Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shabbat shabooty

Hey World,

Happy Sunday! The crazy heatwave is continuing in Jerusalem, but at least we now have air conditioning at school. Oy!

So lots happened this weekend, where to begin...

As usual I went to the Shuk on Friday. It was actually less crowded this week. It was weird, but nice. I didn't have to push my way through all the obnoxious American tour groups. Maybe this is because it's the end of tourist season, or maybe because it was CRAZY hot and so no one wanted to leave their houses.

One exciting thing happened at the shuk. I was there with my friend who wears a kippah and tefillin (and is a woman). This is usually either really confusing to people here or makes them angry (from what I've witnessed, although I don't wear them so I'm no expert). Anyways we were in a store together and she is paying and the guy at the counter has this realization and asks in Hebrew "Oh are you guys reform?" It was exciting that we were recognized for who we are without having to explain. So I guess the word is getting out. Sweet.

One reflection on this is that in Israel and America reform Judaism seems to have two different connotations or stereotypes. In America the common stereotype of Reform Judaism is "Judaism Lite" or Reform Judaism is for people who don't really want to do anything. This is NOT TRUE, but this is the stereotype in America, or at least the one I have encountered the most.

In Israel a Reform Jew is just strange. A Reform Jew is not a secular Jew here, because there is a big population of proud secular Jews who will go to orthodox congregations on the high holidays or maybe not. To be Reform here is more obviously a choice, and while a lot of Israelis don't seem to understand the reasoning behind it/just think we are crazy or ruining Judaism or whatever, Reform Judaism here does not carry the same connotations. Did I explain that poorly? I tried...just something interesting I noticed.

So for shabbat I went to services at shira hadasha again and then to a lovely shabbat dinner. I played and seriously won some Jewish geography. Now that I've had my feet in both the conservative and reform worlds I can play a mean game of Jewish geography. I even found out that I was eating with a friend from college's brother. crazy.

The rest of shabbat was very restful. I went to services at HUC as is required and then went to a shabbat lunch. I think observing shabbat the way I do will really help keep me semi-sane this year haha. I love just having the time to hang out with people and talk with them without having to worry about not doing your homework (because I don't do it on shabbat anyway) or worry about someone calling you or whatever.

I also took a 3 hour nap, which was AMAZING! I love my shabbat naps, of course I need to work on getting more sleep so I don't take such epically long naps.

As usual I had my chevruta talmud study. We got into some weird stuff this time. There was one section talking about this seven year famine that was predicted in either Isaiah or Jeremiah (I don't have the tractate in front of me because I leave it at my friends). The rabbis of the talmud asked the question of how did the people survive during the famine? What did they eat? Then it goes through what they ate each year. By year 4 they are eating unkosher meat, then year 5 super unkosher meat (unkosher meat that they found already dead, ewww roadkill) then year 6 they ate EACH OTHER, and year 7 they ate their descendents. EWWWWWWWWW. or mmm cannibalism? Weird weird weird. Seriously people there is some crazy stuff in the Talmud. It's not just arguments about law. (for those following at home I think this was on 5a of ta'anit)

For havdallah/ a send off of our summer interns who have been helping us get adjusted to HUC life, we gathered in a lovely park. I have really gotten to look forward to these. It's nice to get a large group together and sing songs and hang out. The large group of us singing usually attracts attention. Some tourists usually come over and ask where we are from, etc. This time we had a whole family (of Muslims I think) come and join us, which was cool. The mother of the family (I think) stood up and said how she thought our singing was beautiful and thanked us for letting her join. Little things like this really make me happy, if more times people could be accepting of other religions think of how much better the world would be. I was happy she felt her and her family could join and that everyone in our group was welcoming to her.

After havdallah a group of us went to a David Broza concert. It was AMAZING!!!!! David Broza is this popular Israeli singer who is super duper talented on guitar. A group of us managed to get pretty close to the stage (maybe 20 ft away) so you could see how well he could play his guitar. It was insane. I'm a pretty big David Broza fan so it was fun to sing along to his songs with everyone else.

He did a lot of songs that seemed to be inspired by latin music or that were partially in Spanish. He also had a woman on stage who played violin/flaminco danced. She was friggin badass, I had a hard time deciding who to watch between her and David Broza. I'm also obsessed with the dress she was wearing. It was beautiful. (Yes I'm mad I forgot my camera). If you have the chance to see David Broza perform, do it!!!

Man oh Man. So this concert was in conjunction with this HUGE crafts fair called hutzot hayotzer which happens once a year in Jerusalem. They have a concert pretty much every night with some pretty awesome Israeli artists. I will be going back on Tuesday for Mosh Ben Ari, who I also love. And maybe even Saturday for Ivri Lider.

After the concert a few of us pretended that it was an American saturday night and went out. Too bad I had class today haha. It was fun though. I'm still young so I can still pull of staying out late, so why not :-)

So today after class I had a meeting for my terumah aka community service project. I am working with netzer olami which is the world wide reform Jewish, zionistic youth movement. I am super excited. I am hoping to teach a class or do some type of informal education with the kids from around the world who will be coming to Israel for a gap year. More to come on this.

So yeah life is still good. I am definitely missing home though. Right now the idea that I will be here til May is very daunting. Obviously I am happy here, but it would be nice to go home for a little at the half way point. If only I were rich. Along with the people I miss, I also really miss 1. salsa and 2. morningstar veggie burgers. The veggie burgers aka veggie schnitzel just doesn't compare.

Well I need to finish some HW. woot.


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