Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'd rather be unemployed...

I remember this day seven years ago. Less than two weeks into freshman year of college, I awoke to someone pounding on my door.

Turn on the TV. Turn on the TV.

Whether from the haze of being woken abruptly or in general disbelief that such an event could occur, Shira, Lindsay and I sat and watched the news accounts of a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in DC. It was frightening no doubt and Shira was frantic to get a hold of her family who lived in the Washington, DC, area.

My childhood friend Josh instant messaged from Israel – can you get a hold of Rabbi Stein? A close friend to Josh’s family, Rabbi Stein was not answering his cell phone. Ultimately, Rabbi Stein was safe but simply unable to use his cell phone due to overloaded cell towers in NYC.

I spent hours trying to reach my brother’s best friend who had recently moved to NYC. Luckily he was late to work that day.

Sadly, a friend’s father perished.

**
Seven years ago was in some way the beginning of the rest of my life. I was a freshman at Indiana University, living in a Mcnutt dorm room – Dejoya 318 - with the little sister of my brother’s best friend. Unlike the matching pink comforters in the dorm rooms to each side of us, Elyse and I covered our beds more practically in navy blue and forest green – hand-me-downs from our big brothers. We had already made friends with the girls down the hall, learned our way around campus and I regularly enjoyed the Starbucks in the center of the quad and feeding my brother with my endless supply of meal points.

September 11th was Elyse’s 19th birthday. Her parents would be driving down from Indianapolis to take us out for dinner in her honor. Or maybe we drove to Indy to meet them, I actually can’t remember anymore and yet I remember this day seven years ago.

**
Riding the subway to school this morning was a bit unnerving. I woke up to an email from my current roommate about the need for extermination in our apartment; I dropped my pastry on the floor of the subway car where any chance of the five second rule was suspended for fear of death; a man hopped on the train to preach the gospels of Jesus and was yelling so loudly that my IPOD volume could not overpower him.

Seven years ago, the train I take from Brooklyn to Manhattan regularly stopped at the World Trade Center. As we passed through the stop today, I felt for a moment the subway car slow down as though to pay its respects.

I arrived at school in time to join morning services at the height of worship, where we have the opportunity to petition God. Outside of the fixed liturgy, I made one or two lofty requests and a few more practical appeals – please eliminate possible bed bugs, please increase water pressure in the shower.

**
The past few weeks are in some way the beginning of the rest of my life. Fresh off the boat from Israel, an émigré, if you will, to Brooklyn, I spend my days rushing between home, school, and working at a local synagogue. When not doing homework, I try to spend time making my apartment into a comfortable living space. I have two weeks to write four sermons for the High Holy Days where I will serve a small congregation in North Carolina as their only Rabbi.

Seven years have passed and Josh now lives in the financial district, down the street from the World Trade Center site. Rabbi Stein is one my teachers. Elyse is a news anchor. Her brother lives near me in Brooklyn. My brother lives in St. Louis and my sister lived in the same McNutt dorm and now in my sorority house at IU.

**

I remember this day seven years ago, thinking about all those who died and how in the days that followed, our country fell into shambles of economic crises, continued social inequalities, foreign relations disasters and war. In some ways, this day seven years ago is what keeps rabbis and future rabbis in business.

I think I’d rather be unemployed.


**
I invite you to click on this link for a touching audio clip.

May the memories of all who are no longer with us be for a blessing.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Birdwatching...

I was never into bird watching.

Bluejays, Ravens, Cardinals - they look one and the same to me and generally draw beer drinking, hot dog eating millions to stadiums around the country. Yes, it's true that I generally associate birds with baseball, Edgar Allen Poe (the Raven) and also bird poop splashed on my windshield.

We also have our political affiliates - hawks and doves - that divide up our country in times of war. With my Picasso inspired vision of a hawk with red wings and a dove with blue wings, I think about the bar in Washington, DC, Hawk & Dove, where young politically minded capital hill staffers gather around pints, no - kegs, of beer, forgetting that their debauchery may someday ruin their presidential aspirations. Hawk and Dove is also a pair of DC comic superheros. They are dressed similarly to my previously mentioned image and I wonder- what was the color of the dove which brought an olive branch to Noah, waiting in his ark?

