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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:

      Shiloh Musings



      Tishrei 16, 5771, 9/24/2010


      It's the Succot holiday, and there has been lots of building here in Judea, Samaria and the entire Jewish World.

      First Succot Glances


      I took these photos in my neighborhood.  When I walked around a few minutes ago, many more succot were up, and many already had the s'chach (ritual succah roofing) on top.  Succot is one of those great holidays for photographers, much more so than Passover.  Of course, there have been years when I've found what to photograph when cleaning for Passover.  Davka on Rosh Hashannah we had neighbors over to eat one of the festive holiday meals.  They're pretty new to Shiloh and hadn't been our guests before.  They surprised us by saying that they first heard of Shiloh when google recommended my blogs.  And then the wife entered my kitchen: Wow! 
      "I've seen your kitchen before." My head was spinning.  How could she have seen my kitchen?  She had never been in the house. "You posted pictures on your blog showing it all covered for Pesach."
      None of the succot here are mine.


      It's amazing how quickly some people seem to be ready to live in their new rooms.  Will the Appease Now activists come and volunteer to help us take apart our succot after the holiday and put the peaces pieces away?

      Spying Succot in Jerusalem

      I've always loved that quirky Jewish Israeli, especially in cities like Jerusalem, architecture where מרפסות mirpessot, balconies, terraces are specially designed and placed according to Halacha, Jewish Law to enable the building of kosher succot for each apartment.
      In more frugal (and less egalitarian) times there was barely enough space for one person, the male head of the household, to have a strictly kosher succah seat.  A friend of mine who grew up in Jerusalem's Bayit V'Gan neighborhood in an apartment like that once told me that every year her father would call on the local rabbi, HaRav Min HaHar, to pay a "house call" and inspect the succah to make sure it had enough space for him to sit, eat and say the appropriate prayers.
      Today's Torah observant Jewish families have larger succot, and frequently there are two, one for sleeping and one for eating, even in the cities.  And it's the norm for Jerusalem's commercial streets to have succot on the sidewalks next to restaurants.
      I've always enjoyed listening to neighbors singing holiday songs in their succot.
      Chag Succot Sameach
      Have a Truly Joyous Holiday!