Monday, January 31, 2011

What's going on?!

Hey World,

So when I don't write for a while sometimes it's because so much stuff happens that I get overwhelmed thinking about how to write it all and adequately express myself and what is happening.

So instead I will give some snippets...

First off a lot of people have been asking me about the whole situation that is going on in Egypt and how it is affecting Israel/me. First off don't worry I am a ok and I am safe. Israel is a very interesting place to be in times of crisis, people here react in a totally different way to anywhere else I have been. The thing about Israel is that it is often either involved in or very close to some kind of crisis, so if everyone got upset and scared every time something like this happened, no one would ever do anything. Yes that is an exaggeration, but seriously, people just keep on living their lives. It's not that they ignore what is going on, but it's not productive to obsess over it.

When I was in Israel for the first time (in 2004) I remember encountering this attitude. I was on a reform Jewish teen summer trip. For part of the trip we were travelling with some Israelis our age. I remember we were all getting ready to go on this dance cruise thing when we heard on the news that some Israeli soldiers had been killed. I don't remember more context than that. Weasked one of the Israelis who was staying in my room, how can you continue to get ready and go dance when something like this just happened? She replied that you have to keep living your life, you can't just stop every time something bad happens, because that's not living. This experience has definitely stuck with me, and when I was in Israel again in 2006 during the second Lebanon war, I also could feel this attitude. People kept living, because if you don't than we ultimately lose.

The one thing I will say that I have noticed that has changed is right at my intersection. I live on a big intersection which is very close to where the prime minister lives. Recently there has been a lot of police presence (more than usual). Also what has happened a bunch of times (which I haven't experienced before now) is that the intersection gets blocked off and a motorcade or two will drive through (with sirens blaring). This has happened now 3 or 4 times in the past two days, and those are only the times I have witnessed. Someone "important" is probably here or something, but I am pretty sure it is all connected.

So in the Israeli spirit, more about my week. Yesterday was my last day teaching my Talmud class with this group of kids. I am pretty sure I have already said how much I've enjoyed it, and I will say it again. It was a great experience, and I am really happy that I will be able to continue to teach (and even have some of the same kids) for the rest of the year. They even made me a thank you card with individual notes in it, which was super sweet. It was cool to hear that they enjoyed the class and my enthusiasm. One person ever wrote that I showed them Jewish texts could be interesting. I'm honored!!

Last Wednesday in Israel seminar we dealt with the topic of women in Israel. Just like in America (but perhaps a bit worse) there still aren't equal opportunities for men and women, as much as we like to say there is. Don't say feminism isn't necessary anymore, it really still is and in so many ways. I could go off on a rant, but I won't, mostly because I don't have the energy right now.

One session I went to was about this organization called mabui satum, which means dead end or blocked way or something like that. This organization helps women who are stuck in marriage. In Israel there is no such thing as civil marriage or civil divorce, the government has given total control of marriage/divorce to the religious (aka orthodox and in most cases ultra-orthodox) courts. This makes for all sorts of issues, but the one this organization deals with is women whose husband refuses to give them a "get." A get is a Jewish divorce document that the man MUST physically give to his wife in order for them to get a divorce. So if a man wants to torture his wife (a lot of these women are stuck in abusive marriages, so the abuser will continue to abuse in any way that he can) he can refuse to give her a get. In jewish law there are consequences for men who refuse to give their wives a get, if a man refuses and continues to refuse the community can ignore him/not let him in until he gives his wife a get, and in extreme situations the men of the community are allowed to use violence to convince the man to give his wife the get.

This doesn't happen so often anymore. The rabbinic court system does have certain penalties they can give to the husband if he refuses, like putting him in jail or taking his drivers license, but they don't use these very often. Instead the rabbinic courts (which are all men because women aren't allowed to serve in those roles) let the husband refuse to give the get and leave the woman trapped because she can't get remarried and she can't leave because of issues of custody with the children, and it can also be psychologically tormenting to still feel trapped in a horrible relationship. So what this organization does is gives the women support and even a lawyer who will help argue the case in front of the rabbinic court.

There is a movie all about this that I urge you to watch, it is called mikudeshet. It's in Hebrew, but it has subtitles. It really captures the disgusting and tragic circumstances that so many women are suseptable to. The woman could be very religious or totally secular, it doesn't matter. If her husband wants to be an a$$hole, he can often times get away with it for an extended period of time. In the civil courts this is not the case, but the civil courts only have so much power in these matters.

