Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of updating this week. We've been on break since last Wednesday, and instead of traveling or doing exciting things, Steph and I decided to relax at home in Jerusalem. It's been a wonderful and much needed rest, in which I've spent a lot of time watching movies, reading, shopping, and just vegging in the apartment. I'm a happy girl.

While I am spending a lot of time relaxing, I have done a little bit of work. For instance, I had a voice lesson on Sunday, which turned out to be one of the best lessons I've ever had. I have fallen in love with my teacher; she's very tough on me, but she is respectful and refuses to let me be anything but the best I can be (as a singer and as a person.) We've worked endlessly on my pitch issues, and I am so happy to say that we are making good progress. So good, in fact, that we were able to move on and work on other technical issues and interpretation, which is much more fun than simply working on pitch. My teacher was worried that I wouldn't be able to sing the HHD music well, but was pleasantly surprised at my last lesson with my progress. It's very exciting for me.

Yesterday I had a chance to meet with my cousins Barry and Ellen (or, as they're called by their Hebrew names, Beryl and Esther.) Barry is my mom's first cousin who moved here with his wife and family about 20 years ago. They're Orthodox, and it was the first time I've met them or really had any contact with them at all. They were both very nice and we had a great time swapping stories and catching up. Its very comforting to know that I have family here in J'lem, and it's nice to have a familial connection to Israel as well as an academic one. I am also happy that they seemed to respect me and Reform Judaism; their beliefs and my beliefs are incredibly different, so I'm very happy they could put aside the fact that both I'm a woman and in school to become a cantor (women are not allowed to have clergy roles in Orthodox Judaism.) They were not only respectful, but interested in what I am doing in school and why it was important for us to spend this year in Israel.

I spent today meandering around the shuk. Before today, every trip I've taken to the shuk has been crowded and rushed; today was much more chill and easy. I walked up and down the various aisles, buying entirely too many fruits and veggies, including the most delicious fresh figs, cherry tomatoes, baby plums, eggplant and other Israeli delicacies. It was very hot, and I was sweaty and gross by the time I got home, but it was a very fun afternoon. I'm liking the shuk more and more every time I go--it is definitely something I will miss when this year is through. Here's a picture, courtesy of my friend Jen:

I also had the pleasure of recieving a huge package from my friends Mike and Joey in California. It was a wonderful surprise that both Steph and I will very much enjoy, and it was so much fun opening it and pulling out all the AMERICAN goodies that they sent me. My favorite thing was a box of Mike and Ike candy, which they converted to say 'Mike and Joey' (see below.) My boys are so cute...if only they'd come visit...

So that's what I've been up to the last few days; sorry this post is kind of lame, but I can not tell you how nice it's been to just have some time to relax. We start classes on Sunday, which means I will be busy from 8:30am until 6:30pm, with choirs that meet 3 days a week until around 9pm. So, I need this time to chill and prepare myself for the madness that will be cantorial school. Can't wait to begin! Hope everyone is well--I love hearing from and thinking of you!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

People think hiking is FUN?!?

Since ulpan ended yesterday (hallelujah!), we spent today participating in a program called "Walk the Bible." None of us knew what to expect from this program, besides the email we recieved saying it would be an "easy walk" to discover cool things about how Israel connects to the Bible. Well, whoever wrote that we would have an "easy walk" was either drunk or completely deranged, because none of our walking today was easy. We hiked through a forest near Beit Shemesh to discover the birth and death place of King Saul. Now, an athletic person I am not-- there are times when the 2 minute walk to HUC from my apartment seems like a hike in itself--but this hike really was out-of-control. Up a lot of hills, climbing rocks, dusty paths that were easy to slip on, etc. We walked for about 1 1/2 hours, and stopped to study text for about 10 minutes. We then continued to walk for another 1 1/2 hours, and when we finally saw our bus at the top of a huge hill, I thought I'd found the Promised Land. However, we were told to eat our lunches (instead of boarding our air-conditioned bus), which was a bit of a bummer. After I ate, I boarded the bus with a few other people, and when Ilana came on to tell us they were having more text study, Steph closed the shades on the bus and the two of us stayed on. This is just one of the many reasons I love my roommate so much.

They proceeded to study for another 10 minutes or so before coming back to the bus for good. We then traveled to Ashkelon, where we visited an archaeological park. We saw a bridge that was dated back to 1850 B.C.E., which was very interesting, but we were all so hot and tired that we didn't much care about it. After the park, we went to the beach at Ashkelon, which was a wonderful and relaxing way to end an incredibly long day. I must say that of the 3 beaches I've been to in Israel (Tel Aviv, Dead Sea, and Ashkelon) Ashkelon was my favorite. Not too many people, and very natural for a beach. It was really nice.

