Water basketball: Part III of III

Let me finish the series on water basketball. In the previous two posts, I talked about the first three seasons of the game, with slight rules changes each year.

In the first year, I lost in the championship game. In the second year, I had a blowout win in the final, and in the third year, I didn’t even make the playoffs!

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[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 4 of 11] A Shabbat in Israel

 

The original journal entry spanned the welcoming of the sabbath and continued through the remainder of Friday and Saturday, July 22-23, 2011. Find it by clicking this sentence.


My first שבת (Shabbat) in Israel was wonderful, and was really only my second time truly getting to enjoy a Shabbat experience. (The first time was earlier in 2011, when KOACH Kallah was at Northwestern.)

Prior to the trip, שבת usually meant going to services on Friday evening and/or Saturday morning. However, in my undergraduate years, I did not take sabbatical time from homework. Therefore, I used to be a particularly nasty hypocrite by going to services but then doing homework at other points of the day!

Though I had enjoyed שבתות prior to my first Israel experience, the fact that I was much more intimately involved with the spirit of the day, and with potentially like-minded people (though I later found out that I was one of the most ritually-observant of the Americans, which wasn’t saying very much…) made it a special experience. Moreover, it inspired me to make future שבתות, even in the States, like this one.

It was really special for me to go to services the next morning, even though there was no מיניין (quorum of 10 Jewish adults, and male since the synagogue on קיבוץ פרוד (Kibbutz Parod) was Orthodox) there [as I said in my journal, I was the only trip-goer who was up at that hour! Ha!]. Getting to take in services with Israelis, though maybe not an initial goal of mine, became a highlight of the trip. I would love to go back at some point, and maybe find a מסורתי (Masorti: Conservative) synagogue to compare and contrast to, say, Beth Jacob, Tifereth Israel, or Beth Hillel-Congregation B’nai Emunah.

Realizing that enjoying שבת involves negative commandments (e.g. don’t use electricity or fire, don’t do “work,” don’t write, etc.), there are also plenty of things that one SHOULD do, such as be joyous, study תורה (Torah), and relax. This relaxation involved icebreaker games on Friday evening, conversations throughout the 25 hours, swimming in the pool on the Saturday afternoon, and playing card games. And getting sunburnt… just joshing about that being relaxing on the latter!

Since Birthright ended, I have refrained from academic or professional work on שבת, but still do other types of מלכות (forbidden work on Shabbat) like driving, travelling by bike, writing, or using a computer for entertainment purposes. However, when I am with Jewish friends, it is much easier to avoid some of these acts. The שבתות that I have spent with my (non-Birthright) friend Sarah’s family this year have been fully relaxing, with reading, walks, Bananagrams, and conversations. No need for computers or TV when this occurs!  Additionally, this was true at Northwestern Hillel in the subsequent years when I would go to Saturday services. (Even though I was usually not good at Settlers of Catan!)

Therefore, the consideration of שבת was one major impact of Birthright on me.

And tomorrow, I will be reflecting on the trip to צפת (Safed) and/or the Independence Museum in תל אביב (Tel Aviv).

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Check out the remaining entries in this sequence!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective] The Travel To Israel

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 2 of 11] Achim Simcha

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 3 of 11] Take a hike!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 4 of 11] A Shabbat in Israel (You are here!)

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 5 of 11] Awwwwwesome

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 6 of 11] Primary Sources

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 7 of 11] Sinat Chinam (and Ahavat Chinam)

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 8 of 11] Coming soon!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 9 of 11] Coming soon!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 10 of 11] Coming soon!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 11 of 11] Coming soon!

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Kenosha: 9 days.

Orientation: 23 days.

Day 1: 46 days.

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[M.M.X.I.V. 30] Throwback Thursday: December 20, 2006

This post was motivated from last night, when Kelsey Griffin’s jersey was retired for the Huskers.  Since this was during my time at UNL, I wanted to recall the fun surprise that I got on December 20, 2006.

My present for the sixth night of  חנוכה (Hanukkah) that year was in a cubical box, but had “Do not open until a specified night” implied on it.

