On Fire.



For a number of years I convinced my kids that Lag BaOmer was celebrated with a marshmallow toasted over my stovetop. They would drag a chair over, stick a marshmallow on a stick and voila instant holiday. I’d say I’m not proud of the deception but that would be a lie, I’m totally proud of the deception. Considering that we live across from an empty lot that turns into something one step beneath a brush fire, I’m pleased I held on for as long as I did.

But that is all in the past. There is a long list of things that I’ve done since David’s been in the States that have not been particularly day-at-the-spa like: I have not sold our dog or even gotten him intentionally lost (unintentionally lost, yup, I did that). The dog went to town on the food I cooked for Shabbat lunch and I still allowed him to live with us. I went to countless school meetings solo which meant dealing with a school system here where they find it okay to say: “so don’t you just really want to live in America?” as though living in Israel were some sort of punishment that I was forced to endure like a British convict exiled to Australia in the late 1700’s (don’t be impressed I had to wikipedia the details). In any event, all this to say, yeah, it’s been a hard week but then I had to bonfire hop with my 5 year old. Small children. Near fire. With sticks. Cue my anxiety attack.

But even this is made adorable. Channan has been collecting sticks with his friends for weeks. My mini-arsonist, who is mostly clueless, was enthralled with this idea of a bunch of boys wandering around aimlessly looking for branches. It beats playing on the iPad all day. Dov’s class (those would be the 5 year olds) had organized a bonfire as well with parents looking on as their kids delighted in meeting up after-hours. It may be their first prom.

But here’s the twist: Maccabi Tel Aviv made it to the basketball finals in the European League. And the final game was tonight. So Yael and Yoni’s bonfires won’t even start until the game ends. Yoni has disappeared to his madrich’s house where 100 people squish in to watch the game. And it is a nail biter. But Yoni is there, loving every minute. And there is this great juxtaposition of this community that stops everything to watch this game and then heads out to celebrate an ancient holiday; where it is normal to cheer yourself hoarse as your team wins (wins!) the finals and then head out with a guitar, some hotdogs and a handbook of Israeli songs you’ve prepared for your friends to sing (Yael and her friends did that, how adorable is she?).

I’d be sleeping but there are fires burning and my small people are near them. But they are happy and surrounded by friends. So I am happy too.


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