Sunday, October 26, 2008

The first of the lasts

Note: I started this post a week ago or so but got busy. So forgive me if the beginning is a bit dated.

Deep sigh - the chagim are finally over. I know we're not supposed to feel that way but it's so oppressive. Living in the states for the first time in almost 20 years is allowing me to see things I never really thought about. Of course, I've changed and America has changed, plus I am living in San Jose, California where Judaism (the frum kind or any other kind) does not have a stronghold, as opposed to my native Brooklyn.

When I made aliyah in October 1988 (we left on Halloween), I had been married for 2 years and out of school for less. The only jobs I had held were for NCSY (Yes, it's shocking, I once worked for NCSY - but it was for the Israel program) and for a home heating oil company owned and run by an orthodox Jew. I never had to worry about getting time off for the holidays or explaining to coworkers why I wouldn't be around again. I obtained my undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College, where a glance at the college calendar indicates that there are no classes on Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur (including erev chag), as well as all of Pesach. I can't complain too much - my instructors are understanding and my job is low key so it really wasn't a huge deal (besides the stress) but I can see how this could get old really fast. Of course, shopping and cooking for two day chagim again and again is no fun, especially when you need to hit 5-7 stores to find everything you need. Between two day chagim and Jewish day school tuition, I can't understand why everyone doesn't pick up and move to Israel.

Early last month I realized that we will be going home soon. Actually what brought it home for me was a dream I had that I was in Costco and when I left the store I realized that it was my last time in Costco and I hadn't bought everything I wanted to take back with me. Wake up call! So now, the shopping spree is on and all the chagim had a tinge of "this is my last Rosh Hashana in San Jose." Plus some friends here are saying, "you're not really going back" and I'm trying to convince them all to move back to Israel with us. I am glad that this will be my last christmas season in America (bli neder). Christmas displays and advertisements have been popping up along with the Halloween paraphernalia and soon you won't be able to enter a store without being bombarded with christmas music.

Of course before we get to Christmas we have to survive the elections on Tuesday. I've never been that into politics but it's hard not to get caught up, especially in a historic election which will give America either her first African American president or her first woman vice president. Here in California the public or legislature can add propositions to the ballot in order to amend California law and the most controversial ballot in 2008 is proposition 8 which would change the California constitution to only allow man-woman marriage as valid. As you can imagine, this is a hot topic and both proponents and opponents are very outspoken.

While most people are glued to their television sets on Tuesday night, Arthur and I will be going to hear Shlomo Artzi in Cupertino. Hadag Nachash will also be in the Bay area but Arthur doesn't want to go with me.

Things here are otherwise quiet. I am bogged down in schoolwork and am glad that the semester is half over. I need to choose my classes for my final semester (yea!) and am trying to figure out if I'm better off doing an internship or taking a class. It's hard to know since nobody at Yahoo knows if our project will be continued past the end of December so I'm not sure whether I'll still have a job come January 2009.

Arthur has just begun traveling again, with a short trip to NASA last week. He didn't bring us anything - not a moon rock, a picture of Ilan Ramon - nada. Very disappointing.

We are thinking about where to go for our last Thanksgiving, a trip made complicated by the fact that Maor vetoes just about everything (except Hawaii and Disneyworld). If anyone has suggestions, pass them along.