Although I've worked in the policy world - I'm not one to regularly express political commentary. And so I'll talk about birds instead.

This week, I've felt like a hawk and at times a squashed dove. Road kill almost.

Three weeks ago, there was great news of a swap between Israel and Lebanon that would hopefully bring home two of our missing soldiers. And it was this past Wednesday that we finally brought our boys home - in caskets. We traded live terrorists who entered back into Lebanon Hollywood style on a red carpet, as heroes. The families of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev laid to rest their two year search for their loved ones - burying their hope of finding Ehud and Eldad alive, and beginning the mourning of their boys, proof of which alluded them for two years and four days.

And still, the Jewish State will continue to negotiate for the return of Gilad Shalit who will hopefully return from captivity in Gaza back to us - alive. We will trade thousands of criminals for our boy. We will probably offer land for peace. We've given innocent blood - for peace.

And in return, all we've received is bird shit.


***
The following song, most relevant to this piece, really opened up my tear ducts today. Check out David Wilcox's "Three Brothers."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Guess whose back, back again...

I'm back in America - and already working at the summer camp where I grew up...Click the hyperlink to check out a post I wrote for the camp blog.

Although I'm back in the states and this blog was initially dedicated to my year in Israel - I do plan to keep updating it. If you would like to unsubscribe from it - you can do so by unsubscribing from feedburner.com via the email that sends out the blog syndication. If you have trouble, let me know and I'll help (I am not offended if you want to unsubscribe.)

Have a wonderful week!
Jen

Monday, June 2, 2008

On Wrestling

On wrestling

As a child, I was never much of a hugger. I preferred to neither give nor receive much affection from my immediate family, except for from my mom’s mother – Bubbe Schwartz. I’d like to say that I remember vividly that we were inseparable, although nearly 20 years later I cannot be sure if my memories are accurately my own or if they are simply reconstructions of snippets of information I was told. My Bubbe died when I was in second grade and in her absence, I eventually learned to hug other people. Ironically, a strong and warm hug is something I have begun to crave throughout my adulthood. When parting ways with my parents before a long flight or leaving my siblings after a short visit – I sometimes return three even four times for one last hug. It has to be just right and until it is, I feel unable to walk away without looking back.

A lecturer at school suggested, “To be engaged with Israel is to be both a hugger and a wrestler.”

As I have spent the past few weeks supporting various Jerusalem shopkeepers when I should be studying; trying to honor my commitment to eating one falafel a day before I depart; considering which pairs of underwear I’m willing to leave out in order to make room for as many Wissotzky tea bags as I can stuff in my suitcase; wondering which speed dial numbers on my American cell phone I will assign to my new and dear friends; pondering if the waitresses will miss my daily visit and poor Hebrew at my local coffee shop – I’m not sure how I can run back to each of these things and people for one last hug. The doors to the plane will close even if I haven’t finished saying my goodbyes. The man who sells lotto tickets on my corner, and sits with his granddaughter or daughter I’m not quite sure, only starts work at 7:30am. My flight leaves at 8am. The parking attendant and security guard who greet me daily at the HUC garage will probably want at least one hug before I go. If I don’t show up for my flight, the airline will call my name over the loud speaker until someone tells them I’m busy hugging the guy who cleans my laundry on Azza Street with sensitive detergent because I have bad allergies.

I understand that Jews are wrestlers. I understand that it was a wrestling match won by our forefather Jacob that gave him his new name with the heavy yoke of parenting the children of Israel. I wonder though what would have happened if he had just hugged his wrestling opponent? What would have happened if he had just hugged Esau? What if Cain had embraced Abel and Isaac hugged Ishmael?

Wrestling is exhausting.

Hugging is invigorating.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

the sound of the ram's horn

10am. And the siren sounded - cars stopped. People got out of their cars, standing at attention, hands at their sides or clasped behind their backs.

