A glimpse into our lives, our joys...and my battle with cancer!
Monday, June 20, 2011
And they NEVER told me...
Most of you probably don't know this, but when we lived in Cleveland, OH...we spent 2 years living as some of the ONLY "Gentiles" in an exclusively Hacidic (or Orthodox) Jewish neighborhood. We adored living there!
They were clean, respectful, fantastic neighbors. We loved learning about their culture and religion. They firmly followed their beliefs...and people from all around would come to our neighborhood after sundown on Friday evenings to Saturday evening (which was their sabbath.) This picture isn't the best...but is what we saw from our front windows each day. On their Sabbath they couldn't drive, or even close their car doors. You would see them walking to temple in groups. The men in black suits, with black kaftans (or top hats), and long beards. When you saw the women, they would have their hair covered, or wear a wig...with long skirts and sleeves. They strongly valued their modesty. They walked several times a day to temple and study of the ancient scrolls in Hebrew. They couldn't cook on the Sabbath... or turn on their heaters, or even turn on or off a light. (Their lights would be in timers or they had blackening shades they would put on lamps so that they didn't break their rules.) They loved having token "gentiles" (US) nearby...because if something needed done on their Sabbath...they would call us. It gave us many opportunities to see firsthand how they lived. They would have their Shabbat dinner like clockwork on Friday evenings...and you could see them from through their front windows going through their ceremonies. We were invited several times and it was a wonderful experience.
Passover and other holidays were simply amazing and I will have to post later to explain it all. There are times of the year like Sukkot that they have to build Sukkahs (temporary shelters like forts) and live in them for 7 days to commemorate the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. When we first moved in...no one warned us what was going on and I woke up one day thinking I was in a dream. It is hard to explain how unique this subculture was. I could go on an on about this... but...We gained such respect for them and the adherence to their faith...and I think they gained the same respect for our faith and devotion.
ANYWAY...as much as we were around the Orthodox Jews and spent time with them...none of them ever told me what my names means to Jewish people. I just learned by chance that a "Shanda" is a shame of great proportions." Awesome. I now am trying to remember if they ever laughed behind my back. How come they never told me. That is worse than having spinach stuck between my front teeth at a dinner party.