Ashkelon Beach=HEAVEN

Like I said before, we finished ulpan yesterday, with a stressful final exam and then a group party. The final went well, so well that I was placed back into Kitah Bet for the school year. I am very happy about that, because I worked hard this summer to prove that I could handle the higher class. AND---I didn't even request to switch classes, so I'm hoping the move was based on my abilities and test scores rather than my bad attitude at the beginning of the session.

We're finally on a much needed and deserved hafsakah, or break/vacation. Several people are traveling, but I am staying here and resting, working on High Holy Day music, etc. We might take some day trips to Safed, the Dead Sea, or Tel Aviv, but I'm really into the idea of relaxing and gearing up for school to start. It's hard for me to believe that I've been here for almost 2 months already, and that ulpan is over, and that I'm actually beginning my classes in about 10 days. It's been a crazy year (and an even crazier summer) but I am so excited to see what lies ahead.

I'm leaving you with some pictures from the last couple of weeks. Enjoy, and I hope everyone is well. I miss and love you all, more than you know!

A fruit salad I made a few weeks ago. The fruit here is so much more delicious than at home!

Brad, me and PJ at UlProm. Fun times!

Kitah Aleph performing at the post-ulpan party. We sang a song about gnomes who chit-chat all day, but we changed the words to a poem about us; reading, writing, and studying all day long in ulpan, until 5pm when we hit the pub (thus the beer bottles.)

A bridge dating back to 1850 B.C.E., which makes it around 4,000 years old.

Friday, August 17, 2007


It's amazing how a few little words can make all the difference.

On Wednesday, I met one-on-one with Eli Schliefer, the head of the cantorial program on this campus. I was nervous to meet with him, as he is considered to be a sort of "god" around here, but he was a lovely person to chat with and sing for. He asked me all sorts of questions, from my Judaic background to my musical background to my family life. He then made me sing for him, the part I was most nervous about. I was worried about singing for him; at my voice lesson the previous day, we tweaked my singing to try to find a placement that doesn't go naturally sharp. We succeeded, though it's still very fresh and I'm not sure if it will stick (ask me about it later if you're interested...let's just say the new sound is, for now, a return to my mezzo days.) I was scared to sing off pitch for him, but I was just as scared to sing with the new voice for him because it's not yet truly mine. I ended up singing Avinu Malkenu and Ben Steinberg's Shalom Rav (mostly because that's all I could think of to sing at the time) and while neither were perfect, neither were terrible either. He coached me through them, told me I have a truly lovely voice, and to stop worrying about everything. He said he knows I will be fine.

Everyone has been telling me that, yet I didn't truly believe it until Eli said so. Weird, huh?

In other news, 2 very exciting things happened on Thursday. The first was a 4am (yep, you read that right) Sephardic Slichot service. Slichot is a series of poems we recite in the time before the High Holy Days that help us to "cleanse" ourselves in preparation for Rosh Hashana. In Ashkenazi tradition (Jews that come from Eastern Europe), Slichot is performed the Saturday night before Rosh Hashana. However, in Sephardic tradition (Jews that come from Spain, Morocco, etc.), Slichot begins on the first day of Elul, a month on the hebrew calendar, and continues every morning until the day before Rosh Hashana. It is said that prayer is more powerful between midnight and dawn, which is why the services are typically very early in the morning.

The service was held at a beautiful shul on French Hill. It was Orthodox, which meant there was a women's section on the upper balcony, guarded by a mechitza, or "wall" that blocks the men from seeing the women (and the women from seeing the service.) The service sounded very interesting, especially because the prayers and poems were read by different people in the community, and a shofar was blown at different times throughout the service.

After the service, we had morning prayers on Mount Scopus, overlooking Jerusalem. We were literally staring at the Old City the whole time, which was very cool. We finished services, resisted the urge to adopt the 3 adorable stray kittens that tried to follow us onto the bus (literally), and came home around 7am. Of course I came home and slept for a few hours after that.

