Saturday, October 30, 2010

saturday night, woo

Hey World,

So I know I owe you a blog post, but I'm not feeling super inspired. Not that much happened that I feel the need to report on...

My Talmud class on Tuesday was great, one of these days I will get on top of my sh*t and write about what I'm learning, but for now I will leave you in suspense :-)

I had a nice shabbat. I had to go to services at HUC and I found that I really missed davening at the places I usually go. I hosted a shabbat dinner which was fun, and it typically Becca/Jew style I made wayyyyyyyyy too much food, so then I had a left-overs lunch also.

This shabbat dinner marked my triumphant return to cooking after the fire. I hadn't used the stove since that fateful day where I almost burned down the apartment. It was a little scary at certain points, like when one of the burners flared up a little when I lit it, but overall it was ok. I feel good about it.

This week I saw two people I hadn't seen in YEARS, one from an adult ed Hebrew class I took in HS who I ran into at yad vashem and another friend from NFTY. Israel and especially Jerusalem are great for getting back in touch with people you haven't seen in a while or just running into them.

It's weird that halloween is coming up because there is NO evidence of it here. There are no store displays with pumpkins or aisles of halloween candy or halloween costumes being sold. I can't say I'm upset about it because 1. we get 2 days of Purim in March which are gonna be way better than halloween and 2. I went to a costume party on THursday so I still got to wear my dumb costume.

Routine has set in. My four month "anniversary" is on November 1st. I have been in classes for a while now, and have been with my classmates for longer. We were told that this time of year is the hardest time for the students, but no one really believed that until we got here. It is hard. Also we don't have any breaks at all during the month of November. Oy. I definitely feel like this year is a rollercoaster, or maybe just a sine-curve (yay math) so I'm up and I'm down, along with everyone else. I still am happy that I'm here, I just feel worn down. But that was this week, so since a new week just started maybe everything will be different.

Well I'm getting back to work, blahhhh.

Shavua tov!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

American Sunday?

Hey World,

So today we had a day off of school to let us recover from the trip up north. It was pretty sweet to have an American Sunday so I made sure I used my time well and went to the mall. The malcha mall in Jerusalem is pretty big, I think it's the biggest mall in Israel, or one of the biggest, I dunno. I got an AMAZING pair of shoes, I am obsessed.

So just now there was a little excitement on my street. As usual there was a traffic jam outside my window, but the cars were honking worse than usual, so I went outside to take a look. There was a total gridlock outside and no one was moving so my roommate and I went outside to check out what was going on. Outside on King george st a section of the street had been blocked off by police cars, we also heard a few loud noises, I think gun shots? No cars or people were allowed to go on the section of king george in front of the great synagogue.

After a few minutes of standing outside the street slowly opened up again and they just kept the sidewalk closed on the side of the great synagogue. When we walked by the great synagogue to get a closer look and try and figure out what happened we saw a robot thing, I think it is one of those bomb disabling robots. My guess is that there was a suspicious object in front of the great synagogue so they had to block everything off to take care of it and make sure it wasn't anything that would be able to harm people. Welcome to Israel?

To be honest throughout the whole ordeal I felt very safe. The precautions that were taken to make sure that no one got hurt were very reassuring to me. Even though I don't think the suspicious object was actually anything that could hurt someone it was good to see how they handled it. Considering how many bomb threats/suspicious objects that happen around America or in airports it didn't really get to me so much. It was just crazy to be so close to all the action.

What else (l'havdil)...I had a nice, relaxing shabbat. On friday night I went to services at Yakar which I really enjoyed. It was my first time davening there and it was great, my biggest complaint was that it was super hot. At yakar they have upstairs and downstairs davening. Upstairs (I think) is where the young people go, so we went up there. It is kind of in the style of shira hadasha with lots of singing, but I don't think women can lead kabbalat shabbat at yakar like they can at shira hadasha, but I'm not positive. Definitely had good spirit, I can dig. I'm sure I will be going back there again, it's just pretty far.

I had some lovely shabbat meals, so thanks to everyone who hosted/were there and being awesome.

