Monday, January 31, 2005
Bethany showed me this great article in The Detroit News
, "Nonreading generation of writers needs 12-step program"
by Laura Berman.
"The scene: A college classroom at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
The subject: Writing the newspaper column.
The question: "Can any of you name a columnist you read -- in a newspaper or magazine or online -- on a regular basis?"
In response: Dead silence.
Slowly, one hand rises. A sports columnist is mentioned.
Nobody else in the room hints at any recognition of the sports columnist's name: Anyone? "
Ridiculous, right? And the explanation one student gave?
"My generation grew up watching MTV. We are used to short spurts of words, lots of images...We're used to immediate gratification."
A little upsetting... Makes me wonder about the future of our country, the generation known as "echo boomers." I watched a whole segment from 60 Minutes
about it on my flight back from Israel (check out the article
). The craziest part of it all is realizing that I'm apparently a different generation than my roommates, since echo boomers are born between '82 & '95. Man.. Feeling a little old here...
So on a different note, been attempting to find a ticket to Israel for Pesach. Everything I've found is hella expensive, & I can't really afford it. Not really sure what I'm going to do... If anyone has any ideas (slash a way to get a cheap ticket), I'm open to suggestions...
Thursday, January 27, 2005
"No Day But Today"
Last night we took Roth out in honor of her engagement. We ("we" being myself, Bethany, Dina, Keshet, Debra, Shira, Anna & Sam) kept what we were doing a surprise for weeks, and even throughout the delicious dinner Bethany made, tuna nicoise (and tofu nicoise for me). Then we hopped into the cars, and drove down to Detroit to go see Rent
at the Masonic Temple. Besides the impressiveness that we actually managed to keep it a surprise, man
was the night exciting. This was my fourth time seeing Rent
, and one of the better performances I've seen. Everyone was amazing... I was particularly impressed by the man who played Collins, Marcus Paul James. His voice was so incredible... But the whole show was fabulous. I hadn't seen it in so long, and didn't go through my usual pre-show ritual of listening to the music nonstop so that Roth wouldn't get suspicious, which meant that every song surprised me and reminded me how much I love this show... Amazing night.
So I posted pictures
from Israel/the Matisyahu concert. Now remember, I had lost my camera and was using a disposable camera, ie the pictures aren't so amazing. But feel free to check them out anyways (after that glowing review, right?).
Today is supposed to be day-o-productivity. Swim's coming in to visit tonight, so everything has to be done before she gets here, including making my room somewhat presentable. Oy... So meaning I need to go get started. all for now!
Monday, January 24, 2005
Last night I went to this amazing
, the "Hasidic Reggae Superstar" was performing at the Blind Pig
. Wow. It was such an incredible blend of different genres, as well different aspects of my life. He has this intense spirituality that's contagious, and this amazing voice that you can feel throughout your body. And the crowd was loving
it. Such a diverse group of people, Jews & non-Jews, religious & secular, those there for the music and those there for the D'var Torahs
that came between songs.
Roth, Dina, Potek & I cabbed there together, and met up with a million people I knew--Sam, PA & Kev, Brent, Rochelle, Alex...even Rabbi Alter (from A2 Chabad
) was there. Such an amazing night... Listening to awesome reggae with lyrics like "we want moshiach
now"... quite an experience.
"You quench my thirsting soul and you'll fill my appetite
I give myself to you because you treat me right
Put my trust in the world and the world gets tight
Shift my trust to you it's like a crystal night
Expand in all directions get the sections to unite
Hashem's rays fire blaze light my way light of my life
And these days will wait no longer night
Reaching for my G-d like skyscrapers in the night
I said I know it's hard inside is empty galus cuts like a knife
Internalize Torah vibes bound to feel alright."
~~"Got No Water," Matisyahu
Thursday, January 20, 2005
So in the spirit of irony, Blue Fringe
, my newest obsession, is playing a concert in Yerushalyim this Saturday night with Chaim Dovid, only days after I left Israel (check out the poster
). So upsetting... But if you're Israel you should go, and then give me lots of details so I can be totally jealous and wish I hadn't left even more...