For example in the movie there was one woman trying to get a divorce and her husband kept refusing to even show up to court. The rabbis totally let him get away with it because the husband said he was busy with his children. HE was living with another woman and was having children with her, which was totally fine, while she was getting screwed. Just watch the movie!! Here is the imdb link

What else...I had a nice shabbat, as usual. I got bananagrams while I was in the US, so I played with some people over shabbat. Great game, and very shabbat friendly too!

I'm sure more has happened, but I think this is enough for now.

Peace (especially here in the middle east!)


Thursday, January 20, 2011

a bunch o' things

Hey World,

So some thoughts/happenings to share.

1. Happy tu b'shvat (well it was yesterday, but I started writing it then and had computer troubles, so happy belated tu b'shvat)! Tu b'shvat is the new years for the trees. Today to celebrate HUC had a little thing with lots of fruits and nuts. I learned that while you say the blessing for wine or grape juice as borei pri hagafen (blessing God for being the creator of fruits of the vine) BUT when you are eating a grape or a raisin you say borei pri ha'etz (for God as creator of the fruits of the tree). crazy. Also bananas you say the blessing for them as fruits of the earth (not tree or whatever) because bananas don't actually grow on trees. Also there is a type of locust that is kosher but only yemenite Jews can tell which ones so they are the only ones that eat them, or at least that is how it was explained to me. So much crazy stuff. wooo trees

2. (I don't know why I decided to number this entry, but I'm going with it.) I was kind of coerced into going to this workshop at school called "praying with the body." Now I was totally not looking forward to it, because I am not so into the whole hippie-dippie, touchy-feely stuff in terms of prayer. BUT it was actually pretty cool. We did this activity where we had to cross part of the room, about 15 feet, but in 35 minutes. So we had to do everything is sloooooow motion. While I was critical at first and couldn't believe I would have to do this activity, I actually really enjoyed it. It was so interesting to be so slow and so deliberate with your movements. It was also very calming. The dynamic was interesting since we did it in a group so we were all going together albeit in different directions. It was both tiring and calming, I def felt super zen afterwards. Then we spoke about it in relation to prayer. I think this would be a cool activity to do with a group of people in the future. Tamar, who taught us, said that when she was a participant in this workshop they had 3 hours to do it!! I def could have gone longer than 35 minutes, but whoa!

3. I just read this article: . It's worth a read. If you don't feel like reading it I will tell you it talks about Representative Gifford's Jewishness. In the news it has been emphasized that she is the Jewish politician. She is also very active in her (reform) synagogue, etc. The "problem" is, is that her father is Jewish and her mother isn't. According to traditional halacha Judaism is passed on through the mother. So according to traditional halacha Giffords isn't Jewish. This drives me nuts, it is so upsetting for me that dedicated Jews are excluded because the "wrong parent" is Jewish. In the Reform movement, which is one of the things I am really proud about, we accept BOTH matralinial and patralinial descent. So if either parent is Jewish and you identify as a Jew, you are all set. The rabbi who wrote the article is a conservative rabbi and therefore is not able to officially recognize Giffords as a Jew, which he is clearly struggling with. It just makes me mad when enthusiastic and dedicated Jews are excluded because of this, I mean Judaism has alienated enough people, I think it's time to stop. (Also wishing a continued and full recovery to Representative Giffords).

4. As many of you may know, Debbie Friedman (z"l) passed away a few weeks ago. I did not know her, but I've been thinking about how much she did for prayer and Jewish music in Reform Judaism, but not limited to our movement. She has so so so many great songs. One particular memory I have of Debbie Friedman's music is that when I was younger on shabbat evening my mom would put in a Debbie Friedman tape and my brother and I would dance around the room. It was a great way to celebrate shabbat, and it was fun. I clearly enjoyed it because I still remember it happening. There are lots of songs we sing in services that are Debbie Friedman and I had no idea, she's just made so many great melodies that have been incorporated in. Her influence will live on in all these great songs and memories.

5. I started reading Snooki's's pretty silly. They actually use abbreviations in the text of the book, like nabe=neighborhood. That's a bit scary to me, but yeah, more to come.

