Sunday, August 28, 2016

Hi All,

I’ve been here for almost 2 months now. Things are going well. I’ve been busy with the summer term, which is now over, and classes for the fall semester just started. I’ll be moving from 2 classes to about 8, and even though some of those are only half semester credits, it feels like a large increase in assignments and responsibility.

In addition to classes there are also programs, tiyuls (trips), and seminars geared towards increasing our knowledge, appreciation, and awareness of Israeli history, society, and politics. I look forward to all of these different kinds of courses, and to learning on different levels. We’re split up depending upon the class by Hebrew level or historical knowledge, but all of the faculty are great, so wherever one ends up, the semester promises to be engaging.

My classmates are good people, and I get along with all of them. Studying for this last semester’s Biblical History final exam, we really came together. I attended multiple study groups where everyone contributed information and people took turns explaining material to each other until we all felt comfortable with it. We’ve also bonded over orientation, built community guidelines, and enjoyed a spectacular talent show that included singing, a duo of green grape toss-to-mouth-catching, and juggling knives.

The fun doesn’t stop there: there’s also a constant chance of finding new and/or deeper connections to others within the Jewish community. One of the Rabbis that I worked with at University of Michigan Hillel from 2001-2 now leads the NFTY in Israel program, with offices in HUC (my school) here in Jerusalem.  Also, a classmate and I figured out that I know one of her cousins from summer camp and college. He married the sister of a friend of mine from high school youth group. Lastly, a visitor from Geiger, the German Rabbinical school, and I became friends when he visited HUC earlier this month, and now I have a place to stay in Berlin, where I hope to travel after this academic year is over.

            Hope this post finds all of you well.

            Best wishes,