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
So settling back into the whole house routine. Things here are nuts, as always. Totally love it.
"I was already going to hell by 9 am. Usually it takes me at least 'till noon!" ~~ Bethany
"I baked latkes at Chabbad. They were the "at-risk" laktes. I explained to everyone that they just needed a little love and support, and then they'd make it." ~~ Keshet
My roommates are awesome...
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Sorry I haven’t updated in a bit, but now I’m (unfortunately) back in the States, so I have time to finish writing about my trip.
Talia’s last day in Israel, so we spent the day being tourists/last minute shopping. Went to the shuk in the morning (love
that place) so Talia could buy Marzipan (mmmmm....Marzipan......) to bring back to the States with her. Then we headed off to the Knesset to watch a session. Most confusing thing ever (my Hebrew was definitely not good enough to completely follow what was going on), but it was super interesting. Nentanyahu was talking about something (the budget, we think) then they voted and it passed. Kinda cool...
So after the Knesset we headed over to the Botanical Gardens. Now it obviously wasn’t as cool as it would have been during a season when more things were in bloom, but it was still interesting. Plus it was a gorgeous day out, which made it super nice to be walking around outside.
Went downtown, did some shopping (more skirts!), then back to the Merkaz so Talia could pack & we could go eat the obligatory falafel before she had to head to the airport. Sad to see her go, but glad that I had gotten to spend so much time with her.
Met up with Josh & Josh, and chilled over at Josh’s friend Zev’s place. Watched this f-ed up episode of Family Guy, the millennium episode or something. That show’s hysterical...
Josh & I went downtown to do some shopping (amazing how much of that I did in Israel!) and then went over to the Conservative Yeshiva for a class. It was really nice... About ideology, a topic that I’ve found is usually avoided in Conservative Judaism. I could see why people love the Yeshiva--it was a nice environment. Not where I’d want to learn, but I can see why people like it.
Went lunch with Josh & Josh, and back to the shuk again, then met up with Ronen to go the the Israel Museum.
The Israel Museum was wonderful. Spent hours there. Sunset in “The Space That Sees” wa awesome. That’s this cool sculpture-ish thing, that’s really just a room with a square cut out of the ceiling. Super peaceful--I could spend hours there. Remembered it from Nativ (last time I’d been at the Israel Museum). The whole museum was great...
After the museum Ronen & I went downtown to meet Carmi. Soooo good to see her. I can’t believe I was in Israel for so long without seeing her (she was staffing Birthright)! Went to Cafe Hillel for dinner, and hung out with her ‘till she had to go pick up Danny from work, then I met up with Sol at Egon. Ran into Ilana Clay for about 2 seconds, as well as Danny Farahan (without his dreads). Awesome. :) One of my favorite parts of Israel...
Walked around Emek for awhile, feeling sad that I had so little time left in Israel. Ran into Sharona, so I got to wish her a Mazel Tov in person (she got engaged while I was in Tel Aviv...crazy...).
Went to the shuk with Ronen to get stuff for Shabbas. Ran into Sari Roy at Marzipan. Haven’t seen her in 6 years, and was so busy standing in line that I barely got to talk to her. Ran into Barya also, that was random... Met up with Ariela. SOOO amazing to see her. I missed her!!!
Joined Young Judaea for Shabbat services/dinner. Great to see everyone and had a great chat with Stefan, but I kinda wish I had been at Yakar again.
Walked in the rain to the Old City and met up with Ariela & her friend Laura, and together we walked to Ezra’s for lunch. Wow. Lunch was amazing
. I was at his place for so many hours, since I stayed for Seudah Shlishit & Havdalah also. He has these amazing meals, with upwards of 30 people at times crammed into his small apartment. Lots of Bat Ayin people (his yeshiva) but also others. So spiritual. Lots of singing, great people, great conversations... Definitely didn’t want to leave. Ezra has this amazing kavana
that you can feel just being near him. It’s like it rubs off on people, just being near him. I admire that.