Then, Thursday night, we had the annual Beit Cafe, or talent show. This year's theme was "UlProm", partially to celebrate the fact that we have 2 days of ulpan left, and partially because everyone loves prom. While I decided not to perform (too much stress in the preceding week, and I figured everyone was going to hear me sing a million times this year), I thoroughly enjoyed listening to and watching everyone else. Highlights of the evening include: PJ's stand up comedy routine (about his unfortunate incident with an Israeli jail), a fun dance to "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls, and the end of the evening, where Lauren and Marc did the dance at the end of Dirty Dancing. It was awesome, and at the end we all got up and danced and had a wonderful time. Major props to the UlProm committee for putting together such a fun evening!

This weekend we've been partaking in a Shabbat themed Shabbaton. It's been good, even though we've had to be at HUC for our entire weekend. I had the chance to do some one-on-one text study with my friend Brad, which was a pleasure and very insightful into the world of Shabbat. We also had a lovely service last night, where the cantorial students sang Danny Mesang's Elohai N'tzor. It was very special for me, as that piece is not only beautiful but one that I sang a few times in the months and weeks before I left for HUC. It was really nice to come together as a group to sing it; I've been feeling a bit disconnected from the other cantorial students in the past few weeks, so it was great to work as a group and to find my place. It wasn't as fun as singing it with Linda and Rabbi Feder, but it was definitely a very close second :)

Tonight is a walking tour of Rechavia (a neighborhood I kind of live in...people debate whether I live in Rechavia or the "HUC" neighborhood...I don't really know) and Havdallah at Rabbi Na'amah Kelman's house. Rabbi Kelman is not only the person in charge of the year-in-Israel program, but she was the first woman rabbi to be ordained in Israel, which is very significant to the Progressive Jewish movement. She is wonderful and an inspiration to all of the women (and maybe even some of the guys) here.

OK, hebrew homework calls, so I must go. 3 more days of ulpan! Where did summer go??? Much love!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What a difference a week makes!

Thank goodness, this week is off to a much better start than last. I once again feel content with Israel; the bad stuff has seemed to settle, if not disappear, and I no longer feel like Israelis are the rudest, most hateful people on the planet. I don't know if it was culture shock or just a lot of bad things happening in one week, but it's all over now and I am wiser and stronger for the experiences.

Thursday we had our academic orientation. Since ulpan officially ends August 22, we're gearing up for classes, which start at the beginning of September. We are all going to be VERY busy people come September, with classes from around 8:30am-6:30pm Sunday-Thursday, not to mention community service, committees, and, for cantorial students, voice lessons. I'm taking some very interesting classes, including more Modern Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew, Bible, Liturgy, Cantillation, History of Jewish Music, Daily Nusach, Music Theory (yuck) and Cantorial Coaching. We also have what is called Reform Liturgy Workshop, where we all basically lead services. Since there are only 5 cantorial students, we'll get lots and lots of time on the bimah, while the rabbinic students only have to read Torah, lead the service, and deliver a d'var Torah (lit. "a word of Torah", basically a sermon) each once.

Yep, I'll be busy. And they say this is the easiest year academically. Oy.

Anyways, I'm going to make this a short post so I can get to my hebrew homework and go to bed on time tonight. I am so happy this week has been a better one for me and most of my comrades, and I'm relieved to be feeling good about Israel and Israelis once again.

And since it's been awhile since I've posted pictures, here are some from the Dead Sea. Enjoy!

Friends at the Dead Sea, covered in the famous Dead Sea mud. Fun stuff!

The Dead Sea---if you look closely, you can see the Judean Hills in the background. It's so beautiful, and the water is naturally warm and wonderful (but salty--don't get it in your eyes!)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Kol Beseder

Oy, what a week. I've been incredibly stressed this week over silly apartment things, and it's been one of those weeks where absolutely nothing has gone right or gotten done easily. It's the first week since I've been here that I've really missed America and somewhat wished to be back in the States. Israeli bureaucracy is really not very well organized (at least from my point of view), so doing something like getting the Arnona (tax) discount, which shouldn't be all that complicated, is actually a huge headache. Of course our landlord has been incommunicado so we haven't been able to get the documents we need from him to get the process started. If we can get a discount on these taxes, we'll save over $1,000, so it's worth it to keep trying. We're having some other silly but stressful issues as well, which have added to our week from hell.

To top it off, Israelis can be very rude and disgusting; yesterday as I was walking to ulpan, a strange man walked up to me, burped loudly in my face, laughed, and walked away. It was probably the strangest and most vulgar thing that has happened to me since I've been here, and of course instead of cussing him out I just stood there like an idiot in complete shock.