6. Well it's almost shabbat, so it's time for me to go. Shabbat shalom


ps I miss comments, leave me some if you feel compelled. Tell me what you think :-)

Monday, January 17, 2011

good day

Hey World,

So after a mediocre start to second semester here in Israel, I had an awesome day in school today!!! It really invigorates me when I learn something new in a field that interests me. Today I had bible and biblical grammar, which are both taught by the same person, Yosi. He's great. I was worried it would be too much of one person, but it totally wasn't. There is something so logical and brilliant about hebrew grammar, and it's really cool to learn all the rules and reasons behind the way things are said and written. It's the best. One of my fave things I learned today was that in hebrew this is a word: וווו
yes that's right, that is 4 of the same letter (a vav) in a row. The word is actually pronounced u'vavo, which means "and his hook" and can be found in stories about Peter pan and captain hook. haha. good times

Then after classes today we were addressed by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the URJ (union for reform judaism, aka he is a big deal). It was interesting to hear him talk and also extremely frustrating. I just wanted to go up there and talk to him about all the issues I have with the Reform movement, but I restrained myself.

One thing he talked about was the changes and developments that have happened within the Reform movement from what it was like in the middle of the century up until what it had changed into about 10 or 15 years ago. He mentioned the new "centrality of worship" that now a key part of synagogue life was services and having more creative services because people came to synagogue for a few reasons one of which was to find some type of meaning/get in touch with the transcendent (along with finding community, and help with raising kids). It was interesting to me that he mentioned this and tood so much pride in this because while there may be creative services happening to my knowledge service attendance at Reform synagogues is still very very low. He did mention this fact, but didn't elaborate on it. I mean if you are going to say it's central what are we doing to draw more people into this "central" part.

Another thing, and I should have asked him this, but I felt too much pressure to come up with a good question: So he spoke about these changes that have happened but I think the Reform movement is changing again and I would have liked to hear more about this. Most of my classmates have grown up in the Reform Judaism he was describing as the changed one, so we are very familiar with it, but what about the future, what are some trends he sees that are in the process of taking place that will be even more relevant when we are rabbis?

I think one of the best things about his talk was it got us all talking. We had a pizza dinner after Rabbi Yoffie finished speaking and everyone was either upset or pissed off or reacting to something that he said. I mean this is the stuff that we feel passionate about, so obviously things can be sensitive.

Anyways I had a discussion with some of my classmates about ritual hand washing on shabbat. In Reform Judaism it is not something that is very commonly done, but what it is is between doing the blessing over the wine and doing the blessing over the challah it is traditional to go ritually wash your hands. Actually traditionally one would wash their hands before a meal, not just on shabbat. Anyways my friend, who does not wash, was saying that if she has people over for dinner she isn't going to stop to let people wash, or she doesn't really think about it (not in a malicious way, but because that is the way she does it). Then another classmate was saying how she does try and stop to allow people to wash their hands. Basically what the conversation boiled down to was the issue of inclusivity and how it is common to have to go with the most strict interpretations of Jewish practice in order to be inclusive.

In regards to washing hands and stopping for all of 2 minutes for this to happen, I don't think is that offensive (as someone who does like to wash). I mean if you stopped the meal and told everyone the HAD to wash, that is disrespectful and not upholding Reform values, but if you stop and say if you would like to wash your hands you can do so now, i think that is very respectful. The issue is making people feel uncomfortable, and it is a huge problem because of the Reform education system. Why? Because we aren't taught enough about traditional practice, so when things happen that aren't typically done in Reform it can be bewildering and uncomfortable because we don't know what's going on. This shouldn't happen and I think is one of the big failures in the Reform Jewish education system. We should be educated so that we can feel comfortable in almost any Jewish environment or at least know what is happening and how to act.

I'm again not saying that everyone should wash their hands on shabbat (or any other day of the week), but I think it is important that Reform Jews know about it and know how to act. There are so many stories (thankfully I was spared of this embarassment) about Reform Jews who didn't know about hand washing and didn't know that once you have washed you aren't supposed to talk until you bless/eat the challah. So yeah imagine not knowing that and then trying to spark up friendly conversation with the person sitting next to you, awk, and being confused as to why they are being so rude and not answering. I know I've said this before but we are JEWS, not just Reform.

Anyways I think another problem with the inclusivity issue is the way both sides express themselves. I know it happens often where someone who is more traditional will belittle the other people who choose not to do something a certain way. By being condescending like that it alienates other people and really doesn't help in getting your way (unless your way is wanting to make people thing you are a douche). But yeah in Reform circles both sides need to make sure they are being respectful of one another. There is often a resentment that comes with having to compromise towards the more traditional end of the spectrum, so we need to work on ways to make everyone comfortable and feeling that their choices are valid. I think a lot of this has to do with being more respectful and needing both sides to make compromises, not just one. Now exactly how to get this done is the real question. I'm not sure yet, but I am sure that the first 2 steps are education and respect. word

I could go on, but I will save it :-)

I taught my Talmud class again yesterday. It went pretty well. They wanted me to bring in something that was taboo or that would piss them off. Yeah I pissed them off pretty well, or I should say the Talmud did, I didn't. I think I did too good of a job though, so now I need to redeem the Talmud for them. There is just so much in there, you can find really horrible stuff (like what I did in pesachim 49b, I'm going to leave it up to you to find) and really great stuff. Yeah I'm so glad I am doing this, it's one of the highlights of my week.

