Wednesday, November 29, 2006


This morning when I left the house my electric toothbrush was working and my watch was ticking. In the span of the day both went dead. coincidence or conspiracy? you decide.

It's hard to believe that this Friday marks December. Time here seems to be racing by. With no weekends I find myself constantly in motion. I don't know where the weeks go.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ayelet Rachel

Here are some more photos as they trickle in:

for more visit:

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Tarni Rosinblum

No, that isn't her real name but will be one I will call her for years to come. Here are my first sightings:

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Week In Review

It seems that each time I sit down to update my blog I have SOO much to say yet can't seem to find a way to fit it all in. Therefore I will give you the week in review:

1. Sunday Evening: Chaim, Jon and Annie stop by for what is intended to be a quick hello/picking up clothing for a wedding Annie is going to in Beer Sheva on Wednesday. But the night took an interesting turn (literally) when Jon used our bathroom sink. The knob on the sink broke and before we knew it our bathroom was flooding. Being 11pm at night and unable to find a shut off valve we opened up the phone book and located a 24 hour plumber. Trying to explain what was happening in my not wonderful Hebrew I mentioned we had a water problem with our sink. The plumber (Shravrav=plumber in Hebrew) said not to worry he would come tomorrow afternoon to which I exclaimed 'Lo! Yesh Lanu Mabul b'kiyor; Ha'Mayim lo Atzur!= No! we have a flood (biblical word used for Noah and the ark, later learned the modern day term is HaTzefah) in the sink the water isn't stopping!. So a half hour later, we are all wet from the knees down and still passing buckets and pots in a chain from the sink to the bathtub/toilet, the shravrav walks in carrying an address book. AN ADDRESS BOOK! He goes, ooohhh now I see and goes to get his tools. It takes him 3 minutes to remove the faucet and plug up the leak in the wall. It then takes me 3 minutes to turn over the 450 NIS I now owe him for the job.

2. Monday Evening: Darfur Rally. With a thoughtful and understanding Chavruta (learning buddy) from Night Seder I left early with many fellow students to attend the Darfur rally happening in Kikar Zion. Organized by many youth here in Israel it was a good showing of a couple hundred. Incredibly well done for a group that had a group of maybe 50 standing in a circle on a street corner only a few months ago. There were many speakers ranging from secular to religious, female and male, speaking in Hebrew and Engligh. What was very enlightening was the current situation in Israel with Sudaneese refugees. There are aprox. 250 Sudaneese refugees here in Israel. They crossed Africa on foot making their way across the desert to the border of Israel. When they tried to claim assylum they were thrown in prison. The reason is because Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Sudan and being mere citizens of Sudan they are percieved as a threat. On the other hand they cannot send them back either because of the terrible fates that would await them there. Since there is no other country that is opening their arms widely asking to help they are now residing in Israeli prison. There is an organization here called C.A.R.D. which is raising fund and education about the situation. They have begun an exchange program with Moshavim and Kibbutzim. They raise the money to get refugees out on bail and then place them in the exchange where they live and work on the Moshav or Kibbutz. 40 refugees have been released through such programs. The challenge at the moment is increasing the funding to allow integration into society for all of these refugees. I promise to get contact information about this group for a later post. In the meantime here is a photo of us at the rally taken by Mobius aka The Jewish Anarchist aka Dan. You can check his stuff out at

3. Tuesday Evening: Another night at Crossroads. I am finding each time I go I am connecting more with the kids. I am getting a lot out of my time there.

4. Wednesday Evening: I came home after making up my night seder chavruta and did some work. One of the challenges I have noticed is that although I love everything I am doing in my life I am still finding myself at times overwhelmed. Not a lot of downtime. As a result I think some of my interpersonal relationships with friends have suffered. So although it was already nearing the late side I decided to meet up with my friend Esty. We went to this very quaint cafe, sat and just chatted for a while. It was really nice.

5. Thursday Evening: THANKSGIVING! An incredibly nice evening full of good company and food. Although technically there was no turkey Annie made some delicious chicken that tasted just as good. Mark Nelson and friend also dropped in for a bit. A former student who made aliyah in June and will be entering the army in January, I had not seen him since my time last year in Seattle. He looks great, happy, and it was good to catch up. Here is a taste of Thanksgiving this year in my apartment:

I hope everyone's went well and took time out to mention or at least think of things you are thankful for. Above all I am thankful for the continual support of my friends and family both here and especially an ocean away. Thank you!

