Because no synagogues exist here - not surprising given it's 95% Muslim ;+}
Tonight, Tuesday - Sept 28th, is Rosh Hashanah and I wish all my friends and family whether you celebrate this Jewish Holiday or not - L'Shana Tova - May you continue to be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good and sweet year.". I think it's actually a very non-denominational message so why not spread the word to all.
A dear college friend of mine, Sheila (who is a reader of the blog), took some time to do a google search for me and discovered there was another Jewish woman here last year in search of a 'home for the holiday's' - so Sheila passed along her story and suggested I contact the Israeli Embassy - of which they have one here in Dakar just a stones throw from our apartment. On Monday I sent an e-mail around 10:00 a.m. - asking for some guidance with regards to celebrating the holiday. I heard nothing all day Monday or Tuesday so today - I decided to actually see if I could make any headway by going over to the Embassy itself. With a little help - I was pointed to the correct building - that one would never know it was there - but at least 5 Senegalese military smiling, talking and laughing with each other outside in front - as this building I think had a variety of 'important offices' in it. I went to the desk and spoke with the non-descript security guard standing at the side of the desk. I explained that I was an American (and Jewish) and trying to find out about the holiday. He acknowledged he knew of it - even called it out by name - but said he was not Jewish and the office was closing early for the holiday. He asked if I had my passport and I said not with me because truth is - I did not want it with me. I wanted him to understand I needed to be comfortable walking to the building and staying on course without being "redirected by others offering their help" - for more on this see --> "Do the Hustle" and keeping my passport safely at home. And he understood. I told him I could easily go back home to get it and return now that I had my bearings. However I did have another identity card with me (from the Institut Francais) that at least showed my photo and name - I suppose giving him some comfort to ask me a few more questions about where I lived and who I was working for with an attempt to try and see how to get me past him and onto the elevator. I explained my purpose of living here for a year. I mentioned I had sent an e-mail to the Embassy but had heard nothing back. Email responsiveness is not a high priority here I think. I spoke enough French and he understood enough English for us to get through this question/answer exercise - providing my name (of which we got off to good start)- as he then said - "Eelaree, as in "Eelaree Clinton" - me - "Oui". Then I provided Manning's name with the attempt to say married Americans sometimes have different last names, where I live in Dakar and a few other details of who we were going to volunteer with. At that point he he makes a call, not only was talking with his cell phone but on occasion speaking into a small microphone just under his shirt near his collar bone. After all the polite interrogation - and a few calls passing on the spelling of my name and Manning's - and obviously talking to someone - he proceeds to tell me "sorry, you are not on the list" - at that point I thought - wow - at least there is a possible list to be on - whatever that could possibly mean. He actually felt bad and said he was sorry - suggested that for next weeks holiday (Yom Kippur) - I send my e-mail earlier (which I have since done!).
Happy New Year to you! And may I be inscribed onto the Embassy List next week. I'll keep you posted.