Since my stressful week obviously needed a very exciting ending, I spent last night with Steph at Haddassah Hospital. We're both fine, though last night was a rough one for Steph. Around 6:30 last night she had a sharp pain in her abdomen, immediately followed by profuse vomiting and much more intense pain. I called Magen David Adom (Israeli Red Cross) and they sent an ambulance over, which took forever to get here. They took Steph to the hospital and I went with her in the ambulance (which is not nearly as exciting as you might think.) When we got to the hospital, Steph was put into one of the ER "rooms" and we waited for a nurse. And waited. And waited. And FINALLY, a woman came in to get her vitals and give her pain meds, which didn't really work. Nancy, the "dean" of students and my new favorite person in the world, came to sit with us and helped immensely to get Steph the attention she needed and deserved and helped to keep both of us calm throughout the ordeal. Long story short, Steph apparently passed a kidney stone and was free to leave the hospital around 1am. She slept in this morning and has been perfectly fine ever since, thank goodness.

BTW, if you should ever need to be in an Israeli hospital (Gd forbid), be prepared for a janitor to clean the floors every hour or so and also to clean up and throw away your own bedpans and bloody gauze. Gross.

One bright spot of the evening was that Steph asked me to sing to her when she first got into her room in the ER. I sang a simple Shalom Rav and Oseh Shalom, but they seemed to be a great comfort to her. It was one of those "THIS is why I'm in Israel" moments that I will never forget. You can't imagine how powerful the combination of music and prayer can be until you're in a situation like that, when you're feeling totally helpless and then all of the sudden you have a purpose and a means of comfort for someone else. Needless to say, it was a very powerful moment for me.

Anyways, tomorrow a group of HUC'ers is going to the Dead Sea and the Ein Gedi spa, which I am incredibly excited and ready for. I have a deep tissue massage booked, which after this week I completely deserve, and it will be nice to get out of Jerusalem for a day. Tomorrow night the cantorial students have another synagogue tour and services at a Yemenite synagogue and then I am going to dinner at the Boxt's, which will be nice. I'm very ready for a relaxing and fun weekend with friends and to catch up on some much needed sleep and rest.

Anyways, I'm glad to know the week is over and that next week will be better. I'm also happy I can finally say "Kol Beseder", everything is fine. Much love to all.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Israel is NOT like the USA...

Just in case you thought it was, think again. I think I'm pretty much over my homesickness, though I find myself missing THINGS from home more so than people. I miss the simplicity of life in the states, where I had a clothes dryer, dishwasher, microwave, car, ice, hot and cold water that actually work together, and a stove that I don't have to light up every time I use it. I miss the ability to drive to the grocery store or mall, without getting screwed over by a cab driver. I miss polite people who help you in stores or over the phone, and I miss having a landlord that actually answers his phone and fixes stuff in the apartment. I miss the ease of life in the States overall. If this is what the real world is like, even in America, I want to be 6 years old again.

Most of all, I miss Kraft Mac and Cheese. They have a brand of M&C here called "Wacky Mac", which is fun with it's 4 different shapes of noodles, but taste-wise it SO does not compare to my favorite Blue Box.

There is some light at the end of this blog entry, believe it or not. There are a lot of wonderful things about living in Israel, that (most of the time, anyways) help ease the many headaches that come from living here. Here is a list, in no particular order:

1. The hot falafel in the Old City
2. The sounds of the city on Shabbat
3. The fruit stand on Azza
4. The historic and Judaic significance of practically everything
5. Shabbat dinner with my classmates
6. The ability to give lost tourists directions to their hotel/the Old City/Ben Yehuda
7. My hebrew teacher
8. Marzipan Bakery (remind me to smuggle home some of their rugelach when I'm home for winter break...it's amazing!)
9. The incredible amount of language, history and culture I have picked up in a short 6 weeks
10. Those rare moments when Israelis are the kind, friendly, and warm people I'd always heard about...in a way, it's almost a blessing when people are NOT kind, because it makes you appreciate those who are kind so much more
11. The pizza guy who is a former Orthodox rabbi, who always offers to discuss Torah with us
12. The pride and humility I feel every time I think about the significance of this city to the Jewish people, and how I am here, living the dream of so many people around the world who pray everyday to explore Jerusalem.

For these reasons, and many more, I am happy to be here. 99% of the time, they remind me that the struggles and challenges really are worthwhile. And the other 1% of the time? That's the reason I have a fabulous roomate and a constant supply of Nutella (an amazing chocolate/hazelnut spread popular in Israel and Europe.)

P.S. Does anyone know how to change our gas for our stove? Apparently that's the reason our stove is not lighting, and our landlord is being less than helpful.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

This Week in Review part 2

So, picking up where we left off...

Wednesday was another long, but wonderful day. After ulpan I attended a ritual workshop on Kiddush (blessing over wine, typically said on shabbat and at festivals) and Havdalah (literally "seperation", a ceremony used to commemorate the end of shabbat and the beginning of the week.) It was interesting to hear some of the customs and tradition behind the prayers and how they are used in the Reform Jewish communities. After the workshop, I went with a few friends to see the Time Elevator, an awesome movie/almost theme-park-ride about the history of Jerusalem. Topol, the actor best known for playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, was the narrator, and while the acting was a bit cheesy, the movie itself was fun and interesting.

After the movie I went to my first voice lesson in Israel. My teacher is an English woman, who is just Israeli enough not to be too curt but British enough to have some politeness left in her. Everything we did in the lesson was right on the money according to what I need; we addressed my pitch issues for most of the lesson, which is something I'm very relieved to be working on. She also had me on the floor, doing some stomach strengthening exercises and yoga. That part of the lesson is going to take a bit of getting used to, but I trust that it will work. I'm so incredibly happy to be in voice lessons again; I'd forgotten how nice it is to take an hour and just focus on singing.

Thursday was the last of our "Jerusalem Days," where we travel around Jerusalem seeing interesting sights and learning how they fit both Judaically and historically. While this tiyul was long and tiring, it was probably the most interesting of all of them we've been on. We spent the entire day at or around the Kotel, which is a part of the western retaining wall that surrounded the 2nd Temple. When King Herod was building the Temple, he needed to level out and enlarge Mount Moriah. To do so, he built a shoebox-shaped retaining wall up and around Mount Moriah, surrounding the Temple. The Western Wall is closest to the Holy of Holies, or the spot where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac. What a lot of people don't know is that there are other parts of the retaining wall that are still in tact. We were able to visit the southern part of the wall, which contains Robinson's Arch and the steps towards the Southern entrance of the Temple. We actually walked up the same steps that people did thousands of years ago, and we saw some of the mikvot (ritual baths people used to spiritually cleanse themselves before entering the Temple). It was a very powerful and holistic experience, and for the first time, I believe that the Temple was and still is something very holy and special to the Jewish people. We also toured the Western Wall Tunnels which take you underneath the Muslim Quarter of the Old City and along the entire Western Wall.

Perhaps the most enlightening part of the day was observing and listening to all of the B'nai Mitzvah that were taking place. Thursdays are a prime time for B'nai Mitzvah, because it is customary to read Torah on that day. As we studied out texts, it was hard not to listen to the celebratory singing, drumming, cheering, and shofar blowing happening everywhere around us. There is a part of the Western Wall, close to where it intersects with the Southern Wall, where many Reform Jewish families come to celebrate B'nai Mitzvah. At the actual Kotel, men and women are seperated and women are not allowed to read Torah. The ideas of separating sexes and rejecting women from Torah reading and study are not ones that Reform Jews utilize or agree with. Because of this, many Reform Jews (both Israeli and otherwise) come to this particular section of the wall to celebrate the B'nai Mitzvah as a family. It was so beautiful to see the families together, taking pictures, singing, rejoicing, and kvelling in Jewish pride as their child read from Torah and accepted their Jewish adulthood at the Kotel.

I wrapped up the week by participating the Zamirya choir festival, which gathers choirs from all over the world to sing both Jewish and secular music. They have a customary Shabbat dinner, and the cantorial students were asked to speak about Shabbat, lead Kiddush and candle blessings, and sing some Jewish/Shabbat songs. We were able to hear the other choirs sing a bit, and everyone joined in for a song session at the end of the evening. The whole night was a constant reminder of why I'm here, singing and Judaism blending together to create beautiful and very sacred music. After dinner I went over to PJ's to see everyone and hang out for a bit, and then had a lovely phone conversation with Linda, who I've been missing very much since I've been here. It was a really nice way to end a busy yet wonderful week.

FYI: We are currently having issues with internet in our apartment. Until we get them fixed, my Skype number is not the best way to reach me. I may be unavailable by phone for the next couple of weeks...as soon as the problems are fixed I will let you know.

As always, much love to everyone. I'm thinking of you in Jerusalem!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

This Week in Review--Part One

Hi everyone! Sorry to leave you hanging this week--it's been a crazy busy week and there's a lot to talk about. I think for the sake of your eyeballs and interest I will divide this post into 2, one post written here and another written tomorrow.

This past Saturday, I was supposed to wake up early and go to services at HUC. Well, after being out late on Friday night, celebrating a fun shabbat with friends, I accidentally overslept and missed services. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I later found out that Rabbi Shook was attending services there, and because I overslept, I missed seeing him. I was bummed, but what can you do? Anyways, I had a lazy Saturday and then went to a lovely Havdalah in Independence Park, followed by my first ever night at the movies in Israel. I went with a few people to see Hairspray, and it was SO CUTE. Going to the movies here is only slightly different than in the states; there are assigned seats, which is strange to get used to but not terrible, and there is a hafsaka, an intermission/smoke break in the middle of the movie. That's the strangest thing of all, especially when you're seeing a musical and they stop the movie mid-song. But, as I said, I loved the movie and it was fabulous to sit in the air-conditioned theatre and just relax in preparation for the busy week ahead.

Sunday started out as usual, with ulpan. After ulpan, we had our weekly "My Israel" lecture series, where a native Israeli (usually a student in HUC's Israeli Rabbinic program) speaks about his/her life in Israel. This week we had a speaker who was not only a student in the IRP, but is also a colonel in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF.) He gave a very passionate presentation about why the Army is so important to him and many of the Israeli citizens, and showed us a movie about the Holocaust. Apparently, the leaders of several countries in the world knew EXACTLY what was happening to the Jews, and no one, including the US government, did anything to help. The movie was obviously a little biased, but infuriating to many of us. I won't go into my personal opinions now, mostly because I'm still processing my reaction and determining whether I think some of the information is really true, but it definitely made me appreciate the IDF for protecting Israel for all the Jews throughout Israel and the Diaspora.

Monday was another busy day, with ulpan and HHD choir. I finally bit the bullet in choir and sang for all of the cantorial students. We were working on Janowski's Avinu Malkenu and I volunteered to sing the solo. It's one of everyone's favorite pieces of Jewish music, and a solo I've known for a long time (though it's by no means easy to pull off well.) I was incredibly nervous to sing for everyone, as I've had some vocal issues as of late, but I needed to just go ahead and do it already. It wasn't perfect, but at least I did it and the terror of singing for everyone for the first time is over. After choir I met some friends to study for our hebrew test that was this past Wednesday, and then went to dinner and then finally came home for the night. It was a good, but exhausting, day.

Tuesday was the longest day I've had since I've been here. We started with ulpan, which was fine, but instead of having our full 3 sessions, we took the last 2 hours to watch an amazing Israeli movie, Casablan. It was the first musical ever written in Israel, and the quality of the music/acting/costumes/scenery/content was TERRIBLE, but that's what made it so good. It was basically a combination of every musical I've ever seen, with bad dance moves and hairstyles. I loved it! After the movie we had our first real music theory class. The professor spent half the class giving us ear-training exercises to help us find the fixed do more easily and to force our ears to memorize where middle C is. We then did some written theory work, which at the time was mostly review for me. After theory I came home for awhile, and then met up with some people for a program at the Israel Museum.

As part of our weekly Jerusalem Days program (the "field trips" we take every Thursday), we usually have text study the night before to prepare us for the day. This week, they decided we would meet at the museum rather than have an actual text study. The Israel Museum is a neat place, where you can see a replica of the Dead Sea Scrolls (one of the latest and greatest discoveries in Jewish history--Google it) and a very large and detailed model of Jerusalem in the 2nd Temple Period. I wish our tour wasn't after a long day; by this point all I could think about was partaking in the Israel Wine Festival that was happening in a garden at the museum, only a few yards away from where we were doing text study. After the study, I did indeed partake in the Wine Festival, which was very fun. I sampled quite a few wines and was in quite a happy state of mind when I accidentally stole a piece of delicious handmade chocolate (I thought it was a sample---it wasn't.) We laughed about it a lot and I did buy a few pieces from the girl who was selling it, so I don't feel too bad. The Wine Festival was great; we had the opportunity to relax and unwind after a crazy day and a long tour/text study, though I really should have spent the time studying for Wednesday's hebrew test. Big mistake, though well worth it.

Stay tuned for This Week in Review Part Two, which will hopefully be written tomorrow afternoon. It's very late (about 2:30am), so I am going to close here. Lilah tov and love to all!