Friday, October 13, 2006

עם אחד לב אחד One People, One Heart

Yesterday, as part of our Sukkot experiences, was was devoted in my mind to Jewish unity, especially among those affiliated with the Conservative/Masorti movement worldwide. The bulk of the day was spent at Neot Kedumim, a biblical nature preserve near Modiin, spending time and socializing with Jewish young adults from around the world spending the year in Israel, on programs just like ours from England and Latin America. We were split into eight groups with a mixture of people from each programs, and had a whole day of team-building activities. We started out with sheep-herding, which was actually not too hard when we worked as a group, and was a lot of fun. After that, we had an interesting and unique lunch, where we were given a group of ingredients, all of which were known and used in the time of the Tanach, as well as a fire, and were instructed to prepare a lunch for ourselves. In the end we actually prepared a pretty tasty meal of pita, rice, lentils, and salad. After that, we did a few more group building activities,such as balancing 10 people on a see-saw followed by a barbecue dinner with a DJ. While this day was only a start, it showed how important and nice it is when conservative/Masorti Jews from around the world gather and share what we have in common.
The excitement didn't end when we headed back to Jerusalem around 7 PM...Since as you might know, I am very into maps and directions, I noticed that we had started driving in circles, and asked my staff about it. Her replied that there was a huge demonstration in front of the Prime Minister's house, which happens to be about half a block from the Fuchsberg centre. This meant that most of the roads we had planned on taking were blocked. When we finally made it back, we found out that it was a rally by reservists and their supporters calling for a more thorough government inquiry. I was able to watch it from both our roof and my bedroom window, and got some pretty good pictures of the action. It was a nice reminder of how amazing our location is, and how nice it is to be able to take of it. Later last night, I took advantage of another benefit of living in Jerusalem, the Jewish cultural events that abound. Last night, as part of a Hoshanah Rabbah all night learning program at the Yeshurun Synagogue down the street I was privilege of hearing Dr. Norman Lamm, the President of Yeshiva University A prolific scholar and speaker, he spoke on the topic of 'Jews and Non-Jews', and discussed different sources in our tradition, which ended up overall supporting warm and close working relationships with non-Jews, especially Christians and Muslims. It was very nice to hear Dr. Lamm speak in person, even more so, since we read articles by him in our Jewish Philosophy curriculum at CHAT last year. After the lecture I had some refreshments in the Shul Sukkah, which was pretty neat since it was really a room with the celing removed and Schach put in its place. I returned to Beit Nativ afterwards, and got to sleep in the Sukkah for the last time this year, with almost perfect weather throughout the night.
This morning, I attended Hoshanah Rabbah tefillot at the Conservative Yeshiva, and then had brunch at Tal Bagels with my Friend Josh's Ima and sister who are in Jerusalem and some other Nativers.
Its almost time to get ready for Yom Tov, a one day Marathon combining Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.
חג שמח! Chag Sameach!

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