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Day 6

Posted by: Yocheved | July 12, 2011 | No Comment |

Friday night and Shabbos lunch I ate by Rabbi Lent and his wife Rifky.  They have two daughters and two sons—I made friends with the youngest child, Chana, who is 3 and a half.  The rabbi and his wife are from Manchester.  Even though they are Chabad, the shul isn’t, so davening was Ashkenaz and started at 9:15 a.m.  It was followed by a Kiddush, where I got to meet some people in the community, including a girl named Chana who is studying animation, and a girl named Eleanor who is working in sales and living at the center—both Israelis.

Eleanor came to lunch at the rabbi’s along with two other Israeli girls—Tala and something that sounded like Hela—and Paul, an American who was studying in Israel for the past two years and is touring Europe before starting a Phd Physics program in Texas.  Paul was also at the meal the night before and also stayed at the student center, which I was glad of because it meant that he accompanied me back there after the meal on Friday night.  After lunch, the rabbi recommended we visit Rathfarnham Castle, which is a few blocks away from his house and offers free tours, advice which Tala, Hela, Paul, and I decided to follow.

The castle was beautiful, although not nearly so large as Dublin Castle.  It was built by a family of English lords, but then some Jesuits took over and used it as a seminary for a while, and then they sold it to the state.  The castle is in the process of being restored.  The ceilings had beautiful rococo designs, and the furniture and doorways were very ornate.  There were also portraits of the family and a copy of a painting that a family member may have done while on a Grand Tour of Europe. Much of the original artwork in the castle had been sold in auctions by the castle’s owners in poorer times (relatively speaking), but the Jesuits had put in some Christian paintings in the empty spots.  The Jesuits were pretty open about keeping the paintings of mythology that were there, though, such as the pictures on a ceiling of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, represented by cherubs, surrounding the Greek deity Ceros (from which the word cereal is derived).  It seems the Jesuits were very well-educated—they majored in a subject other than theology (like math, science, history, or literature) before becoming priests.  The Jesuits also didn’t deal with money, because there was a Bursar in the castle that took care of everything and the seminary supplied the priests with food, shelter, and transportation.

Every room in the castle had a fireplace; but apparently the inhabitants still used to complain in all their letters about how cold it was.  The castle now has temperature control, but it’s all done through the floors so that everything looks old-fashioned.

The castle used to have a problem with teenagers hanging around the grounds and leaving beer bottles and graffiti and stuff.  Then they built a playground for children, and the teenagers vanished.

After the castle we went back to the student center and I read and slept until 7:45, when I left to go to the rabbi’s house for shalosh seudot.  Then we had shul and then they had another shalosh seudot in shul, but I didn’t eat again, but I did meet a nice woman named Charlotte with a daughter Dina, who is my age and is training to be a midwife.  Charlotte invited me for the meals on July 23rd, when the rabbi will be away on a Birthright trip.

After maariv I got a lift back to the student center, where a sefardi Israeli boy made havdalah again (and their havdalah is way different from ours, let me tell you– sefardim are so cool!) and I went to sleep soon after.

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