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Elizabeth's Blog
Saturday, August 14, 2004
This and that
Mood:  silly
Such a lovely shabbat/weekend I just had! On friday I did a bit of grocery shopping and this and then before getting ready for shabbat. I went to services with a big group at Kol HaNishama...they were okay. Then we all went to dine at Emma and Arik's place...the food was awesome!!!! Then, on a whim, Josh and Emma and I decided to go see "Kill Bill" Vol.1 and Vol.2 which were playing back to back at the cinematheque....I just love those films. They are very bloody and violent, but highly stylized and interesting, so if you can get past the gore, you should definately go see them. Anyway, we went pretty late, but after the movies were done we figured that since we were still up we might as well go out. So we went to a cute little bar up the street and had a drink. By the time I got home it was about 3:30 in the morning, but I figured that people in the US were still up so I called my parents and had a lovely chat with them (although my mom was very confused as to why I was still up...I had to reassured her that it's normal to stay up that late every once in a while to have some fun). After sleeping for many hours, I dragged myself out of bed and showered just in time to go to Liberty Bell Park and have a potluck lunch with some classmates. It was yummy and fun...all at the same time. Arik taught me, finally, how to throw a football. It was a fun afternoon.
Then, tonight, we had a Beit Cafe(talent show)/Silent Auction in order to raise money for Tzedakah (charity) and it was very successful. I bid and won two things: a massage at the David Citadel and a night with friends watching a season of Sex and the City and drinking wine and eating cheese. Of course, I paid a lot...but it's for charity so I feel justified! At least I didn't go nuts like other people did for learning how to write a sermon from Dean Marmur....Anna actually paid 500-some sheks just to get some alone time with him....FREAKS....all of you!!! The acts at the Beit Cafe were interesting too. Lots of singing, some comedy, some toe-inertwining. It was a good time had by all. Plus, Joel Gadol sat next to me and cracked me up the entire time...just wait for the pictures. They will explain all!
Okay, I'm off to bed so i can rest up for ulpan tomorrow. I really hate the end of shabbat because it means the real world must return...but such is life!!!

