Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Liberation through the deconstruction of Jonah

This past summer I was having a conversation with a friend over dinner. She mentioned that she had recently stopped an action that had been a part of her everyday lifestyle. Her reasoning was that 'I could no longer make sense of why I was doing it, so I decided to stop'. For a long time this has summed up my struggle with Halacha. My barrier however is actually putting it into practice. I no longer find a lot of traditional Halacha relevant to my life, but I am still unable to break it. It has been such a part of my life for so long that to now disregard it seems inherently unatural. Furthermore if I was raised under the premise that Halacha is truth (meaning the way God intended it), and I reject this to be truth then what does that say about my interpretation of the rest of the text (everything else I am told to believe because God told me so)? It is not only in Rabbinical Halacha that I take issue, but in the words of the text found in the Torah as well.

For a while now I have been trying to find some sort of reconciliation. Is there a way for me to find meaning without understanding the text to be absolute truth? What does this mean for my life as a Jew? Do I live a traditional Halachic lifestyle if I no longer by into it? What does it mean in relation to the community I want to build my life in? What does it mean for my family and the community I come from? I am far from finding the answers to these questions. But I have begun to find a feeling of liberation in how I can approach and understand the text.

Today in one of my classes we asked the question about the methodology of the text and what is understood to be true. How do we understand the text? Can an understanding be found in just the words? is it inherently linked with Midrash (stories that are commonly linked to but not found within the text themselves)? Do we take the commentaries to be the 'TRUE' understanding of text? what is TRUE?

It is comforting to learn that understandings of all commentators and readings of the text themselves are going to be subjective by the reader. It is impossible to say that social influence, context, political associations, etc... are not factors. It is also interesting how we are taught and which of the commentaries our teachers choose to present to us. At what point in history did certain players get ruled out of the forum of understanding?? Does doing so invalidate the ones thrown out? Who makes that decision? Are new players unable to enter the realm? Many questions, I know!

As we are approaching Yom Kippur (YK) we took a look at the book of Jonah. Through Chavruta study (discussion/analyzing study between partners of the text) we first did a reading of the text and discussed the meaning of the text itself. Then we looked at a series of commentators. These included early non-Rabbinic commentators like: 'The Lives of the Prophets', and Josephus; Early Rabbinic scholars like Meckilta, and Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer; Midieval scholars such as Rashi, and Ibn Ezra; and modern academic scholars such as Zakovitz, Sasson and Douglas. It was interesting to read through them all, understand all the different arguments and maybe side with one or several. In his book: Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash, D. Boyarin writes "All interpretation is filtered through consciousness, tradition, ideology and the intertext, and the opposition between subject adn object, so charachteristic of the romantic ideology, must be deconstructed." Finally I feel it is okay to open up the entire forum for conversation. If my own reading and understanding of the text is not the 'traditional' one thats okay, and thats comforting. Maybe I'm not such a heritic afterall.

Today was another day of firsts. I rode on the back of a motorcycle for the first time (don't worry Ma, I wore a helmet!); I got completely lost walking the streets of Jerusalem and after about an hour found my way without asking for directions or looking at a map, and I got to see photos of two new beautiful babies in the world. Let me introduce them to you. First is Molly Olivia Levin born on Sept. 20th to Mindy and Noam Levin.

Next is 'tiny' Friedman born to Miriam and Jon who joined us on Sept. 23rd:

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hapax Legomenon

Now that I am a bit rested I realized I completely forgot to post one of the most interesting things I learned this week: Hapax Legomenon. A Hapax Legomenon is when a word occurs only once in a text or document. Why am I telling you this?? Did you know that we base the way we do our shofar blowing on the basis of a Hapax Legomenon? its true!

In the Mishna, when it talks about what the Shofar should sound like it says it should sound like the wails of Sisrah's mother crying at the window. Sisrah was a king of an enemy nation of Israel who was assasinated by a woman named Yael by a tent peg as the two nations battled. (the whole story can be read in the book of Judges and is compiled by Deborah the judge). Anyways, Deborah writes the hebrew word Yevavot which is translated as 'wails/cries'. Turns out this is the ONLY place that the word Yevavot appears in the the Tanach (Torah, Prophets, Writings). But what interests me is that the Mishnah chose the same word. Since no-one knows what the cries of Sisrah's mother sounded like (she was not anywhere near the battle) we do a combination of blasts hoping to get it right. We know that it is not the Tekiah blast but either the Shevarim blast (representing longer sighs) or the Teruah blast that is shorter sobs, or a combination of the two.

