Oh what a week…

Wow, school is in full gear, homework is plentiful, extracurriculars are fun! I write this as I enter crunch time before Shabbat. I have an hour an a half before I need to light my candles and leave so that I will make it to shul in time for services and a fantastic dinner with friends. Let me just say one more time for the record how lucky I am to have made the friends I have made here in Israel, and in general. Whenever I am sad, they make me laugh, when I am stressed out, they make me chill out, and when I’m hungry, they make me find time to eat. I love my friends. They make me smile in the morning when I wake up to their messages, smile when I look at pictures of us, and feel loved when I feel lonely. I could go on!!

School is going well, I am finally finding ways to take notes in English with a Hebrew lecture, and eventually I think I will switch to Hebrew. I am slowly figuring out how to manage my time with my 10 classes and other learning obligations. My days are packed, and intellectualyl stimulating! I am learning so much already and it is only the second week. I have found classes I like, that are small, have wonderful teachers, and a good subject matter. I am on the student leadership committee in charge of planning our trips, ice breakers and other events as well as representing my classmates from Ziegler in various meetings. I am also working on other ways to connect to the land and the Masorti movement. I am happy, I am safe, and I am alive!! Below are some random things that I have been doing/had on my mind:
1. Swiffer wet Jet: I am wondering why Swiffer hasn’t made their way to Israel yet. You see, carpeting is not really common in Israel, so the floors are in need of constant mopping or, the common squeegy in Israel. You pour water on the flour, then with a squeegy and a cloth, mop the floors. This is quite a hastle, and not so much fun. Swiffer would be so much easier… One of these days!
2. Last shabbat was Parshat Noach, the flood among other things. So, as we’re reading about the rain, the waters, the skies actually opened up and we had very heavy and cold rains for a few days. How amazing, that the weather actualyl matches the seasons in the Torah. It is quite incredible to be praying for rain, literally, just beginning to say the prayer for the rainy season, and as if on command, Rains pour forth from the heavens. It was an incredible experience ot have, rain in Jerusalem, feeling the intense connection between the seasons, the prayer cycle and the torah cycle. The only time this was not fun was last Sunday when it conveniently began to pour when we needed to walk to school in the morning. My lucky rainboots kept my feet warm and try, but the rest of me, and my books was soaked. It was quite uncomfortable to be sitting in services, dripping wet, we all were a bit uncomfortable. lucky for me, my roommate had not yet left the house when I did, so I was able to call her half way up my mountaineous walk to school and ask her to bring me dry pants… SCORE!
3. Duchening. Duchening is when the Cohanim, the priests bless the congregation with the priestly benediction, Numbers 6:24-26. Outside of Israel, if this is done, it is mostly done on the three pilgrimage festivals. In Jerusalem, it is done every day if there is a Cohen in the house. Lucky for me, there is almost always a cohen around to give the blessing. I have to admit, I am a little bit uncomfortable with the ritual. I enjoy receiving the blessing, however, the rituals that surround it come from temple time,s and it is a bit out of place in the rest of our service. I guess I’ll either become more comfortable with it as the year goes on, or just learn to let it go. This past week, I lead Shacharit at school on my Grammy’s yahrtzeit, and the Cohen was in the house, so I had to do the priestly blessing. As I called out the words, and he repeated them to us as the congregation, i felt a moment of peace, of tranquility. I guess it’s not so bad. And sometiems, I close my eyes and image my parent’s hands on my head on friday nights at home, blessing me, and returning the blessing to them. Or, I hear my CPE colleagues from this summer, and feel the love, warmth and support that they have given me, and I miss them.
4. Laughing: I have noticed that my Ziegler classmates and I seem to do a lot of laughing in school and out of school. We make jokes, we find things to laugh about, and make sure to have at least one good strong laugh a day I think this is part of what keeps us so happy, so alive, so sane as we make our way through the week. Laughing is good, make me laugh!
5. Boogie: Last night i went to Boogie, a sort of club that meets every other thursday in the gym of a youth center on Emek Refaim. For 45 NIS, there is unlimited dancing until all hours of the night, with music from around the world, and people from around the world. It was so great to get my boogie on, have fun, meet new people, get to know my new JTS classmates, and enjoy the variety and beauty of the world. I highly recommend it to anyone in Jerusalem when it happens. It’s a great way to burn energy, burn calories and have an incredible time!
6. Integration: recently, i realized how so many pieces of my life have become entertwined recently. The puzzle pieces don’t just lock in next to one another, but they also lock in with each and every one. They are very versitile. People from many different stages of my life have recently re-entered, and each time, it helps me realize how much i have grown, how much I have done, and how wonderful life is. My journey to rabbinical school was a winding one, fileld with many twists and turns, and until the other day when I was learning with TaShma (i’ll tell you that in a minute), i hadn’t thought about how it might have changed since i’ve been in Rab school, but alas, i think it has. The core element of my family is the same, and the basic steps are there, but I think i just reflect on it all differently now.
7. TaShma: I am involved in an interdenominational Jewish learning community through TaShma and project STAR (Synagogue transformation and renewal). We just began the program, but the 20 or so of us from all denominations of Judaism have come together, told our stories and learned. I think this will be an incredible opportunity for me, and I am very much looking forward to the 10 remaining sessions throughout the year!

And that wraps it up. May this Shabbat be good to you, and you good to it. May you find your place in this crazy world we live in, and find yourself. May we all be blessed with God’s embrace, and may God spread over us, his/her shelter of peace!

One thought on “Oh what a week…

  1. Matt November 4, 2006 / 5:19 pm

    Regarding #5 – Thank you for the recommendation but I don’t think I’ll be Boogie-ing anytime soon!


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