Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year from Tel Aviv Everyone!

I just wrapped up my first Kesher Birthright Fellowship, as Shabbat has ended here. The group was great, even though I only got to work with them for 25hours. My role was to represent HUC, speak with whomever was interested in learning more about our school, give the dvar Torah (commentary and interpretation) on Friday, and to help with a program on Saturday. I really enjoyed being able to be a part of the group, watching the talent show, and helping with the naming ceremony, where those who haven’t already gotten a Hebrew name choose one for themselves. A great experience all the way around

I plan to celebrate New Years with family friends here in Tel Aviv, then head back to Jerusalem on Sunday.

Speaking of celebrations, I’m enjoying the break after finals ended.  They went pretty well – I’ll find out my grades upon my return on Jan. 8th.  Looking forward to this next semester, many of the classes will continue: Modern Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew Grammar, Liturgy (the words of the prayers), Khazal (the commentary of the Rabbis), and Israel Seminar.  There will be a couple more semester or half-semester classes added on, but those above are the main courses.

Over break I saw “Rogue One,” which I really enjoyed – however, the joy from this movie is lessened by the death of Carrie Fisher (who played Princess Leia, in movies IV, V, VI, and VII).

We also lost George Michael, singer of “Careless Whisper,” during his time in the group Wham. That song was the first one that ever grabbed me off the radio, and inspired me to buy my first cassette tape. They were both influential figures, who remain with me. May their memories be a blessing.

2016 was a hard and tough year in a lot of ways, but during it, I prepared for starting HUC, officiated my friends Leigh Anne and Willis’s wedding, finished up working at UPenn after many years, celebrated, packed up, stored a bunch of stuff (thanks to all my family currently holding onto boxes for me), and moved to Israel. Summer and Fall semesters both proved memorable and enjoyable. I really value getting to know my new colleagues and professors, and look forward to working with them during the upcoming years of learning and beyond.

Best wishes to you for a happy, healthy New Year, and for all the best for you and your families during 2017.



Friday, December 2, 2016

I’m reading Torah tomorrow, and since I’ve got to practice, this post proves too short, however, I write at least.

It rains here in Jerusalem, the first heavy rains of the season, so people feel relieved. It’s windy and cold and wet, but that’s winter in Jerusalem.

The Torah portion I’m reading tomorrow, from Toldot, Genesis 27:41-45, is the same one from my Bar Mitzvah, so it’s great to be reading an anniversary of that milestone. I actually just turned 39, so it’s a triple Bar Mitzvah, and a year after the 25th anniversary. Strange – it doesn’t feel like so much time passed.

Final exams and papers approach, so this proves a busy time of year.

I hope all is well with all of you.