Saturday night was night-o-saying goodbye to people. After Shabbas Ronen & I met up with Carmi & Danny & a bunch of other Aussies at Coffee Shop
on Emek. Super fun. Hard to leave... Then we went downtown & met Ariela. Saw Sol again, and played one last time (for that trip) on Ben Yehudah. Ended up at this cute bar...whose name I forget...with Ronen, & Sari, & Eliana. So fun. Haven’t chilled with Sari & Eli since Nativ--it was really nice.
So sad to leave. I was literally crying as I got on the plane. So tempting to just turn and run, and stay in Israel... I’ve always felt this connection to the land, but lately it’s just been so much stronger. All I can think about is how badly I want to go back there, be in Israel...
The trip back to the States (notice a lack of the word “home”) kinda sucked. Stopped in Zurich for the night, stayed at some little hotel near the airport, and was totally bored, as well as starving. Forgot to bring food with & couldn’t find any Kosher food in Zurich besides a Snickers bar. Added to the suckiness of the whole leaving Israel thing... I was supposed to stay in New York for the night, but seeing as all I wanted to do was cry and I had know idea where I was staying in NY, heading straight back to Michigan seemed like a better idea.
So that’s where I am now. Back in Michigan, feeling depressed that I’m not in Israel, and trying to figure out how I can afford to get back there for Pesach. I had an amazing, amazing time, with some wonderful people, in the Holy Land. Love it...
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Wow. What can I say? Ein Gedi is so insanely beautiful. Talia & I tried to wake up to take the super early bus Sunday morning, slept through it, the next bus never showed, so we ended up getting a later start than we intended, but it all worked out. Met this Aish kids on the bus. Hysterical. My favorite quote from them:
"I'm about to explode in an Aliyah frenzy."
~~> Anders (random Aish boy)
Almost missed the stop, thanks to my lack of knowing how to say "hostel" in Hebrew, and the lack of the bus driver understanding the word hostel said with a slight attempt at an Israeli accent, but we made it. Left our stuff at the hostel in a locker, and went over to the park.
On Sunday we did the long version of the Nachal David hike. Beautiful. Amazing waterfalls & springs, not a bad hike, lots of randomness... There was this adorable Israeli couple sitting on a rock that we watched pull a bottle of wine & glasses out of their backpack. Ended up running into Nativ, doing part of the same hike as us (and again at the end of the hike). Saw Hannah, Talia's sister.
There was this beautiful cave next to a waterfall that we chilled in for awhile. So magical. Felt totally secluded, and then random people would make there way over and pop in. Would have liked to spend more time there, but the rest of the hike was incredible to. Strange hiking without a camera (and my disposable camera doesn't really count, since you know the pictures won't turn out that well). A whole new experience for me. But Talia took tons of pictures, so I'll take her doubles.
So nobody warned us about Ein Gedi after 4 pm (when the park closes). There is nothing
to do there. Seriously. The weather was gorgeous during the day, but got cold as the sun set, so sitting on the sketchy empty beach only lasted for a little bit. Went back to the hostel, checked into our room with a random Israeli woman works on an archeological site at Ein Gedi, and that was pretty much it. Ate dinner at the hostel with about 5 other people, watched MTV in German ("Dismissed" is actually funnier when you can't understand the words), and that was pretty much it. Lailah Tov. Man...
Monday morning we set out for the "difficult" 6-8 hour hike up the mountain across the top down the other side to Nachal Arugot. Oh man. The coolest, hardest
hike I've ever done in my life. Amazing. So it started with us not fully finding the path and heading over some broken barbed wire into the park at 8:30 in the morning. Gotta love the sketchy, not helpful Israeli map... Anyways, from the beginning the hike was challenging, but wonderful. We were pretty much alone, quite a change from the touristy Nachal David. Made it to the bottom of the "Ein Gedi Accent" by 9:15 (the latest you can start it is 10). The hike up it was tough, but awesome. Kept looking up this cliff, not seeing a path anywhere, and having no idea how we would make it up. But it ended up not being that tough. Made it to the top, and the view--man... Words cannot do it justice. Neither can photographs. You just need to be there...
