Due to the economic crisis that is endemic everywhere It was expected that we not have a great attendance for either Rosh HaShanah or Yom Kipour though we did for both have a minyan. As usual during the interim days the shofar was blown every morning to announce Selihot prayers and on the Eve of Yom Kipour, Lior Asher arrived from Tel Aviv. This is the third year that Lior has been with us and this year he led the entire prayer service for Y-K. His gift to the Synagogue is deeply appreciated as he has not only a family in Tel Aviv but also has to leave two hours after the Fast has ended in order to catch his 2:00 AM plane back home.
We were all especially touched when he told us that he always felt that Etz Hayyim had no roof and that his prayers went directly up into the heavens with none of the normal interference and distraction of political in-fighting in other communities. After Neilah when he blew the Yemeni shofar that we have, we broke the fast in the Synagogue as it was raining (which for us is always a propitious sign), and then after a dinner together he left by taxi for Herakleion. Next year he plans to bring his wife who is at present pregnant along with his son to spend R-HaShanah and Yom Kipour with us. Like the rain, Lior is a special blessing for us here.
Guests of Note: Ruth Padel the poet and great-great grand-daughter of Charles Darwin was with us for a week after giving a poetry reading in Loutro. We managed to set in motion for a poetry work-shop to be held in the new Resource Centre in the Spring. The author of several books for children, Doreen Rapapport and her husband Bob Rosegarten, the Emeritus Mayor of Great Neck were also with us for Yom Kipour. Both have been friends of the Synagogue from the days when initial work was being carried out for its renovation in 1999.