Yeah that's about it. I guess I should go do some homework now.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Northern Tiyul...

Hey World,

So yeah I got back last night from 3 days up north with school. It was an interesting time. I don't even know what to say haha. It was really different being with all the people from school outside of school and for like 24 hours a day each day. The tiyul kind of felt like a birthright trip or something of the sort. While it was a little overwhelming at times (I am very much into alone time every now and then) I do feel like I bonded with some of my classmates more which was nice.

So we left super early on Tuesday morning and headed up somewhere. I am so bad at place names. Since it was really hot out (heat wave!) some of the programming was changed around so we wouldn't all die. The overarching theme of the trip was halutzim (pioneers). This term halutzim is very loaded here in Israel and is what the people who first came to Israel and helped to settle the land were called. Many were Jews from Europe who came and worked the land and helped to establish the state. I could go on, but I won't.

Anyways we talked a lot about pioneers both of the past and also modern day pioneers. One place we went to, which was actually technically in Jordan, was the "Island of Peace" which is basically this failed hydro-electric plant. The Island is rented out by Israel every 75 years or so and people from nearby kibbutzim work there. The guy who made it (I'm a fail and don't remember his name) did so because he wanted to help make Israel better and use the water to create power. Now all there is are very interesting (not) tours. But hey at the end of the day we got fake passport things as souvenirs, and they are pretty cool. They even have a real life stamp that says we were there OMGGGGG

Next we went to the Kinneret cemetery. This is a special cemetery for people who helped in the beginning of the Kibbutz movement, very much halutzim. The cemetery was really pretty and it was nice to walk around. There are a bunch of Israel's "greats" buried there such as the poet rachel and nomi shemer, also Moshe Hess who was the originator of the zionist ideal, along with many others. We spoke about how hard it was in the beginning to be here and how many people died, and a lot of those deaths were suicides (I think our guide said like 1 in 10). These were the people "drying up the swamp" in Israel which means many also died of malaria.

After that we went to our hotel and got to swim a little, since is was right on the kinneret. The place we stayed was actually the same place I stayed on my nfty summer Israel trip like 6 years ago, so it was pretty weird for me. I kept having little flashbacks to what I did at the hotel wayy back in the day. It was nice though so no complaints. I also liked their breakfast.

That day we also heard this guy Muki Tsur (I think that's how you spell it) speak. He was a great speaker! He was one of the founding members of the kibbutz movement. He said a lot of interesting things. One thing he mentioned was how the generation that lived to see Israel become a country really treasured Israel as such and felt that Israel's existence was/is a miracle. On the other hand the youth now who were not around for the same hardships are going to accept Israel's existence as fact and will not fight for Israel the same way the previous generation did. I guess this can be seen in Israel today, but at the same time we did see (will elaborate later in this post) younger Israelis working to improve the conditions in Israel. He also spoke about the kibbutz movement. Everyone these days says ohh the kibbutz movement isn't what it used to be, but he pointed out people have been saying that since 1912, 3 years after the movement was started (at kibbutz deganya). He also talked a lot about trumpledore, he seemed like a bamf.

That night we also had a program on Yitzhak Rabin, a former Israeli prime minister who was assassinated. It was the anniversary of his death on Tuesday, so we spoke about him and about how his death was experienced by different people in Israel. As usual everything is more complicated and nuanced than it seems, but it was really informative to hear people talk about what it was like to be in Israel when everything was happening. I can't imagine it. I was also about 7 years old when it happened and all I remember is going to my synagogue to watch a movie and it was cancelled and people were being somber, but I definitely didn't fully get what was going one.

The next day we got going early again and we went to kibbutz tel hai. Tel Hai, depending on what angle you view the development of Israel through is either an important part of this narrative or a not so important one. Tel Hai was a kibbutz before Israel became a state, and it was attacked by arabs. The settlers fought back but eventually lost and had to evacuate, 8 people died in these various attacks. This settlement is significant because it helped expand Israel's boarders to where they are now, so when land was being divided up for Israel this land was given to the state. This is especially significant because of the important water sources in this area that help give water to the majority of Israel's population.

