on thursday i went with gal's parents to make a shiva call to a moshav near the town of Afula. it was about an hour and a half 's ride. gal's uncle's wife lost her father. it is quite a large family. there were about a dozen women sitting on mattresses on the floor in the house and there was a gigantic tent for the men outside. the sephardim make a huge seudah for everyone and bring rabbis to say divrei torah for hours. there were hundreds of people milling around. at one point it was so crowded in the house, that it took me a good while to get to the bathroom. i sat and spoke with a few of the sisters who are chabadnikim for a few hours until the meal started. there were at least a few dozen women seated at the table for the memorial meal. sephardim have the custom of abstaining from eating meat or chicken for thirty days after the funeral. the meal consisted of a breaded fillet of fish, a piece of kugel, a plate of rice and olives. there were a lot of hot peppers and spicy salads on the table. i only ate a piece of fish without the breading and some olives. i was still hungry but i didn't want to eat bread.
when we were getting up to leave i saw a group of women in the kitchen already preparing vats of many kinds of fish for the shabbat meal on friday. apparently, the family's mother had suddenly passed away last year just before our kid's wedding. how hard it is to lose the surviving parent so soon afterwards! i was amazed to see the closeness between all of the siblings and other extended family members. this father had the merit to have married off his last child two weeks before he died. unfortunately, the new bride's birthday, falls out on the day of her father-in-law's passing.
we returned to zefat at about 10:30 p.m. i was physically and emotionally drained. i woke up late on friday morning and i was still tired. the weather was sunny and bright and unseasonably warm. i wanted to take a nice leisurely walk to the supermarket, which is about 20 minutes away, but i knew that the day was too short. zefat shabbat candlelighting time is still around 4:00 p.m. i simply jumped downstairs to the local store to buy challah and some canned goods. the house was still trashed from the birthday party and i really wanted to make order and wash the floors.
i enlisted gal to make the fish and she was quite pleased that i asked her to cook the st. peter's fish fillets. i decided that we didn't need to also make the tuna steaks. i made a small amount of potato salad for gal and an 'israeli' salad (diced cucumbers, tomaotes and onion) for zvi. i also made a small salad of romaine lettuce and red onion. i made a lot of frozen string beans for myself, and a small portion of rice that hardly anyone ate. i opened up a jar of asparagus, a can of baby corns, and a can of sliced palms, which are all of zvi's favorites. i also opened up a small can of corn that didn't go. i have to stop doing this.!
i cut up some chicken breasts into smaller pieces and stewed them with a few chicken thighs. i 'doctored' some of the left over lasagna sauce with my middle eastern spices and added a lot of cooked chick peas and navy beans. i also made a very small cholent out of a little hunk of meat and two chicken thighs with a potato or two and a lot of chick peas and beans. i didn't have enough potatoes left to make a kugel for michal. i made a modest portion of boiled potatoes and hard cooked eggs for the morning lunch for zvi and gal. zvi actually, took a portion of the cholent to eat with his mashed potatoes and eggs. i didn't bake a cake because michal was bringing over zvi's all time favorite, lemon meringue pie. i had a small amount of chocolate birthday cake left over and i had also bought a new tin of cookies that the kids love.
half an hour before candlelighting, zvi brought home the most mangey looking peekenese dog that one has ever seen. he mentioned the stray dog a few times during the week and i had tried to dissuade him from bringing him home. here i was, outside, cutting bristles out of his face and eyes half an hour before the shabbat. he didn't even growl or try to bite. instead of washing my floor, i helped wash the pooch. i had already put all of the food onto the electric platter so things really, were under control. i put the wet dog into the shed and went upstairs to light candles. the dog started yiping and wouldn't stop. i knew that the neighbors were not going to put up with this noise all of shabbat, so i let him out of the shed. slowly, slowly, he made his way into my house. once he was inside, he settled down on the floor under the table and didn't make another sound.
i washed all of the dishes last night and also washed the floors. the doggie hair cutter can only come over at the end of the week. the poor things needs a 'baldie.' zvi realizes now that he can't keep the dog upstairs. so i am playing mommy and referee once again between the new dog and cloey. she was so freaked out by the new dog that she didn't take notice of the baby over shabbat. i let the boy dog have the dog bed as the girl dogs sleep on the t.v. sofa with me. sometime last night, he tried to join us in bed. it didn't go down well with cloey.
today's fast day is over at 5:00 p.m. i am not feeling all that great. i really need some caffeine. i sat for sahar for three hours in the morning and i started to fall asleep. he slept for about two hours which was great for me. he drank a bottle and was in a mellow mood. i have a couple of loads of laundry to do for the kids this evening and i have to straighten the downstairs because i have two sleepover guests tomorrow. i'm trying to get people to bring groups here for shabbatons and during the week. i want to make up a batch of muffins for the guests. i am really keeping busy thee days.