I also did something Israeli yesterday. I got a call while I was teaching, it was a call to the room not to my cell. I answered it and was told that I needed to leave the room because there was something happening there at 7:30. It was 6:35 at the time, and I teach til 7. So I told her we would finish at 7 and she said that that didn't leave enough time to clean the room and that I needed to be out within the next 15 minutes. I said ok. I figured that in 15 minutes it would be 6:50 and then if someone came and kicked us out I would deal with it, but I figured no one would because in Israel time is weird. In Israel people say one time and mean another. It is not crazy to have someone show up somewhere an hour after they said they would. While this would be horribly rude in the US, in Israel people expect it and plan accordingly. Yeah so I ended at like 7:05 and no one even tried to come clean the room. so bwahahaha.

The end


Saturday, January 15, 2011


Hey World,

I apologize for the long gap between blog entries, but as you know I was on vacation and at home! So yeah I didn't spend much time on the computer and was too busy rushing around trying to see as many people as I could before heading back to Israel.

I am pretty disoriented right now, after only getting back a few hours ago. It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I was just in America and with people I haven't seen in six months and now I am back. Weird weird weird.

But yeah it was really great to be back home for a little and see everyone. I feel a little bit more sane after seeing my friends who I have known for longer than 6 months. I am really lucky that I have such great friends at home both from Belmont and from College etc, and it was so nice to be able to hang with them. I do love Israel, and I am having some great experiences here, but I do get very frustrated being here sometimes, so it was nice to get away for a little.

Anyways a few highlights...It snowed. I don't know if that's a highlight, it was actually super annoying. I forgot how friggin cold boston can get. Oy vey! We got like 1.5ft of snow or something crazy so I was cooped up for a day and I had to shovel (grr I hate shoveling).

What else, oh I went to NYC for 2 days which was awesome. A lot of my friends are there now so it was crazy trying to see everyone. I saw almost everyone that I wanted to while in NYC, I just wish I had more time to spend individually with each person.

In NYC I went to Snooki's book signing with a friend. Yeah it was pretty awesome. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I did get star struck and sounded like an idiot when I met her, but hey what can you do? It was a fun experience, and I don't feel the need to take myself so seriously that I can't go to things like that.

I ate a LOT of food. ughhh. I had 4 burritos over the course of the week, oyyy. Yeah I went on the food tour.

It was so interesting coming home and hearing about what everyone is doing. It's only been six months, but these are big months for us because they are the months after graduating college where everyone figures out what they are doing and gets jobs or goes to school or whatever. It's strange to hear my friends talking about their jobs. I mean yeah I worked in college and so did lots of other people, but this is different. Full time jobs, ahhhh

Part of me expected that when I went back everything would be exactly the same. I pictured myself in Israel and everything else just happening like it had before I left. I think this is partially why I was having a hard time in Israel, but really I think most people I talked to are having similar issues adjusting to life after college. Even if I wanted to go back, I can't. This sounds grim, but I don't mean it in that way. I just figured out that it's not just this program or Israel or whatever that is making this year hard it is also that I am adjusting to life after college just like everyone else, and that it's not easy. There is nothing for certain, college is the obvious choice for many people, but then after that you have to choose where you want to go and what kind of jobs or schooling or whatever you want to do to accomplish your goals/figure out your goals. I guess I still sound a little angsty, it's probably because I'm tired ha.

Some things that were silly in America: So one of the first days back I walked into a chipotle and there was a (what I would now consider) long line. Probably like 7 people. I groaned to myself that I was going to be waiting for 20 minutes, because that is what would happen in Israel. Instead the line went crazy fast, it blew my mind. It took about 5 minutes to get through the whole thing. I forgot how slow service is in Israel, I guess I finally got used to that.

It was also weird having everyone speaking English. Yes I do speak a lot of English in Israel, but I feel more ok about doing so in America. Also I was just making small talk with random people because I could, because I didn't have to worry about understanding the hebrew/expressing myself in Hebrew. Good times.

