming (more about our sleep system at a later time). I quickly went in to get her! As I cuddled her in my arms I could hear a stuffy nose. When my family gets sick we get sick. A stuffy nose turns into no sleep and a very needy baby. After taking care of Sarah for a couple of days I got sick. That’s when I realized I couldn’t cook 10+ dishes and host a house full of people, two nights in a row. I was constantly blowing my nose every few seconds, very lethargic and in no condition to cook. To top it all off hubby and MIL got sick too.
I was really bummed! My Rebbetzin even suggested we come to her home, but that wouldn’t work. We were all sick!
I was feeling sad and lonely. I don’t like celebrating the holidays alone. As is my family in So Cal is super small. So I went on FB and posted a status. Within in a few minutes my family and friends made me feel better. I received phone calls, texts and even had my friend EY drop off some chicken soup (and an amazing black and white cookie). Thank you family and friends and thank you EY. I swear that soup was magic!
Saturday I woke up feeling a bit better. I spent Saturday night, reorganizing my menu and making sure I had all the ingredients. A small dinner was still required to celebrate the Chag!
Here was the menu:
Apples and Honey
Carrot, Apple and Raisin Salad
Beet and Pomegranate Salad
Creamy Carrot Soup with Fresh Ginger
Moroccan Chicken With Apricots and Prunes
Rosh Hashanah Rice
Cider Glazed Vegetables
Best Apple Cake
Some pictures from the evening:
To those who celebrate, I hope you have a happy and healthy New Year!
Most of you probably opened this blog thinking I was going to talk about the Holiday Season (Thanksgiving and Christmas), but I’m actually referring to the Jewish Holidays (or Hagim in Hebrew). September and October is filled with Jewish holidays.
September 16th-18th isRosh Hashanah: is the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah customs include sounding the shofar and eating symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey.
September 25th-26th is Yom Kippur: also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.
September 30th – October 7th is Sukkot: The holiday lasts eight days. The first day is a sabbath-like yom tov when work is forbidden. The Hebrew word sukkōt is the plural of sukkah, “booth or tabernacle”, which is a walled structure covered with skhakh (plant material such as leafy tree overgrowth or palm leaves). The sukkah is intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. Throughout the holiday meals are eaten inside the sukkah and many sleep there as well. On each day of the holiday, members of the household recite a blessing over the lulav and etrog.
October 9th is Simchat Torah: is a celebration marking the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle. The main celebration of Simchat Torah takes place in the synagogue during evening and morning services. On each occasion, when the ark is opened, we leave their seats to dance and sing with all the Torah scrolls in a joyous celebration that often lasts for several hours.
So if you don’t see me around too much, don’t worry. I’m just off celebrating the Holidays!