Friday, December 19, 2008

Hello again!

This week was another doosy. I am slowly slowly getting over a killer cold/flu bug that I caught just a few days after getting over last week's sickness. The germs here are Powerful. It's like they know they're in the Middle East and have to be fighters.

But that negative news leads me into good news!! I will be going home for TWO WEEKS! My gorgeous, wise, and endlessly charismatic mother and amazing and generous stepfather are coming to the rescue over my poor mental and physical health and bringing me back to the Florida sunshine to recuperate for a few weeks. It is badly needed and will be so great in terms of catching up and sharing all this AMAZING knowledge I've been getting here.

This week we talked about one of my favourite Jewish concepts. In Judaism, time is not really considered linear. It is considered cyclical and progressive... imagine a coil or slinky. Every year we pass through the same "areas" of time--around the New Year is a time for renewal and repentance, Tisha B'Av is a time of destruction and mourning, and Pesach/Passover is a time of freedom. The beautiful thing about this is not moving forward, but moving backwards. The rabbis say, Pesach isn't when it is because that's when we escaped from Egypt. We escaped from Egypt because it was Pesach--the time of freedom. I don't know if I made this sound so cool but it's really cool when the right person explains it!

What else..

The music is playing over the loudspeakers to let the Jerusalemites know that Shabbat is coming in soon.

I also wanted to say a really amazing thing about our rabbis. It seems simple, but whenever someone drops something in class, the Rabbi stops his class and gets it for them so that they can take notes. To contrast this to a university class... I could never imagine a University professor stopping class to pick up a dropped book for a student. They would usually see that as beneath them or demeaning. These Rabbis never hesitate to take the opportunity to help a student learn better... they love to do the good deed. It's a really beautiful thing and, since we have a few pretty clumsy girls in school, one that I get to see quite a lot :)

Finally, this $50 scam on Wall St (apparently about 49 billion of that was Jewish money) has really been hard on the Jewish community. Yeshivas, universities, and seminaries like where I am are all feeling the hurt. We are trying to be extra careful with our use of heating and electricity to make sure we don't spend any money we don't really need to. It's crazy that these things happened one on top of another. I hope that one day I have lots of money and can donate it to my school because they work so hard on such a shoestring budget and they really turn peoples lives around in such an amazing way... its so admirable.

We have a Shabbaton this weekend... the whole school is staying at the two apartments in our neighborhood and we are having speakers and activities and big group meals. I'm really excited to hear my roommate of 5 months, Rebecca, give her D'var Torah (speech on the Torah portion). She's going to be amazing! And she gets extra points for her adorable Australian accent :)

Shabbat Shalom everyone! I hope you get some rest and reflection time and are all prepared to begin the next week refreshed and reinvigorated! I have more "r" words if you want them...

Oh, last thing!
I finished editing a book for a rabbi in the neighborhood. It's all about recognizing G-d's hand in our lives, especially when we are faced with difficulties. It's been a great read and a lot of fun. And after 260+ pages, I'm pretty excited that I actually finished!!!

Lots of love,

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