Just as a wave goes up and down so has my past week. Last week was a very full and packed week. Sunday was the first day of Yeshiva which was very exciting but is still taking some time getting used to the long days and having school on Sundays. So here is an update on some of my classes so far:
Talmud (Rabbi Joel Levy): Until the end of the chagim we are studying Masecht Brachot and learning about what Brachot to say for various objects such as rain or good/bad news etc. After the chagim we will be learning from Masecht Baba Kama which deals with damages.
Chumash from Midrash to Middle Ages (Dr. Shaiya Rothberg): This year we are studying Sefer B'reishit and at the moment we are learning about Breit Ben Habitarim (Chapter 15) and looking at Rashi and other commentators to help us understand this Breit and the story surrounding it.
Contemporary Issues in Halacha (Rabbi Shlomo Zachrow): This is one of two classes just for Nativ students. This past week we studied about Pidyon Shvuim (Redeeming Captives) and looked at various sources to help us understand this Mitzvah. We also discussed Gilad Shalit.
Bekiut Mishna (Dr. Josh Kulp): This year we are studying from Masecht Chullin from Seder Kodashim. Chullin deals with the laws of slaughtering and eating meat. I will not go into details about what we are specifically learning as to not loose anyone's appetite; however I might be able to possibly become a part-time shochet.
So these classes along with 4 others are what take up my days, Sunday-Thursday, 8:45-6:15 with some breaks. After Yeshiva, I figure out what my adventure will be for the evening. For example, most evenings have consisted of going out to get dinner or something to supplement the not filling Beit Nativ food and at the same time taking time to explore my home. Also, every Tuesday night is Erev Nativ which means various programming with our entire group, so last week we had a speaker from this organization called Tav Chevrati. This organization gives restaurants and other buildings this seal if they respect they legal rights that each employee has, is handicap accessible, has Braille menu and more. Now, if you have been to Israel before, you probably know that if you are in a wheelchair or something similar it is very hard to get around the city. Therefore it was comforting to see that someone is doing something about this.
Last Wednesday during my 3 hour break a bunch of us decided to head to the shuk which was lots of fun and eye-opening. While I did not purchase anything, there was such a wide variety of produce and goods. For example I could have gotten a fish head for Rosh Hashana.
Thursday night we had a memorial service for 9/11 which was the following day. We had a brief talk and then we watched the movie United 93. Considering I was only 10 when the attacks took place and I had not seen the towers fall and more it was a very moving and powerful movie. There was not a dry eye in the room when the movie finished and it also gave the rest of the evening a very somber mood.
This past weekend was our first open weekend which means that we do not have to stay on base. Therefore I went on the Yeshiva Shabbaton in Ein Gedi. We started off on Friday with a hike seeing the springs and streams and also getting a chance to swim and see the ancient Synagogue there. We also got a chance to go the Dead Sea which was fun but I forgot my sunscreen in Jerusalem and therefore my punishment was a nice red back. Shaba bat with the Yeshiva was such a great experience and I can't wait for the next one. There was so much ruach the whole weekend and everyone was into the tiffilot which gave them a whole new meaning. By the end of Shabbat, I got the feeling that Yeshiva is going to be incredible because of the amazing people here.
Motzei Shabbat we got a chance to choose which synagogue we wanted to for Slichot. Slichot is a set of tiffilot which we say leading up to Rosh Hashana asking God for forgiveness. I along with some of my friends decided to go and experience the Great Synagogue. It was defiantly an experience. From the women's balcony above I got to take a look around and I saw so many different types of Jews. There were some wearing streimels, some with black hats, some wearing jeans etc. which shows that all of Israel can come together no matter ones background. Now at the Great Synagogue there was an amazing choir in the front all wearing tallitot. While it was very nice to hear the choir chant Ashrei for example took almost 10 minutes. After about an hour we decided to leave because we were all falling asleep and we had to get up for class in the morning.
Monday evening I got the chance to purchase Machzorim and Siddurim and I bought the Koren edition of both. I'm very excited to use the siddur because I have been using Sim Shalom since who knows when. Afterwards my friends and I decided to head down to the Emek Refaim street fair. This meant that a large portion of the street was blocked off and all along the street there were many vendors selling their goods such as jewelry, clocks and more. It was very crowded but it was for sure the place to be last night.
Next week I will fill you all in on the excitement of celebrating Rosh Hashana in Jerusalem but until then you can take a look at the pictures that I have taken so far.