This same siren sounds every Shabbat to signal the beginning of our day of rest.

And today, this same siren signifies the eternal rest of so many of our people.

In ancient days, the ram's horn called people to prayer.

In modern days, youngsters learn how to blow the horn to bring in the new year, to help in repentance. If you've ever walked into a store that sells the rams' horns, Shofar, you immediately exit. The smell is atrocious. They were once attached to a live ram.

Birthright participants pack the shofar into the overhead compartment on their El-Al flight home - a souvenir of a life changing experience - a Judaism that sadly many will never visit again, quickly returning to their lives they left to come here for ten days.

When the flight lands, they'll rush off the plane to catch a connecting flight and the flight attendants will clear out the bins, collecting the lost and forgotten ram's horns...

This same horn, a siren today -
a souvenir,
a call to worship,
a call

to memory...

We sat in the courtyard as they lined up to read names. A laundry list of family, to the Nazis a list of animals no different than the grocery list hung on the refrigerator.

My classmates wife read the names of her Italian family who perished in the Holocaust and returned to her husband, to scoop up in her arms their new baby boy. The cycle continues and from death comes life...

Every year the sound of the ram's horn will cause us to stand still for just a moment and remember...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Back from the USSR

20 squat toilets, 37 bed bug bites, 20 pieces of chicken smothered in egg and mayonnaise, 7 bottles of Cognac and 43 statues of Lenin later, its safe to say that I'm back from the USSR. Time spent in southern Ukraine (Crimea) and St. Petersburg were no doubt memorable. Overloaded with final papers and celebrating various Israeli holidays, I'll do my best to give a delayed reflection on the trip because my brother told me I'm doing a poor job of blogging. In a few days, I will post about various Israeli national holidays. Notes of thanks for ending the blogging drought and serving as my mailing address all year can be sent to my brother whose address somehow comes up on my email account as "Coolest Man in US and A."

***

My time spent in Ukraine and Russia is best summed up by a severely disabled man we visited in a home for people with physical, emotional and mental disabilities. As the 39 year old man confined to a wheel chair began to cry, "Please don't forget about me. Tell everyone that there are still Jews here," the 28 year old Ukrainian Rabbi, Misha, gently placed his hand on the man's arm.

So - you should know. There are still thousands of Jews in Ukraine, small remnants of communities long forgotten; populations diminished by the Holocaust, Aliyah (the word used to describe moving) to Israel, or resettlement in Germany and the United States. Those with less resources or the desire to stay in their birthplaces remained. In recent years, the Ukrainian government has restored ownership of synagogues to local communities, Chabad has been a presence in the area for nearly 20 years and finally, Hillel and the Progressive Jewish community (sustained by American philanthropists) have begun to sprout roots in the Former Soviet Union. There are approximately 10 Progressive Rabbis working throughout Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Hillels are a vibrant community of youth, not restricted to the American university model, but reaching out to any young person who wants to learn more about her Jewish identity. However, due to a significant budget, Chabad has a monopoly on a great deal of Jewish life.

The communities we visited each had active Jewish lay leaders who were well versed in leading the Passover Seder and were committed to revitalizing their communities. Many had traveled to or lived in Israel and spoke Hebrew; most people we met were above the age of 75 or if they were young adults, only found out in the past few years that they are Jewish.

**
The voice of our translator droned on and we prepared to leave, disgusted by what we had seen. We eagerly took a letter from the man to place in the cracks of the Western Wall and shared our fresh bananas with his girlfriend. We didn't know what else to do. The squalor in which they lived was indescribable. Each had family who moved them to the facility at least twenty years prior and only came to visit once in every ten. They lived in filth, they were sleeping in filth, underfed, forgotten. Forgotten because he was Jewish? No. People with disabilities in the Former Soviet Union are a marginalized and forgotten community. The government gives them a small sum of money of which 75% goes to their institution. In this awful condition, the man still did everything in his power to read about Jewish life, history and culture. He dreamed about Israel and seemed to be an expert on Israeli politics. Overwhelmed, the man began to cry and then to sob.."Please tell them there are still Jews here...and when I die, bury me like a Jew."