The entire evening was super fun and included my very first Thanksgiving sleepover party! Here are a few images from the night. Stay tuned for more photos!

6. Friday Evening: Friday day started bright and early with a meeting at Crossroads. I met with the other volunteers and the volunteer coordinator and we talked more about the center and our roles there. They do such important work. Already being downtown I went straight to the shuk and got all my shopping needs. In addition to my food supplies for the weekend I bought a microwavable pillow (to heat the muscles in my back--proving to be very theraputic already) and a couple of tunic blouses. They are the first 'uneccesary purchases' I have made here in Israel. I have really been trying to limit what I need and don't need in my consumer behavior. It has been somewhat of a process really ever since my experience in El Salvador. Actually buying the clothes gave me very mixed reactions. I am glad I am still consciously thinking about it although I also have to realize there is room for saying personal purchase is also okay. I was home by noon and my sleepover friends had cleaned up my apartment! what a great thank you present!! With all the dishes done and the beds put away all that was left was for me to climb into my own bed and grab a quick nap. I woke up with plenty of time to get ready for Shabbat. It's the first time I haven't felt frazzled in weeks! In fact I had so much time I was one of the very first people at Shira Chadasha! Bet that won't happen again! Dinner was nice, I ate with a crowd who I haven't spent a ton of time with yet this year. Good to mix things up.

7. Shabbat: I spent the morning sleeping in with a chapter shot from David Sedaris. Then the Sarahs and I went over to Grace and Irving Abramowitz's home for Shabbat lunch. I love going there, I need to do it more often. Tonight I hosted a very small get together full of interesting and thoughtful discussion. It was a nice way to cap of the week.

I miss you and am sad I cannot be there with you, but cannot wait to meet you!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Turkey Day

Those of you who know me know I love Thanksgiving. Each year differs and its been a few years now since I have been home. This is my second Thanksgiving in Israel, the first was back in 1999. I have also spent Thanksgiving in London, on Bainbridge Island, and last year in my basement apartment in Seattle (see video below). Tomorrow evening will be my first ever Thanksgiving sleep over. I am only responsible for mashed potatoes, stuffing, and providing people with places to sleep. Not a bad deal.

The great Cranberry Challenge of 2005:

Jacob, Daniel, Tal and Mike, you will be missed!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Tiyul Video

Thanks to Jeremy Weintraub for creating a memorable Negev tiyul video:

more to come.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

oh LOST!

I just visited the ABC website and found this message: LOST will begin 16 straight weeks of all new episodes in February. Till then, check back for a weekly sneak peek of what's to come! FEBRUARY 7th!! Do you have any idea how far way that is?!?! For a junkie like me?? TOO LONG! Why ABC? Why?

Now totally isolated from American television I guess that the 50 minutes a week I dedicated for LOST will now have to be replaced by something else (until Feb. 7th that is).

This week has been long and my cough has decided to stick around. Maybe with enough rest this weekend it will move on.

This afternoon the Fellows took a walking tour around the area of Talpiot, Arnona, and ended at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel. We passed several notable Israeli scholar and artist homes including the home of S.Y. Agnon--the 1966 Nobel Prize winner. It seems that every corner has a rich history and story to accompany it.

Tomorrow night we are hosting a travelling Shabbat Minyan called Kol Zimrah (Voice of Melody). It's an Egal traditional/crunchy service that is always followed by a vegetarian potluck. I will spend the morning cleaning and shopping but whats nice is that I don't have to leave the apartment after noon.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Coughing Up a Storm

It's official. I have taken my first sick day of the year. With a chest cold, I am holed up in my bed, coughing, sneezing, and resting. People have called it the 'Jerusalem Chill' aparently I am not the first victim of the season...

