It was Sukkot in Beersheba, Israel. There were houses made from wood all over the streets and people eating in them, having parties, and creating happiness in the city. I knew I had to find some way to celebrate the happiness in the air this Sukkot. I decided to go to Temple. I didn’t know which one to go to except that I needed to go. I needed to celebrate the time when we sit in a Sukkah and reminisce on all the good things we have in life. I needed to find some way to say thank you because I just moved to Israel about a month ago. I moved here to teach English to crazy Israeli kids who made me smile and laugh.
So, I looked up temples on the Internet and found a place called Ramot Shalom. I thought it was a reform synagogue but I was mistaken once I showed up to this beautiful white building in the middle dessert. There were men with long breads and little girls wearing skirts and dresses and I knew I was at an Orthodox synagogue. I decided to go on in anyway. It was the best decision I made to celebrate Sukkot.
The place was packed and there was very little sitting room on the women’s side. I found a seat next to old women asking me, “?״.מה את עושה בישראל (What are you doing in Israel?) I told her that I am from Florida and I came here to teach English. She smiled and started to talk my head off about her grand-children while I patiently listened waiting for her to be quiet. I couldn’t listen to her ramble on for one more second.
A little girl with black hair came up and asked a tall girl with long curly black hair in Hebrew, “כמה זמן עד לשירות נגמר” (How much longer till the songs finish?) in a cute annoying little voice. I asked the girl with long black hair in Hebrew, “?זה האחות שלך” (Is that your sister?) She said, “כן.” (Yes.) I began talking to her about how I just finished college and that I was teaching English abroad here in Israel for the next ten months. She smiled and told me that she just finished college to and now is working for a phycology magazine. I smiled knowing I just met one of the coolest Israelis ever. She was so sweet and nice that she kept talking to me and asking me questions. No stranger in my life has ever been so interested in who I was. It turns out I was having fun. I was having fun while music played loud, while people read the Torah, and the woman threw candy at the them. I thought it was crazy but so awesome. It was just how Sukkot should be celebrated with happiness. Next thing, I knew she said that I was welcomed to her house any time for a Shabbat meal and that we could be your adopted family. I didn’t think she was serious but it turns out she was. She was flat out serious and we exchanged names. Her name is Hadar and my name is Maddy. I thought this was too good to be true that I actually made my first friend in Israel. I had met one of the sweetest, nicest persons on Sukkot.