Friday, November 23, 2007

An Israeli Take on Thanksgiving

The view of Tel Aviv from our friends' apartment.

Hi guys...sorry it's been so long since my last post. It's been an insane week here, probably the craziest week that I've had yet. It's been a good week though, filled with good friends, fun times, and many important accomplishments. It was hard being away from home for Thanksgiving; I missed the sights, the smells, the tastes, the colors and the family that it always brings. I even missed my yearly struggle of who's house to go to for dinner. I realized this year how lucky I am to have 2 families (sometimes 3) who all welcome me to their Thanksgiving tables.

Before I talk about my actual Thanksgiving Day, I have to make mention of the HUC football team, lovingly known as the HUC-Stables (remember the Cosby show?) HUC had their first-ever "homecoming" celebration this year, before the big football game against Pardes on Tuesday. We celebrated with a pep-rally on Tuesday morning, followed by an exciting and victorious game on Tuesday night. The fans came out in droves to cheer for the team, and even though it was pouring down rain and freezing cold all night long, a fun time was had by all who attended. Because we had choir, I was only able to catch the last half of the game (and I had to miss the tailgate, choir) but I had a great time anyways. Go HUC-Stables!

The HUC-Stables at the pep-rally...we celebrated with dancing, a speech from our Quarterback, and the theme song from "The Cosby Show"

David, our team captain, QB, and native STL'isan (yeah!!!) giving the victory speech after the big game on Tuesday night. The HUC-Stables beat Pardes 33-6.

Now, back to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not celebrated by Israelis in the slightest. Understandably, the holiday is of no importance to them, meaning life goes on as normal on Thanksgiving day (meaning, we had to go to for that.) After class, I hopped a sheirut (shared taxi) with PJ and headed off to Tel Aviv. Our friends Shari, Dena and Stephanie lovingly invited PJ and I, as well as Steph and Ariel, to a Thanksgiving dinner at a hotel in Tel Aviv, and then invited us to stay with them for the night in their huge apartment. The dinner was sponsored by a group called Nefesh b'Nefesh (Soul in Soul) that works with new immigrants to Israel. They made a decent attempt, but I have to say that the food was nothing to write home about. It was great though to be celebrating Thanksgiving with good friends at a nice, big table. We each went around and said what we were thankful for, and toasted to a wonderful Israeli Thanksgiving meal.

An Israeli take on a traditional Thanksgiving me, you didn't miss much.

Our Tel Aviv friends and I enjoying our dinner together. Shari, Dena, me and Stephanie.

Our Thanksgiving table. From left to right: Adam, Shari, me, PJ, Stephanie, Dena, Ariel, Steph

When we were finished with dinner, we went back to Shari, Dena, and Stephanie's beautiful apartment in Tel Aviv. They were so cute and so accommodating...they made these adorable turkey cupcakes for us, which were not only delicious but a great way to get our sugar-rush, since the desserts at dinner were not so great. I don't think it truly felt like Thanksgiving until I saw these. They really made my Thanksgiving wonderful. We stayed up late, playing games, eating these rich cupcakes, and drinking wine until we couldn't keep our eyes open. We woke up late the next morning, and had a leisurely brunch at Max Brenner's, a chocolate factory/restaurant, and then caught the sheirut back to J'lem. We were sad to leave, but so happy to have gotten out of Jerusalem to see our friends and celebrate a fun Thanksgiving. We had a great time, though I will say that I can't wait to have our faux-Thanksgiving dinner when I get home.

The turkey cupcakes the girls made for us! Aren't they adorable (and don't they look tasty??)

So anyways, that's Turkey Day in the Holy Land. It was hard to be away from home, and both Steph and I found ourselves very homesick, but I think we really made the best of it. I'm so happy to have our friends in Tel Aviv who are such a great break from our J'lem circle of friends. I missed you all, and I hope you all had a wonderful, festive Thanksgiving, and that you all have plenty to be thankful for...I know I do!


Claire said...

Somehow I totally didn't know there was a Max Brenner's in Israel...I've been to the one in NYC. How on earth did I live there for six months and miss that?

Whitney said...

What's the turkey nose made out of?

Tracy said...

Claire--The Max Brenner's is in Tel Aviv (though I can't remember exactly where.)
Whitney--It's a chocolate kiss w/ a candy coating

Thanks for the comments!