There are multiple times when other words are used to represent crying in the Tanach. What I find so facinating is that we base it on this one word, that is found only once, by the mother of our enemy. Why didn't the Mishnah choose any other word? Why not say that the Shofar blasts sounded like the Jews crying out to God from Egypt or anything of the like? There must be something significant about it.

Here are my two cents: There is something to be said for remembering the human qualities of everyone in the world, enemy or friend. It is said that the Children of Israel were rebuked for rejoicing in the deaths of the Egyptians as they were swallowed up by the sea. The reason was that we are all created B'selem Elokim (in the image of God). The loss of any life on earth is equally upsetting in God's eyes. Maybe from our use of Yevavot we can deduce that just as in God's eyes we are all created equally, so too we must recognize that although we are a diverse world in every way when you strip us down we are all the same. We share all the same emotions of love, hate, sorrow, joy etc... Maybe as we enter into the Yomim Norahim (days of awe--10 days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur) it should not only be one of self reflextion and introspection. We strip ourselves down to the most basic of human emotions. Maybe at the height of our own impassioned cries we will remember that our cries are no different than every other person on this earth--even the mothers of our enemies. I will not be so bold to say how this may translate into action, but it is a thought to keep in mind on how this may personally relate to you.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Yes, it HAS been a while

First, Shana Tova to you all. It is hard to believe that Rosh Hashana is just a couple of days away and this year more than most there are very tangible elements of change for me and I am sure for many of you as well. May this next year bring us all laughter, meaningful experiences, opportunity, possitive challenges, health, justice and peace. May we stay active in our minds, hearts, and actions and continue to grow.

I also want to wish additional blessings today to:

MAZEL TOV TO MINDY AND NOAM LEVIN ON THE BIRTH OF A BABY GIRL!! I am so happy for your both, and cannot wait to meet the newest member of the Levin Family!!

Photo of Noam, Mindy and I at Michelle Meister's wedding:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO DARCY J. Thanks so much for your letter and may adventures east prove to be nothing ordinary.

As mentioned, I cannot believe RH is almost here. The last week and a half has been an abolute whirwind and I hope I sum it up appropriately. To begin last weeked we spent Shabbat in Arad (town in the desert of Israel) for our first official Pardes Tiyul (excursion). It was the first time all of us were together outside of school setting. It gave us all an opportunity to have downtime but still be in somewhat of a structured environment. We arrived in Arad Thursday afternoon and went through a variety of sessions. As a Pardes Fellow I took on additional responsibilities facilitating sessions and running ice breakers, good thing I spent all those years working for Hillel! But what was nice is that I worked with one of the teachers at Pardes to create an art workshop revolving around the idea that altering one detail can totally alter a picture, how much more so could altering one thing in our lives change our perceptions/actions in the world around us. But the most memorable part of the Tiyul was our 5am hike Friday morning. We left and hiked to the desert where we sat on a cliff and watched the sunrise. Ofcourse the sunrise was beautiful but that is not what it made it memorable for me. There were optional services, yoga, and learning sessions going on simultaneously. Not suprislingly I opted out of services (i struggle with them, and thats a whole other conversation for another time). Instead I went to the optional learning session led by one of the elder teachers at Pardes. I don't really know how to describe him except that he just has this energy radiating from him. Its as if just by sitting in his presence I am humbled and hope to just absorb as much as I can. Then, just as we were getting ready to go a flock/herd (what is the proper term) of camels started walking in our direction! It was incredible!

There must have been close to 40 including small ones, albino ones, you name it. I have never seen that many just out in the wild like that! In fact I don't know if I have ever seen them in more than 2-3 outside of the debatable abused ones at the touristy bedouin tents.

We jumed right back into classes Sunday which was tough, since there was really no time to catch up on the sleep we lost from waking up at 5am. I did however make it out to the Jerusalem Darfur Rally in conjunction with Darfur World Awareness Day (special thanks to Rachel Mathisen for the heads up!). It was a good effort on behalf of those who threw it together. However it was very apparent that it was put together very last minute and that I may have been the oldest person at the rally. David Bernay, Jay, and Gary all came out as well. Jay made a good point that not a word was actually spoken in Hebrew. I am unsure if any Israelies were in fact there.