So, I’ll give my journal, and a few photos.  More photos are on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 20

*Cereal for breakfast… nothing too special

*The tournament had good, bad, and exciting matches

–>It’s much different to be 2-on-2 versus 1-on-1

*Instated Noah’s Courier Service and delivered something to Mom

*Went to Runza:

–>It was fairly slow up front for lunch

–>Keeping clean was not a problem today

–>I sort of like Joy to the World by Mannheim Steamroller

–>In the afternoon, I had orders of x10 and x12(!) $5 gift cards.  At least we weren’t otherwise pounded…

–>until I stepped into the kitchen.  I was in over my head trying to juggle THREE tasks, two of which I had never done extensively at all!

*Exaltation is stuck in my head

*Got home, finished the Tournament game, and checked HHC, and then…

———-x———-

            I normally don’t switch from bullets to paragraph format, but I sure decided to tonight!  At 1800-ish, I was about to help Casey with her calculus when the doorbell rang.  Nobody went to get it, so I went.  Unbeknownst to me, Molly had a camera hiding in the dining room.  I nearly screamed when I opened the door—it looked like JELENA SPIRIC and CHELSEA AUBRY!! Indeed, it was!!  I showed them to the kitchen, introduced them to my family (and Aunt Lori, Carly, and Emma were there too).  I quickly went upstairs to change from my Runza polo to my “Tropical” Husker shirt.  Of course, I also donned my hard hat.

The rest of the team showed up piecemeal, and something odd happened.  When TK LaFleur came, she heard the dogs from outside and refused to enter.  The rest of the team was marveling at them and petting them, but TK was afraid of getting bitten.  Everyone tried to convince her that they would not bite (and even that she’s more vulnerable on the porch than in the living room), but to no avail.  So, we ended the incident without incident by sending the dogs to the mudroom.

Then, I invited everyone to the tables.  Kelsey, Jelena, Danielle, Nikki, and several others sat at my table, and the rest of them sat at the other table with my parents and everyone else.  They were amazed with the dining room and our nice house.  I later explained to them that our house was partially built with socials, parties, and other things in mind.  Of course, it also accommodates our big family.  Brisket, bread, kugel, mixed veggies, and latkes were on the line.  I jumped in last.

They complimented me on the food, of course.  While eating, I chatted about finals and inquiries into team socials.  At my table, there were dreidel-spinning contests.  Jelena, Danielle, and Kelsey got into them the most.  I explained the game and also the Hebrew words נס גדול היה שם [ed: lit. “a great miracle happened there”].  I ate very slowly, because I enjoyed the conversations so much.  I was certainly surprised (a good thing, too!)

After dinner, I led the team downstairs.  Different players did different activities—Kiera liked ping pong, Danielle was the queen of the air hockey table, and there was a “marquee” team pool game—Kelsey and Ashley took on Cory and Yvonne.  I caught most of the second game, when Yvonne and Cory rallied from 7-3 (balls remaining) or something like that.  There were reactions to each shot, especially the “easy” misses (like missing a layup?)

In their Game 3, it was more even, but Kelsey got an easy 8-ball shot to clinch the match.  During this time, I played air hockey against Danielle.  It was even, but after I tied it 4-4, she soon scored on me to win 5-4.  (I didn’t tell her there was a timer that had not run out yet, but that’s fine.  I had fun anyway!)

I got the box that Mom wanted me to open tonight.  It was the basketball—a Wilson “NCAA” ball.  Not quite the adidas Superstar PRO that I would have liked, but it’s the next best thing.  I had everyone sign it, but somehow I missed on getting Nicole Neals’ signature.  I’ll have to make up for it at the game!  Before they left, we got a group picture near the pool table, and Mom quipped, “Noah, you should go to the back so that you don’t hide anyone!”  I didn’t get it at first, but when I did, lots of laughter followed.

Kelsey Griffin signing the basketball that I got for the party.

Kelsey Griffin signing the basketball that I got for the party.

The 2006-2007 Huskers WBB team and me, holding the signed basketball.

The 2006-2007 Huskers WBB team and me, holding the signed basketball.

Most everyone then let, but Kelsey and Danielle played a game of ping-pong.  Kelsey hit a few tricky shots and took an early 6-3 lead, and that later became 14-9.  Danielle hit quite a few errors, and she couldn’t come closer than 5.  Kelsey won 21-10 (or something like that).  I found out that Danielle also plays racquetball, so I’ll have to get her contact info.  I might have to shore up on my skills first—I want to score off of kills and not errors!