After that we went to a moshav and heard another speaker who was an important person on the moshav. He spoke about what it was like to live up north and also about the cooperation that they have and that is important on their moshav. Living so far up north can be pretty dangerous because they are right near the Lebanon boarder so at certain times there are rockets shot into Israel. Just in 2006 Israel had a war with Lebanon, so yeah relations still aren't so great. I'm no expert in this conflict, but I think it mostly has to do with Hezbollah the terrorist organization there and not so much the actual government.

Then the chaos started...kinda. So the original plan was to go hiking but since it was so hot there was a change of plans and we had 2 options. One was to go to the naot factory (shoes) and then go swimming for a while and the other option was to go to this place where you could see into both Lebanon and Syria (?) and then go swimming for a shorter time. I chose the first option because I wanted to go swimming, and no I didn't buy any shoes. So after we finished at the naot factory we went to the park where we were supposed to go swimming. Turns out it closes after sukkot. Of course it didn't say that anywhere, even on the website it said it was open til november. Ooops. So then we had to go somewhere else so we went to this other park and hung out for a little, but it took us a while to get there. One of the leaders of our program got us ice cream because he felt bad haha. I mean hey things don't always go according to plans, so I didn't mind. It was an honest mistake, and I'm sure this will happen to all of us all the time when we get into our congregations...

Afterwards we went to this place on the Hula lake and did a night safari. It was funny because we didn't see much, we were laughing because the leader was like oh and there is a swamp cat, wow, but we see cats all the time. We also saw a few owls which were cool, a fox, some birds, and some buffalo that were having a fight. It was pretty cool. They say it is better to come in the day, so next time...

At the same place we did the safari, we had a little campfire where we were all Jewy and sang songs. We also had s'mores, well kinda because graham crackers don't really exist in Israel. It was a pleasant time, but I think most of us got eaten alive ahhhh mosquitoes.

The next, and last day (we were all super exhausted), we met with the president of Tel Hai college. Tel Hai college is very unique as it is trying to make the area of Tel Hai a better place and get the students to interact with the community. There is a phenomenon up north that the people who live in the towns are getting older and older and all the young people are moving to the center of Israel (like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv), so it is harder to find good teachers here and improve the industry, etc. Tel Hai is trying to fix this problem and build up the job market and really trying to revitalize the area. It's a neat idea and it seems to be working. He said that a bunch of high tech firms have moved their branches up north, so we will see...

We also met with people from this cool program called Ayalim. It is a program for students either up north in Tel Hai or down in the Negev and the people on the program compare it to being modern day halutzim. The Negev desert makes up like 80% of Israel's land mass buy only 6% or something like that of Israel's population, so the goal there is to build and revitalize villages and neighborhoods down there so more people will live there and it will be a better place. Up north in Tel Hai they are also working to clean up the area so that it will be a nicer more attractive place to live, so that Israel's population will spread out and use all of the land they have. It was cool to see people my age involved in these projects and taking an interest in making Israel a better place.

After that we went to Tel Dan, this really significant archaeological site up north, very close to the Lebanon boarder. My biblical teacher came to join us which was super cool because he was one of the main people who worked on this dig. He just knew so much and had all the insider information which was crazy. Tel Dan is also in a beautiful park, I would recommend going. All the stuff you see there is mind bogglingly old, like from 2000 bce and before (also also after). NUTS.

Then we started our eventful trip back. One of the buses part of the way back got a flat tire so we all had to squish onto one bus. Good times. OY. I was soooo ready to go home by that point so I was happy when we got back to Jerusalem.

And that brings me basically to the present. I went to the gym today and took a hip hop class, it reminded me why I am not a dancer, but it was super fun. Maybe I will incorporate some of my new moves into my future pulpit (?).