At the top we wandered off the trail for a bit, and found this amazing spot where we could see so much. We were totally secluded, no one anywhere nearby. Just Talia & I on the plateau with cliffs around us (and random ATV trails that we couldn't figure out how people got to). Walked across to where we were supposed to descend (about a 20 minute walk), ate lunch, then started down.
Now, the map had told us this part was an "extremely difficult trail," but it had also said the first part we did was hard, so we had figured 'how much harder could it be?' Man
were we wrong. It was basically the side of a cliff, but with lose rocks under our feet. Insanely
difficult. There were multiple occasions where we reached parts that I had no idea how we were going to get down. I was fairly confident that at least one of us would fall and get severely injured at some point, but Baruch Hashem
that didn't happen. The descent took us about one & 1/2 hours. One & 1/2 hours of legs burning holding onto the sides of the mountain, praying that we wouldn't start an avalanche... I'm telling you, it was intense. But we made it and were ridiculously proud of ourselves afterwards. Man
Next we hiked over to the "Hidden Waterfall." Totally gorgeous view, so we stopped and rested from our descent. Walked back through Nachal Arugot, running into a Birthright trip on the way. Lots of great waterfalls, and wildlife, including a cute crab in one of the pools. All in all we hiked for about 6 1/2 hours, so we felt like we deserved the 10 shekel ice cream we bought when we were done. Love it...
Spent the day at Pardes with Melanie Birnholtz. So
nice to see her. Haven't seen her since shiva last year. It was hard too. I was introduced to everyone as having been good friends with her brother... There were a few times that I thought I would lose it and cry, but I held it in. She is so amazingly strong...
It was nice to be back at Pardes. Got there in time for the Rosh Chodesh minyan & once again had the Cohen aliyah. This seems to be a trend... Breakfast was nice, along with the learning during breakfast than I went with her to Meesh's Gemara class. It was all Beit Midrash time, but so nice to be learning again.
Levi Cooper's "Philosophy of Halacha" class was wonderful. The guy is such an amazing teacher. I had him for Torah when I was there. Really enjoyed that... He didn't recognize me without my dreads, which seemed to be a common theme with the teachers there. Funny, I didn't realize how much of my identity they had been...
Went to a lunch lecture that was also great, then "Women & Mitzvot" with Rachel Berkovits, another teacher I had when I was at Pardes that's fabulous. Learned about women & mezumin (as in, the part at the beginning of Birkat Hamazon, grace after the meal). Wonderful.
Started seriously thinking about staying. I know it's not really an option, but man do I want to...
Saturday, January 08, 2005
Beautiful city. The weather was amazing--on Thursday I was actually outside in a tank top! Stayed with a friend from camp, Adam, whose there on Year Course
now. Spent some time with the Year Courses, especially Adam and his roommates, Marc & Saul (great kids). Helped them pick out a couch. Man... Couch shopping in Tveria... Awesome.
Went to the Tveria Marathon
, which was pretty cool--runners pretty much took over the city. I loved how wonderful everyone was to the runners, sticking around to cheer them on and all. So great. Spent a lot of time exploring Tveria, walking around, enjoying the gorgeous view of the Kinneret. Went to Kever Rachel (the grave of Rabbi Akiva's wife), where the man outside kept yelling at me for not covering my hair in a holy place until finally he listened to me explaining that I'm not married (why does everyone in this country keep assuming I'm married??). Bought some cool pants--I have spent way
too much money in this country...
Hanging out with the Year Courses reminded me about what I was like at 18, and as much as I love my memories of Nativ
, man, I am so glad I'm past the...pettiness... that comes with that time in your life.
Back to Jerusalem for Shabbas. Staying at Samara's with Hannah & Talia, even though Samara's in the States for a wedding (soo
great of her) Walked straight to the shuk, with my pack on and everything. So much randomness while at Marzipan (mmmm..... Marzipan....). First ran into Rabbi Tolwin who was doing his best to find me (and Talia & Hannah) a place for Shabbas dinner. While he was trying to do that, I hear my name so I turn to see a (seemingly) random Israel. "Shoshanna?"
