A follow-up to "Chop wood. Carry water. Kvetch." A new community circling a new star would eventually have new traditions and even add new holidays, based on events relevant to their community...


Little kids in Newer York start out hearing tales about the Rebbe and the Admiral who built our city, that make it sound like the two of them did it, all by themselves, with their bare hands and their teeth and the occasional break for a nosh, and not much else.

Of course, it was never anywhere near that simple. They had a lot of help. Thirteen thousand people, give or take a few, made Starfall aboard Dream of Spring, only to find the system we had chosen--had been, many of us believed, led to by G-d Herself--was rich in every resource we could possibly want except for one: breathable air.

Every single one of us was already used to the idea that we had to work together to keep the Spring together. She'd been built well, but nobody had ever built a ship to do what this ship did, or to last as long as this ship had to last--and now, as it turned out, at least a little bit longer. Our little community had been traveling for 297 years, relative time. You don't travel that long in a closed ecosystem without learning a few tricks for getting along, getting over yourself, and getting down to work to solve your problems.

So before the building had come the mourning. The Rebbe never actually called it a shiva, for that would have implied that something, someone, had died. But, for those who had genuinely longed to breathe uncanned air on solid ground, despite having never known either, it was exactly like that. The Rebbe felt that needed to be accepted. Even for the majority, who turned out to have been kind-of skittish about the whole idea of living on a big ball of rock without anything holding them in, it was an adjustment. Even non-believers, like the Admiral, agreed that there was room to grieve what could have been before fully facing what was.

So, Dream of Spring mourned, after a fashion, and then, as was traditional for us then, as now, after the mourning, we got on with it. The founders had thought through the bootstrap phase our colony would face, and had provided a plan, which had been periodically rehearsed. Spring relocated itself outward from the fourth planet--the one we'd set our hopes on--to the inner asteroid belt. We went to work, mining, smelting, forging, building.

Soon, we had our first new habitat, more a proof of concept than a new home in and of itself. Still, about 300 people moved there, to allow one of the creakier sections of Spring be closed down, eventually to be refurbished. They called it New Anatevka, a joke from so long ago that few understood it. It was a cranky proposition to keep it going, but somehow, despite mishaps, not a single person died from starvation, or asphyxiation, or radiation, or any of the other things that space habitats were generally agreed to be intended to prevent killing people. Everything that did go wrong, was a lesson to be learned in building the next one.

And build we did. Another, larger factory. Then, the big experiment, a separate habitat for agriculture, whose success allowed another section of Spring to be given a bit of a break, and get some refurbishment, without anyone going hungry. Then, finally, a larger replacement for New Anatevka, large enough for more people, allowing both the creaky prototype, and another habitat section of Spring, to be shut down.

Success begat success, but more importantly, failure did, too, as we learned not to make the same mistakes, twice. Only twice did failure imperil the whole community.

One was a mechanical failure--a rupture on one of what were then three farming stations, killing the entire crop and about half the farmers and their families. Every year, at the feast of Sukkot, even now, we remember the loss even as we celebrate the traditional season of the harvest. The years after that were much leaner than any we had known.

The tensions caused by this led to the second failure, the human failure. You see, when we speak of the ways we pulled together, it's never to say there were no conflicts, no issues, no violent outbursts of temper and frustration, no tragedies. All of those things occurred. People--even people who have been raised over several generations with an ethos of living together with a maximum of consciousness and integrity and empathy--are still people. There are wise, there are wicked, there are simple, and there are those that don't yet know how to ask the question.

There were those who had never fully reconciled themselves to the idea of building their new home in space. Insisting that the fourth planet was the option G-d had intended, a small band of rebels attempted to start an uprising. It was inevitable, really, and it had been planned for, as far as one can plan for such a thing. The Admiral was known for thinking several steps ahead of others, and had seen this coming. Even now, some call her a prophet, granted insight by G-d, but the Admiral herself always insisted she was just a woman who kept her eyes, and her mind, open.

The Rebbe, of course, had also foreseen it, had expected it, in fact, much earlier. He also had to admit, as he did in his final sermon, that the responsibility was ultimately his own. "I was so certain, you see? As was my predecessor, and his, and hers, and hers, and so on back to the beginning of the Journey. And I am still certain, truly certain, we were led here, by G-d, for a reason. It's just not the reason we thought it was!"

And so the Rebbe went to the rebels, unarmed and unafraid, to try to find a way, for while he is remembered as the Rebbe, few remember that he had also been the Navigator.

But the rebels were too far gone in anger, as rebels often are. Had they merely refused to accept the Admiral's plan, well, perhaps there might have been a way to accommodate everyone's needs. The Admiral and the Rebbe both still intended that there should be a planetary settlement, after all, even if it had to be in domes as air-tight as any space habitat, to learn what could be done to make Fourth a place where people could live more openly.

But the rebels listened to their anger, and did the one thing that could not be forgiven, lashing out at the Rebbe, and leaving him dead on the deck.

The wrath of our community was terrible to behold, for believers and non-believers alike. The Rebbe was not just a spiritual guide; he was a man of the community, an example of what made it work, what would continue to make it work all the years that have passed since that day. He was loved, and he was mourned, and then, when shiva was done, the community, angry as it was, did what it always does: it got on with things.

The rebels got what they wanted, but not the way they wanted it. Thirty one were identified as leaders, and these were sentenced to exile. They were given equipment--with asteroids galore and factories running full-tilt, the community had materiel to spare--to build their domes and grow their food, and build their machines to convert the air outside to air they could breathe in inside their domes. Then, given this last gift, they were sent away.

From that day, until this, there has been little contact, and little is known but what can be seen through the clouds. No doubt they, too, tell a story to their children, of how they were the wise ones, cast out by the wicked and foolish.

We who remained, remember. We remember what we did to build our City of Stations. We remember that we are a community, dedicated to building our future. In every generation, we are bound to remember as if we ourselves were present.

-- From the Seder of the Founding, 17th ed., 153 After Starfall