So don't forget. Because we promised him we wouldn't.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Home is...

I'm back in the holiest of lands after a 10 day Midwest tour in the great states which I'm happy to report are still united. I fell seamlessly back into life in America and only noted a few major differences.
-People are generally nicer in Tennessee than in Israel.
-Similar to churches, Starbucks can be found on every street corner.
-Stores give you receipts and allow you to make exchanges and, gasp, even complete returns - a foreign idea in Israel.
-Anti-abortion signs escorted me along my drive from Tennessee to Indiana where it is unquestionable that "A family that prays together, stays together."

At the end of the day, I found myself comfortably catnapping in my parents new home in Knoxville, snuggly sleeping at Chez Adland (family friends in Indy), thrilled with my dorm room dozing in littlest Gubitz's IU dorm room and a splendid slumber in an elegant bridal suite in Cincinnati. Then again, I can sleep anywhere... But still nothing beats the 10 hour rematch with Jerusalem of Mold's own 40 year old mattress that I happily call "my bed." Well, really - its just half of my bed...but I digress.

It was interesting to re visit my life in the US - to see who is on my cell phone speed dial, to be back in Bloomington after three years, and to celebrate at a dear friend's wedding to another dear friend. Although less than one year has passed since I moved to Jerusalem, the ultimate re-entry to life in the US will prove to be a challenge. On this journey "home," I knew I'd be returning "Home" - back to Israel. That truth will not necessarily be reality when I depart from the holiest of lands for good at the end of May.

Over jet lag and back at school, I have quickly reentered my life in the holiest of lands - only to jet off once more on Thursday morning - this time to the Ukraine and Russia.

My guess is that as the states are still United and the holiest of lands is still holy, the Former Soviet Union will likely be neither Soviet nor a Union but formerly both of those.

At the end of the day, I know the following to be true.
Home is where you light your bed on fire.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Camels, Coffee, Kisses, Cold Showers, Quality Family Time

A devoted reader wrote to me today: DevotedReader: omg jen your blog is pathetic... update it! :)its been 45 days
DevotedReader: what if someone only keeps track of you on your blog and they think you got eaten by a camel or something...

In fact, I have not been eaten by a camel. I am alive and well, though I do wonder - has anyone ever been eaten by a camel or has anyone ever eaten camel? If so, please let me know what it tastes like.

In recent days - I've had a few Hebrew mishaps I'd like to share with you.

First - every day, I feel the dire need to quench my thirst for God's gift to the earth - coffee. However, if it is past 6pm - I need to drink decaffeinated coffee. Now we've been over this before in a previous post (which was refined and more enjoyable in an actual Israeli "publication") - but its impossible to get American style coffee in Israel. So the only option is really a Hafuch (meaning flipped) - which is basically a Latte. Anyways, the word for decaffeinated is "Natool."

I waved down a waitress at my local coffeeshop and said "Ani Rotzah Hafuch Chatool!"

"What? I don't understand what you want." She was perplexed.

Hafuch Chatool!? (Certainly my Hebrew isn't so impossible to understand, right!?)

As I wrote before - Natool is the word for decaffeinated. Chatool, however, is the word for cat.
When I ordered - I actually said "I would like a flipped cat."
******
Another moment which occurred at this same coffee shop:
Similar to entry ways at most restaurants in Jerusalem, the security guard at the door asked me if I had a weapon.

"How dare you talk to me like that!"

"No I will not give you a Neshika!"

The Hebrew word for gun is "Neshek." I thought he asked me for a "Neshika" - a kiss.

********
In other news, Jerusalem of Mold strikes again.

In the past two weeks - we've had the pleasure of calling our landlord everyday. First, our microwave broke. This shouldn't be so tragic but my roommate was frantic.