Posted by Elizabeth at 11:17 PM
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Thursday, August 12, 2004
Our Trip up to the Galilee
Now Playing: Seal - Crazy
Today (and by that I mean the last 36 hours) was a GOOD day. Yesterday morning we ended ulpan early and HUC traveled up to the northern region of Israel near the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Kinneret. We ate lunch and spent the afternoon at the Rothchild Gardens (yes, the famous Rothchilds) and had a wonderful time learning about the First Aliyah (First immigration period in Israel) and what it was like for those that came then. We spent a lot of time walking around the Gardens and taking time to "stop and smell the roses". There were a few Arab couples there that looked like they were taking wedding pictures in the Garden, but we couldn't decided if they were really couples or just models...either way, they all looked beautiful. Their dresses were quite....busy...but pretty nonetheless. From there we went to the nearby city of Zikron Yaakov where we spent some time at the First Aliyah museum. From there, about 10 of us found a cute little restaurant and had the most picturesque dinner. From my view I could see the cute little town shops, the hills of the Galilee, Josh and Rachel Crossley's lovely faces, the restaurant fountain, and all the people milling around. It was wonderful. Then a few of us went shopping before we loaded the buses and went to the Kibbutz that we stayed at overnight. Now, I'm not exactly sure, but I think that it was the same Kibbutz that I stayed at when I was here 3 years ago on my Birthright trip. If not, it was unbelievably similar. Anyway, I was rooming with Rachel Crossley, Lisa Delson, and Jen Frenkel (Cincy Girls....what, what) and we spent the evening playing frisbee, having beautiful t'fillot, splitting my pants (don't worry, it wasn't a fat kid moment, I just caught them wrong while I was sitting down). This morning, when I woke up, I was really cold and distinctly remembered turning the air off before we all hit the sack. Well, everyone who knows me knows that I sleep like a log and during the night Lisa and Jen apparently were trying for like half and hour to get the air on b/c it was so hot. But the a/c was up really high, almost by the ceiling and they are pretty short girls, so they were like stradling over my bed and trying not to wake me and Rach up. Even though it sounds funny, I must have passed out from heat stroke because I didn't hear or feel a thing.
This morning we went rafting on the Jordan River. My raft was AWESOME!!! It had Joel Gadol (meaning big) and his buff ladies- me, Amy Rossel, Erin Ellis, Rochelle, and Lisa Delson. It was hysterical because we all kept jumping and pushing each other in the water, and waging war on all the other rafts. We even got our raft leader in...it was very fun. Since we were the first raft done, there were some rapids, a term I use very loosely, and we were able to go Body rafting a few times. This involves jumping into the rapids at a perpindicular angle and then quickly straightening out your body and floating on the current. Don't worry mom, I wore a lifejacket! Then, after everyone finished they all joined in and we had a blast!!!! I really love activities like that, so it was a perfect morning for me!
Once we all got changed we went to lunch at a restaurant called "Decks" which is physically on the Kinneret and ate a very greasy, but lovely meal there. After that we went to learn about the Second Aliyah period by visiting a significant site and the graveyard where many famous people were buried. Now, it was interesting...but I have to tell you that up in the Galilee in August is unbelievably oppresive and hot. We were so lathargic at that point that all we wanted to do was get on the bus and sleep. But the view from the cemetary was gorgeous and we were able to sing some songs that we learned in our ulpan classes that were related to some of the stuff we were talking about.
I think the thing I love most about the trip , as Joel K'ton (small) put it..."it was a great opportunity to meet people and spend time with them in an informal setting." I had great conversations with so many people and learned lots about so many of my classmates...it was truly incredible. At times it felt a lot like a NFTY and/or Birthright trip, but i sort of enjoyed feeling a real sense of commraderie and bonding with my fellow classmates in that way. As I watched the sun go down tonight with Ari on the bus ride home, I told him how lucky i felt to be in this place and time, doing what we are doing, and for all the blessings in my life....my health and happiness, time, energy, money to do the things I want to do and can do...and just the life that I have in general. It was a great moment...and a great day. It's not that my experiences thusfar have not been equal in wonderment, it's just that this was so intense and so fulfilling all at the same time, there was nothing I could do but sit back, enjoy the aches and pains and discomfort of my worn body, and be truly thankful for all that I have.

Posted by Elizabeth at 10:59 PM
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Sunday, August 8, 2004
I know, I'm a slacker
Okay, so sue me. It's been a while since I've written in my blog, but it's just so hard to try and rehash your day at the end of it. Sometimes, you just gotta live in the moment, ya know????
So what's new? Oh right, I hate my ulpan teacher!!! And by hate, I mean, so much so that I want to switch to a lower level just to get away from her (and to be able to hang out with all the cool gimels). But I wasn't able to switch because apparently my last test score was too high for me to feel like I'm not learning anything (because apparently test scores tell how much you know and not how well you can memorize), and therefore I'm not moving. She is just the worst teacher...EVER!!! And everyone in my class knows it...why do you think so many have switched out already???
Other than that things are dandy like candy. Had a beautiful shabbat (services and dinner at HUC, singing at Lydia and Katie's place, lunch at Jen Frenkel's, park time and Havdallah at the Kelman's) and now it's back to the reality of the week for me.
Last night Adam and Noah and Leah and I went out to dinner and had a marvelous time. Our class trip up to the Galilee is coming up this week, so that should be loads of fun!!!!!
See, what did I tell you, really, nothing new to report!
I'll try to find/do some more interesting stuff and post it soon, I promise!!!!