Monday ran late as usual. Classes start at 8:30am and I am in night seder (additional evening study) until about 10pm. Tuesday was my 'early day' meaning that I am finished by 5pm. I got home to send off some Rosh Hashana emails and then met up with a friend for drinks. I try to make a conscious effort to have a social life outside of Pardes but what I later find is that the combinations of both are wearing me out!! I hope that I will discover a good balance soon.

Wednesday was Gary's birthday--Happy Birthday Gary! And so after a long day of classes Bassin and I capped off the night by hanging out with a bunch of folks on his mirpeset (porch). A very ecclectic group which sparked some good conversations--my type of a night.

And here I am today. As you may have noticed I have begun to dwindle in my details as the week has progressed--another sign that i am EXHAUSTED. After classes today we had our Fellows meeting. We begun a conversation about poverty in Israel and were joined by a woman who works for an organzation (on whose name I am blanking) that helps the impoverished communities in Israel. We then continued on with an interesting text study about distribution of wealth and how the Children of Israel are supposed to treat each other when one's livelihood is threatened. It mainly focused on how the Shmitah year (the 7 year sabbatical year) made all debts null and void, and that property was returned to it's original owner. What stuck out to me though were two particular sentences. Located in Deuteronomy Ch. 15 Verses 4 and 11. 15:4--"However, may there be no destitute among you; rather God will surely bless you in the Land that God, your God, will give you as an inheritance to possess it." 15:11- "For destitue people will not cease to exist within the Land; therefore I command you, saying, "You shall surely open your hand to your brother to your poor, and to your destiture in your Land". Ponder that one for a moment...

I have made two different trips to Super Sol (grocery) today and bought MUCHO food. I am hosting a meal for 14 people for the second day of Chag and it just seemes to be getting bigger...Excited for it though, good guest list, will let you know how it goes.

I did get a phone call from Shira Hadasha earlier as well and I am off the wait list! I am really looking forward to my tefillah (prayer) service there. After two years of working through the holidays I am hoping to open myself up and truely look at the liturgy and open myself up to the possibility of a spiritual experience. It will be a good environment for that.

Last but not least, How cool is Google??

Shana Tova again, and best from Jerusalem. Lets here it for 5757!

Monday, September 11, 2006

One More Thing

I cannot believe I forgot to mention this. As you all are more than aware today is September 11. If you are like me, the memory of that day is still very much alive. Some of you have heard my story of the events but specifically the memorial service I attended. At that service the Shofar was blasted. The sound pierced me to the core. It is what I think of each time I hear it. This year is the first time in 5 years I have heard it on September 11. The feeling I cannot explain. May this next year bring us all peace, tolerance, and understanding.

Beef of the Week

Nope, not pastrami. Here on out when I am referring to the Beef of the Week I am refering to one of my issues, or should I say gripes about a situation or text study I encountered. The Beef of the Week on this second week of September goes to the understanding of the Noahide laws. WHAA?? you may ask? me too.

I began a new class today called 'Ethics of Living and Dying'. The class will deal with laws pertaining to civil society. We began today from looking at the Noahide laws, or according to the Talmud the first set of laws given down to a society. As stated in Tractaite Sanhedrin (didn't bring home my notes but promise to get you the exact source)that the 7 Noahide laws (given to the children of Noah after the flood) were as follows:
1. Set up courts
2. You should bless the name of God, i.e. do not commit blasphamy
3. Do not engage in idol worship
4. Do not spill blood, i.e. do not commit murder
5. You should not engage in acts of sexual immorality
6. Do not engage in robbery
7. Do not tear a limb from a living animal

These laws were apparently commanded to everyone on earth and preceeded the idea of Judaism.

Wheres the beef?? (hope thats not copyrighted). Okay, get ready, here it is:

I have never liked the term "chosen people" I think that it implies negative connotations from both internally and externally. In fact its not that God chose us, but us who chose God. It is us who decided to take on God in the manifestation that seemed truthful on how to live our lives. But like a radio show, that is transmitted from one central location but your station may be altered to pick up the best feed depending on your location-so too, I believe that there is a higher being and a truth but that the truth is channeled differently for different people to reach understanding. I refuse to believe there is only one way to view the higher power we call God. But here we are stating that the a non-Jew must recognize God in order to say that s/he will not commit blasphamy, the Gemara is going one step further in saying that not only must s/he recognize but s/he must not commit Avodah Zarah, or idol worship, implying that s/he must believe in a mono-theistic God. Well if this is true than Paganism, many Eastern religions, and depending on who you hold by, Islam and Christianity are out the window!

