I must bore you yet again with our appliance purchasing adventures. This is the last of our major appliances (oh-- except a dryer. I'll try to buy a dryer in a way that won't be worth reporting-- if I buy one at all. I actually just affixed a tarp over our laundry lines in hopes of avoiding that expense and environmental handicap for awhile).
So we finally got our dishwasher (Yayyyy!!!!) But it is bald (oof). I don't mean bald like no hair (ie no top). I mean bald like it underwent brain surgery and they forgot to stitch it back up again!
Let me start from the beginning. I mean really the beginning. In many ways, Ross and I are pretty low-maintenance people (right?), but we do love our dishwasher. When we were first married and had no money, we barely went out and we saved in almost every possible way, but we bought a dishwasher (actually in our second year of marriage. I don't know how we survived our first one!) When we were in Vancouver and we used to regularly host over 20 people for one or two meals nearly every Shabbat, we looked into getting our dishwasher on a timer for Shabbat use. We came really close. We even had a technician come and install a timer on it ($100!), but as the guy was packing up his tool box and walking out the door, Ross was looking at the machine and saying that no, it won't actually work.
The problem is that we, as religious Jews, do not turn on machines on Shabbat. We do set timers BEFORE Shabbat to turn things on and off (like lights), but we can't actually do something ourselves on Shabbat to cause something to go on.
So with a dishwasher, even if you set it on a timer to only go on at midnight, and even if you put in the detergent before Shabbat, there is seemingly no way of getting around the fact that after you load the thing, you have to close it, and when you click it closed, that is causing it to start, even if it won't actually start for several hours, because if you DON'T close it, it WON'T start. Are you following me? Do you care? (Don't answer that Mom...). Anyway, so after Ross nixed the timer, I called a rabbi friend and mentor of ours, and after much deliberation, he said that he thought it would be permissible, but only if we disengaged the lock mechanism. The problem with this is that the lock mechanism is a safety feature, without which, kids could open the machine mid-cycle, and china and sharp knives could go flying across the room. So we never did it.
Now that we are in Israel, we have friends who just purchased a new dishwasher, and I'll be darned if it didn't have a Shabbat timer on it!!! This is Israel, folks. We can do anything we want. We can change daylight savings at a different time of the year from the rest of the civilized world just so our Yom Kippur fast will end earlier, and by golly we can have Shabbat timers on our dishwashers! How does it work? The secret is, rather then disengaging the safety lock all the time, there is a special Shabbat switch that allows you to disengage it only on Shabbat for the sole purpose of having it run at midnight that one time. Granted, if there is a family with kids who will wake up at midnight and go open the dishwasher, it is ours, but we're taking our chances! So of course,as I am purchasing all new appliances anyway, I decided I had to have THAT dishwasher.
But it's more complicated than that. See, there is not a special dishwasher available. Rather, there is an organization that will come install the device onto an already existing dishwasher. There seem to be only 2 models to which this can be done properly, and one buys the machine, and then a guy from the organization comes out to your house to install it. Unfortunately, however, they are not prepared to travel all the way out to where we are. I asked if there is anything that can be done, and he said that he has a relationship with a store near him. He could install the device into a machine at the store, and then they would deliver the machine to me. I called the store, and he explained that there are 2 machines-- one really excellent, and one substantially less so for not much cheaper. So I said we'll take the excellent one. He said we should just know that it is "half integrated ("chetzi integrali?"). I askedwhat that means, and he said it doesn't come with a door. I asked why on earth a dishwasher wouldn't come with a door. He explained that people get this kind when they want it to match their kitchen, so they have their builder or designer create the door to match the rest of the room. Fair enough. I asked what I could do, and he said I could buy a door from him separately. So OK, we'll take the door. Is that the only difference? Yes-- basically (he tells me).
So the machine arrives last Thursday, and like with the washing machine, I am not allowed to touch the thing until the service guy comes to install it. So it sits in its box in the kitchen for a week (makes a nice counter top), and the guy arrives today (same guy as the washing machine, as a matter of fact). He takes one look at the box in the corner, and he says, "I think you have made a big mistake." Why? The machine is chetzi-integralli. Yeah, I know that, but I bought a door! But he explains that the whole machine is designed to be installed into a counter. He opens the box to explain. The machine is completely bald. Like they built it, but didn't have time to put the top on, or ran out of materials or something. You can see some of the hardware and pipes (though not enough for it to be really cool -- like if you could actually watch the machine working, like the donut machine a Krispy Kreme Donuts).
So it's got a door, but it is naked and exposed on top (I am sure we will accidentally drop something down there, like a playmobile toy, or like on Seinfeld when Kramer accidentally dropped a junior mint into the guy who was having open heart surgery-- remember that?), AND it is totally unstable, because it is meant to be attached to something. So if you open the drawers, the whole machine tips forward!
But we are nothing if not survivors! So I put the big slab of cardboard from the box it came in on top of the machine, and then I hurled an unpacked box of books on top, against the back, to stabilize it, and we washed our first load of dishes!!!! Testing the Shabbat timer as I am writing!!!! Woo hoo!!!! So now that the crisis is over, we have time to think through our next step. I'll be sure to keep you posted (unless you change your email address, or maybe even move and leave no forwarding address, to avoid further detailed messages about purchasing appliances...). Is appliance purchasing this big of an adventure for everybody?
What else can I tell y'all? Ross is getting settled into his work. He had a great week. He had his first class with the American students, and he loved it! He also figured out that to get in good with them, all he needs to do is serve fresh fruit. Apparently the budget does not allow a regular supply of fresh fruit and fruit juice. Where is that fund raiser when you need him? Maybe Ross can get someone to donate money for fruit, if we mark the peels with names-- "this clementine im memory of my darling clementine...."
The kids are still doing great in school, and they are all really excited about the kids programming on kibbutz. It is a special month for B'nei Akiva, and they are all psyched up for it! And we are hosting the lower school kiddush after shul this week. Dirt will be served!
Last Shabbat Abaye was invited out at 9:00 at night, and he returned at 9:45 with 4 older girls in tow (Shai's age?-- BTW, Shai would have been invited too but he was already asleep...). They sat on the floor drinking and playing cards. If you are going to hang out with older women drinking and playing cards, it should be at home where your parents can keep an eye on you, right? Just kidding-- it was REALLY cute!
This Shabbat we are hosting guests for the second time in a row. We are having a family, who one of their sons is one of Abaye's best friends, a couple of guys from the Yeshiva, and our friend Maddy, who we met in Baltimore just before we moved here (she lives here, but her mom lives there, and she summers there to help take care of her mom) and who set us up by giving me a big scarf (she expressed that the synagogue is freezing and all the women have them), and strongly suggesting that we reconsider our decision to not purchase an air conditioner (one of the best reconsiderings we have ever done!!!) So I guess she is responsible for keeping me warm AND keeping us cool! Thanks Maddy! (I think she sometimes reads these...).
I think that's about all I have to report. I think I have added enough so that it doesn't seem that this entire email is about a stupid dishwasher, right? Though that last sentence isn't helping....
Have a good night/morning/afternoon and a Shabbat Shalom!