Posted by Elizabeth at 4:36 PM
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Tuesday, August 3, 2004
Only in jerusalem
I wasn't feeling well the other night (Sunday) so I went to bed kind of early. Around 11 pm Leah came into my room and woke me up. "Listen", she said, "what's that noise???" I went over to my window and sure enough I heard a lot of loud popping noises and saw lights flashing off in the distance. Oh my gosh, I thought, why are guns going off? In the distance I could see clouds of billowing smoke. Before panicking, Leah and I decided to ask some of our classmates if they knew what was going on. My friend's Josh and David didn't respond at first, so we called Noah and he was able to tell us exactly what happened......
fireworks. Somebody was setting off fireworks! Leah and I felt sort of stupid. Living in Jerusalem, we expect more that it's gunfire than a celebration. But if you think our response was bad, you should have heard what our classmate Marci did. She actually docked for cover (b/c apparently it was much louder near her house) grabbed her smoke mask, and her cell phone and called Josh...just to find out that they were FIREWORKS!!! Crazy, huh?
On a not so funny note...i'm still feeling pretty sick. I think I might have the flu. I've got a fever and sore throat and my body aches and I feel hot and cold and yucky. I had to miss the Sunrise concert at Masada last night b/c I felt so bad. And I missed ulpan today (that's when you know I'm really sick...when I miss class). Well, I went, but I was sent home by my classmates and my teacher who all told me I liked like I was about to die...thanks guys!!!
So i slept this morning and I'm going to study some hebrew this afternoon (I have another test tomorrow) and my friend Jen is going to come over and fill me in on what I missed today. And I'll probably sleep a lot so that I can actually GO to school tomorrow and take my test.
These are my plans for the day, and I'm sticking to them!!!! Later alligators!!!

Posted by Elizabeth at 1:34 PM
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Saturday, July 31, 2004
The various faces at Kol Hanishama
Now Playing: Indigo Girls - Perfect world & All that we let in
I think the beauty of being in jerusalem is that she is a city that draws all kinds of people to her. Today was the second time that I ran into someone at Kol Hanishama that I know from the states. The very first shabbat that I was here, I ran into my dear friend Deb Sagan who was here in Israel for a few weeks with her *new* husband. That was so wonderful, because she has played a significant role in my getting to HUC, and to see her here now while i am here was wonderful. Again, this morning, I turned around and there was Art Donsky...one of the rabbi's who works on faculty at GUCI and is from Pennsylvania. We had a great time visitng and it was so wonderful to see a familiar face. Since he had just been at camp for a few weeks, he filled me in on all the camp gossip and jokes, and in a lot of ways it was comforting to know that things were going on as usual..but hard also...this is the first summer in 7 years that I haven't been there. I miss it...but it was great to hear stories of pranks, thunderstorms and subsequent power outages, and camper horror stories! It was a great shabbat morning.
Then we went to shabbat lunch at our friend's house and came back home and I read a little and then fell asleep. Tonight is the Havdallah wine and cheese thing at Adam and Noah's and I think a LOT of HUCers will be there, so it'll be fun. I hope everyone is having a relaxing weekend!!!

Posted by Elizabeth at 6:46 PM
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Shabbat
Now Playing: Tracy Chapman - remembering
So I decided to go to a new temple tonight to pray at. It's called Shira Hadasha (literally means New Song) and it's located in the International Children's center or something like that. It was pretty much the closest to modern-orthodox...no, i think it was like modern-orthodox services. The music was absolutely beautiful, very transcendent. There was a divide down the middle of the room that seperated the men from the women (known as a Machitza) and i wasn't crazy about that. The service also left a little something to be desired, because as my friend David put it..if we were just all going to be mumbling to ourselves, we could have stayed at home! But it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was long, and the new thing that I am really learning is that the length of the service has much more to do with what actually happens before the barchu (call to worship prayer)....i've never said so many reader's kaddish's in my life!!! Luckily my classmate and friend Lisa Delson was there with me and she and i have very identical views about our comfort with services so we took it all together with a grain of salt. Needless to say, it hasn't been my favorite place...but I wouldn't mind going back there....I even followed along with the service pretty well, so that was exciting!!! After that about 10 of us headed back to our classmate David Singer's house and ate a yummy dinner. We had an excellent Yerushalmi Kugel that was prepared in the most delicious fats and sweets and oils you've ever known in your life. And Josh's chicken was awesome...totally busted through my weight watcher's points, but it was honestly prob one of the best meals I've had since I've been here.
Tomorrow morning Leah and I are going to Kol HaNishama for services and then over to our friend's Rebbecca and Julia's (Barcelona girls!!!!!) for lunch. Then, one of our other classmate;s son is turning two so there is a big b-day party for him in the park across the street from us. Then, tomorrow night is Adam and Noah's wine and cheese havdallah party...I"m booked solid this shabbat!!! Hmmm, I wonder when I'll get to my hebrew homework.....oh well, it'll happen!!!!
Okay, I have to get to bed otherwise I'll never get up tomorrow morning!!!!!
Just wanted to keep everyone updated!!!