Yes... "From Pinemere!"
Could not believe. Medan, one of the mishlachat
from my summer at Pinemere
. So he ended up inviting all 3 of us for dinner!
Went to Shira Chadasha for services. Nice minyan. Wish I had spent some time there last time I was here... Saw a bunch of people I knew, including Jamie & Josh, and Andy Westle (from my Nativ group). So random... Then Talia, Hannah & I walked up to Nachlaot for dinner. Dinner was insanely random, but awesome. Great chance to practice my Hebrew. It turns out I can hold my own better than I thought. Thank you all those years of day school & Hebrew school... great time.
This morning we went to the egal minyan, Kedem. They gave me the Cohen aliyah. That hasn't happened in years. Not sure how I feel about it, but before I had time to really think about it, I had already told the guy I was a Bat Cohen
. Felt good, and strange at the same time. At some point I really should do some hardcore studying and make up my mind about the whole egal/non-egal, mechitza/no mechitza thing...
Had lunch with Uri Allen at his friend Josh's place. Turns out Josh & Josh are friends from school so Josh & Jamie were staying there and at lunch (did that make sense, or too many Joshs?). Lunch was great. Ended up staying there 'till after Shabbas ended, then went back to Merkaz Hamagshimim.
Got my laptop, and headed down to Emek to use the wireless at one of the coffee places. First stopped at Pizza Meter to say hello (and goodbye) to Michael Simon, a friend from Pardes who was in Israel for a few weeks but left tonight. Then went over to Coffee Shop (creative name, right?). Walked in, and guess who was there? Jamie & Josh, along with tons of camp people (Almog, Uri, Becky, & Lauren). So awesome. The randomness in this country never ceases to amaze me.
In the morning Talia & I head off to Ein Gedi. Should be awesome. :)
I love this place... Can't believe I only have a week left. It's so tempting to just stay...
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Lots of quality Samara time, e-mail, blog update etc....
Ran into people (as always).
Egon with Brent at night...
Met Harry for lunch, bead store on Emek with Samara & Talia, then off to Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv was so incredibly...random is the best word, I think. Got to Tel Aviv in the afternoon, no idea where I was staying. Wandered around the bus station for literally half an hour, looking for the information booth, finally found it and no one was there. Right... Ended up asking this guy working in some store where a youth hostel was, and he told me to go to Ben Yehudah Street. So I took a sherut
there, got off when other people were getting off, saw a sign for the 'Sky Hostel' so I figured that was a sign and ended up staying there.
After I put my bag down, I walked around for awhile, went to the mall, Sbarro for dinner, checked movie times, headed back to the hostel. Real randomness began there, meeting people in the hostel.
So there were the guys from Reno (Mark &...someone else) who were biking through the Middle East. The kid from Amsterdam (Timo...I think...) whose a polis sci major so he took two weeks to come to Israel and check things out. Joshua the former army x-ray tech turned musician/Tarot card reader who came here over a month ago, was supposed to stay a few weeks, and still has no plan of leaving. Then Assaf, the Israeli who works at Momo's Hostel (a hostel down the street that's connected to Sky) when he's in the country, which isn't often, seeing as he's perpetually traveling. Awesome.
Went to see "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" with Timo & Joshua. Fantastic movie, hope you all saw it/will see it.
Assaf showed me around Yaffo & Tel Aviv. Went to the shuk
, bought some great skirts for practically nothing, lots and lots of walking...
Went to see "Cellular" at night. Entertaining, but not particularly good.
At an internet cafe right now, heading off for Tevariah (Tibereas) in a minute. And basically out of time here, so that's all for now!
Sunday, January 02, 2005
What can I say? So far this trip has been fabulous. Right now I'm sitting in Cafe Aroma on Emek Refaim, taking advantage of the wireless. It's raining outside, but considering it's the first ugly day since I've been here, I'm obviously not complaining. It has been gorgeous
here. We're talking I was wearing a tank top yesterday gorgeous. And even this rain isn't bad--when it rains here I always tell myself how much the country needs it, slash that praying for rain here takes a prominent place in prayers across the world, so it's nice to see that the prayers are working...