Also shopping. I did a lot of that. It's cheaper over there.

To sum up, it was great to go home for a little, but I did find myself ready to come back to Israel. I am not excited about the new semester just yet (I would love another week of no school), but this is where my life is right now. If I wasn't here I wouldn't have anything going for me. So yeah. I also do like Jerusalem and all of my stuff is here haha.

Ok I'm going to try and go to bed now. Hopefully it will be a success (boo jet lag)


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I wanted to title this something else but I had already used the title...awk

Hey World,

So I wanted to title the blog "great success" a la Borat, but I'd already done that. Creativity fail.

Anyways this is gonna be super short but I just wanted to share that today I SPOKE IN MY TALMUD CLASS, woot. For those of you who are just joining or who don't remember (how dare you?!! jk) I take a Talmud class on Tuesdays with the Israeli rabbinic program. It's been really great to be in the class, but it is hard because as much Hebrew as I know I don't know enough to fully participate in the class. I did learn a lot though, we studied a bunch of interesting material. ahh Talmud (ok I put one of those less than 3 hearts here but then I got an error that my html could not be accepted, wtf I am NOT trying to be a programmer here you people, come on, that's only my mom and dad and brother...I don't know sh*t I just wanted a heart shape) .

Anyways one of my goals for the semester was to speak in class, and I got close to doing it a few times. I would say I half accomplished my goal because while I spoke (in Hebrew) it was because everyone was require to give a 5 minute presentation summarizing what we learned or a major idea and giving some interpretation. But yeah I did it! I was super nervous, but I sucked it up and spoke in Hebrew. I think people understood me because they all told me good job. haha. But yeah it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, my classmates were super nice about it and I guess my Hebrew isn't horrible. haha

Yeah still working on this %&^#$@% paper. I also went to the gym today, yep I still go. Tuesdays are one of my fave gym days because it's boot camp. It's really hard but I love it.

Ok back to work.

Count down to America: 3 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ahhhhhhhhhhhh


Monday, January 3, 2011

4 rabbis entered the Pardeis...

Hey all,

So I am still working on the last of my school assignments, grrrrrr. Really this is no ones fault but my own. oy.

Anyways yesterday was Sunday which means TEACHING DAY woot. I am such a fan of this group of kids, they are really great to teach and have a lot of insights into the Talmud passages we do each week.

So this week I took their suggestions from the other week to heart. Instead of just bringing in a photocopied version of a translation I worked on the translation to make it more clear, so they could understand it when they were reading through it in groups. So what I had them do was break up into four groups and read the passage, answer some questions about it and then do a skit. I told them to be creative because they all had the same story, so I encouraged them to do their own take on it.

They were great!!! So the story I brought (from m. Chagigah 14b-15a) is about the 4 rabbis who entered the "Pardeis" which basically means they were doing this crazy mysticism stuff and entered into heaven (the word pardeis is the root of the english word paradise), not because they were dead but because they were searching for truth. Like in Ezekiel when he has his crazy vision. Anyways this journey causes one of them to die because he looked at the divine light and couldn't handle it, one of them went mad because he also could not take the power/wonder. One guy it says "cut down saplings" meaning he got destructive (more on him later). And the last guy Rabbi Akiva came out fine and was at peace.

So the guy who cut down saplings, Elisha ben Abuya (who is referred to as Acher which literally means "the other"), had an interesting experience up in the heavens that is described. Basically he goes up and sees this angel Metatron sitting down. Metatron is sitting down because he has permission to do so because he is recording all the merits of the Jewish people. Acher does not know this, and is shocked to see the angel sitting because he has heard that no one sits in heaven because they all stand in honor of God. So when Acher sees this he questions EVERYTHING he has ever learned. He mistakenly thinks that metatron is equal to God because he is sitting down, he thiinks maybe there are 2 deities all along. So the angels get pissed at Metatron for not standing up when Acher came and they punish him, but in the end Acher gets the real punishment. Acher hears a heavily voice say "return o wayward sons--except for Acher". So Acher comes to the conclusion that he has been cut off from the world to come, and because of that he will stop trying to earn merit and do mitzvot and he will just lead a life of debauchery, which he does.

Weird story right!?!? Then I added another little part of it where during shabbat Acher is riding on a horse (riding a horse is transgressing shabbat) and Rabbi Meir is walking next to him learning from Acher because he was a great scholar even though he totally stopped observing any mitzvot. When the horse has gotten to a certain point Acher tells Rabbi Meir to stop walking because if he kept on walking he would walk too far and violate shabbat...