"Jen, I cannot live without a microwave. I can't cook anything without one." Roommate of Mold's cooking specialty is prewrapped and precooked pizza OR his piece-de-resistance - pasta, tomato sauce, frozen veggies, and hot dogs. Together. In one bite. Delicious!

The next day - our electrical wiring shorted an hour before Shabbat. The water heater refused to heat water and after one ice-cold shower, I phoned an electrician who raced to our home in a matter of minutes. So fast, in fact, that I answered the door still in a towel, dripping from the only-ice-in-Israel-coldest-shower-ever (see coffee posting to read about Israel and ice cubes). He requested that I put on some clothes and we got into a linguistic discussion over whether or not the water heater was "broken" or simply "not working." Luckily, "please fix it as soon as possible" translated completely to each language.

One minor glitch: Landlord I sometimes want to knock cold, owner of Jerusalem of Mold, decided he doesn't have an interest in fixing what the electrician found to be an outdated and dangerous electrical board. You might remember that we're not fond of anything that might catch on fire so we felt inclined to research the situation. We asked the electrician to read though our lease which is entirely in Hebrew and to which we admittedly signed our names with minimal knowledge of its contents. The man who fixes electric things noted that Landlord I sometimes want to knock cold is required to fix all things which break. In the meantime, the electrician jerry rigged the water heater to be on the same fuse as the coffee maker and refrigerator. We wondered if we might need to climb into the vegetable drawer for a warm shower and wash our hair in freshly brewed coffee. By Monday morning at 7am (after an early morning phone call - "Did I wake you? Yes its 6am!) we were graced with warm showers once more.
*****
And finally, my mom and sister were here this past week. It was a wonderful visit. I haven't seen my mom since June so there were long overdue hugs in order. My mom successfully broke the shower curtain rod and the roll out couch. To her defense each object was already half broken - and at least, unlike her sweet daugher (me) she didn't light them on fire. We had a delightful time hanging out in the Shuk, visiting family friends, shopping, eating, and relaxing at the Dead Sea with Leslie, her boyfriend and Ron's host-dad from his high school semester 10 years ago. Leslie and I felt like mini-celebrities when three bus loads of boys from Ramallah asked multiple times to be in pictures with us. We hope we are on the front page spread in the next issue of Ramallah Illustrated swimsuit edition.

For Purim - my mom dressed as "Soccer mom 2.0 New and Improved - Rabbi Mom" and I dressed up as one third of a traffic light with two close friends, and doubled as a fire fighter in order to put out my roommate - who dressed as - you guessed it, my bed on fire.





Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Back in the USSR!

After a long hiatus on my blog, I'm happy to report that all is well in the holiest of lands. First semester is a distant memory. I spent winter break traveling to Istanbul and Petra with great friends. The highlights of Turkey was visiting Starbucks four times and of course, searching for Constantinople. (Pictures and a video are included in those links.) Being let back into the Israel, which was a concern given an expired visa, was also a relief. Surprisingly, I didn't see much lunch meat in Istanbul. My Hebrew is improving and second semester classes are off and running - and my return to the states at the end of May is rapidly approaching. Life in Israel would not be complete without another season of holidays - next on the docket are Purim and Passover. Of particular interest, I will be traveling to Ukraine during Passover to lead the traditional Passover Seder.

I have to raise $2000 USD - to contribute to the overall costs of an $80,000 project. Every donation helps! To donate, click here: Former Soviet Union Pesach Project. Please make sure you specify "FSU Pesach Project Jen Gubitz".

********
1991

Climbing into bed at 8pm, which for a 9 year old was a suitable bedtime but nearly two hours earlier than usual, the goal was to wake up at 11pm. Usually, I didn't fall asleep at all. The excitement was unbearable. Around 11:15pm, we would pile into our mini van and head to the airport - a 15 minute drive, which at the time felt like hours. I was probably still wearing my pajamas and definitely sporting my hot pink Chuck Taylor Converse high tops. My mom brought her guitar and we had balloons and bright colored signs which we had slaved over in Hebrew school. When they stepped off the plane and entered through the gate, we started singing "Heivenu Shalom Aleichem," dancing, hugging, and giving them food and gifts.

