Thank you to everyone for your emails, comments and suggestions about my ugly landlord situation. We did hear back from him, and apparently we are getting new beds sometime tomorrow (Sunday), and many of the other problems fixed Tuesday...we hope. I think we're going to stay here unless things really get to hard to bear. We both really like it here; it's a great location (5 mins from school, whereas other students have to schlep a good 30 mins to campus) and a very cute apartment. And, we have a meeting tomorrow with Nancy, one of the head administrative people here who also serves as "mom" to many of us students, to discuss what she thinks we should do. I'm hoping that either she or a native Israeli she knows can talk to our landlord and make him realize we aren't the "stupid Americans" that he thinks we are. We'll see what goes, but at the current moment I am optimistic about staying here.
In other news, I spent yesterday in Tel Aviv, going to an amazing artist fair, the Carmel shuk, and then the beach. The beach was so beautiful, and the waters of the Mediterranean Sea felt amazing against my feet (I don't like swimming at the beach; I prefer just walking on the shore with my feet in the water.) There are definitely differences between beaches here and beaches in the states--let's just say that some people here are a lot less self-conscious about their bodies and what they do with them in public places. All kidding aside though, it was a really lovely way to forget about my apartment worries and prepare for a lovely shabbat. I will definitely be returning at some point this year
The group that went to Tel Aviv...we had sooo much fun.
The Mediterranean Sea, with Tel Aviv in the background. I could have stayed here FOREVER!
Shabbat this week was really, really nice. I found myself a bit too exausted to attend services last night (at the time I felt a nap was much more important.) After my nap I attended dinner at my friends Jen and Dan's apartment, which was delicious and relaxing. This morning I went to shacharit (morning) services at HUC, which was by far the best way I've spent shabbat since I've been here. The service was American style and from Gates of Prayer, the prayerbook I grew up with at home. Also, Cantor Evan Kent from the LA campus and my summer intern, Dan, helped to lead the services. I was so inspired watching both of them, and the music was incredible. HUC has a full grand piano in the sanctuary, and one of the interns was playing the flute for many of the songs. Cantor Kent's voice is beautiful; rich and pleasant without being overbearing or showoff-ish. He sang many unfamiliar melodies and prayers, which meant I couldn't sing along very well, but it got me excited to spend the rest of my life learning and singing Jewish music. There was one part where a young girl joined the cantor to sing, which of course made me think of the relationship between myself and Linda. While it did cause me to be a bit homesick for TI, it also reaffirmed my belief of just how special my future career really is. To have the ability to communicate Jewishly, musically, and prayerfully with another person or group of people is an incredibly sacred and unique thing. To be able to communicate with Gd through music and help others communicate as well is a truly wonderful and awesome gift that I am blessed to possess.
There are definitely times when I am insecure about my ability and readiness to be here, both musically and Judaically. The service this morning reminded me that I am here because I am meant to be here, and that the passion and faith I possess can get me through any bumps in the road. It's nice and incredibly comforting to be able to carry that reassurance with me everyday.