Ok now time to go get ready for shabbat, it's nuts it starts at like 4:25 or something like that. I have sunday off of school this week which is going to be awesome. YAYAYAY for a real American sunday :-)


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

and I'm off

Hey World,

The past few days have been strange. I dunno. Right now I feel very much like I am kind of just at the will of the universe. I can definitely control many things about my life, but sometimes I just feel like things happen that are out of my control. Does that make any sense? (also I can't tell if this paragraph sounds really negative, but it was definitely not written to sound like that, my week has been pretty good so far). It's kind of like the whole "man plans and God laughs" idea. I guess life is just keeping itself interesting for me...

Anyways I just wanted to write a short blog entry because I am about to head off to the north. My program has a 3 day trip up north to learn about a bunch of stuff, I'm not sure exactly. I will let you know when I get back. Hopefully it will be fun, I'm just bummed that I have to miss my Talmud class for it (lame). I've also really been appreciating Jerusalem recently so I don't feel the need to leave, but I will probably enjoy it anyway.

What else...I have been speaking a lot of Hebrew recently. It's great but dang is it hard. There are a few people here I speak to exclusively in Hebrew and I wonder what my personality is like in the language. I am pretty sure that I come off more shy/timid in Hebrew because I don't have enough confidence in my speaking ability/ it is harder for me to come up with things to say. At the same time it is really cool to realize how much I actually know and can understand. I notice that I feel much more calm/comfortable speaking in Hebrew than I did when I first got here. I just need to keep pushing myself...

Anyways I have to wake up super duper early tomorrow so bed time, wooo.

Happy monday!


Friday, October 15, 2010


I was thinking about adding this to the last blog entry I wrote like 3 hours ago, but eh I'm just gonna make a new post...

So I just came back from the shuk as is part of my friday routine. I just have to say, the shuk is definitely definitely one of my favorite parts of Jerusalem, if not my favorite. I am really learning my way around it, and I know where to go for certain things. I have a melon guy and ohhh man those melons are good (yes that's what she said).

Something happened today that was kinda funny. SO I was walking along in the crowded shuk and I knock into somebody, but no big deal that's just what people do and I don't think twice about it. It was funny because the person I bumped into (and I'm pretty sure it was my fault because I think he was standing still) said ahh slicha, which means excuse me. It's funny because I used to always do that when I bumped into someone or someone bumped into me. I guess I'm getting more Israeli haha, yay for bumping into people.

Also it's soooo hot here. It is ridiculous. It feels like summer still, and while this isn't unusual for Israel it is super unusual for me. It's OCTOBER for goodness sakes, this just isn't right!

Ok the end for real now.

shabbat shalom


what a week!

Hey World!

So wow this week was super busy, so yeah I haven't had so much time to write on the blog.

Let's on Tuesday I went to the Israeli rabbinical program's talmud class (the advanced level what what) and it was great. I mean I definitely struggled through it, but it was super interesting and I understood almost all of what was going on. The theme of the class is people's responsibilities towards others and we spoke about borders and exclusion of people and where those lines are drawn.

The teacher does a cool thing (which makes following a bit more difficult but it's worth it) where he brings in different sources, not just the Talmud. Part of the time (the class is 3 hours long) we spoke about the law from the Torah that says when you build a house you must build a fence around the roof of your house. We talked about why, and what that signifies. I had never really thought about it. The most basic reading of it is you need to build a fence around your roof so that someone who goes out onto the roof won't fall off. The argument was raised (in one of the sources we read) that says well if God plans everything and decides when people die then why does it matter, because if someone falls off your roof that just means it was their time and you couldn't really do much about it. The question could be answered by saying well ok maybe it was this persons time to die (I'm summarizing the text, I def don't have such a deterministic view of the world) BUT you don't want to have the shame of being the person whose room someone fell off of. This text puts a lot of emphasis on the motivation of shame (בושה) in following the mitzvot. An interesting/troubling thought. Truth be told I need to read over this source, its a hasidic drash, again to gain a better understanding of what is going on.

Yeah a lot of other stuff happened in the class also, but my brain is tired.

What else...umm I have been going to the gym. I am rediscovering my love of exercise. Yay endorphins.

