Friday, February 6, 2009

25 Facts email going around facebook...

Ally tagged me..

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1. I can't believe I'm actually doing this. I was supposed to be having my overseas web-cam chat with my mom but she's not answering her gchat right now so...

2. I really really love having long mornings. Getting up and writing and davening and having a good breakfast with a nice cup of tea or coffee and maybe some yoga or a long walk to school... love it. But it only happens about once a month.

3. My current dream involves moving to New Jersey. I don't know what, specifically that says about me, but I don't think it's good. At least it's a part of New Jersey that's commutable to NYC.

4. I have been with my boyfriend Omri for over two years. He lives down the street and learns in yeshiva there. It's total chance that we're so close, but I'm incredibly grateful because we get to see a lot of eachother.

5. I have about five different careers I'm interested in. Which I think means I'm not really interested in any of them. It's good that I don't need to make any big decisions as of yet.

6. I found out I was Jewish when I was 12. Now I'm an orthodox Jew living in Jerusalem.

7. Even though I've kept kosher for years, I still have to write down what time I can eat dairy again on my hand when I have meat for lunch.

8. I hate eating meat for lunch. When it's my home, it will be largely parve with a bit of dairy throughout the week with meat only on Shabbos. But I'm cheap, so I eat what they give me in school.

9. Israel has changed me in some unexpected ways. Like, I don't really like shopping anymore... it weirds me out that people just go spend money because they're bored. When I came home to visit family in Florida for two weeks over winter break, I almost cried from culture shock in the Atlanta airport.

10. I love studying Torah, but lately I haven't enjoyed learning the weekly Parshas. It really frustrates me and I'm really grateful we have a Parsha class because otherwise I don't know how much I'd really study them.

11. I used to get really depressed when I wasn't acting. I don't get that way anymore, but I will be excited when the year is over to so some kind of theater again... although probably not anything like what I used to do!

12. I love cooking. I also secretly love cleaning, and when I'm alone I sing the songs that the Disney princesses sing when they're cleaning. They're catchy, what can I say.

13. I like infants better than toddlers. There's something so incredible about connecting with someone who has no power of communication but just wants to cuddle and love on you and be comfy. Oh, and poo and spit up.

14. I love fruit so much that I will sometimes eat cake (which I don't particularly like) instead of fruit because I don't feel I've earned the fruit.

15. It wasn't until college that I realized that some people don't eat salad before dinner every night. I also learned there that some people regularly eat dessert after dinner.

16. I love bread. Can't get enough of it. When I was little, I used to eat all the restaurant bread until mom told me I'd fill up on bread then once I got my main course I was so sad that it wasn't as good as the bread. But once I ate a good amount of my main course she'd let me go back to the restaurant bread. We never ate white bread at home, that might be partly why...

17. I love helping people get ready for Shabbos. Last week I was out all Thursday night helping cook and clean, then I went back again Friday morning, then to someone else in the afternoon, and then back to my friends' to finish up. It winds up making me have to rush to get myself ready in time (and sometimes I don't manage finishing everything I wanted to do) which I know isn't really ideal but I feel like Shabbos is so much sweeter when you have to work for it. And these days, since I always eat out, I don't get to do much work for it.

18. I'm good at talking my way out of speeding tickets.

19. I love living in Israel. I'm not sure I can handle America any more after living here. And I've only done just over half the year.

20. I just got invited to the facebook group of my girl scout troop from when I was little. I didn't really keep up with anyone from Marblehead when I moved to Florida so it's kinda cool to find these people again. And I'm gonna tag some on this so that we can catch up :)

21. I love going to Disney. I'm glad my mom lives in Florida. So far I've always gotten to go to Disney on my Florida trips. They've still all been free. Hopefully that will continue! Kim and I used to go to Disney like once a month. Maybe more. I think we memorized all the rides. We'd try to find cute employees to talk to because we were bored of the rides and needed something to entertain ourselves.

22. I love wine. I'm so happy that kosher wine has evolved. There's some really impressive stuff out there. Friday night is red wine night and Shabbos lunch is white wine night.

23. I like wearing jewelry but I can't buy it. I get totally overwhelmed by all the choices and they're all so similar. So I like getting jewelry as a gift because then I don't have to think.

24. My boyfriend's parents send me the sweetest, cutest gifts ever. For Chanukah I got a gorgeous bracelet and Chanukah socks!

25. I love to entertain but I don't like being a guest at a big party unless I came with someone. I get completely overwhelmed.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Trip to Eilat and the Negev Desert!!!

(I have a bad habit of posting twice in a row. Just under this is my post about my trip home to Florida, Rosh Chodesh Shvat, and Michelle's Vort... so don't neglect it just because I have a bad posting schedule please!)

One of the things that was pointed out to me this year that's particularly incredible about Israel is that, unless you have personal ties outside the country, you never really have to leave. Want history? We got it... the best, oldest, and richest in the world. Want culture? Whatever you want... museums, culture, dining, it's all here and you can have it--kosher or treif, whatever your preference (I hope kosher). Want a tropical vacation? Eilat's beaches are some of the best in the world. Or you can check out Tel Aviv's beach. Nightclubs, hiking (desert mountains or lush tropics, your call), more activism and community service than I've ever seen, more PhDs per capita than any country in the world, advanced technology, great education, oceans, lakes, deserts, SKIING even. The holiest and the most secular. All in a country that would fit inside New Jersey.