This past week has been like all the others, gone before you know it. But it was a good week. We went on Tiyul to the Negev (trip to the desert) for 3 days. There was some incredible hiking. Each day there were 2 options a more strenuous hike and a less challenging one. I did the strenube the not so proud recipient of the Jerusalem chill. The names of the hikes were the 'Big Fin', Nachal Gov, and Nachal Zevaiim. The Big Fin was just that a mountain with a narrow, steep ascent whoes shape strongly resembles that of a fin. Once at the top we overlooked the Machtesh HaGadol (the big Machtesh). Turns out Machtesh is a term used by geologists all over the world. Similar to the appearance of a crater it is formed by immense water pressure eroding sandstone buried under limestone. There are only 5 in the world, 3 in the Negev and 2 in the Sinai. Nachal Gov I think was my favorite hike. It was full of ropes, ladders, and rock slides. Then the final day we hiked Nachal Zevaiim. A 7 hour hike where we were told to be prepared to get a little wet. About 4 hours in we were all standing waist deep in water!

We got back Thursday evening, I went to the grocery store and then headed home. after a shower and being VERY achy I got ready for my out of town guests. Rach Margolies and Josh Klemons came in from Arad where they are doing the WUJS program. I stayed up chatting with them til about 1am and then headed to bed. In the morning we went to check out a breakfast place for pancakes (its no Portage Bay, but pretty good) met up with Annie and walked to the Hebrew U. stadium for the Jerusalem Pride Rally. We bumped into Jay Rosen, Tali Golan, David Bernay, Lisa Stella, and others. It was a good way to spend the morning especially after all the controversy that had been going on about it. There was only one very minor disturbance, but it was overshadowed by the beautiful weather, friendly people and a performance by HaDag Nachash (popular Israeli hip hop/rock group). After 3 songs Rach and I headed home to cook Shabbat dinner. Shabbat was really nice, 11 people for dinner and then lunch at Jenny and Max's.

Saturday night Annie, Jenny, and Esty all came over to eat leftovers and watch Grey's Anatomy. It was the first time since Monday evening I was able to just sit. I made it to school in the morning but after 2 hours of coughing my way through the beit midrash I decided to go back to bed. So here I am. I am planning on going back tomorrow and just hope this cough begins to go away!

Monday, November 06, 2006


I was all prepared to type out my notes from this great lecture on identity I went to by Steve Cohen. But I am finding myself pressed for time. Here is the quick update on whats been going on:

1. Thursday had a really interesting panel discussion about the assasination of Rabin that happened 11 years ago yesterday. His memorial is commemorated on the Hebrew calendar date that was earlier this week. The panel was full of faculty members who were each present in Israel and affiliated with various political movements at the time. It was interesting in hearing their analysis of the build up to the assasination, the assasination itself, and the aftermath. Then a bunch of folks came over and we held a Pan-Asian Pirate Potluck Party Pre-Boogie (cause why not have an excuse to dress up like pirates??)

2. Friday night went to a Havurah called the Kagan minyan here in Jerusalem. It was really really beautiful and nice to do something out of the mainstream. After services and a potluck dinner we had teachings and song from people of various faiths. I heard a Sufi Muslim give a teaching on the story of Sarah and Hagar; a French priest sing songs in Latin and a Jewish man give a teaching of the Baal Shem Tov. Very interesting indeed.

3. I got the call back from Crossroads and will officially start volunteering next Tuesday.

4. I have officially been hired to do some freelance work for Hillel international. I am coordinating the Shabbat Scholars program for the incoming Taglit-birthright israel trips and Winter Missions.

5. I leave at 5:30am tomorrow for 3 days of hiking in the desert.

My life just got a whole lot busier!

Also a BIG BIG Mazel Tov to Talia and Simi Sherman on the birth of twin boys!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Last night I had my trial for volunteering at an organization called Crossroads. It is a center located in the heart of 'Town' that works with at-risk teens. Most are English speakers. Some are the children of families who immigrated to Israel, but never quite acclimated to Israeli society themselves. Others are American youth who found them selves here but are struggling with being in a foreign country, a pressured environment (school) etc... I would be there just as a presence in their open center where kids come in and hang out as an alternative to the street.

I should be chatting with someone from the center in the next couple of days. If all goes well, I will be volunteering there Tuesday nights from about 6:30-10pm for the rest of the year.

I feel that it is an important thing to do.