After they all left, Dad brought up the pictures, and we chose the best ones.  He touched them up and saved them to a memory card.  It wasn’t that late, but I was exhausted from all the fun of the party!  We later did Hanukkah, and then I crashed.  Wow!

>>TO BE CONTINUED…

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Today is the thirtieth day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes four weeks and two days.

Shabbat on Almog (Israel: Part 11)

ABSTRACT: The trip of a lifetime comes to a close, with reflections, B’nai Mitzvot and naming ceremonies, and heavy emotions.

There are not many photos associated with today, but they are in Album “Sheish,” available HERE.

Shabbat Kodesh, 28 Tammuz / Friday-Saturday, July 29-30

It was HOT outside, as we waited on the porch for the remainder of the group to show up.  Once the leaders appeared (last in line!), we went inside and lit Shabbat candles in the front-left corner.  All the men left for the porch, and indeed, it was roses, this time the other ways around!  I got roses from Sara Thomas and Jen Traines.  So I was a two-roser both times.  We then proceeded to the assembly room.

Services started with Am Yisrael Chai and some reflections on prayer.  Our service leaders were all over the board on what prayer means to them, and my impromptu musings on the subject were clearly wishy-washy.  Oh well—there’s no right or wrong answer!  Most people knew the tune of L’kha Dodi that I did—one I learnt at Northwestern.  Unfortunately, this journal doesn’t have an embedded sound file available from what I can tell!  It’s one with “harmonious round-like voices” on “dodi.”  We did only the first and last stanzas.  We also did the Sh’ma, V’shamru with the well-known tune that Dan calls “the drinking song” (ha), and Shalom Rav, which Lina sang beautifully with a guitar accompaniment.  We concluded with Aleinu and Bim Bom.  Before going to dinner, rounds of hugs and “Shabbat Shalom” were all around.

Walking in the heat toward the dining hall, I led the Kiddush except for Hamotzi, which Efrat did.  I can’t recall who sat at my table or the conversations therein, but it was fun.  Even if not “doing anything,” being in the presence of others makes me happier.  It wasn’t rushed, and… rats.  My train of thought derailed!

Returning to the Ark room, we had a discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  In my group, Eyal did most of the talking, and we spent a lot of time simply covering the background of the conflict.  Lots of complaints appeared about this being too heavy for our last night here.  Formulating a solution would not be easy, lest one already exist!  In retrospect, it reminds me that “the questions are more important than the answers.”

It was past 2300h when the activity ended, and we all returned to the centre square between our rooms.  However, the party there was quickly quashed by some families staying in the 300-series.  So, we headed to the backyards, particularly behind 304-305.  Shots and drinks were exchanged, but I enforced Rule #0, (a) because I’m tired, and (b) the emotion of impending departure is haunting me… both good reasons that I am “in doubt”.  Sitting next to Sara, Allison, and Scott, conversations pertinent to alcohol, socials, trepidation, and other topics came up.  I don’t recall all of them in that much detail, and frankly I think my mind is on the verge of explosion right now.  As others continued to the pub for more celebration, I went to sleep at around 0030h.

However, my sleep was not restful.  Gleb came in and turned on the lights at 500h (!), and although I got back to sleep, I woke up again (semi-naturally?) at 630h and 730h.  I gave up on trying to sleep in at that point and instead went outside to daven Shakharit, on the benches in the centre square.  I did everything with more than what I’ve previously done in Hebrew.  For example, I did “Hodu La’shem Keeru Veesh’mo” to the same tune at Psalm 96, immediately followed by the Psalm 98 tune on “Hod V’hadar L’fanav” (these are on pages 54 and 56 of the 1985 version of Sim Shalom).  When I got to Ahava Raba and the part where the nigun changes to the one from Hatikvah, I had incredible difficulty singing it, as my voice cracked in heavy emotion, and the eyes teared up.  It’s amazing how meaningful this whole vacation has been to me!

Once I got to the Torah Service part, since I didn’t bring a Tanakh, I replaced it with a reading of Chapter V of Pirkei Avot, which was in my siddur.  It is my favourite chapter with all the numbers and categories flying around.  During the davening, however, I had to interrupt in order to re-hydrate, since it was already getting hot.

Coming inside, I wrote down a few notes from yesterday (s’likhah) and noticed footsteps outside.  Rachel, Heedye, and Eyal went toward the pool, as the heat became stifling.  It’s 900h, and unfortunately the pool was not yet opened.  We just sat around under a permanent umbrella and had random conversation for a short 40 minutes.  It’s the way of the world, and it’s fine by me.

