Sunday, October 28, 2007

Here Comes the Sun...

A beautiful sunrise from Masada, taken 3 days after I arrived in Israel.

You guys are the BEST readers any blog has ever had. Seriously.

Thank you for reading that last post, and for those of you who emailed, thank you for your compassion and understanding. I'm beginning to realize that your most important dreams shouldn't come easily; I think it's the blood, sweat and tears that make you aware of how important your dreams are to you, and in the end, you remember how they actually helped you along the way by making you stronger. I'm trying to keep that in mind, and remembering that I have tons of people back home supporting me all the way. You have no idea how much that helps--from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Anyways, let's talk about something fun--Shabbat, anyone? This was one of my busier Shabbat weekends, with required services and a singing gig Friday night and a special service at HUC on Saturday morning. Here goes:

Friday night, the entire HUC class gathered at Kol Haneshama, one of the Progressive synagogues in town (Progressive Judaism is the Israeli equivalent to Reform Judaism, though it's not exactly the same.) We had a lovely Kabbalat Shabbat service, and though many of the melodies were strange to me, there was so much singing and joy in the room that I couldn't help but sing along anyway. After our services, Michelle (a fellow member of the C-Squad) and I went to the King David Hotel where we joined a Canadian sector of the United Jewish Appeal for a beautiful Friday night dinner. They hired us out to lead them in some zmirot (Shabbat songs), and basically paid us to eat a fancy dinner and sing a few songs between courses. I must say that we ate, sang, and shmoozed like true Jewish professionals.

Saturday morning Michelle and I were asked to sing again at a special HUC service honoring 2 of the retiring faculty members. The service itself was wonderful; the HUC beit knesset (synagogue) was filled to the brim, there were 3 cantors on the bimah (not counting Michelle and I), and Rabbi Feinberg, one of the retirees, was simultaneously grinning from ear to ear and tearing up as he led his final service at HUC. It was beautiful to see him and Ginny be honored in such a special way, and to be a part of something so meaningful to both of them. We then went to a beautiful kiddush, complete with sushi, Israeli cheeses, and cakes that looked amazing even though I didn't eat them.

Our Saturday continued with our new Saturday tradition: Grey's Anatomy and roasted vegetables. Every week, Julia comes over and we watch the new Grey's (Steph downloads them on iTunes...I love my roommate,) eat lunch, and attempt to do homework. It's become a really nice way to relax on Saturdays, and usually we get a lot done in the way of homework.

It's been a few weeks since I've properly celebrated Shabbat; I haven't been good about going to services, and I realize after this week how nice it is to have that few hours at the end of the week to let everything go, pray, and remember why I'm here. I need to start going more often, not only to fulfill my own personal needs, but to experience Israeli synagogue life, as Orthodox as it may be.

I'm trying really hard this week to stay positive about everything. Yes, a lot of stuff is always thrown at me (and today was no exception,) but it's all stuff that I love to do and it's so good for me to be here. I'm learning how to be strong, and how to work harder than I ever have, and it's all for the best. And, I know why I'm really here...the struggles will only make me appreciate the whole experience and all of my accomplishments so much more. Again, thank you all for all of your support--I could not be surviving this year without you.

No comments: