Rosh Hashana, Friends, Classes, and Israel

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!)

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5 Responses to Rosh Hashana, Friends, Classes, and Israel

  1. BKop says:

    Thanks for your note, sweetheart. I’ve been thinking of you for days, wondering about all of the things you’ve just written about.
    Of bit of Dadvice (advice from your father): please do go tot he higher level, even if you have to negotiate for the option to return to the lower if you’re not happy there.

    Like you, I’ve been busy, too busy usually. Right now I’m cleaning the yard and the house since MB and Adam and Christi and Uncle Don are all coming by Friday. In addition, I have a class to teach Friday morning and critiques to write for my MFA (hope to finish those tonight).

    You make Israel sound wonderful (and it is!), so wonderful that I’m yearning even more to go there (and to be with you for a while). I hope that’s possible.

    Since you’ll be off for a few weeks, please get in touch with Solly Ganor. If you want his information again, please let me know. And if you get to see Daniel, et. al. , please give them lots of hugs (that’ll keep you busy for a while).

    One bit of very good news: Anne will own her cabin tomorrow! What a victory that is!

    The folks send their love.
    Me, too,


  2. Julia says:


    We went for Sukkot to the Meyers’ and we went around the table talking about who we’d invite into our Sukkah if we built our own. Zluchka said she’d invite me, and I said I’d invite you and I think if I had a Sukkah it would be all of our’s Sukkah, so that I could invite Zluchka and you and Zluchka could invite you and me, and it would be a fun time of three Jewish women sitting quietly in three different corners minding their own businesses.


  3. Schwoty says:

    You remind me how much I love being in a Jewish context and Jewish learning. Living in my little shtetl of Lakeview has given me something similar. One of the highlights of YK for me was seeing all of the Jews walking down the streets toward shul. I thank Hashem weekly that I work in a place where I can greet people with “boker tov” and can cite Pirkei Avot when talking about To Kill A Mockingbird. And as for Jewish learning, two of the highlights of my week are Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at the Orthodox and Conservative Batei Midrash in the neighborhood. So while I’m not in Israel, I can definitely understand paragraphs 7 and 8 (and since I work at school until they kick me out, I guess paragraph 9 also). I hope that today is really good for you!

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