Tuesday, January 8, 2008

This is what happens when the president of the U.S. visits Jerusalem during finals week

So, in addition to the other millions of things we have to accomplish by Thursday afternoon, when the hell that is finals week is finally over, we're also forced to deal with a very important issue to the State of Israel this week: the visit of President George W. Bush. I will try to leave my personal issues with Bush aside for the meantime, but I have to say that his visit occurs at a most inopportune time for HUC students. The following things will occur once he arrives tomorrow afternoon:
  1. Bush and his staff are taking over the King David Hotel, the Dan Panorama Hotel, and portions of other hotels close to where I live in J'lem. Because of this, many of the streets close to me are going to be closed down to both cars and pedestrians. In order to get from home to school (a literally 2-minute walk) we have to carry our Passports and apartment leases and will be subject to security checks whenever we leave our apartment.
  2. Also, because the streets are closing, the Nesher taxis that on a normal day would happily take us to the airport, are not going to be running on their normal schedule (if they are running at all.) Therefore, those of us who desperately want to go to the airport on Thursday may not be able to get there. Apparently there are other private taxis that will be running, so I'm staying hopeful that we'll all get to where we need to go, but it's a major pain in the neck. There may also be problems for those of us leaving Israel on Friday (thank goodness that's not me) with flights being cancelled so Bush can leave.
  3. Also because of the street-closings, HUC is going to be closed on Wednesday and Thursday. Yep, HUC will be closed for the last half of finals week. Our administrators have been hard at work trying to find either alternative places for us to take our exams, or alternative ways to give us our exams. So, my liturgy exam tomorrow morning is now going to be at some other place that I've never heard of, and my Biblical grammar final is now a take-home final. AND (this is actually a beautiful thing) our Music History test is now at the beginning of next semester, and our paper is also due then. This means I'll have to study a bit over break, and write the paper while I'm home, but it's a HUGE weight off of my shoulders this week.

Also, according to HaAretz newspaper, Israel is spending $25,000 an HOUR to make sure Bush's visit runs smoothly, which is slightly irritating paired with the fact that he probably will just screw up any hope for peace negotiations. But, I said I wouldn't gripe on Bush in this blog, so I'll be done with that for now.

Anyways, sorry to make you spend your time reading about the baligan that is Bush's visit. The whole country is buzzing about it, and it will be interesting to see what happens.

In other, much more exciting news, I found out the other day that I will be going with my friends Ariel and Brad to Baranovichi-Brest, Belarus on the FSU Pesach Project. While I really wanted to go to St Petersburg or Moscow, I am excited for Belarus (just don't ask me how to pronounce the name...I have no clue.) Special thanks to all of you who've already donated to the project in my name...your donations are so appreciated and will help me and my classmates have the experience of a lifetime.

OK, I am off to study liturgy and run some errands. I am SO EXCITED to see you all in 4 days (!) and to spend time in the States...there really is a light at the end of the tunnel, guys! Much love and excitement from Eretz Yisrael to all of you.


Anonymous said...

I'm flying from Boston tonight and expect to arrive at Ben Gurion at 5pm on Wednesday. Hope I can get to Jerusalem!


Hilary said...

I can't wail to see you!

Anonymous said...

Noah will remember you, I promise. I can't wait to see you either! Marti :)