So yeah I heard lots of interesting discussions about this, but my favorite part were the skits. One group made it take place on the moon, instead of heaven, and Acher got kicked out of NASA. Then instead of making it about shabbat Acher told his fellow astronauts who were allowed to return to the moon that they should stop drinking, even though he was drinking and very intoxicated (not for real though don't worry). Another group did it with the theme of star wars and Acher thinking there were two Yodas and then going to the dark side. They had creative star-warsy names for all the rabbis.

A third group highlighted the possible use of drugs that got them to see things like this. My favorite part of their skit was the quote "Acher was up in heaven and the most shocking thing to him was someone sitting down"--hilarious!! right?! I thought so. The fourth group did it in the style of a newscast on the subway and Acher got kicked off the subway for thinking there were two sandwich makers. It was silly.

SO yeah good times. I just wanted to share.

Last night I went to a friends birthday party which was fun. It is funny going to things with people who are outside of HUC because I feel like I always see people I know from random other places...I guess the Jerusalem english speaking/student community is pretty small.

ok now I need to go work for real.


Saturday, January 1, 2011


Hey World,

So last week was finals, which was why I didn't write anything, but now I'm free for the most part.

Anyways I just had the best 25 hours! I want to tell you all about it, yayyyyy.

So as you know last night was new years eve and shabbat. I was a little bummed that I wouldn't be able to go out for new years, but it worked our really well. My friend (Helene, shout out) invited me over for shabbat dinner that we decided was going to go until new years. So I meet up with her and another friend at services and walked back to her place. When we got there, the power was OUT! One of her roommates had lit candles, but other than that everything was dark. In Israel (or maybe not everywhere but def in j'lem) when this happens on shabbat there really isn't much you can do because no one is working, so you just kinda have to deal with it.

So we did. We ate a nice candle light dinner, and once we got used to the dark it was fine. It was really fun, it definitely made the night special. This will be a new years I will remember for a long time! The other silly thing was that since shabbat starts so early (around 4pm) that means services and dinner was also really early. So we finished dinner around 8 and were already exhausted. We had a few sleepers that we had to wake up. It made me feel like an old lady, because I was having trouble staying awake haha.

Since it was late and it was raining pretty heavily outside, we all ended up sleeping over. Haven't done that in a while. All around it was a really great new years. It was chill. I laughed a lot, hung out with friends and I didn't do anything really dumb. woo

So then in the morning we decided to have an adventure. Most of Jerusalem is closed on shabbat, but parts of the old city are bustling. One of our friends had told us about this place called the Austrian Hospice, that has an amazing view of the old city from their roof (and is free), so we decided to go there. It is along the via delarosa (stations of the cross), so we figured we would check some of them out.

Yo if you are in Jerusalem you have to go to the Austrian Hospice, it was super cool. You just get buzzed in (it looks closed but its not) and you go up a bunch of stairs and there is an incredible view of the dome of the rock, and well everything. We went to a few of the other stations. Some were cool churches, and some were not as cool, but it was interesting. My favorite part was when we went to the church of the holy sepulchre. It was AMAZING.

I know some Jews don't go into churches, but if you do feel comfortable, you need to check this place out. I could have been in there for hours just looking at everything and observing everyone. Ahh it was so cool!! Especially as a former religion major and someone who is interested in the way different religions pray, this was fascinating. There are so many different Christian denominations within this one church and they each claim different parts of it. There are lots of beautiful mosiacs and artwork on the walls.

The best part of being there was that we came in the late afternoon so there were different procession/service things going on. There was one group that slowly went around the church singing/chanting prayers, and when they got to the part where the tomb is they sang with an organ and it was soo beautiful. It was really spiritual. I wouldn't pray there, but I could definitely understand how others can have a powerful experience in the church. I've never really loved the organ as an instrument, but this was great, I definitely have a new appreciation for it (even though I still don't think it belongs in a reform synagogue).

I could go on and on about everything, but I think it would get boring for you, and I would get tired writing about all the fascinating stuff. I will definitely be going back (and not on a Saturday so that I can take pictures). If you are here and don't go, I think you are missing out.

Yeah that's about it. Not much else exciting from last week. I took a lot of tests, procrastinated, took more tests. Fun stuff. Now I just have 2 more assignments between me and vacation!!! I am super excited because at the end of next week I will be going to Americaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! yayayay

Well happy 2011 and all that!