After a very restful couple of days off it was time to get ready for our last Jewish holiday until Hanukkah in December.
After much debate I decided to go to Kol Rina for Erev Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah. Kol Rina is a small little shul in a bomb shelter in Nachlaot. When we got there they were starting the abbreviated Kabbalat Shabbat and after a quick davening we got ready to start the hakafot. However, what was most surprising was that instead of starting the Rabbi got up on a chair on the men's side of the mechitza and started to auction off the different hakafot. My friends and I started looking at each other like he was crazy or something. We were also wondering whether it was halakhaic to be asking for money on Shabbat/Chag. After about 3 minutes of this going on we thought it would stop because no one was bidding, nonetheless he went on until all of them were auctioned off. Once the hakafot started it was crazy but still really good and better then back home. Once the dancing got intense the mechitza was covered with a tallis so that the males could not see us dancing and dancing with a Torah nonetheless. After only 1 hakafah we left to head back to Beit Nativ for dinner and another wonderful Tisch before heading to bed.
Shabbat morning I decided to try out Yedidya which Gabriel has raved to me about. After a 30 minute walk we arrived around 8:45 and they were already on the 2nd hakafah because they had stated davening at 7:30. We all jumped into the intense dancing that was going on and I enjoyed it immensely; and we even went outside for the last 2 hakafot. After hakafot we went back inside for a separate male and female Torah and Haftorah reading and then we all came back to together for the end of tiffilot. After shul was over I got the chance to have an aliyah and then we walked bake to base for lunch and chill time until Shabbat was over.
Since there is only one day here, Saturday night in Gan Hapamon there were hakafot once more but this time it was with music because Shabbat/Chag was over. It was nice but due to the fact that I had already done hakafot twice already I did not stay for that long.
Through this one day I have realized that Simchat Torah was so much better in Israel because everyone was participating and everyone was into the dancing and all. Almost no one was sitting down. As well only in Israel during the chagim do the busses wish you a Chag Sameach.
Sunday was my last day of break from the Yeshiva so I spent it doing some errands and seeing my friend Yardena.
Monday it was back to Yeshiva and the beginning of starting new topics in certain classes. For example in Talmud we are starting to learn the 8th chapter of Baba Kama which deals with personal injury and damages. We looked this past week at pre-biblical law codes as well as the Mishna. Monday evening we had a speaker come talk to us about drug and alcohol use and abuse.
Tuesday night's Erev Nativ was an orientation to the semester that starts on Sunday was Hebrew University starts. This means that mini-mester will be over but we will now have more freedom and also will be receiving stipend which means that better food will be on its way. Also now that the semester is starting there will be various evening programs such as Flag football and a Jewish Educators training program.
Wednesday afternoon we went to the AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel) memorial ceremony. AACI helps new olim to Israel and this memorial was to remember those where were killed in the past year. It was a somewhat moving ceremony but the most moving part is that since pre-Israel more than 300 olim have fallen in war or terrorist attacks fulfilling their dreams of living in Eretz Yisrael.
Thursday was one of the best days this past week. This was because it was my one month anniversary with Ethan. After getting dressed up thanks to the help of some of friends Ethan gave me a pair of earrings by Michal Negrin and then we went to dinner at Caffit and then for ice cream. It was a delicious dinner and wonderful evening. However this also means that I have already been in Israel for over 6 weeks which I cannot believe.
This past Shabbat was another wonderful relaxing weekend. Shabbat morning I went to the Beit Yisrael, the Ashkenazi shul in Yemin Moshe. It was a nice quick service which was done by 10:45 and there was a filling Kiddush afterwards with lasagna, crepes, cakes and more.
Now that the chagim are over and school and life is picking up I will not have as much time to blog but when I get a chance.