Been in Yerushalyim (Jerusalem) since I got here, staying with Samara at Merkaz Hamagshimim. Still don't have a complete itinerary, and kind of like it that way. This playing-it-by-ear thing has been working for me so far, so why mess with a good thing? It'll all work out... So here's what I've been up to so far (and warning, this is kinda a long post, but hey, you don't have to read it if you don't want to!):
Plane ride wasn't that bad, just really long. Flight from NY was delayed, cutting it pretty close to my flight from London, but still made it, so no big deal. Landed in Israel at 9 pm, fully expecting my bags not to make it. Expecting it to the extent where when they were actually there, I was surprised. Took the longest Sherut
ride ever, and finally got to Samara's at about midnight. Didn't really sleep much on the plane, so passed out pretty much as soon as I got there.
Left Samara's pretty early in the morning, ready to explore slash play in Yerushalyim. Walked down Emek, immediately ran into people I knew, got some coffee at Aroma, walked past old Beit Nativ (not the Shalem Center, or something like that)... Then I headed downtown via Yemin Moshe, including the obligatory stop at the windmill to admire the view. Did some shopping, bought some presents and a few great skirts, and then met up with Sharona (my roommate from last time I was here). Went to lunch, more walking around the Ben Yehudah-ish area, then to the Old City and the Kotel. The Kotel... man....
So amazing--I've missed it.
We walked back downtown, Sharona caught her bus, and I met up with Adam Lev for dinner, the Bethany joined us when she was done with dinner, we headed over to Egon. Ran into people there, chilled in the Kikar (Kikar Tzion/Zion Square) for a bit, then Uri & I split a cab back towards Emek. Awesome day. Insane amount of walking (which seems to be the theme for this trip due to lack of Mom & Dad wanting me to take busses & lack of me wanting to pay for cabs), but awesome.
Pretty chill day. Samara & I met up with Talia for lunch at Timol Shilshom (sp?) downtown. Went to the shuk to buy stuff for Shabbas (Mmmm... Marzipan...), ran into a million people i knew, got ice cream... Shabbas starts so early, it's a bit crazy. Went to Talia 7 her sister Hannah (whose on Nativ now) to Yakar for shul, which was just as great as I remembered, then Samara met up with us, and we went to Zack's for Shabbas dinner. This great mini Nativ reunion--it was cute. After dinner, it was back to the Merkaz with Samara & Zack's cousin Gabe to chill for New Years. Rather uneventful, but New Years can be overrated. I was also thinking about Kenny a lot, so the idea of partying wasn't really that appealing to me.
Went to Yemin Moshe for shul, with Talia & Hannah, mainly because we didn't have a place for lunch and they always have an insanely huge Kiddish. The place is way too Anglo for me, but for a one time thing it was okay. And I really wanted to be able to say Kaddish for Kenny, so it was good to be at shul. After the delicious Kiddish, we took a Shabbas walk over to The Tayelet, and admired the view for awhile. So beautiful....
Motzei Shabbas I met up with Bethany for dinner at Cafe Hillel. Then we met up with Potek in the Kikar. Awesome. That kid is great. Chilled on Ben Yehudah for a bit, saw a bunch of Michigan peeps, met some interesting characters ("Sketch Boy"!) then headed over to new Beit Nativ to watch the Rose Bowl with Aaron (Bethany's bro). Yes, I stayed up 'till past 4 to watch the Rose Bowl. Ridiculous. It was actually a good game, despite the upsetting conclusion to it...
So strange being at Beit Nativ, hanging out with current Nativ-ers. Yes it was a different Beit Nativ than I lived at, but still. Especially on Kenny's yarzeit. It just brought back so many memories. The pictures of all the groups are up on the wall. Looked at Kenny's picture for awhile. It doesn't feel like a year... In some ways it feels so much longer, but at the same time it still doesn't feel real, mainly because I don't want it to be real. So many tears...
Well, that's all for now, seeing as I've bored you enough slash need to find an outlet so I can charge my laptop. Hope everyone had a safe and healthy New Years!!