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Blog - It's all Greek to me!!!!

Life in Greece with a Jewish twist

Back!!! Summer vacation and fires

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This blog has gone on a very long vacation…

Time to get back to my keyboard and tell you some of our news here… and there are many.

First, the first entirely Kosher wedding in Athens since… the second world war probably!!! And what a wedding it was!!! Mazal tov to Sabrina and Gad, may you live happy together for many years… I will soon post a separate entry about this whole adventure, complete with pictures…

Second, I have to tell you about all the amazing and interesting guests that have visited us this summer… we had anywhere between 30 and 110 guests any given Shabbat: honeymooners, backpackers, students, families, retired people…  Several youngsters from Australia on their “euro-tour”, taking off for a few months and taking advantage of the fact that they are already in this part of the world, so far from their homeland, to do some serious touring… Many people from France, individuals or groups… it seems that there is a massive interest in Greece this year by French people, and I hope they enjoy it and tell their friends, so many more Frenchies come and visit us J. Many couples or families from Israel of course… I learned about the fascinating settlement of Tekoa, which is home to seculars as well as religious people of all kinds, which cohabitate in peace and harmony: what an example for a country where people of different communities and walks of life don’t know enough about one another and don’t interact enough with one another, creating barriers of intolerance and incomprehension that lead to hostility and hatred. Many North Americans too, including an amazing group of teenagers led by Rabbi and Aviva Tessler, from Potomac Mayland, who chose to spend their vacation combining volunteering work and traditional tourism: in Greece, they visited the old age home, the Jewish camp and helped in various ways. They then continued to Israel, where they did more volunteering and… relaxing J.

Every Shabbat was a magnificent experience of joy, unity, discovery and inspiration.

We took off for 3 days, visiting some dear friends in the nearby island of Aigina. What I will say will sound cliché, but this is exactly what I felt (I guess those clichés are based on real life!): far away from the noise and the trepidation of the city, in the midst of nature, surrounded only by the chirping of the birds and the stridulating of the insects, watching the endless rows of blooming pistachio trees against the clear blue sky (specialty of the island), one connects to his inner self and truly feels closer to G-d… You suddenly have time to just sit and relax (no internet, so no emails to check! yaaaay), to think about what’s important, to just be, not only DO, DO, DO… The visit was short but so invigorating, we promised ourselves to do it again.

athens-fires.jpgAnd then there were the fires in Attica….  Wildfires that destroyed 210 square km of forests, destroyed 60 houses and damaged another 150, displaced thousands of people…. Wildfires that wreaked havoc in the country and changed forever the region of Attica depriving it from a vital pool of oxygen… Wildfires that rose again the eternal questions of man’s responsibility towards nature, man’s recklessness, egoism and short vision, the authorities’ supposed responsibilities in preventing and dealing with this kind of disasters…

This set of picture shows you the extent of the catastrophe.

The damage was so great because of the very strong winds that made it impossible to fight and contain the fire. This made me think about the power of unity: when you have just a small match, blowing on it will extinguish it. But when you have a strong fire, blowing on it will only make it stronger. Similarly, if we are isolated and weak souls, a small blow can easily extinguish our passion, our inspiration. But if we stay together, strengthening one another, winds of adversity will not only not destroy us, but will make us stronger.

 

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