Its Simhat Torah and its time to celebrate. This year as usual we have a Succah and unlike most years we managed to have many friends over. Friends from all over the Globe, England, Czech Republic, Canada, Russia and Israel met by the Meditteranean Sea in Tel Aviv between The Feast of Tabernacles and Shmini Azeret tourists flocked to Tel Aviv.
Visiting Tel Aviv I met Marketa a young tourist. after spending an evening in Tel Aviv with a bunch of tourists on the beach from Russia, Czech Republic, Canada, France and a few Israelis. Suddenly i realised this Succot would be different from most years as we were going to have an influx of visitors. After sitting by the beach side watching the Sunset Marketa comments how nice the sandy beaches of Israel are in comparison to the pebbly beaches she visited in Europe and tells me it is her first time in Israel.
Seeing Israel through the eyes of a tourist can be enlightening and remind me of the place I now call home. After an hour on the promenade steps we head to a Pub near by and after standing for half hour just a block down from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv , the waitress finally gave us our cue to be seated . Before we sat down a security guard shouts telling us to all get in doors, traffic stops and he are all viewing a scene from everyday life in a false alarm.
Calming the tourists down we are all some relaxed as Marketa tells me She arrived just the previous day and wants to see the smaller places and leaves Jerusalem for the end of her trip unlike most tourists. The Street is filled with security people and Police Cars and there is a commotion we see in the distance as all the traffic had come to a halt and we watch from our table in the Pubs porch.
Luckily this time some guy left a bag of bottles by the Embassy footpath and caused all the Israelis to be on full alert which certainly gave the tourists an insight to life in Israel amidst all the ruckcus and lights in Tel Aviv. Returning to my hometown Modiin, happy at having met people from afar I was ready to bring on the holiday and celebrate with family and friends.
Receiving a call from Marketa asking to stay over for a few days I decide to take her to visit Ramla and the Markets in Lod, during her stay with us. My twins are delighted at having a guest and my husband is happy to oblige with a lift to Jerusalem when she wishes to depart.
Heading to Ramla Museum we see the gold coins and artifacts dating back to the Crusaders and a replica of the we rowed on our previous visit. The Shuk in Lod is fascinating mixed with Israelis from everywalk of life. From the totally covered ladies with black burkas, accompanied by their daughters holding their hands guiding them in the hot sun to a family of orthodox Jews with a young boy showing his payot walking with his father as they look for fruits ,vegetables or clothing for the holidays Marketa finally pulls out her camera. The locals in singlet tops, women with babies in prams all are found in this colourful Israeli shuk just a stonesthrow from the airport.
Once again we return home to a different world 20 mins away from Lod to Modiin and before Marketa leaves I take her to the Dinosaur Park which she enjoyed with its grassy picnic areas and man-made lake before calling it a night.
Marketa continues to Jerusalem before returning to Prague and tells us how she enjoyed catching a direct train to Haifa from Modiin to see the Bahai Temple and the Zoo eating a local Pizza before returning to Modiin as we relax on our deck chair watching two of my children build the Succah with my young son singing holiday songs he learnt at kindergarden.
Gullianed Cream Potato Bake
Toiling the land brings out the best in time for the holiday season when its time to spoil ourselves and enjoy our meals abundant with good healthy foods and having eaten all the dates, figs and apples its time to get back to staples like root vegetables.
Potatoes now thanks to technology are picked by machines and sorted into different sizes the packed in string bags if you don’t eat them whole with favourite toppings whilst wondering the desert sands and are not lazy and prefer slicing them by hand this Bake can make you feel at home as you dine in a Succah under the Stars accompanying it with different salads using Juicy red pomegranates, Spinach or Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil or some Lime Juice .
Guillianed Potatoes are a blast when baked with Cream ,Garlic and a spice, try it with Sage, Rosemary or Thyme and a dash of salt and pepper.