Well, we’ve almost reached the 1 week mark. In a little over 1 week, I'll be leaving for Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, to begin my cantorial school career. This year has been a roller coaster of emotions and events, from the cramming of 2 years of hebrew into 5 months, to the audition at HUC, to the incredible amount of self-doubt and worry after my audition, to the pure joy and exhilaration upon opening THE letter and seeing Mazel tov! as the first sentence. Believe me when I tell you that it didn't end there, that there was the continuous worry as I waited to find out about passing my hebrew test (which I did) and also making sure I was financially able to go to Israel (which I now am.) Oh, and the packing and buying books and saying goodbye and doing everything necessary to be ready for what I'm sure will be an amazing year. There's been a lot to do and a lot to feel, but overall I am incredibly ready and excited for this journey. The dream I've had since high school is coming true, and it couldn't be happening at a better time in my life.
Though I have put in an incredible amount of work into getting ready for this next stage, there are so many other people who have worked right alongside me, making sure I'd be prepared and comfortable. I've been waiting for the right opportunity to say a public thank you, and I figure this is as good a chance as any. You all have no idea how much it means to have your love and support, and I honestly mean it when I say that I couldn't have done this without you. So, in no particular order...
~Miryam R.: Thank you for helping me cram all that Hebrew into 5 months! You believed in me from day one and I literally could not be going to HUC without your help. It was a pleasure working with you and I hope to see you soon in Haifa!
~Dave S.: I have had such an amazing time working with you for the last 1 1/2 years. Thanks for allowing me to help you with songs for Zeda's Beat Box and for making me feel like such a valuable part of your business. Keep up the good work...wherever I am cantoring in 5 years, I expect ZBB to perform for us!
~Daniel B.: In one year, you turned from "some guy I went to high school with" into my friend, mentor, confidant, and HUC guardian angel. I COULD NOT have gotten through this process without your help. Thank you for letting me ask you a million questions, always putting in a good word for me, giving your unending advice, and introducing me to your amazing family. We will have to have the PNH Pulpit one day for sure :)
~Aunt Diane: It is because of you that I got the ball rolling on my application process. Thank you for taking 2 trips to NYC with me, and for all of your help and support. You've been wonderful, and I know that Maw Maw is proud of you for carrying on her legacy so well.
~Whitney: Thank you so much for the Starbucks gift cards, the clothes from the LB outlet, and all of your support. I’d love to see you and Adam in Israel, or at least in NYC when I get there.
~The amazing clergy, staff, and congregants of Congregation Temple Israel: I am so lucky and blessed to belong to such a wonderful synagogue. Thank you for allowing me to be your cantorial soloist, Sunday School teacher, substitute teacher, camp counselor, student, choir member, etc etc etc! You've allowed me to learn and grow and make mistakes, and I am incredibly grateful to you all. I know that no matter where the road to the cantorate takes me, T.I. will always be my home and my family. I love you all very much.
~Rachel, Jane and Leah: You girls have helped me in countless ways to get to where I am, from coming to voice recitals at MU to proofreading application essays and allowing me to vent away my stresses and anxieties about this process. I am so lucky to have you all as best friends, and I expect to see all of you in Israel at some point this year!
~Dad: Thanks for always believing in me, even when I didn't believe in myself. You have no idea how much it helps. I love you.
~Adam: Thanks for putting up with me, even when my "divatude" became too much to bear. I will miss you so much, and I hope you have a chance to come and visit sometime this year. Thanks also for getting me technologically ready for this year; I am glad we'll be able to make our silly faces to each other via webcam. Take good care of mom and keep up the great work at Mizzou.
~Mom: You are my #1 fan and the best PR rep I could ask for. Thanks for the encouragement, faith, and love through the years. I love you and I know you’ll be okay this year.
OK, I promise that from here on out my posts will not be this sappy, but I wanted to get thanks out to everyone who deserves them. Thanks for reading, and please keep in touch with me this year!