Friday, November 23, 2007

4 Packs a Day

While picking and brining Olives at Kibbutz Gezer with a group of jailed convicts going through a rehabilitation program - the following exchange occurred:

Shalom Yen v'Evan!

Immediately, one climbed into a tree to shake down the olives, a few more lounged eating fruit from a nearby tree, we were all hanging out until our supervisor came over and told us to get our asses into gear.

"Jane, Evan - want a cigarra?" asks the man in Nike sneakers and a little bit of bling.

I respond - לא תודה- No, thanks.
So, uh, how many do you smoke a day anyways?

שנימ בארוכת בוקר. שנימ בארוכת ערב
2 packs for breakfast. 2 for dinner."

It seems that Jen is a difficult name to say in Hebrew.

4 Packs a Day. A balanced meal for an Israeli inmate, I suppose.

Yusef sat back and took a deep breath - נשמה עמוקה. Yusef the master olive picker - "He's the best, you know" - said the others.

Yusef, when did you learn to do this?
"When I was young boy - six years."

I had no idea I was among greatness.

After a morning of work, Yusef sat quietly, eyes closed.

We told them about how the weekly Torah portion was Vayishlach - a time when Jacob wrestles with an איש - a man or angel or something - after which he is given a new name - Yisrael. What does it mean to make a name for yourself, we asked them, how can you grow and change and earn a good reputation?

What he was thinking about, I'll never know.

Attached is the D'var Torah I delivered this past Friday evening, relative to the conversation we led with the group at Kibbutz Gezer.
What is your name? Jennifer Gubitz D'var Torah November 23, 2007

Friday, November 9, 2007

Driving on Shabbat

As critical as I find myself of Israel, I can understand why people fall in love with this place. There are moments when everything here is just so beautiful.

Driving to my community service placement in Kibbutz Gezer, 45 minutes from Jerusalem - the sun was setting over the hills of Jerusalem. In a rental car, I cruised at a speed I wasn't sure of because I don't really understand Kilometers. Golden rays splashed light over the fields, like the orange and yellow rays I used to draw in crayola, stemming out from a sun who smiled and wore sunglasses. I guess his future was so bright...he had to wear shades.

One of the best things about today was calling my friends and saying "Be there in a minute!" And pulling up in the rental car 45 seconds later. What is normally a 20 minute walk from my house to theirs - is a two minute drive on Shabbat. It felt liberating and sacrilegious at the same time. Shabbat pedestrians were constantly crossing in my path, but I went against encouragement from my friends to honk my horn at them. It felt good to anonymously break Shabbat observance, but I didn't feel the need to blare my horn to everyone in my midst.

In other news, big brother Ron G arrives on Friday for 10 days. Watch out world.

I'm ready for some Gubitz gang time.