Friday, December 4, 2015

Happy Birthday, Penina!

Can't believe our little PB is now 13 and not so little!

13 years ago, November 28 was Thanksgiving, so we are always extra thankful on that day for our most incredible Thanksgiving ever.  Here, the day is more low-key than in the say the least!  The kids here are not exactly bringing home Pilgrim table centerpieces.  Our celebration consisted of a sign on the door and that was about it :)

We had a lovely celebratory weekend.  Chana came home late Thursday night.
she's here!  Tackle her!
Because Chana has class until 9:30 pm, she usually doesn't come home until Friday in the early afternoon.  To help pass the time Thursday night, Penina's 10th grade 'Hebrew' tutor Nechama (I use the term loosely because their sessions mostly consist of laughing [which, really, is probably better than Hebrew tutoring]) came over to bake something for her birthday (in Hebrew) and they were just finishing when Chana walked in the door (at 10:45!) It was SO nice to have that extra time together. Chana also has class first thing Sunday morning, so she can never stay too late Saturday night, and she is also taking an extra series of classes that are given every *other* Saturday night.   The classes, of course, always seem to coincide with the "off Shabbos" weeks that she can come home, so for the past two times that she has come home, she's needed to run out the door immediately after Havdalah Saturday night.  Oh, right--make that three times, because it happened this past week as well.

Fridays are very short school/work days in Israel.  The standard Friday work day is a half-day and our girls get out of school at 11:45 (and after 9th grade will not even have school on Fridays so that they can help with Shabbos preparations)!  Anyway, due to the short day we decided it would be okay to let the girls take a day off school so we could.....go to Friday brunch!  There is no such thing as Sunday brunch here, since Sunday is a work day, so the only possible day for brunch in Friday, and, indeed, the same restaurant we went to with Deb and Frank, which is generally acknowledged to be the nicest restaurant in the area, had a very yummy brunch.

I couldn't believe all the people there on Friday. I had worked extra all week so that I could take half the day off on Friday to attend the birthday brunch (Jewish Cinderella?!) and the place was MOBBED.  I'd love to know the secret of the other folks (did they also work harder earlier in the week?  Were they invited out to friends for all their Shabbos meals?  Did they buy prepared Shabbos food, like at this stand at the mall we were in? [There were actually two stands like this at the mall!  Plus a pop up bakery stand with challah and desserts]).

Ooh!  Shabbos food cooking just got a lot easier!
This brunch was like an Israeli hotel breakfast, which, if you have ever had the pleasure to partake of, will probably stand out in your memory (and, perhaps, your cholesterol level, if you tried all the various kinds of really tasty Israeli dairy products and cheeses).  There were jokes about our needing to be rolled to the bus home.  But, wait!  We were in a mall and it was Black Friday!  We weren't going to shop?  And why on earth was it Black Friday in a place without Thanksgiving and without Xmas (at least, the part of the country *we* live in)?!  But there it was, sale after sale for Black Friday (although without the vast hordes of people and trouble parking).  Drat, I'm having trouble getting my photo to upload, so you'll just have to trust me that the signs said "Black Friday".

It's great being in a place where the mall kiosks in November look like this:

Came home from the mall to find a message from Penina's teacher, sent much earlier in the day, asking if we could please send her to school just until 9:45 so that she could be at the school assembly where they announced that she had been chosen as Student of the Week for her hard work in learning Hebrew and helping other girls learn the class dance for the school-wide competition the following week.  DOH!!!!!!

Our dear ("like another daughter") friend Tsipora M. from Boston came for Shabbos to add to the festivities, and, for Shalos Seudos, we were joined by Sara Malya R. (formerly of Boston, now of CA and in our town for Shabbos while at seminary) and Nechama, the tutor who is a total sweetie and very fun person.  All in all, a very fun birthday celebration.

Happy Birthday to our wonderful, loving, sweet, brave Penina.  This year is so very, very different from any she's had before, and she has worked hard at opening her heart and mind to our new home. We love you, Penina!

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