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October 4, 2015 | 21st Tishrei 5776

A Day in the Life IV

March 31, 2002
Marc Rosenstein

It is Sunday, March 31, Chol Hamoed Pesach.

7:00 Walk the dog. It has been wintry for nearly a week - howling hailstorms interspersed with bright sunshine, putting a damper on any holiday plans not already dampened by the fear of terrorist attacks and the general mood. Today the weather is different, strange. The sky is gray, there is a constant, dusty, dry, cold wind. Every once in a while there is a sprinkle of rain, which leaves the cars covered with muddy drops.

7:30 Try to make some semblance of order in the papers that have piled on my desk during the past few days of preparations for the holiday, and the holiday itself.

8:30 Drive to Karmiel to pick up N., a Russian immigrant woman who works as a cleaner in our rooms and kitchen; she worked as an electronics technician in Russia, but her Hebrew is really minimal, so that route is closed to her here at least for the time being.

9:00 Repair the vacuum cleaner so that N. can clean the clubroom where the group of families staying in our hostel had quite a birthday party last night.

10:00 Squeeze in an hour of reviewing applications for our Galilee Fellows program for informal educators; today is the deadline

11:00 Pack up the pickup truck with signs, metal posts, and string, and go out with D., our marketing director, to hang signs on trees, electric poles, etc. all around the area. Highway advertising is illegal, but temporary signs are allowed. This is the second day of the “Music and Nature” festival held by our county every Pesach: concerts, guided nature excursions, and miscellaneous other events designed to take advantage of the Pesach domestic tourism peak. We open our dining room as a restaurant for the festival every year - but not on Shabbat, so when the festival includes Shabbat, like this year, we are careful to put up our signs only after Shabbat, so as not to attract prospective diners who will be angry to find the place closed when they arrive. Putting up signs in the wind is a challenge.

1:00 Urgent call from N., the dining room manager, to come home back to help: three organized groups plus a lunch-time rush of families are threatening to overwhelm him. We return and pitch in with the teenage wait-staff, bussing tables, cleaning bathrooms, attending to special requests. The food is delicious.

3:00 There is a suicide bombing at a restaurant in Haifa, which casts a further pall on the day. And word comes that because of the weather, all of the open-air concerts of the festival are being cancelled (which doesn’t leave much). A few guests inquire why we don’t have a guard at the door (it never occurred to us).

4:30 The pressure in the dining room wanes, and I am able to get back to the office and begin final editing of a strategic planning document I am working on (for the Mandel Foundation) for a North American Jewish education organization - a long range plan for training of sufficient teachers and principals.

7:00 Drive N. home to Karmiel; on the way, in her broken Hebrew, she refers to the day’s harvest of terror, and comments that she feels that no place is good for her - not Russia and not Israel.

7:30 All I want to do now is go home for dinner, but when I arrive back in the parking lot, it turns out that the light switch on the pickup truck has failed, so I can’t turn off the headlights. Finally I pull the fuse, and get home for matzah pizza.

8:30 Lev calls; he went back from holiday leave this morning, with mock dramatic farewells. His unit moves out tomorrow, to re-occupy Shechem. We are finding it a little hard to believe that this is really happening to him/us. I change clothes and continue with my project of repainting our guest room.

11:00 Lights out.


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