Returning to the room, I did a few lines of journaling with guilt (s’likhah).  Going outside, it felt hotter (maybe just to spite me?) and I saw Aaron and others.  Some small talk commenced, before it was time to go to breakfast in the Ark room.  Cake and tea were good.  I had brought all my religious stuff just in case it was necessary.  Once there, the chocolate pastries were great, and I helped arrange chairs in a semi-Sephardic style.

Services had Dan donning my tallit in order to officiate the naming and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies.  He explained a little about the process, and we did a few “service” things first, like the Sh’ma and the Amidah.  First, Cathy received her Hebrew name as “Chaya”.  She chose it by wanting a “C” or “G” name to honor her English first and last names, and it also has other meaning for which I can’t immediately recall.  Gleb also got the Hebrew name “Gilad,” which was said to choose him.  There’s also the reverence toward Gilad Shalit there.

The Bat Mitzvot were Chaya and Chava (Heather).  Both read a few lines from Parashat Massey in Hebrew, with the former using Haftarah trope (!) and the latter just saying it.  Both commented on the ideas of journeys in their Divrei Torah, and somehow this sounds familiar.  Maybe I’ve heard it before?  Indeed!  It’s the “va’yeesu…v’yakhanu” portion!  However, does there exist there more than one?  It was completed with the candy shower and “Mazel Tov” singing!

We went to the dining room, and had lunch.  The food was unremarkable, unless I have slightly repressed it.  My trepidation for going home is getting to me… perhaps making me suffer a little bit of anorexia.  My trip to Israel has been so good—I don’t want to leave!  I’m sure that everyone else is feeling the same way right now.

After lunch, most of us went to the pool.  I couldn’t go IN, of course, but I tagged along anyway so as not to be the lone wolf.  There were some people near the ledge where I put my legs in the water, like Michelle, Amanda, and Mike, among others.  Conversations ranged from Shabbat to plans back in the US, and other things.  The heat was annoying since I couldn’t get in.  I had sufficient water in my CamelBak, but was sweating the whole time.  At 1500h, I left along with a few others.

In my room, I took a shower, and it was refreshing.  Before 1600h, I removed everything from my suitcase, in order to try and find my micro-fiber glasses-cleaning cloth.  Unfortunately, I must have lost it somewhere on the journey.  I will pack up everything again when we get back from the final discussion.  An army of ants was invading the room, too, so I decided to be funny and make the “ants-marching” tune that you hear in some of those old “Tom & Jerry” picnic cartoons.

In the Ark room, we had our Oneg treats, and got into a circle.  Dan revealed the wine bottle from which we had inserted expectations on the first day, of which I had nearly forgotten about!  Upon breaking it, the expectations were mostly educational, social, and similar.  Forms of “making friends” and “learn more about Israel” were almost unanimously listed.  Let’s review mine and see how I did:

  • Get to know some of the Israelis and their stories. CHECK!
  • Learn firsthand about Israel’s past, present, and future. CHECK!
  • Incorporate photos into my chronicles. CHECK—with flying colours!
  • Improve my social interactions and befriend all other 48.  CHECK!

(Of course, there were actually 49, but Eliana didn’t arrive until the first Friday, and we did these on the first Thursday.)

Everyone went around the circle, giving additional comments about the trip.  Everyone had positives, and showed a love for the state and a heightened appreciation.  Emotions were positive, and a lot of them had to do with Jerusalem.  Of course, I took no notes at this point, but may have wanted to, since Shomer Shabbat has not been my usual modus operandi.  Unless that’s something I want to try harder from here on out!  Still, the comments were personal and I probably would have edited out some of the others’ stories anyway for that reason!  Before dismissal, the map was brought out, and our entire journey was enumerated.  My map had a slightly different chronology, of course… Be’er Sheva was substituted for the Dead Sea!

Walking back with Amanda and Tal, male/female philosophy was discussed… I explained my good-guy nature, and gave my belief that chivalry is important.  Innate differences in the sexes are not necessarily bad.  They also added: a person’s strength can also be a weakness!  A good example of this is sensitivity.  Back in Room 303, I packed my stuff, and walked around for a while.  A few last pictures of the mountains I took [1036-1040].  Heedye also gave me some natural advice, while preceding it with a warning of bluntness—I should avoid picking my nose.

