Yehis grandfather passed away last week (BDE), so I have spent the last week experiencing another first here in Israel... the mourning process. Yehis father and his siblings have been sitting shiva all week at his grandparents house, and we went by every day to visit. Like in the states, people stopped by throughout the day to visit and share their condolences. Every night a hundred + people would show up for the evening service. On the last night they had 300+ people. I know that Yehis grandfather was well respected in the community, but he had been sick for 10+ years. It amazes me that that many people were willing to take the time out of their week to share in the sadness and the memories.
Here in Israel it is also customary to bury the dead as soon as possible. Yehi's grandfather passed away last shabbat in the afternoon, and the funeral was that night at 11pm. It was the first time i had ever been to a funeral at midnight... kind of a creepy experience. But again, I was amazed that only 3 hours after shabbat ended, 100 people were there to celebrate in his memory and share their grief. Israelis really understand the need for community, and will drop everything to help out. We never wanted for food all week... though the heat was a bit stressful.
The week of sitting shiva is over now, so things are starting to head back to being normal... i know it is hard for yehis family, but I am glad I was here to show my support.