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Elizabeth's Blog
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Off to Spain I go!!!
I'm heading off for Barcelona early tomorrow morning (like we're leaving Jerusalem at 4 am!!!!) and I will be there until next friday (9/03). I will be unavailable by e-mail, IM, and phone for those days...so don't try to contact me!!!!
Okay, off to bed I go!!!!
Have a fabulous week!!!!!

Posted by Elizabeth at 8:29 PM
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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Well, that was a lovely interaction!!!! A guy came to repair our fridge and really just didn't speak any english at all. So I had to manage in hebrew...it's amazing how much you can do when you have no other options!!!! Leah and I have been having problems with our fridge and the first time we talked to our landlady about it, she didn't do anything. Yesterday, I came home and our fridge was wide open!!! And was probably like that for about 5 hours!!!! Needless to say, we lost a lot of food and money. Although i am angry about it, there is not much I can do about it now. I also have to remember that although I may have lost some of my food, there really are people in this world that have no food at all, so I shouldn't really complain that much. It was just annoying!!!
My ulpan class went to a restaurant/museum called Beit Ticho. The food was fabulous and we had a great time hanging out!!!
Tomorrow I have my last hebrew test of ulpan and then we have presentations from each of the classes, and after that an academic orientation meeting....where we will FINALLY receive our fall schedules. I can't wait to see when and what I'm taking (I know, you can call me a nerd!!!!)
Barcelona is in like 48 hours and i feel totally unprepared. I mean, I'm prepared in the sense that I have my tickets and travel info, and travel insurance, etc. but unprepared in that I haven't packed yet or bought little travel toiletries and i'm just not mentally there yet. Hopefully it'll be better after my last day of ulpan tomorrow....hooray!!!!!!
Okay, off to study.

Posted by Elizabeth at 5:15 PM
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Monday, August 23, 2004
Friends at home
I miss everyone a lot. Not like in a homesick kind of way..but in a like " I haven't seen you in several months" kind of way. I talked to my good friend David tonight and it was really good to get a familiar voice. I also talked to Phyl for a bit and that was nice too! I spoke with my parents yesterday and caught up a bit with them. I wish I was able to talk to people back home more, but what a crazy busy life I lead...I'm always doing something! Thank god for e-mail, Instant messenger, cell phones, and technology in general!!!!
Anyway, not the most interesting post, but it's better than doing hebrew homework!!!!
If you are from the US and reading this....I miss you [insert name here]!!!!!!

Posted by Elizabeth at 8:24 PM
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Doodoo
So i thought that it would be a one-time phenomenon with Karen. But oh, how I was wrong. One of my classmates (and by classmates, I mean that we sit next to each other in ulpan everyday for four hours for the past six weeks) who is about 33ish with two kids and a husband laughs over the silliest things.
Last week, we were talking about why there was a yud (hebrew letter) in a certain place in one word and I said, "oh, it's just pulling double duty"...and karen goes..."hahah, you said doodey!" and like, couldn't stop laughing!!! We were out of control for the rest of the day laughing at everything!! Well, of course, today we were watching a movie in Hebrew class and there is a character named David. But sometimes, a nickname for David is doodoo (based on hebrew spelling). We all just lost it again. Imagine us, in grad school, hysterically laughing over slang terms for poop!!!! How mature are we????? :)

Things in general are going well. I leave for Barcelona in like four days and I am sooooo excited. We have a really good group going and it should prove to be a lot of fun for everyone (at least that's the plan!!!!) I'm also unbelievably excited to be done with ulpan. Now, it hasn't been the worst torture in the world...but it's been a lot for me to deal with a teacher i didn't like for four hours a day for six weeks. I'm so glad I survived, and even managed to learn a little hebrew in the process (thanks mostly in part to my WONDERFUL classmates in daled!!!)
Alrighty, speaking of which, I'm off to start my second to last ulpan assignment!!! Wish me luck!! And have a fabulous week!!!!

