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Week 2- Shabbos

Posted by: Yocheved | July 19, 2011 | No Comment |

This Shabbos there was a big crowd at Chabad– in a good, fun, friendly, getting to know new people way.  Whereas last week there were just two other people and me together with the Rabbi’s family, this week we had nearly 30, including Menachem Menchel, a girl named Kayla who hails from Kew Gardens Hills, two sheluchim who are going around Ireland trying to get people to put on tefillin and light shabbos candles, some students from Emery College in Georgia, an Israeli from Petach Tikvah (who laughed when I immediately said, “Em Hamoshavot!”), a girl from Miami named Jennifer who was also staying at the student center, and many others.

The food was delicious– chicken, rice with mushrooms, salads, potato kugel, zucchini… (I’m writing this on a fast day, so bear with me here).  Since I had been there the previous week, I knew my way around the rebbetzin’s kitchen a little better and I was able to be more helpful.  I sat by Menachem and the students from Emery, and we had a good time.

After the meal, Jennifer’s friend (I don’t remember his name) and Kayla were both going back to the city center (a good hour and a half’s walk), and the student house was on the way so they walked us back.  Jennifer and I stayed up for a while at the center, chatting with Tim, a frum boy our age who grew up in Dublin.  He told us the community is much smaller than I understood from last week– that most of the people in the shul were visitors– and this seemed to be proved true the next day in shul, when there was an appeal made that people should make an effort to come to shul during the week, because apparently they were having trouble getting a minyan together on some days.  Tim said that he loves Dublin and thinks it’s the best place to live, because you are a 15 minute drive from the mountains and also a 15 minute drive from the beach.  But he plans to move, probably to Israel, because he says that Ireland isn’t really the place to raise an Orthodox family– people are moving away and the community is dying.

The next day I had lunch at the rabbi’s.  It was pareve, but we didn’t have ice cream for dessert, although we did have some delicious banana cake.  After lunch, Rabbi Lent recommended Rathfarnham Castle again, and since a bunch of people were going there and nobody was going straight back to the center, I decided to join them.  I’m beginning to be sort of an expert on Rathfarnham Castle.  Anyway, a bit more on the castle that I think I forgot to mention last week: the Georgian style loved things to be symmetrical, so when there was a door on one side of a room, there had to also be a door on the other side of the room.  In one such instance, we saw a door that opened to a stone wall– the door led to nothing, but it had to be there to preserve the symmetricality.  You can really see that figuring into a Marx brothers routine.  They also had an invisible door, made to blend into the wall, so that the servants could slip in and out without being too noticeable.

My favorite part of the castle, though, was that when the lords and ladies went out, they never had to bother about bringing a key with them.  There was a porter who had a special porter’s chair by the door, and his job was to open the door to whoever came in.  His chair was in a corner by the door, but not facing the door, because then he would be too visible, and servants were supposed to be invisible.  So how did he know if someone was coming?  There was a mirror across from him and the door, and he would look at the mirror and be able to see the walkway up to the castle.

Of course I couldn’t take a picture, but the chair looked much like this one I found through Google, except without the weird metal thing sitting on it:


This time I also took a little walk around the castle grounds.  They have a playground, but they also have a walkway that goes through a number of trees and finds a pond with a lot of ducks, and a bridge over it.  I sat on a bench for a bit– the view was lovely and I would have liked to sit there and read for a while, but of course I hadn’t a book with me.

Then I went back to the student center– I got caught in the rain on the way back, for it was cold and rainy most of Shabbos– and I chatted with Kayla for a while before going to my room and reading Patricia C. Wrede’s Searching for Dragons, the sequel toDealing with Dragons.  At around 8:20 p.m. I went to the Rabbi’s and got to have a little cholent before going to mincha, shalosh seudos, and maariv at the shul.

After shul, Kayla, Jennifer, and her friend whose name I can’t remember went back to the student house, got our stuff together, and then we all shared a cab to the city center.  Kayla didn’t have any money with her because all her stuff was at her hostel at the city center, so I paid for her, because it will be easy enough for her to pay me back when I’m in Queens.

I read a bit and then went to bed, and scared my roommates when they came in later, because they hadn’t expected me back until Sunday morning, which was my original plan.  It was more convenient for me to be back Saturday night because we were going on a day trip Sunday morning, so when the others were also coming back to the Temple Bar area I was glad to come back with them– otherwise I would have taken a bus in the morning; I wouldn’t have wanted to travel alone at night.

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