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!)

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