Posted by Elizabeth at 4:49 PM
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Friday, August 20, 2004
Today
Now Playing: Peter Cetera - Glory of Love
Today was a day of complete mixed emotions. I decided to walk downtown really early and get some errands done. On my way there, on the corner of Yoel Solomon and Hillel, I watched as paramedics tried to save a man's life. I don't know what happened, but there was a woman, maybe his wife, up the street a bit crying and acting hysterical. I walked to other way and tried not to look, because there was clearly nothing I could do, and there were a lot of police around so I figured if there was any danger or anything just to walk away. I went downtown and ran my errands and decided to head home about a half hour later. I figured they would have moved him by then, but I was wrong. His body was lying on the ground next to the ambulance covered with a body tarp. I've just never seen anything like that before. My friends David S. and Rachel C. saw it too, probably like minutes apart from when I did, so we talked about it a bit later. I mean, I know that I am going to be clergy and that I will be by people's bedside as they pass on, or with a family immediately afterward that is grieving..but this was so real, so tragically in the moment. Anyway, it made me think a bit about all the typical life and death stuff...the whole "when your number is up it's up" kind of thing. But I knew I couldn't dwell on it for too long, otherwise my day would have been miserable. Rather, I said the mourner's kaddish and walked over to Lisa's apartment and hung out with her for a bit.
At 11 am a bunch of HUCers met at school and took cabs to Gan Soccer (big open field by Israel museum) and played co-ed flag football. Now, I have to admit, I've never played before. And...I wasn't completely awful. I can catch the ball real well (and I even completed a pass!!!!) and I'm learning how to block real well. So hopefull as the season goes on I will get better and better and can help kick booty when we play other teams. But our teams were today were great and we had a lot of fun. Being out in the sun and being active was really good...so it was a nice way to spend the day.
Tonight I am going to services at HUC, then dinner at my friend's place. Tomorrow I'm having lunch with friends too and probably going to the park in the afternoon. Typical shabbat stuff. I can't believe I go to Barcelona in a week!!!! I'm so excited. I just have to make it through the last of week of ulpan...I think I can, I think I can.

Okay, enough talk...more getting dressed! I promise my next post will be brighter, as a lot of the past few have been kind of gloomy. It reall has been a good week..just sprinkled here and there with some strange events. Hope you have a nice weekend!!!

Posted by Elizabeth at 5:33 PM
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Wednesday, August 18, 2004
This is gonna be a heavy one
Now Playing: Collective Soul - The World I know
Okay, so I have been reluctant to address the whole terrorism/security wall/danger of living in Israel thing since I've been here. Maybe, I'm realizing now, it's because it wasn't real to me. Sure, I can see the security fence from my bedroom window (even thought it's far off in the distance) and I was here when there was a bomb in Tel Aviv....but today, it was the first time I've experienced anything that really frightened me. About 20 of my classmates, Associate Dean of HUC Shaul Fineberg, and I were having a spirituality session in the little garden behind the academic courtyard when all of a sudden we heard a huge BOOM!!! At first, I almost thought nothing of it. But we had been in the middle of reading something, and everyone fell silent and sort of looked at each other for a moment. It was a very loud noise, and clearly very close to us. I can't describe to you the way I felt. My body went rigid, I felt panic and fear...and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Shaul, who happened to be sitting next to me, said it sounded like a car had maybe backfired and we shouldn't worry...but I don't think anyone believed him. Since we were wrapping things up, I told myself to hold it together until we were finished. And I did..although a few classmates of mine also came up to me and told me that it scared them too...good to know I wasn't alone. It really shook me up.
On the way out, we found out that they had decided to blow up a suspicious object right outside of HUC. Somebody had left some t'fillan (prayer garments) hanging on the fence outside HUC...which is sort of strange...and they just wanted to be sure that it was nothing. On the way home, I finally broke down a little bit. I'm just not used to this being a part of my everyday life. I know that they blow up suspicious objects here, but I've never been so close to it before. I know that there is a constant threat here everyday..and just because nothing has happened doesn't mean that I am safe. I really don't mean to be scaring anybody at all right now...but i just had to write about this...it's just nothing i have ever experienced before. But I'm fine, everyone's all fine...only the t'fillan were truly hurt by the explosion.
I just needed to share, I suppose..my new realities. Hopefully, I won't have more posts like these in the next year, and this will become but a memory.
It's just hard right now, in the moment, to not be so affected by it. But, this too shall pass. I am lucky that I have the life that I have, my health, a wonderful life here rich with friends who are becoming like family to me and incredible experiences that I've already had a taste of, and that I know await me during this next year.
On that note, I need to go take a nap so I can hang out with all my friends tonight!!!! Have a good day..and thanks for listening (reading). :)

Posted by Elizabeth at 4:28 PM
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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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