Posted by Elizabeth at 11:23 PM
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Wednesday, July 28, 2004
WOOT!!!!
Mood:  happy
Well, it's official. I have booked my first trip out of Israel...and no, it's not home...it's to BARCELONA!!!!! Me and about 8 other girls (including my roommate Leah) from HUC are taking a 7 day-6 night trip to Spain. Our package deal included airfare and breakfasts and accomodations at a nice hotel located in the heart of Barcelona. We officially booked it today and we will be going during our break between summer ulpan classes and our fall semester (Aug 27th-Sept. 3rd, I think). I'm really glad to do this big group travel thing now, and especially because it's not with tons of people that I know...so it will be a good time to get to know some of these girls, as well as feel like it's a big group trip before I get tired of big groups throughout the year.
The truth is, i'm not so sure that I would have chosen spain of all countries on my own...but we got such a good deal (I'm sure coming from America would have been SOOO much more expensive) and it's such a good group that I couldn't pass it up...besides...it's Barcelona and I've never been before!!!
So as many of you know, from my Jerusalem Post quote, it was Tisha B'av yesterday. Although I had never really recognized or celebrated (lamented?) the holiday in the US, it was neat to see what they did here. I decided to fast (it is a public fast holiday with no food or water) but I had to do the water thing otherwise I would have passed out. It's so hot here and my body sweats all the time, so it would have just been unhealthy and dangerous not to. If you are really interested in my views on fasting, I can elaborate more on those to you later (as I've already done with my Uncle and with Phyllis) but it's a lengthy conversation so I will spare you the details. Anyway...needless to say I was exhausted and hungry by last night....so I went out to Moment with some friends and we all ate a little bit and relaxed.
Today i had my first ulpan hebrew test. Now...as far as hebrew tests go, it wasn't hard or bad at all. However..it pissed me off. It went over such unimportant things (or at least things we barely even focused on) that I feel like what's the point of class anyway? As I noted earlier, I HATE my teacher. She's rude and impatient and frankly...she looks like skeletore from Masters of the Universe (you know He-Man and She-ra and all those characters). She doesn't seem to really like any of us, she never listens to what we are really saying, and her damn CELL PHONE rings at least once a day during class...at which point she answers it!!!!!!!!!! I'm just fed up and I feel like ulpan is a waste..maybe i'll go talk to someone about it tomorrow.
So tonight we have our text study thing again and then I think we are going into the old city and doing site text study there tomorrow. Not as adventursome as the water tunnels, but hopefully thrilling nonetheless. After that tomorrow, I think i am going to meet up with my Israeli friend Yifat (whom I know from summer camp) and hang out with her for a bit before she goes to work.
And now.....Menucha!!!!! Rest before my night begins!!!! Have a good day y'all!!!!

Posted by Elizabeth at 4:09 PM
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Sunday, July 25, 2004
Avoiding my Hebrew Homework
Mood:  lazy
Now Playing: I'm every woman- by Chaka Khan
So...I should probably be finishing my hebrew homework, but really...who can be motivated right now?!?!?! I have officially determined that I just don't like my ulpan teacher...I think she is rude and she doesn't teach well and she can barely hear us half the time anyway. I really liked our other teacher(but unfortunately she quit) so hopefully I can just learn the hebrew and pass the summer...but really, this teacher we have now is just so unorganized and i feel like she doesn't care if we understand the material or not.....urghhh

On a much, much happier note, I am feeling better today and am convinced that in about 24 hours I will feel 100% again. Also, I found a totally English speaking Weight Watchers meeting!!!! It is literally right around the corner from where I live (like less than 2 minute walk) and the people there are really, really nice. It's different from WW in America because points are really different (ways to calculate them, how many you get, etc) but I'm slowly learning..and I emphasize the slow part...since all the material is in hebrew!!! But, I have goals for the year, and I am determined to meet them!!!! So that made me very happy today and made me feel like I defiantely accomplished something!!! Tomorrow's mission: Cinematheque Pass for the year!!!!