Conversations with myriads of others were on until 2000h, when we moved our bags to near the bus.  People hung out near the bus [1041-1043] with all the bags, and Nitzan then instructed us to come onto the grass… which had a strange texture to it… it was somewhat bouncy!  We sought out three stars, and once we found three, sang Havdalah quickly.  The tears again flowed, as this is REALLY separation—between the trip and whatever lies beyond.  Saying that this trip has been special is a huge understatement.  It’s beyond words and emotions!

The bus took us to the Ben Gurion airport, and I tried to get a few pictures.  The darkness made them fail completely [1044-1047].  I really wanted to get a picture of “Jerusalem of Gold” at night, but it didn’t work!  I sat with Dina, and we had a little reflection.  I also overheard some other conversations, and we also passed drinks and sandwiches back and forth.  The sandwiches looked disgusting, and frankly I was not hungry anyway.  The ride to the airport was short, as we quickly unloaded and headed for the terminal, with a few shots out of the bus [1049-1051] and into the terminal [1052].

Lots of pictures and hugs were going around.  I only took one—of the others who I obtained contact information from at the orientation: Dina and Eliana [1053].  We dropped our bags and did one last “Aħim Simkha.”  In the line, I got a picture of the departure board when it was in English [1054-1055].  I got to the ticket line with no extra scrutiny, and got my ticket after a long line.  It was 2300h, and we had to hurry because the plane was departing 30 minutes earlier than what was said on the original itinerary.  Before I got to the checkpoint, Nitzan hugged me good-bye.  I’m really going to miss these great Israelis!

The booths for the passports took a long time [1057], and this time we had no time to lose.  Once I was OK’d through the line, I power-walked down the ramp, humming “Hurry! We Are In Danger” from Dragon Quest VIII to myself.  As the Traines sisters looked for food, I went ahead toward the gate.  I should have stuck with them for accompaniment, but Noah Standard Time told me to proceed.  Past the moving walkways, I saw the line ready to board at Gate B7.  [1059-1060].  Still, the line was long enough and there was enough time that I didn’t have to rush.  After getting through the gate, a poster wished us all, “Tzeitkhem shalom.” [1061].  As at the end of any Yom Tov, I have one phrase to end this journal which takes on an entirely new meaning for me now:

L’shanah ha’ba’ah birushalayim!

Shabbat on Parod (Israel: Part 4)

ABSTRACT: I got to participate in some rituals, discussions, and a lot of relaxation for my first Shabbat in Israel. The disclaimer/caveat that I bring up several times is that details WILL be fuzzy, since I took no notes, attempting Shomer Shabbat in addition to Zakhor Shabbat.

Shabbat Kodesh, 21 Tammuz / Friday-Saturday, July 22-23

Walking toward the commons area, Dan asked for the men in the meeting room to leave.  We presented the ladies with roses—a Shorashim tradition.  After the ladies met us on the porch of the south side of the building, we circled up, talked about our Shabbat traditions, and sang a few songs like L’kha Dodi and Adon Olam, among others.  The camaraderie was great as we sang until the sun set.  I concluded the service/session by leading Aleinu.

Then, we went inside to the commons and ate dinner upstairs.  I did the full Kiddush in Hebrew, handwashing included.  Dinner was beef and more, and people had enjoyed my davening.  Most of the details, though, are gone by now.  I did have that caveat from earlier!

We went downstairs for a group activity… a few fun games.  We started with the “curtain name game,” where the room was split in two.  One person from each side sat in front of the curtain, and each of those had to guess the other’s name.  The first person who said the other’s name stole the person to that side.  My original squad was quickly depleted, and I was the one being stolen rather than the thief when I got the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon opposite Shiran.  Go figure!  We played another game, “Bird and Perch,” which ended quickly when Brooke’s foot got stepped on awkwardly.

The last game we had incredible difficulty getting right, and was quick-moving. One chair was empty, and the game was a series of ten statements: “I Am.” “Sitting.” “Under.” “Fresh.” “Tree.” “And.” “Waiting.” “For.” “Number.” “n.”  The person in the chair to the left of the empty chair moves into the empty chair after saying one of the statements, and after the number is mentioned, the person corresponding to that number must move to the empty seat.  Then the process starts again with the newly-vacated seat.  For example, if they called “21,” I would have to move to that vacant seat.  All the errors we made ended up making for real comedy!