How can we say that we expect others to believe what we believe? Last time I checked we weren't asking questions in the lines of 'Do you believe in Jesus Christ as your lord and saviour?' as a stipulation on how to live life (or depending if you believe in an afterlife, entry into the afterlife). Yet according to this these are the 7 simple rules that non-Jews must follow--NOT SO FREAKIN SIMPLE!!

Now I know that other schools of thought remove these two God related laws and replace them with no castration or mixing of seeds. But to even entertain the thought that we are 'right' and the rest of the world is 'wrong' does not sit well with me. Hillel International has recently changed their slogan to 'Universally Human, Distinctively Jewish'. We live in a global world and I am on the large scale part of 2 communities--the Human race and the Jewish people. On a smaller scale, there are too many to count. For me to say that not only do I believe what I do is right for me but REQUIRED of everyone else on this earth, just cannot be and I cannot take it to be true.

This is the hard stuff. Okay, I don't believe this to be true, but can I find something else useful in this source text that is? Or does one it negate everything else I come across. And this is the microchosim of my struggle.

On a lighter note here are some of the other events of my week: Signed up for membership at Shira Hadasha only to be told I am on a waitlist that is not getting any shorter for High Holidays. Looks like I am still searching for a place to go...BUT i got a free t-shirt...yay. We are going on Tiyul (outing, hike, etc..) from Thursday-Sat. night to Arad which is in the mid-south of Israel just south of the Dead Sea (which according to BBC news is in a race to save it's existence). I have also been elected to coordinate a program the school does called 'Take Five'. The idea is that for 5 minutes 2 times a week a student gets up before the entire community and answers a random question relating somehow to their Jewish identity. In doing so the community gets to know something interesting about them, and for those who do not interact regularly it gives them a chance to hear from each other. Since I am running the program, I am also introducing it and therefore going to speak for the first one. Stay tuned, I will let you know how it goes.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Cinco de Mayo in Septembre

This past Thursday evening I participated in my first ever Cinco de Mayo celebration in both Israel and September. Molly Kane, fellow Rabbinical student of the Sarahs celebrated her birthday. The exact date is September 11, but since 2001 she has chosen not to use that date as a celebratory day but rather throws a different themed party around Sept. 11 each year. This year was Cinco de Mayo. Some of you may have seen this coming based on the paper mache pin`ata in the shape of Mexico that has been hanigng in our dining room for the last 2.5 weeks. It was also a really nice way to end the week. (I will get back to the party momentarily).

I have officially completed my first week of classes at Pardes. My mind was/is racing and I can't wait to dive back into classes tomorrow morning. What was nice though was that we also had a second fellows meeting. The fellows will be meeting twice a week, once on Tuesday evenings and again on Thursday afternoon. The evening gatherings will be more informal where the Thursday afternoon ones will be text base and more of a classroom setting. We are currently in the process of deciding which topics we would like to cover over the duration of the year. They range from arts/culture/film to current events and the Jewish response. We have to ability to bring in speakers, read articles, view films, hold panels, etc... Again, its a diverse group and I am excited to be a part of it. For me there is nothing gained from nodding heads in unison, but much to learn from engaging, energetic and sometimes even frustrating conversation.

Okay, back to the fiesta. The pinata was complete and the roomates and I decided to show up to the par-tay in style, and that we did.

here is Tasman's explaination of the day:

Pin`ata set up and breaking:

Molly (birthday girl) and Jessy:

Living in a country with a 6 day work week is something I don't know if I could ever get used to. Friday is the only day od the week outside of Shabbat where we don't have class. It was also my first opportunity to sleep past 6:45 all week. Although I was up by 9am, I realized just how tired I really was. I spent the day doing a whole lot of nothing. Laundry, ironing, and watching a DVD. That night we had a Pardes student mix-up Shabbat where they paired up first year and returning students for dinner. Within a 1/2 hour of the meal I was able to figure out some kind of connection with each person at the table. The hosts were Nili (ne: Epstein) and Ezra Auerbach. Nili is a former fellow at the Hillel international center and her husband Ezra's family made aliyah from Baltimore 14 years ago. His uncle used to be my father's karate teacher. There was a guy there who shares my exact birthdate and year he went to high school with friends of mine from NY. Jewish geography connected a lot of dots but there was even a girl there who was in my bunk at camp 15 years ago and who I had not seen since! I ended up walking home with her and it turns out that we are both on similar journeys. It was good to reconnect.

