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      The Eye of the Storm
      by Batya Medad
      A Unique Perspective by Batya Medad of Shiloh
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      Batya Medad made aliya from New York to Israel in 1970 and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Recently she began organizing women's visits to Tel Shiloh for Psalms and prayers. (For more information, please email her.)  Batya is a newspaper and magazine columnist, a veteran jblogger and recently stopped EFL teaching.  She's also a wife, mother, grandmother, photographer and HolyLand hitchhiker, always seeing things from her own very unique perspective. For more of Batya's writings and photos, check out:

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      Tishrei 19, 5769, 10/18/2008

      Reflecting on Succot, So Far


      I've been on every Od Avihu Chai March, so far.  Generally I'm among the first to be waiting.  And each time I tell myself that I shouldn't leave my house so early.  What?  Am I a "fri'er," a "sucker," or fool?  So this year, I took my time.  I didn't rush.  And when I neighbor stopped me to tell me that she had just discovered my blogs on the internet, of course I spoke to her.  Then my phone rang:

      "Everyone's waiting for you."

      Oops!  Was I really that late?  But it was nice to know that I was expected to be there.

      This time we didn't march to Jerusalem.  The first march to to Jerusalem where Moshe Keinan, Avihu's father set up a succah by the President's Residence.  He and a group of bereaved fathers even had an audience with him. After that we generally marched to the Kotel.  This year's route had more importance.  We walked in the nearby mountains.  It's important to show that we're at home here.

      I've stayed close to home, so far.  I enjoyed the event at Tel Shiloh, but something was missing.  Something very important.  It was too much like a "country fair."  Yes, there were tours and theater and explainations of the history.  But the organizers didn't make an "Ohel Chana," a tent for women to pray.  There should have been a shaded area where copies of "Chana's Prayer" and siddurim (prayer books) and T'hillim (psalms) would be available.

      At least Tel Shiloh isn't just open a couple of days a year.  People can come here to pray whenever they want.  I've been encouraging prayer in Shiloh for almost a year.  Women now arrive from all over the country.  My next gathering will, G-d willing, be Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, Thursday, October 30, 9:45am.  For more information about visiting Tel Shiloh, call the office, 02-994-4019.

      Enjoy what's left of the Holiday.