Sorry again for the lack of posting–once again, it’s due to a malfunctioning computer.
So…Rosh Hashana was incredible. Sometimes I have trouble praying with the proper emotion/really feeling and meaning what I’m saying (which in Hebrew is called “kavana”), but RH was the first time since I’ve been in Israel that I really had kavana. It’s really an unbelievable experience, to stand and listen to the shofar blowing, the call to Israel to wake up and repent, and then to proclaim with all your heart that G-d is King over everything, and beg Him to remember our good deeds and not hold our sins against us–and then to know at the end that He WILL, because He’d promised our ancestors that He would…well, now I’m just rambling. I am having a hard time capturing what it was really about.
On to the next part of my title. I have made some really great friends here, two of whom have given me permission to use their names, which is good, because using only first initials for both Emily and Elena (hi girls!) could get confusing.
Emily and I first got to know each other when we, along with another friend, were invited to the same Shabbos meals. Since then, we’ve discovered that we have a lot in common, including religious outlook, age (she’s a month older than me, and we’re among the youngest people here), and ways we spend our free time (which is to say, being alone in our respective apartments because our apartment-mates go out in the evening). She’s still one of my closest friends here.
Elena is my roommate, and she got here a week later than everyone else, so I’ve not had as much time to get to know her, but I really like her. She and I really work well as roommates in that we have similar sleeping habits and levels of sloppiness (but yes, Dad, my room still has a visible floor!) 🙂
There’s also Rachel, who is one of the few married students here. Even though she’s older and married and stuff, I really feel like she and I are able to relate to each other. And she’s actually sitting right next to me, copying my notes from a class she missed earlier today.
So…on to classes. SOOOO amazing! We do our text study in the morning, and grammar and practical classes in the afternoon, and in every one of these three areas, I’ve taken to asking questions that stump the teachers. What can I say…… I like keeping them on their toes! Actually, though the rabbi has said I can move up to the next level in classes, I’m not even sure I want to–I like my teachers that much.
And Israel in general? Several times a day I find reason just to look around and say “I love Israel.” Whether it’s the buses that say “Shana Tova” (Happy New Year) where the bus numbers are displayed, or the random strangers who pass you in the street and wish you a “gmar chatima tova” (that you should be written and sealed for good in G-d’s “book of life”), or the computer man who, when I went to him today to return a faulty mouse I’d bought from them a few weeks ago, wouldn’t take any money for the new (likely more expensive) one, and only wished me a “shana tova” and turned to another customer when I tried to protest, or the fact that kosher restaurants abound and I can eat just about anywhere I want to…really, what’s not to like about this place? It’s just so inherently holy, and all its residents seem to be affected by that aura of holiness.
Aaaaand…I’m out. It’s 10:30 pm and I’m still at school, after a long day. Tomorrow’s the last day of the session, though, and then I get a couple weeks of break (and I’m told that the holiday of Sukkos in Israel is unlike anything I’ve ever seen–more about that later, G-d willing!)