Today I met Esty again at Shira Hadasha. I had another DELICIOUS meal courtesy of the Altshul fam. Always a pleasure to dine with them. Esty and I are planning on going over to the Shira Hadasha new members sign up tomorrow evening. I am hoping to secure my place there for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur--I can't believe how soon they are coming!! Shavuah Tov (Good week) to you all!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It Aint No Munich

As we have progressed in our first week of classes at Pardes, I am realizing more and more how rusty my 'school skills'are. Man, critical thinking for 10+ hours a day is exhausting! In addition to the class material, which I am very much enjoying, all of the questions I came here with are still looming. They are waiting to get out and get answered. How does this text resonate with me? How do they affect me now that my perspectives on Torah from the Divine have altered? What do I want my lifestyle to look like here? Am I going to be able to figure it all out?? As mentioned in an earlier entry, everything is inter-connected and it is constantly on my mind. Its hard to deal with these tough questions constantly. Its also hard for me to vocalize them to others. Each person here is on their own journey. To understand where I want to go I must explain where I have come from and the process I went on. Ironically though most people I encounter seem to be passing me on the road in the opposite direction. Although all open minded wonderful people, I am still looking for some folks heading my way to really work through some of these issues. I'm not ready to just turn back round and join the pack, even though it is incredibly easy and tempting to do. I just know that doing so without disecting the issues would leave me more lost than before. Additionally, I firmly believe that we shouldn't all be walking down the same road. If we did who would we intersect with, greet and learn from further down the path?? Exhausting...

What I have found out though this week is that there are 2 key interests of mine that have been sparked/rekindled. Through conversation and text study I have rediscovered that I very much enjoy looking at law and the thought process behind law. Even if i do not necessarily agree with the implementation of the end result, the process that it takes to get there is facinating. Additionally, I have a newly sparked interest in the idea of Chaplaincy. I think it combines my love for Theology and working with people. It is something I am looking forward to researching more.

BUT this week has not been all work and no play. Since I know all of you have been keeping up to date with this blog on an entry to entry basis, you are well aware that I saw and ADORED the new Roberto Benigni film. GO SEE IT! Then last night, Tasman and I went to the Jerusalem Beer festival. We met up with Esty Altchul and a couple of people I met at Pardes. Beer, Burgers Bar (among many other vendors),Beer, Bumping into old friends, Beer, Live Music, Beer--what else do you need?? There were no Um-pa-pop bands in leiderhosen, or Israeli micro-brews (although there was one from Ramallah) but it was a good time had by all non the less.

Tasman, Esty and I at Jerusalem Beerfest 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006

My First Day of School

Before I left for classes this morning I had coffee and eggs in the kitchen with Tasman. As we sat there she taught me quick life saving skills off a list from her Ju-Jitsu teacher. So after learning that my elbows are the hardest part of my body and not to be to sympathetic to injured people on the street because they may just be trying to fool and then abduct me, i headed out to Pardes. With my backpack full of books, a 35 minute walk ahead and 10 minutes before I needed to be at orientation, i decided to take the bus. Luckily, I got there just in time.

Everyone walked in, grabbed their named tag and took a seat in the Beit Midrash (literal translation: House of Study, practical traslation: big room/library where people study in Chavruta or pair study). Then all 120 of us+faculty introduced themselves, yeah...it was a lot. We then did a communal text study about different types of students based on the study styles of different Talmudic scholars. We talked about being cisterns and collecting information in contrast of an outflowing spring. Although the spring flows outwards, it may dry up without a source. Where a cistern may become stale without use. We talked of students of the mind vs. the heart and the necessity to have both. I think each of us has aspeects of both, yet it is our diversity in their uses that make us unique and complimentary. Finally we ended with a Shofar blast, something that is done each day during the Hebrew month of Elul. Elul is the month leading up to the High Holidays, a time for introspection, reflection and awakening. Its fitting that this is when, and how we begin our year.

