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and the ceiling came down
This shabbat, we went to synagogue, for a relatively unusual service. Along with the rabbi, a first year student rabbi was there, and parts of the service were led by some of the youngest members of the congregation. The rabbi's sermon consisted of a story about a little almond tree celebrating its birthday on Tu Bishvat. For anyone who might not know, in Judaism, the 15th day of the month of Shvat, or Tu Bishvat, is the traditional "New Year for trees" and is treated as an ecology festival in modern parlance.
After the service, there was a sit down lunch, which was a good chance for us to meet and get to know some more members of the community. After the lunch, there was a quick quiz, where I put my expensive Jewish education to good use, somehow remembering that somewhere it is written that fruit trees shouldn't be picked for the first 4 years.
After the quiz we broke into two groups. One group went with the rabbi, who gave us a lost and reclaimed thousand year old poem (translated into English) consisting of an adaptation of the Shmoneh-Esreh (18 blessings in a central part of any service) involving trees. We then swaped and went with the student rabbi who provided a different old poem from a long-dead rabbi, and led a discussion on the possibility and role of prayer in nature.
We finished with a quick tu bishvat seder and havdalah before packing and cleaning up the hall.
After leaving, we went and had afternoon tea with a friend of Rebecca's from work. We then went home.
This morning began in typical horror style. Bec wrote a list. A page of chores. Between installing a smoke detector, doing several loads of washing, fixing a drawer, fixing the windscreen washing fluid, and a dozen other chores, it was a busy day. But I'm sure your dying to know where the "ceiling came down" bit comes in. No, it was not an accident. That was one of the chores - there is (was) a suspended ceiling in our bedroom which we either want to remove or replace. Gone. Sometimes there are some chores that are quite entertaining. And to finish the list, I cooked salmon in teriyaki with chips and then did the dishes.
My favourite procrastinations
The Head Heeb - Jonathan provides a balanced view on various Israeli and (former) colonial states in less developed regions of the world.
The Bladder - a sports satire site. Well worth a look.