This is a very busy time of the year for Jews. First we had Rosh Hashonna last week, and then Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, starts tonight. Then Wednesday night starts Succos, which lasts for a whole week.
This was the first Rosh Hashonna I’ve ever spent away from my younger daughter, Hannah, because she’s in Israel for the school year. The years that Leah was in Israel for the holidays, Ben was still alive, and Hannah’s friends were still living locally. In short, we just had more people around for the holidays, even with one daughter away.
But with Hannah’s bedroom empty, and the queen sized futon in the basement replaced, and my cousin’s full-sized futon still on loan, we had lots of space for guests! So I invited a friend to stay with us for the holidays,and she came with 4 of her kids. In the past, she would stay with a different friend when she came into town, and just the oldest son would stay here since he’s friends with Jack.
The three boys shared the basement, she got Hannah’s old bed, and her adult daughter was invited to camp on my bedroom floor, but preferred to set up her air mattress on the guest room floor next to her mom.
Between my food sensitivity’s and her 13 year old son Daniel’s allergies, we had a lot of special needs to accommodate for the meals. I didn’t cook with any garlic at all, since he reacts to garlic in the air and cross-contamination of garlic could be dangerous for him. We had 3 different kinds of challah on the table for every meal: egg free challah for Daniel, rice challah for me, and store-bought “typical” challah for everybody else. In theory, she could have brought enough homemade egg-free challah for everybody but me, but she didn’t have time to bake enough for everybody for the whole holiday, and the allergy-free kids prefer the egg challahs.
I bought 10 pounds of chicken legs and a 15 pound turkey, and I still panicked that there wouldn’t be enough food! I ended up with so much leftover, I still haven’t finished it. The fact that she brought salmon and a beef brisket helped the poultry last longer!
Even though I couldn’t use garlic in anything in deference to Daniel, and she couldn’t put potatoes in the brisket in deference to me, we all enjoyed each other’s company. I definitely want to invite the entire family to stay with me again next Rosh Hashona, and hopefully for a Shabbos before then.