Almost over

Tonight, Simchat Torah at Nevei Kodesh, the Jewish Renewal shul.
All the processions with the Torah, coordinations with the seven lower sephirot of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. Wonderful musicians. Wonderful spirit. Had prepard all sorts of stuff, but once I saw who was there, I told the shortest Zalman story ever.

So much of what he came up with, wild inspiration grounded in profound knowledge, has settled into "minhag"---custom.

The wind here has already helped me begin to dismantle the sukkah. Oh, I do love this holiday.

To be continued; I'm too tired to write more tonight.
One last day of celebration...

Sweet dreams

I love Sukkot.
I love improvising a sukkah, and love eating in it, visiting with friends in it, going into it early with coffee and watching the birds, inviting friends for lunch...

I evidently sleep very deeply, and did not hear last night's wind.
I came down to a mostly-dismantled sukkah: the roof was fine, but the walls---bamboo shades---had mostly blown down. I had not come down early enough to repair it before needing to be elsewhere, so I ate in the falling-down sukkah.
I am re-thinking the design for next year...(What about canvas with grommets, lashed to the posts?)

This afternoon was a rehearsal of a group of us preparing a performance of R&B at the local JCC. Oh, what a splendid and disparate group of musicians! I feel very lucky to participate.

Tomorrow, the prayers for rains in their right portion.
Sweet dreams.

Time warps

Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 38 minutes ago

I experience Sukkot as time-out-of-time---even though it is actually place that shifts: that which we usually do inside moves outside, to the sukkah.
Early today, a guest came who has only ever visited once before, last Sukkot. It was a lovely visit, with this delightful and unique person; I should try to do this again before next year.

We enter Shabbat tomorrow night---yet another altered state.
(I am already in somewhat of an altered state, the beginning of a cold.) But during this time of year, everything blends into everything else, somehow. Then suddenly it is winter: how did we get there?
But not yet.
Now it is still that perfect season, with air like cider, and the scents of apples and woodstoves mingling with the last of grass and fruit trees.

Blessings for a good shabbos, a good harvest, a blessed entry into Autumn.


Oh, I love Sukkot.
Soup in the sukkah last night. Coffee this morning.
This afternoon, lunch in the sukkah at shul after services and bit of Torah study.
Tonight, home, and a bright full moon rising.
A sound in the dark from the other part of the deck...I don't know what it was. That's probably a good thing.

Good night.


Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 8 minutes ago

Mishka is curled up asleep by my right arm on the desk---really fast asleep; an occasional twitch of a whisker.

This morning, I "benshed lulav" for the first time this year, in shul. This evening, we ate the first small dinner in the sukkah on the back deck, with the full moon rising, just barely visible over the treetops to the east. The numerous bear sightings in my neighborhood make me hesitant to consider sleeping out there.

I love this holiday.

And I am falling asleep...G'night.


The first real meal of Sukkot, about fifteen of us in a friend's sukkah; good food, good stories, good prayers for this season which reminds us of taking off with nothing, trusting and being led.

I did not wear sufficient layers, though; although snug and warm at home for the last hour or so, my feet are still cold.

The holiday as I experience it now is interspersed with memories of Sukkot with my beloved, in different places: in Philadelphia; on a rooftop in Australia; improvised in the small yard of an interim house here the year it snowed in the sukkah.
Years before any of that, hearing songs in a dozen different languages coming from the different sukkot, some in back yards, some teetering on balconies, as I walked through my neighborhood in Jerusalem.

I wish us all deep joy during this season; good night.


It has been a good shabbos: restful, lovely, sunny. Snow melted. Friends, one from out of town, visited for a good shabbos lunch.
I walked by the little lake: the geese are back! I've no idea where they've been all summer, but as autumn is in full swing, they have returnd to the park. I told them how pretty they are, and how glad we are that they are back, and that I'm fine with goose poop.

Tomorrow morning: finish the sukkah.
Bless Netanel and one of his students who lives nearby: thanks to them, it is almost already all done. I need to measure and get some fabric for the walls, tomorrow morning.

Fall became my favorite season once we married: the season's progression of holidays charge through the whole spectrum of experience, memory and feeling. The holidays of introspection give way to the harvest holidays of lush appreciation, leading to the prayers for all the nations just as we acknowledge that the cycle will pour us through the richness of Autumn into Winter...
Although, here in Boulder, we never know from day to day what the season will be...

Blessings, blessings.


I cleaned out and organized the refrig today.
Had some chicken soup that looked and smelled fine...
Alas, I was deceived. It was not fine.
Now, nor am I.
I am about to turn off the computer, have some ginger ale and go lie down.

I'd planned to take down the shade cloth draped over the sukkah frame for the summer...Meanwhile, it has snowed in Boulder. Hoping for help trimming the junipers for s'chach; but we really can't do much till the snow melts.
I have a feeling Sunday is gonna be busy.

Wishing us all a good shabbos.

After Yom Kippur

A beautiful, fulfilling day:
started out at the Conservative shul until early afternoon
led Yizkor at the Jewish Renewal shul
and ended up staying there until the very end.

Satisfied that I did indeed observe the Day of Atonement in some depth, and happy to have led the Memorial service---much in the same way that I experienced it for the first time when Zalman led it, just after my adoptive father had died.

I am falling asleep at the keyboard; will resume tomorrow.