On wednesday, Israel seminar day, we did a walk around Jerusalem which was cool. We went first to Rehavia and talked about how it was set up to be this nice middle class town with homes and gardens and how this was where the elite jerusalemites tended to live. Then we went to a museum that used to be the central Jerusalem prison during the british mandate. This prison was used (among other things) to keep Jews who fought against the british/fought for their homeland before Israel was declared independent. Whenever I go to these type of museums it makes me want to make aliyah for a few seconds because I totally get caught up in this glorified narrative they present about Israel and its early days/struggles...I dunno it's kind of hard to explain, maybe I will try some other time. (don't worry Mom I'm not actually planning on making aliyah)

I learned a lot this week, my brain hurts. So I'm gonna end the post here.

Shabbat shalom!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Great success (read with accent)

Hey World,

Today was a good day. The end. Just kidding.

So during this year in Israel we have weekday services twice a week (and also some student initiated ones other days), so one requirement we have is to lead services once during the year. Well today was my day to lead. I signed up early because I wanted to get it out of the way and not have to worry about it later on.

Even though I feel pretty comfortable with the liturgy and being in front of people I was nervous before hand. I definitely put pressure on myself to be perfect and there is a lot to think about, between picking what prayers to do in certain ways and also remembering to do the weekday nusach (melody) for certain prayers, which can be hard sometimes because I feel more familiar with the shabbat nusach. I was worried about time, because (as I've mentioned) I like to do more Hebrew and as many of the traditional prayers as possible, which is a lot to fit into the time I had. Of course I also was concerned about how my classmates would react to it, I wanted to create a nice prayer environment incorporating everything I mentioned before.

I think it went well, it definitely wasn't perfect, but that will come with more experience. I got a lot of compliments from my classmates, so it couldn't have been too horrible haha. When I spoke with the Rabbi in charge of evaluating our services he said it went really well and his major critique was I need to learn how to better use my voice and be a stronger leader with it, aka voice lessons. So yeah I can dig.

Some thoughts on my experience: So one thing that really bothers me is when the service leader just sings solos all the time, I like to be able to pray along with everyone and participate, because if I'm there I might as well you know. So I definitely tried to create that, and I think I did successfully. The major difference praying as a leader for me was really having to be aware of what was happening in the congregation. I was constantly evaluating my speed, and on the individual prayers if people had finished or not, etc. I was also worrying about how they were feeling in general. Definitely different from my normal prayer experience which is very selfish (or just "me-centric") and it's about how I pray and how the congregation helps ME feel more spiritual or whatever.

While it was different in that I didn't have as much concentration on praying as I usually do I still felt like I prayed, and it was rewarding to help other people pray. Instead of an internal focus it was a more external focus. Maybe with more practice I can get to the point where I can do both, or maybe as a leader that is simply not what happens, I guess I will see...

What else...oh I had a delicious lunch at Grill Bar, this place of Ben Yehuda. The meat was delicious and they also had great salatim that came with the meal. A little side note on salatim, so salatim are basically little salad things but not really salads that are served many times before a meal. Some typical ones are tehina, some kind of cooked eggplant dish or two, pickles/olives, some kind of carrot or pickled carrot thing, beets. SOO good. I could literally (and have) made a meal out of these, and they are usually served with pita. Yeah this country knows how to do pita, it's fluffy and delicious, mmm. Ok enough about food.

So the other thing I did today was (finally) join a gym. I joined the ymca (pronounced yimka). I do enjoy exercise, and in college I worked out pretty frequently (well until last year), so it was nice to get some cardio in today. Also the machines have individual tvs which are fun especially since I don't have a tv here.

Tomorrow is another exciting day for me, I get to try out the Israeli talmud class. Ahh I'm nervous, I hope my modern hebrew is good enough to get through it. I can translate from hebrew/aramaic in the Talmud to english, so it will be interesting trying to translate into modern hebrew instead...We shall see.

I think that's it for now. Party on!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Shavua Tov!

Hey World,

So first of all I have to apologize to all you (if you care) because I did not make it to women of the wall. I slept through my alarm :-( I am not a morning person so when I get tired enough I don't hear anything. Next month...I heard it was pretty quiet this month which is nice. I was bummed to miss it, but I feel super rested so it wasn't a total loss.

