Can you say 'Jökulsárlón'... backwards?

posted 11 Jul 2018, 12:01 by Lodzer Shabbat-Bulletin

Can you say 'Jökulsárlón'...


The weather seems to have cooled down in Toronto over the weekend. Down here though, it's outrageously hot, at nearly 11°C (make that -2 with the windchill).

The Ice Lagoon is located at the southern end of the Vatnajökull glacier, right behind the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano; that's the one that erupted 10 years ago, at once blocking the flights over Europe and twisting the tongues of TV anchors worldwide for the better part of a week.

Kosher tourism in Iceland is growing at an alarming rate. When I wrote to you from here a year ago, Hallgrim's church was the "closest" you could find here to a synagogue. Now, there is a full-time Chabad presence in the country, with a weekly minyan and even the possibility of kosher catering (dairy only, for the moment. $60 for the basic meal option, which is kinda normal for Iceland).

You should see how wildly happy Israelis become at the sight of such quantities of ice! Those icebergs are young, the ice is about 1,000 years old. Tastes quite fresh, though.

Ice is not mentioned in the Torah even once (unless you count hail among the ten plagues). The first time it appears in the Tanach is the 2nd Book of Samuel, then - Isaiah, Ezekiel, the Minor Prophets, nine times in the Psalms, and finally, four very poetic occasions in Job.

By the breath of God the ice is formed, and the wide waters freeze solid

Iyov, 37:10


Many thanks to everyone who responded to my Scottish Bar-Mitzvah message. It was heart-warming to receive so many messages. I promise to answer everybody in person, hopefully before Shabbat.

A small extra bit of trivia for you; bet you didn't know what an utterly Jewish instrument the bagpipe was.

In fact, Jewish sources depict playing bagpipes as early as 700 years ago!

Judge for yourself:

The Barcelona Haggadah is a 14th c illustrated manuscript. (I did not make it up, this stunningly illustrated Haggadah can be viewed in the British Library.)

And - at last, after many years of this frustrated and suppressed desire - I got to hear Tumbalalaika played on the bagpipe! You would have to admit, hearing it once, Tumbalalaika and the bagpipe were made for each other.

Wishing you warmly Shabbat Shalom from the sunny Iceland,

Looking forward to see you next week.