At lunch, which they provided for us, I met with the other Fellows in my program. It was the first time all of us were together, and me being the ONLY fellow who is not a returning student it was nice for me to feel 'a part' of the group. It is a really intimate group, which I think will be great. 4 Men and 4 Women, we range in Geography and ages. The oldest being close to 50 (everyone else is in their 20s) and the only non North American is from Budapest. We will be meeting 1-2 times a week outside of classes for our own seminars. In addition we play active leadership roles in Pardes programming and each will be taking on a leadership project. Unfortunatley i am too tired to lay mine out at the moment, but stay tuned.

After lunch we finally got down to business and broke into our first classes. I will be taking Talmud Bekiut (general Talmudic study) 2 afternoons a week. Leading up to the High Holidays we will apropriately be beginning with Mesechet Rosh Hashana (the tractate of Gemara that deals with Rosh Hashana). Afterwards we will be looking at Mesechet Makot (the tractate examing criminal law and punishment). The other classes I have commited to are a morning Talmud B'Iyun class (more in depth Talmudic study) where we will also be looking at Mesechet Rosh Hashana, although a different chapter, up until the holiday and then Mesechet Gittin (dealing with marriage and divorce law), this will be 3 mornings a week. I will also be taking a Chumash class (Old Testament) and a class on Women and Halacha (Jewish law). There are many others to choose from but I want to feel them out before I commit.

After a long first day I headed to the grocery store and then home. Had dinner with the roomates and then went to see this WONDERFUL film with friends. The title of the film is "The Tiger in the Snow" the new film by Roberto Benigni. So much is conveyed with so much heart and yet he is a comical genius who will make you laugh as well. I recommend it to all!!

I arrived home just after midnight to be greeted with the news that every girl wants to hear "Just in time for ice cream!". We took out the cones, and the bad israeli freezer bought ice cream, made ourselves some treats, and had a sit down. Here is a photo of Me, Tasman, and Tas's friend Lowell who was in visiting before he took off for his home in Kansas City. Much luck to you Lowell.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

For Your Enjoyment

Albi The Racist Dragon:

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Off with Their Heads!

These past few days have been really nice. Tasman returned from Rhodes, Greece just in time for Shabbat. We went together to Shira Hadasha and as many people predicted, I really really enjoyed it. There was a lot of energy and it was the first place in a long time where I felt that everyone really had their hearts in what they were doing. I also bumped into lots of people that have recently returned to Israel: Esther Abramowitz, Yoni and Talia Engelhart, and Shira (Cantor) and Aaron Katchen. After services we went to Esty Altschul's for dinner and had a really relaxing evening. Her parents who recently made aliyah, were out for dinner so it was the three of us, her younger sister and friend. Nice conversation and GREAT food!! Walking there made me realize though how many streets there are I do not know and how much more of the area I hope to become familiar with.

Today Shabbat lunch was Sarah, myself and Gary who dropped in. I am a fan of the low key Shabbat lunches that last for hours, I was hoping to get a game of scrabble in but unfortunately no takers...BUT with the introduction of a new game this evening the day wasn't a complete loss for board games. We headed over to Meno's who is house sitting for the month in Baka.
After a really nice dinner in the garden we moved indoors and enjoyed a nice game of Guillotine, the Revolutionary game where you win by the number of points you get by chopping of noble's heads. Basically there are noble cards and action cards. Nobles are worth a variety of points based on social status (1-5 points), or you could also get a Martyr card which is worth negative points. The action cards help you make strategic decisions to score the most points. I lost both hands...guess the role of the axe wielding henchmen is not in my genes...BUT i did enjoy the first card I selected: Heretic, 2 points--fitting.

Oh, and you tell me why one of these things is not like the other:
could you find the thing that did not belong??

Thats all for now, tomorrow morning is my last morning to sleep in and enjoy laziness before I begin classes on Monday. A big MAZEL TOV as well to my cousins Ben Stein and Arin Kramer who are tying the knot later today in upstate NY. I am so sorry I am unable to be there with you, but know that it will be an amazing day and I can't wait to hear all about it!!