So I had a really lovely shabbat. I started at navah tehillah, which was great. There is awesome energy there and the singing is realy beautiful. They use instruments at the service but they are used to enhance the prayer and the people praying instead of detract or distracting from it. They did an awesome version of lecha dodi that I now can't remember, grr. It will come. But yeah I've had a lot of the songs we sang stuck in my head over the past day and a half.

For shabbat morning I went to kedem (as usual). It was nice, I mean hey I go there for a reason. One cool thing that happened today during services was it started raining. There is something really special about it raining here. Everyone gets so excited because rain is precious. So to see everyone's reactions to the rain was interesting, I definitely think people prayed harder/sang louder as the rain was falling. It helped me understand better all the prayers for rain or prayers about rain that we find in our liturgy.

Another thing about rain is I realized how nice the post-rain smell is. It smells like the world has been refreshed, I dunno. It is weird to me that I now have such a different perception of weather, but after being here for three months of horrible heat I am appreciating the rain and the cooler temperatures (I never thought I would say that).

So today (sat) and yesterday there was this special thing in Jerusalem called "habatim mibifnim" or translated as houses from the inside. Basically a bunch of cool houses or buildings that are not usually open to the public open their doors for people to go and see. It is a way for residents to see and appreciate the city a little more. So after services and lunch I went around with a couple of my classmates to some of the houses.

First we went into a church/monestary that is across the intersection from me. It was pretty sweet, they also had this really large courtyard that came out of nowhere. We tried to go to some other houses but most were closing by the time we got there, despite all that it was cool to walk around on streets that I wouldn't usually find myself on. There are a lot of cute little streets in rechavia, plus the weather was PERFECT for walking around.

We made it to one other house down by school which was one of the first houses built outside of the walls of jerusalem, I don't know much about architecture, but it was cool to see. You could tell it was old and they had stone walls in some rooms. The owners who lived in the building were also there to answer questions. It was a nice way to spend shabbat afternoon.

So I have a bible quiz tomorrow, which I need to finish studying for. Wish me luck :-)


Thursday, October 7, 2010

this weeks highlights and lowlights

Hello World,

First off sorry for not updating the blog sooner, my life has been a little crazier than usual this week. Why? Well there was a fire in my apartment (no not apartment building, my actual apartment, in the kitchen) and that kind of disrupted everything. Thankfully the fire was isolated to the kitchen/stove area and the damage is not super serious, but yeah it was a crazy/scary experience. I don't really want to talk about it any more than that, but I will say that all my neighbors were super nice and helpful (Israelis ARE nice dammit!) and it was much appreciated.

Goodness, where to start...Well last week was simchat torah. I went to navah tehillah, which I have mentioned before, it is a renewal jewish congregation that meets about once a month. I will actually be going there tomorrow night for services also. So that was fun, it's a nice environment, very chill/hippy-ish. I can dig.

One of the things they did which I thought was cool was they did Torah "horoscopes" or fortune telling. So on simchat torah some congregations will unroll the entire Torah in celebration of completing the Torah and then starting again from the beginning (it never ends ahhhh). So anyways we did that and everyone helped to hold the parchment (but with scarves so you didn't contaminate or just dirty up the scroll). So yeah some people came around and you would randomly point to a place in the text and they would give you advice/tell you a fortune based on what you picked. Mine was eerily applicable to my life, ahhh.

Shabbat was also nice, I had a relaxing one. It seems like forever ago (before the fire!). Oh I was also dog sitting which was fun. I really need a pet in my life...someday.

Coming back to school after break was a little rough. I still don't feel settled into my classes yet which is understandable but frustrating. Here are a few highlights of the week:

1. Tuesday afternoons during lunch Rabbi Yoshi teaches an elective course on sefer ha'agadah. This book is basically a compilation of many of the stories found in rabbinic literature from the Talmud but also midrash aggadah, etc. So basically it is a book of stories. It's pretty sweet. ANYWAYS Yoshi had to go to a meeting during the time of the class, so he asked me if I would lead it. It was really fun! I really enjoyed preparing in advance with my dictionary and thinking about things to talk about in the class. This is what I am passionate about, and I really want to teach rabbinic texts in the future, so it was great to get the opportunity to do that. I also got positive feedback from my classmates in the class, so that really meant a lot to me.

2. Wednesday is Israel seminar day every week which means we have the day to do something to help us experience Israel/learn about Israel/take advantage of the fact we are in Israel. SO this week we went to Tel Aviv for the day. We went to various historical sites/important sites in the history and development of Israel. One cool thing that struck me was that we were going to the same places that groups of Israeli soldiers were going to. Israeli soldiers get taken on certain educational tours (I don't know any details about this) I would imagine to give them more appreciation for the country and its history. We talked a lot on Weds about the past vs. the future and how they interact/ play a role in Israel, and it was interesting to see this discussion played out with the soldiers who are the future of Israel coming and learning about the shared history of the Israeli people, and even in some cases Jewish people. I don't know if that made sense, but it was cool for me.

3. Although a bunch of students stayed behind in tel aviv after we got out of our "seminar" thing I had to go back to J'lem because I signed up (through Kedem, shout out!) to learn how to lead shacharit for shabbat (the morning service). I can lead reform services no problem, but this is to learn how to lead more traditional davening. One classmate asked me why I wanted to learn how to do this since it won't really be useful after this year...Well:

So I want to learn how to lead because this is the type of davening I prefer so I think it is important that I know how to lead it so I have the option of incorporating parts of it into services I lead. Also even though I am going to be a Reform rabbi I think it is important for us to know what is out there and be able to daven anywhere, because we aren't just reform jews we are JEWS. Along the same lines if in the future I am at some conference or trip or something with other denominations of Jews to be able to lead services with them (well except the ones who don't acknowledge women rabbis). But yeah I'm all about having some flow between movements, because even if we don't approach Judaism from the same angle we can still pray together (or at least reform and conservative Jews should be able to and maybe some liberal orthodox). Also it would be cool to contribute to the community that I like to pray in at Kedem, which is entirely lay-lead, so why not right?!

But yeah the class thing was really nice. It is embarrassing how little I know about traditional liturgy, especially the morning service because I am not a morning person so I def am not as familiar with it as I am with kabbalat shabbat and ma'ariv and all that. The idea of being a prayer leader aka shaliach tzibur is an interesting one and this is relevant for any congregation you lead...What are you supposed to do? Where are you helping the congregation along and when are you reciting by yourself? etc etc. There is also this idea of being in touch with the congregation, especially in services where people will chant stuff individually you have to be in touch with the pulse and make sure you are not going too fast, but also no dragging people down. More to come on all this in the next few weeks :-)

I guess those are some of the highlights. Tomorrow/tonight is rosh chodesh which celebrates the new month and which also means Women of the Wall. Women of the wall did not happen last month because of Rosh Hashana, but it is happening bright and early tomorrow. I will most likely go. After my experiences 2 months ago (read about it here)I am very nervous to go back, but I think it is important that I do. More on my feelings/reactions to that coming soon, but yeah it's hard to come into contact with such an ugly hateful side of Israel/Judaism, so I'm not looking forward to that.

I am excited/nervous (wow I have been using a lot of / things in this post, hmmmm) for next week because on Tuesday I am going to be trying out taking a talmud class with the Israeli rabbinical students. I feel pretty confident in my level of Talmud, but I am nervous about the level of Hebrew. I can understand everything that happens in my other classes in Hebrew, but they are geared more towards non-fluent speakers. So yeah this should be interesting. I hope it works out though, because I think it would be an awesome experience.

On a totally different note, does anyone watch sister wives? Is it weird that it seems super fun to have a family like that because not only do you marry the person you love but you are also kind of bound to your best friends...I dunno. I am NOT trying to make a statement on polygamy here this is just an observation about a tv show, but I am super not down for polygamy in my life just for the record :-)

Ok and I'm done, happy Thursday wooo