As the group broke up for the night, Nitzan showed me to the bet k’nesset (synagogue).  It is a small place with separate entrances for men and women.  The service will be later today, at 730h.  Returning to the village involved some kvetching with Nitzan and Sara.  Other people decided to go to the pub, but I chose to sleep at 0000h.

I woke up at 700h, having to deactivate my alarm (s’likha) and have a few cookies from my stash.  I went to Aaron’s room, but knocking on the door resulted in no response.  Thus, I just walked on toward the synagogue.  It was a small room and had benches that were more like desks.  Everything was obviously in Hebrew.  In the Shakharit service, it was essentially all silent and mumbling.  I find it really interesting how the more Orthodox a congregation is, the more silence/mumbling the services tend to have.  Maybe it’s taking the Haftarah on Rosh Hashanah to heart?  As we approached Barkhu, we were short of a minyan, so Binyamin approached me and accompanied me back to the guest rooms to see if I could help gather enough for a minyan.

We walked to the cabins, but naturally everyone was knocked out.  So we returned with a failed minyan attempt.  The Torah Service was still done, but there were no b’rakhot before and after the readings, and the Torah wasn’t opened… instead the reading was done from a Chumash.  I was called to the Torah for the fifth aliyah, and simply stood guard.  The Haftarah was then done, and it was Matot, the same one that I read four years ago in my first Haftarah reading since my Bar Mitzvah!  They had me lead Kiddush, which was simply V’sham’ru and boray p’ri hagefen.

After I said “L’hitra’ot,” I returned to the village and heard giggling to the northwest (?) (I may have lost my bearings).  Following the sounds, I saw the pool and what appeared to be a mini-golf course.  Back in the room, I read an old Tribune, before waking up the roommates and heading to the dining hall.  There, I had tea and pastries for breakfast.  It seems that pastries with chocolate baked inside are a big thing here.

The meeting was a “Torah study” session.  However, the prompt was only loosely based on Matot.  In our group, the “responsibility to the country” discussion quickly degenerated into myriads of topics, particularly balking about Army service and wars in Israel.  All the details of the conversation I have forgotten, but this carried into the conversation along the omnibus group.

Lunch was challah rolls, salads, and salmon.  A longer conversation with Mike happened, and it was low-key but informative.  Again, the details elude my mind right now, but I enjoyed it.  Returning to my room, I equipped a swimsuit, sunscreen, and Crocs, before heading to the swimming pool.

From 1330h until 1700h, I hung out at the pool with the rest of the Shorashim people.  I swam (i.e. frolicked) in the water two separate times, chatted randomly with my peers on the beach towels, played a few games of “palace” and gin rummy, and just had a relaxing time as Shabbat should be.  With so many people, maintaining conversations was challenging.  I’m going to throw the same disclaimer that I’ve put at the bottom of every paragraph today, so I’ll quit it from here on out.

Back to the dining room.  The evening discussion was, “What characteristics make a person Jewish?”  With several pre-prepared statements, most groups, including ours, clumped the responses into categories that make a person Jewish or not.  The unanimous important ones included Jewish history and family, particularly such as raising your kids Jewish, remembering the Holocaust, and marrying someone who is Jewish.  Other categories had intermittent “important” responses.  The least important frequently related to Kashrut, prayer (particularly daily prayer), and literature.  It sure implies to me that the idea of “culturally Jewish” is more important than “religiously Jewish.”  Of course, to me, the cultural aspects I didn’t really grow up with, so the services are very important to me.

Y I K E S.  I got badly sunburnt on my shoulders and back!  They were red and pink.  After showers, Scott and I rubbed aloe on each other’s backs, and I packed up almost all my stuff so that I don’t have to do it tomorrow morning.  Heading back to the dining hall, we went outside again for Havdalah.  We are not only separating sacred from mundane this time, but introductions from the bulk of the trip.  The nigun (melody) for Havdalah is the one I’m most familiar with: the one we did after Yom Kippur at Tifereth Israel.  With the nigun similar to Pitħu Li, the result was the same… happy tears.  I can tell this trip is going to be moving on many levels.  Following the last b’raħah, we had a lot of hugging and wishing of shavua tov.

>> TO BE CONTINUED…