"What about the high holidays?"

Another year, another blog. Being my first blog post of 5779, I figured I would first reflect a bit on my first Rosh Hashanah in Israel. Although I lived in Israel during Rosh Hashanah last year, I was actually back in America for work, so I missed the actual holiday in Israel. This is also my first time with an Israeli job during the High Holidays…and I have to say…it’s awesome. Israelis essentially get the entire month of September off from work. They work a total of 10 days during the month. Not only is this nice because lets be honest, who doesnt love time off work, but also because I now live in a place that recognizes these days as something special. Usually in America, I have to miss work to honor these important days and can only take minimal time off. It’s really quite spectacular to live in the Jewish homeland and know that most of the country is celebrating with you and that most working activities kind of take a pause during the month because the priority is the holidays. It’s times like these where I can sit back and really appreciate what it means to live in Israel.

Anyways, back to Rosh Hashanah. I went with Alon to his family’s house in Ashdod. It was a full family affair, like nothing I have ever seen. It’s another thing I love about living in Israel…everyone is close by. For my family in America, it’s hard to get all the family together (including aunts, uncles, grandparents etc.) and it’s actually quite a rare occurrence…in Israel, it’s much more common, and its truly wonderful. So Alon’s entire family showed up to Rosh Hashanah and his mom cooked a literal feast to feed an army. We started off with Alon’s dad blessing each of the foods: apples and honey, beets, dates, leeks, squash, pomegranate….and….head of a ram. I tried a raw date off the tree for the first time, but left the head of ram for the braver members of the Day clan. It was really wonderful to spend Rosh Hashanah with the person I love and surrounded by family. I couldnt ask for a better way to start my new year here in Israel.

With the new year came yet more changes for me. Due to a number of factors, I have decided to take my data analysis skills on the road and freelance full time! Shameless plug (but hey, youre on my blog, so I’m allowed): if you know any companies that need any help with their data, send them my way: samanthaherrick.com! I’m really excited about what this will mean for me: 1. I will have more freedom to travel, both in Israel and out. 2. I will have more time to visit my family in America without worrying about vacation days. 3. I will get to take on all different projects that I am genuinely interested in. This one is the most important. I am ready to have true job satisfaction and to feel that all of my hard work is useful and worth it. So I am all kinds of excited!! Will keep you all updated.

I then spent my Yom Kippur mostly at home. I spent 25 hours reflecting on my year and looking forward to the coming year (and hanging out with our bunny, Fig!). Fig didn’t fast, but she was a good Yom Kippur partner. What I realized in my alone time was that although I have most certainly had my ups and downs this past year, and I definitely have plenty to apologize for and change moving forward, I ended my year happier than I have ever been. Now as I alluded to in my last blog, this is not all due to me…much of the credit is due to the people around me who lift me up, support me no matter what, and help life be a whole lot more fun. I hope going into the new year that I can do the same for them and then some.

After Yom Kippur, we started Sukkot. It’s much more of a big deal here in Israel than in America…with the entire week long holiday being recognized with no work and sukkahs being built everywhere. Alon was still in America during the start of the holiday, so I figured I would just hang out in Tel Aviv. To my wonderful surprise, Alon’s brother Rotem and his fiance Dana invited me to their house for Sukkot dinner. One of the the greatest joys of my past year has been getting to know the Days. It’s extremely hard to be halfway around the world from my own family, especially during the holidays, so having Alon’s family has really been wonderful. Sukkot at Rotem and Dana’s house was so much fun (and really delicious!) Rotem smoked some tofu for me (shout out to all the Days for buying and making tofu whenever I’m around!!) and Dana baked vegetables. It was so nice to be with them for the holiday and get to know them better. Their wedding is this coming week, so stay tuned!!

Aside from all of the great holiday festivities, this past year, I have completed 51 items on my list. I’d say that’s pretty darn good!! I made the list 10 months ago, which means I’ve completed about 5 items per month. I know this coming year will bring it’s share of new adventures and more bucket list items being crossed off…and I cannot wait!

So overall, I’d say 5778 did me good and I cannot wait to see what 5779 has in store!! Keep sending list items my way if you have them!

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