1. September 14, 2014

    I am writing this blog to serve as a documentation of my thoughts and adventures, and to keep the rest of the world informed if they choose to do so. I plan to write whenever I find the time and energy, to write about recent events, feelings, ideas, generally whatever comes to me. As a rule, feedback is always encouraged and enjoyed. 

    I have been studying in Yeshivat Otniel here in Israel for about two and a half weeks at this point. For those unaware, the yeshiva resides on a small settlement known as Otniel, located in the hills of Hebron. It is an Israeli yeshiva in which nearly all students are Israeli and all classes are taught in Hebrew. The past couple weeks have been somewhat of an adjustment, attempting to find my place in this slightly intimidating but very welcoming yeshiva. I have been learning the language, trying to experience the culture and country, and generally trying to acclimate myself to a new environment. 

    My experience in Israel has so far been positive and oftentimes eye opening. This past Thursday, after going through a tough struggle with a viral infection and the Israeli insurance company’s claims that I had no insurance, I finally made it to Jerusalem. I had no legitimate plans regarding places or what to do for the weekend, other than a Friday night meal arranged with an incredible family in the Old City. As is becoming ever more apparent to me, things have a way of working themselves out for Jews in Israel. Luckily, some of my good friends from San Diego were in the exact same situation in regards to having no plans for Shabbat, so we combined into having a fun, uplifting Shabbat. We all stayed together at Yeshivat HaKotel, found meals where we needed to find meals, and experienced a little more of this holy land for another weekend. 

    I’m slowly beginning to realize that this land really is a gathering of the exiles. In last week’s Parsha it discussed the bringing of first fruits to the Temple and the sharing of the fruits with strangers. Friday night I had a meal with a few friends and a lot of strangers, and it began to put this community in perspective. A group of strangers from all sorts of different backgrounds can gather together to have an incredible meal because we all share the same goal of being in Shabbat. It doesn’t matter if we’ve never met, because we’re all in Israel together, we all want to learn from each other, we all want Shabbat for each other, so it becomes so easy to share - to open up one’s home to complete strangers. There is a certain communal love which I have witnessed before between friends, family, communities, schools, but never have I seen such a diverse community. A community which is a whole country - a whole people. Seeing such camaraderie inspires me with hope for the future of the Jewish people and the for the future of the world, it is really a special experience to have and I am so glad that I can be here living in this wonderful place. 

Thoughts of Rain

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