Winter break was fantastic! In late January, Adam, a friend of mine from Alabama, visited and I was able to play host & tour guide. We spent time in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Caesarea, & Haifa. We also went a little off path to visit a few wineries. Adam & I indulged in food, culture and wine. Overall it was an amazing time spent with a good friend!
February brought a start to my Masa-Hillel Fellowship & a restart to my Tikkun Olam classes and internship. After attending the Masa Leadership Summit last semester, I was able to apply for several different Fellowships. I decided that the Hillel Fellowship was not only the most interesting but also one that would help me to obtain a job in the world of Jewish Education. I applied, interviewed and was offered a place on the fellowship. Every few weeks, I meet up with 13 other Fellows for learning sessions.
March started off with a bang as I began tutoring a conversion student. She had been coming off and on to conversion classes at Beit Daniel for almost 4 years. She was no longer able to attend the English speakers class and was struggling to understand things in the Hebrew speakers class. Rabbi Galia, the Rabbi in charge of the conversion program, asked if I could tutor the student one on one. It was an amazing and interesting experience and after 5 meetings she was ready for her final meeting with Rabbi Galia. She is now moving into the final step of her conversion!
Purim was huge here in Tel Aviv! This city sure does love a good party. For Purim Israeli style, take Halloween and double it with a side of crazy 🙂 There were days of parties, costume contests and drinks galore. It was defiantly not the average Synagogue celebration back home.
I also had an opportunity to lead a session, Rule the School: Being a Leader on Your College Campus, for gap year kids on NATVI, a Conservative youth movement program. I, along with three other Hillel Fellows, planned and created materials for the two sessions we were going to lead. It was an amazing opportunity to get hands on experience & test out some of the tools Hillel was giving us. It was a great day & I think the students both enjoyed themselves and felt themselves thinking about important issues for the future!
March also brought more visitors from Alabama, this time in the form of the Shapiro family! While visiting Daryl’s family they took time out to have a quick dinner with me. It was great to see them all! Amazing how fast their daughters are growing.
I finished the month attending a great educational event with the Pardes Institutes of Jewish Studies. I attended an evening event with several sessions; it was a great way to prep for Passover.
I stated April by attending the Women of the Wall‘s Rosh Hodesh service. Meeting at the western wall, in the women’s section, it is celebrating the coming of the new month with a singular experience. Unlike celebrations in past years, things have been calm as of late and the only disapproval I witnessed was several shhhhs when we sang and a few very Hasidic men videotaping us as we read Torah selections from WOW’s siddur. They are not allowed to read directly from a Torah scroll as the Western wall & plaza are currently under the control of a haredi Orthodox Rabbi & it is treated as very conservative Orthodox synagogue.
Passover was a much-needed week off filled with fun events. My roommate Kate & I had a great personal tour of the Jerusalem Zoo provided by Ben. I also spent Seder night & day with Ben. We celebrated with the Lachmans- whom Ben’s parents met when they were living on Kibbutz Tuval. They are very much like family to Ben and it was great to spend the time with them! I also took time to visit the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. There were several museums open free over the Holiday. Ben and I also took advantage & checked out the Rabin Center in Tel Aviv. It was an amazing museum I highly recommend you visit!!
For those of you confused by the entry of the name Ben to this update let me explain. I am dating a great guy – Ben. Long story short, we met in October and became good friends and then in February things changed. A few facts about Ben: he was born in Israel while his British parents were living on a Kibbutz; He has a degree in zoology and was interning at the Jerusalem Zoo when we met; He is now working at the Zoo through the summer; his family lives in London & Brighton, England.
Last but not least, the Masa Poland Delegation. I had the interview for one of 17 spots last week & found out who was selected on Sunday evening.
You will have to check out my next post for the results!! Will I or Won’t I Go to Poland