One of the great things about Mayanot is that they set us up with host families for Shabbat and holidays. You can choose to stay in Jerusalem or travel around Israel a bit to visit some of the families that volunteer to have seminary girls crash their houses for a weekend. I spent this Shabbos in a cute little place called Ra’anana, and it was a taste of home.
The main road is Ahuza Street, lined with palm trees and pretty landscaping – a rare sight in Israel. The houses are more modern and more spread out than most places in Israel, and it’s a quiet neighborhood. Another great thing is that there aren’t very many cats. This may sound like an odd statement, but in Israel there is a serious cat problem. When the British ruled this area, they brought over cats from England to take care of the rats… but now the cats are Israel’s rats and they are everywhere. While they still exist in Ra’anana, they are there in much smaller doses and it’s nice.
Another amazing thing about Ra’anana is the huge percentage of immigrants. There are just as many people that speak English as there are native Israelis. Granted, they all have accents… Canadian, British, South African, or Australian… but it’s English none-the-less.
I went to two different shuls there, a small Chabad shul and a gorgeous Sepharad shul named Kehillat Shivtei Yisrael. The Chabad shul was mostly Israeli, but Shivtei Yisrael was completely Anglo. It was beautiful and the men in the shul must have taken choir classes because they all had amazing voices.
It was a very quiet, relaxing weekend with a very sweet family. The father went to Mayanot Men’s Program 13 years ago, so he knows the system. He and his wife have 4 kids, and the girls were very attached to me after treating me like a jungle gym for 3 hours straight. It reminded me of my Rabbi’s kids ♥ Ra’anana was a great break from the craziness and on-top-of-each-other living of Jerusalem, and was a much appreciated taste of home (humidity included). Yet another successful Shabbos 🙂