We ushered them off to their new apartment - a building inhabited primarily by immigrants settled by Catholic Charities and now suddenly, a slew of Russian Jews. We kids had one job: to play with their children. All of the parents helped them unpack their luggage and fed them after their long flight. I knew that this new family did not speak English and that at the very last minute, they were allowed to leave their home country, but wasn't quite aware of the situation in the USSR from which they had escaped.

By 2am, we were back in our beds, fast asleep. The next morning, I was usually permitted to sleep in and go to school a few hours late. The previous night was a distant memory - a clandestine event that seemed to take place only under the cover of darkness. I tried to imagine what it must have been like to be trapped somewhere and have only a moments notice to pack my bags and escape, but the only image I could conjure was of being sent to my bedroom for poor behavior - certainly not an accurate comparison.

2004
We stood on the banks of the Vltava River in Prague - fireworks, balloons, and beer cans littered the ground. Czechs really do know how to party and it was quite a day to celebrate. In less than 15 years, the Czech Republic bounced back from Communism and was granted membership to the European Union.

Only in college history classes and during this semester in Prague, did I became acquainted with the realities of Communist USSR, a divided Germany, and a locked down Czechoslovakia, among the many Communist Eastern European countries. Many remnants of this time still linger - restaurant menus show food portions in grams, various countries are finally building stable economies and joining the EU, and the elderly faces riding the tram are wrinkled by the bitter realities of Communism.

2008
When I was a kid, I thought it was hard to be Jewish in Indiana. If only I had known.
Not everyone got out of the Former Soviet Union when the doors opened to the West. Given that many Jews still live there, my school is running an exciting program - "Former Soviet Union Pesach Project." With two classmates and a local Progressive Rabbi, I will help lead Passover Seders in Simferopol, Yivpatoriya, and Sevastopol in the Crimean region of Ukraine, on the coast of the black sea. Yes, it sounds more like a spring break locale - but I assure you, we will be working hard. It would be wonderful if you could support the program.

I have to raise $2000 USD - to contribute to the overall costs of an $80,000 project. Every donation helps! To donate, click here: Former Soviet Union Pesach Project. Please make sure you specify "FSU Pesach Project Jen Gubitz".

Thank you so much for your support!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Baby, you can drive my car...to Ukraine.

I'm on vacation and there is a lot to report:

Image of a car being towed on our street:

Police officer sits in car and makes the announcement on a bullhorn loud speaker:
"If this car is yours, you better come and move it or we will tow it."
waits 5 seconds.

"If this car is yours, you better come and move it or we will tow it."
waits five more seconds.

"If this car is yours, you better come and move it or we will tow it."

"If this car is yours, you better come and move it or we will tow it."
"If this car is yours, you better come and move it or we will tow it."


Said person who owns car - fails to hear the announcement (note: we do not often stay within shouting distance of our cars when we park them) and car is towed away. We consider claiming the car - as it would make grocery shopping much easier. Alas, car is now towed and we will continue our shopping pursuits with a "Shuk Cart" that we are told everyone uses in Israel - except it appears only Rabbinical students and 90 year old grandmothers actually do.

In other news...
As part of my schools "Former Soviet Union Pesach Project," I'm going to be leading Passover seders in Simferopol, Yivpatoriya, and Sevastopol, Ukraine. I'm grateful for your support - to donate, make sure you specify "FSU Pesach Project Jen Gubitz"

In other news...
I cannot wait for my next taxi ride because...
Hartman to Ordain Orthodox Women Rabbis

More to come on the trip to Istanbul - stay tuned for stories about Cuban Jewish Communist Spies, four visits to Starbucks and more!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Why do bad things happen to good people?

