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Sponga, Israeli art of floor mopping
car reading
Sponga is one of the strongest Israeli traditions. It makes no difference between religious and secular, poor or rich, educated or illiterate. The tradition holds its place somewhere between candle lighting and August trips to Eilat.

For the first time in my life I took part in the real sponga festival in kibbutz. Rachely, the metapelet of the day care, sent all the little ones outside to play in the sandbox. The radio was blasting the "Mashina" hit of the mid-90s: "Anna - gomeret - bereva - sha'a..." She handed me a huge mopping stick and shouted: "Anna? At gomeret?????" Tons of water was splashed on the floor and the sponging began. Sinse then whenever the sponging takes place, I sing the same song and hear Rachely's loud voice: "At GOMERET????"

The secret of sponga is in the water splashing. Before that all furniture is moved out of the way, so the house looks like we just moved in. The big bucket full of water and floor soap is put in the middle of the room. The sticks are ready. The dry shmata is peeking from the balcony. Slowly the bucket goes up and ... SLASH! The water should reach the darkest corners. No robomop will dream of going there. Touching the water with the bare feet gives more pleasure that any foot massage. The water covers the whole room floor, absorbing dust, crumbs from yesterday cake and heat. The floor gets cool and gentle. Children, who were told to stay in the room and not to come out by no means, ran out of their room to jump in the water. One of them always slips and falls on the bottom. When children are back in safe, the water is pushed towards the closest balcony. There it reaches the hole in the floor and falls outside on the grass, stones and neighbor's laundry.

Now, when all the water is down it is very important to go over the floor with the dry shmata (cloth). I learned that trick from the Israeli drama "Shabatot Ve Chagim". "Ze lo hityabesh tov", said NOT real cleaning lady on the show. I believed her; the trick of drying never fails.

The water is fought out and the floors are dry. It is time to move the tables, chairs and cabinets in their places. The floor feels naked clean, it smells purple flowers and you can practically eat of it. Enjoying the accomplishment, you proceed to other chores.

I believe sponging is one of the steps to becoming a real Israeli. I haven't seen an Israeli who dislikes sponga. Sponga is sacred, important part of Shabbat preparation. Sponga is an art.

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well... maybe.... but I ain't moving furniture, that's for sure. and my husband is most definitely not moving it either. the closest I get to your description is when doing the floor in the kitchen and on the balcony. as far as the rest of the house goes - it's good old mop and rag.
now you can tell me I'll never become a real Israeli:)))

you sound like my mother. are you related?
sleeping under the stars outside netivot counts for two sponging. you'll get there.

ok, if you say so:))) I think next week I'll get even more brownie points:)))

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