Friday, August 31, 2012

Shabbat Shalom from Israel

Hello! I decided I should blog once more before moving into my apartment tomorrow night! I know it's Shabbat, but still using electricity…definitely not doing the Shomer Shabbat thing right now, but would love to try it at one point or another while I'm here.

Thursday was definitely a long and slow day, unfortunately. We started the morning with a lesson the history and establishment of the state of Israel. While the professor was very interesting to listen to, it was all the same stuff I learned at Milken and in my Jewish studies classes at IU, so it was unfortunately not that interesting to sit through. He did have us do some group work, and that definitely help. Before lunch, we had an hour or so with Yaron, the overseas director, having us do very silly creative thinking activities to get our minds going and realize that we can't always plan for what we want to teach - and in fact, it's often better to not plan anything so you have fresh ideas going into the classroom. Post-lunch we had a break involving the typical lying on the grass and using wifi, followed by discussions about the socio-economic gaps in Israel and the laws of Israel. I definitely found the second discussion more interesting, because it wasn't something I had much knowledge about. At night there was a pool party, and while I was hesitant to go in at first, it turned out to be a blast! They also brought us fresh fruit, something we've had very little of so far, so we were all like wild animals trying to take as much as possible. Totally worth it, though! It was great fun, and I'm so glad it gave us all another opportunity to hang out. The group is so awesome, and I'm so excited to be spending the next 10 months with them!

Today is my first Shabbat in Israel! It was a stressful morning and afternoon leading up to Shabbat. The theme of the day? Our living situation. It was so much craziness trying to figure out how 27 of us would divide into groups of 9 for 3 apartments and our food situation. I wound up with a good group of people for housemates, and although it wasn't ideal for me to be in a triple, I'm in one! My roommates are Aleah and Jennifer, and I'm definitely now more excited for the year to come. I'm very excited to try a new style of living! After that was sorted out, we played another get-to-know-you game, and then Ofir read us an Israeli children's book called "Room for Rent" that was similar to the chaos we went through to do our apartment picking. We talked about what Shabbat meant to us, and it made me remember that while I don't always celebrate Shabbat, and when I do it's usually at camp, it's such a meaningful part of the week to relax, reflect, and appreciate everything in our lives and what is around us.

We then had a much needed long break, in which I spent quickly checking wifi, talking to my chetzi who will be only 10 minutes away from me starting tomorrow, and chilling out with my roommates at Givat Haviva. We got ready for Kabbalat Shabbat, and it was really nice to have sort of that camp feeling again of getting ready for services. It was an Orthodox service, so it was definitely not the type of service I'm used to, but I always love getting to experience a new way to celebrate Shabbat. Unfortunately, they chose to do it right outside the dining hall, so it was VERY distracting. I finally had my first schnitzel of the year for dinner, and then we have been free for the rest of the night. 

While I do love spending time with everyone, and while "wifi-land" is quite distracting in some regards, it really does give me some time to rest from the rest of the group. It's always good to have some me-time, and I think Shabbat is the perfect time for that. It's always nice to spend time not socializing 24/7.Since I will be living with 8 other people in an apartment starting tomorrow, I really want to make sure I have time for myself.

I cannot believe that this time tomorrow, I will be in Rehovot. It is like we have been stuck in a bubble all week. I'm in Israel, but I'm not really experiencing Israel. I can't wait to see what comes next in this incredible journey.

Shabbat Shalom! <3

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