I learned yesterday that a close childhood friend passed away unexpectedly. We were raised together in Fort Wayne at our Temple among about 10 kids in our age group, running the halls of our synagogue during the Torah service our parents kicked us out of because we could not keep quiet, attending Camp Joe Levine Jewish Day Camp together, Hebrew high school, and youth group events. While our mom's played Mah Jong, I remember doing arts and crafts and playing other quiet games, David was always so nice to me - a far cry at the time from the other crazy boys our age. I remember nagging my parents regularly to make plans with his family so we could hang out.

David and I even went to prom together - though attending different high schools, the proms were held down the hall from each other and we ran back and forth all night long. I just found some of the pictures while cleaning out my room before my parents moved to Knoxville. It could be argued that we were quite a spiffy looking couple.

He ushered me into college by inviting me over to his fraternity regularly, sending pledges to pick my friends and I up from our dorm so we could go hang out with them. Its possible that we shared in a few underage beers together along with Lev, another one of our childhood friends. David met his future wife early on in college and they were married just last year.

Being reminded that death as a Jewish milestone is another part of my future work sheds a different light on what it means to become a Rabbi. I think I will constantly wonder why bad things happen to good people, a question pondered for centuries - and I will join the continuum in searching for a reason that seems impossible to find.

This Indian proverb has stuck with me for years

"When you were born, you cried, and the world rejoiced.
Live your life in such a manner that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice."

There is no question - the world will cry today and always.

Rabbi Shimon once said, "There are three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of royalty. However, the crown of a good name is greater than all of them."

Zichrono V'Livracha, May David's name and memory always be for a blessing.





Click here for more information on Judaism, death and mourning.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Musings on Turkey Sandwiches, Equality and Sneakers...

May its memory be for a blessing...
From death comes life...
Please take a few moments to reflect on the short life of my sneaker...


In other news, Papa Bush is in town and I live in the security triangle. Surprisingly, I don't feel any safer than I did yesterday. In Bush's honor, they closed my school because it is located next to his hotel and cars are not allowed to drive on that street. As a result, our last final was a take-home test. I made it a "take-Cafe" test and have been sitting in a chic cafe on Ben Yehuda street from where I write at the moment. At one point, I needed to take a trip to the bathroom and asked a woman next to me to watch my stuff. However, I realized that the wireless internet might reach to the bathroom, so I took my mac with me. It was a delightful time.

Other musings:

I believe in equality and that woman should be able to do the same things as men if they want. When I was little, I wanted to walk around with my shirt off and pee standing up like my big brother, but I got over each of these desires to be equal to him. I don't consider myself to be a raging feminist except for when the following interaction occurs.

Yesterday in a cab -

Jen: How are you?
Cabby: Baruch Hashem, Thank God! (Note: Cabby shows no other indication of being religious.)
Jen: 13 King David Street, Please.
Cabby: Are you Reform or Conservative?
Jen: Reform. How did you know? Do I look Reform?
Cabby: Its the Reform school where we are going, right?
Jen: Yes.
Cabby: Why do you have to call yourself Reform? Why can't you just call yourself Jewish?
Jen: Well, in Israel, I'm not considered to be a religious Jew and I'm definitely not secular either. Besides, the distinctions are different in the US.
Cabby: So what. I pray to God and want the world to be a good place. And I'm just Jewish.
Jen: Sounds like you are a Reform Jew.
Cabby: NO!
Jen: Yup, you have all the qualities of a good old Reform Jew!
Cabby: NO!
Jen: YES!
Cabby: Why do you have to go that school? Who cares if Orthodox makes you pray behind a wall? Women already have so many responsibilities - why can't you just be happy with that.
Jen: Because I want to be a Rabbi.
Cabby: Why can't you just be the wife of a Rabbi?

Oh no he didn't...
Oh yes he did...

In other news, I'm heading to Istanbul on Sunday...I expect it will be a great time...except my Tourist Visa is expired, so if they don't let me in, its possible that the only Turkey I will be seeing next week is on a deli sandwich...

Congrats to Leslie G for joining the same sorority I was in during college - Sigma Delta Tau. Now that we are finally sisters, we've decided to finally let her know that she's really adopted.