Okay, enough slacking...I'm going to attack my Shiurai Bayit (Homework) and be done with it tonight once and for all!!!! Go.....

Posted by Elizabeth at 9:22 PM
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Saturday, July 24, 2004
Gotta go, Gotta go, Gotta go right now!
Last night, my friends and i went to the Open House for Shabbat services and dinner. Well, about half way through the service I could tell that I was getting a terrible stomach ache. By dinner, it was much worse and I could barely even look at the food without wanting to hurl(Lovely, I know). My intestines seemed to be having a party on all their own.... so I left early and got a cab ride home where I spent a WONDERFUL night full of stomach cramps, and bathroom trips. Now, I know you are thinking...that it too much information...why is elizabeth posting this for the whole world to see?!?!?!? Well 1) Since I was so far away from home, it was comforting throughout the night to think of all the people that might have cared for me if I had gotten sick like that in the states 2) this is a warning: just because you have been in another country for almost a month, it doesn't mean you are exempt from getting stomach bugs 3) What else exciting has happened to me in the past 24 hours?!?!?!?
Luckily I found a cab right away and he took me home. It's nice that I can finally speak all in hebrew to the cab drivers and they won't try to revert back to english with me...that's progress, right?
I climbed into bed and put "Father of the Bride" on my laptop computer and it was comforting and nice to have on in the background. Needless to say, i didn't really have the energy to get up for services this morning (and apparently neither did Adam) so Leah and Noah went by themselves to KOl HaNishama...oh well, there's always next week. Then they came back to our place (along with Adam who dragged his butt over here) for Lunch that was really yummy. Then, after I did the dishes I decided to take a big long nap!!!! Three hours!!! Although I feel groggy, I feel a bit better than I did last night and this morning. Hopefully I can make it to Havdallah at our classmate's house (Melissa and Judy) tonight. We shall see. It would be nice to get out of the house!!!!
Okay, I'm off to grab a snack. I promise my next post will be a little less disgusting, and hopefully a little more interesting...thanks for listening and for the sympathy!!!!

Posted by Elizabeth at 6:01 PM
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Friday, July 23, 2004
Errand & task day
I was sooo super productive today!!!! I woke up around 9:30ish and went off to Ben Yehuda street (downtown) to try and get my phone fixed..it works now! Then I went up to the grocery store, where I ran into a few friendly faces, and Leah and I did a bunch of grocery shopping. But we forgot our shuk cart, so we had a LOT of groceries to carry back. And of course, as we were heading a bit downhill I slipped and fell and a police man that was driving by stopped and helped. How embarressing!!!! I really need to stop doing that!
So then I came home and downloaded some programs and updates on my computer, threw in some laundry, and did my hebrew homework for Sunday. ( I Figure while I'm here i might as well try to get my work done ahead of time so that I can truly relax on shabbat!!!) Leah made her famous couscous, and now we are going to start getting ready for Shabbat tonight!
We are going to services in a few hours with our friends Adam and Noah at the Open House (a gay/les/bi/trans) center for Israeli's here in downtown Jerusalem. Adam is leading services and he is really nervous so we wanted to support him and go with him. Even if he weren't, I'd go anyway just to see what they do. There are sooo many ways to experience shabbat here in Israel, I just can't wait to try them all! Then afterwards there is a potluck dinner, so Leah made a TON of her coucous....it is really good, though!
Then I think tomorrow morning we are going to go to Kol HaNishama for services (just because we haven't seen their shabbat morning services) and then host lunch at our house for whoever wants to come and join.
What can I say...not a dull moment around here!!!
Oh, and last night I talked to my friend's, Michael and Phyllis, and their son David got on the phone and talked to me for quite a while about all the stuff he had been doing like playing at the gym and going swimming...I miss them sooo much!!!
Thank goodness for technology, right?
Okay, off to go...uhhh, sample...some of the couscous...we want to make sure it isn't poisonous!!!!! Shabbat shalom for those of you that celebrate, and have a great weekend to all!!!!

Posted by Elizabeth at 4:26 PM
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