I don't even want to think about comparing the offerings of Israel to those of New Jersey.

I'd never been to Eilat before and I was completely blown away. First off, from one mountaintop (where Lynn gave a shiur on emunah [faith] and we said the whole book of Tehillim [Psalms]) we could see Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in one eyefull. Insane.

The trip really should not have been called the Eilat Tiyul but "Eilat and the Negev" because we spent most of our time hiking in the Negev desert. Now, I thought, oh, MRC "hiking" is nothing. Usually their version of "challenging" means "maybe don't bring grandma." But this was more like scaling a cliff. There were for sure times I just couldn't look down because we were literally climbing a peak and it sloped down at as much as an 80 degree angle on either side. Two hours of it. The second day the hike was just as long but less climbing and more walking and it was also incredible. The first hike was in Machtesh Hagadol ("The Great Crater") and the second day was in the Eilat mountains. Let me see if I have some good pictures to illustrate:

This one gives you a good idea how steep the hike was. Say hi to Sarah! Note the Rabbi's daughter barely hanging on just behind her. This hike was like an advertisement for hiking shoes with good traction. I have no IDEA how we didn't just keep slipping right back down. (If you click the picture you can see it larger... some of these are hard to see so small.)
How gorgeous is this? I can't believe how tiny we are!
Again, showing steepness. Note that this is not the "climbing" part, this is just the straight up walking part. The climbing, which was about a good third of the hike, required pulling ourselves up with our hands.
A break on our way up the mountain. Notice what we are about to climb, in the top center of the picture. THAT'S why we're taking a break!
Amazing view.
The way back down was a lot easier, but still... insane.
Teeny tiny sem girls on a huuuuuge boulder.
This is from the second hike. More walking, more breathtaking views, a bit less rock climbing.
Me and my shnookums after the second day's hike. We did it!
Note that my pictures are only from when my hands are free and I'm not about to faint... so the hike was a lot more intense than even this!

After two days of really hard hiking, it was so incredible to be on the beach, lying out. Leia and I were beach buddies and we had an amazing time. We got Heinekens, laid out in the sun, then went SNORKELING!--so amazing--then got ourselves some ice cream while we dried off. Perfect beach day. They played music over the loudspeakers and it was all just us girls in our own private bit of beach.

Then we went to the Eilat Hesder yeshiva, Ayelet Hashachar where we heard Rabbi Rothkopf talk about his experience of bringing Torah to a totally secular, separated (by miles of desert) town. The whole place is very small and it's had a religious explosion. What's really cool about it, he told us, was that you have all these different "branches" of Orthodoxy all getting along there. Someone could wear a Nachman kippa, daven Chabad, and donate to Hesder while learning at yet another yeshiva. That's not something you see in a lot of places... it's really incredible.

After a trip like that all I want to do is make aliyah. This country is just so incredible, you can't help but love it. And I know that any possibility is far off in the future, but it can't hurt to start thinking now! I definitely got a nice wake-up call when I found out that my old roommate, Noelle, has moved to South Africa to continue her work with Keep a Child Alive (check out her blog at And here I'm hesitating about the time I'm spending here, the Jewish homeland, when the best, most life-changing part of my life has been growing and developing as a Jew? Where people actually SPEAK the holy tongue and the greatest Torah minds walk the street with you? I literally had these insane dreams about it last night and couldn't even function this morning because it was getting to me so much. I stayed home and did what I always do when I'm stressed. I did my laundry.

My trip "home," and then my return "home"

Ok before I post about my trip to Eilat I wanted to get up some great pictures from my trip home!

Here's one of my dad and stepmom at Animal Kingdom beginning the safari ride (a family favorite).

That's me and my momma (we're color coordinated... how cute!).

And me and my amazing big brother!!!

The trip home was great. I also have some really cute pictures of braiding challah with my mom and tickle wrestling with my big brother. My family is so incredible and loving and we laugh so much when we're together... it's such a blessing. And it was really amazing to see how everyone was so open and accepting of my new way of living my life. A lot of "liberal" families don't really keep with the whole philosophy... they're more concerned that you agree with them about their political views than that everyone has the right to their own. But, thank G-d, my family is just happy to see everyone doing whatever gives them meaning and joy.

I got back and in short order it was Rosh Chodesh Shvat (the first of the month of Shvat)! We had a beautiful little Rosh Chodesh breakfast in the Beit Midrash (study room/library/classroom). Rebbetzin Karlinsky gave a beautiful shiur about Shvat. She said that all winter we are working and working on ourselves and our faith and connection to G-d and not necessarily seeing the fruits of our labours. But in Shvat, which is generally a month where lots of rain has collected (unfortunately it has been a very dry winter so this didn't apply so much this year as it does usually) you don't have to go dipping so far into the well to gather water. And so it is with our spiritual lives. We have filled the "wells" with that work and now we can just skim off the surface and feel the spirituality permeate our lives and bring us joy and a deeper connection. She gave over the shiur with so much simcha and love that it was a really lovely morning.

Finally, my roommate Michelle had her vort (engagement party). The Rosh Yeshiva and Rosh Midrasha both spoke and we danced and had a great time. Here's a goofy picture of us doing a slow-mo dance because the boys were singing a really weird song.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin