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!