Friday, July 30, 2010

Saying Goodbye

It is with great sadness that I am announcing that Moshe is moving to Germany to be a Rabbi. Moshe and I became great friends when I was in pre ulpan. He let me try his nuts and he would correct my homework. We would even have deep and intense conversations regarding Reform and Orthodox Judaism. During our final hang out session I asked him what if I want to talk to you when you're in Germany....he said he will call me and then asked for my number. So if he does decide to call me then I will let you all know.

Now for the exciting stuff. Last night a bunch of us went out to a Karaoke bar close to school for someones birthday. Now, I have never been to a Karaoke bar but it was a lot of fun!!! I got to sing last dance with Marina. We were amazing...not going to lie. I was in a weird mood yesterday and going out in the evening definitely made everything better! It was so great finally having everyone out and about together and not feeling the pressures of work and school. Yay for all of us. Tonight is Shabbat yet again, and I am going to try and keep my phone off and not go on my computer at all tomorrow. As of now the plan is to go to the park after services at HUC in the morning and read the book that I have to read for my education class as well as getting my Hebrew homework done. Wish me luck on that adventure.

It was so exciting last week when I finally got to see Roby and KK on skype! KK looked soooo excited to see me! She sang to me you are my sunshine and at the end said "and please don't take, my auntie Jaqui away!" i can't tell you how happy that made me :) Also, thanks to Oma for my beautiful note she sent me. I started to cry I was so excited when i got it....i think you should all learn by her example.

I am also happy to announce that I will be going to Russia or the Ukraine for Passover in the spring and will be working with Israeli summer camp counselors! I am soooooo excited! Anyhoo...i think it is nap time before I got to temple tonight. I am going to Shira Chadasha which is the Modern Orthodox synagogue for services, so I will let you all know how it is.

Lots of love!
PS thank you to my lovely sister Rebecca who has been posting comments to the blog postings.... :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

These Are a Few of my Favorite Things:

while some of my favorite things are when the dog bites and when the bees sting, in Israel I think it would be more appropriate to say when the cats bite and when the ants sting.... :)
So many things to update you on from the past week I made a list so that I wouldn't forget anything!!! I know how sad you all would be if you weren't getting every detail of my experiences here. According to my list I have 10 specific things to share with you all, but knowing me once I actually start going another thing will pop in to my head. Not to worry I have a pen right next to me to jot it down as to not leave out anything piece of information.

1) Tisha B'av. For those of you who don't know, Tisha B'av is a holiday of sorts. It is more of a day of remembrance of the the terrible things that have happened not just to the Jews but other communities as well on the 9th of Av. Getting to be in Jerusalm on Tisha B'av was an amazing experience. Typically on Tisha B'av people fast...I chose not to as a sign of being grateful for being here and not have having been part of one of the many horrific events that took place on this day. There are two ways of looking at this day, as a celebration for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and celebrating the continued hope of a future of a feeling of depression of remembering that happened over the years before. I chose to look at it in both ways. So the evening of Tisha B'av the school held a service in which lamentations was chanted and poems were read. From the service as a large group we walked over the the old city and went to the western wall. I have never seen anything like this. The M'chitzah (the center divide between men and women) as all the way out in to the center of the courtyard area and it was nearly impossible to actually reach the wall. There were people, both men and women, children and adults, standing, sitting, laying in order to pray. It is also common for men and women to spend the entire night at the wall.
This is a picture of the mens side of the wall. Of course since I am not a man I couldn't go over there and take a good picture, but I think you all can get an idea of how many people there were.
Looking over the city from the old city.
Look at the mens side
The very small area for the many women to pray at.
everything...and you can see the mchitza
Something else that I found very interesting about Tisha B'av was that everything closes on the night of. Even the McDonalds that's next to my apartment that's open on Shabbat was closed on this day. What's also interesting is that this holiday / remembrance day is not one that I knew about until last summer when I was the educator at Tawonga. How many of you knew what this day is?
2) So, I made the executive decision that it would be in my best interest to change what Hebrew class I was in. As excited as I was to be in a higher level course I didn't feel as though the information was truly resonating with me. Also, I was really stuggling with the teaching style of the other teacher, and one of the teachers teaching Citah Alef was my teacher for the pre ulpan. I already feel so much more comfortable in the new class and feeling challenged enough that I know I am learning something new every day and am increasing my Hebrew knowledge and understanding.
3) As some of you may or may not know I was struggling with my landlords and them coming to fix the various items of the apartment that weren't working. After finally getting through to them my landlords have been nothing but helpful! YAY!!! and on top of everything else since not of the lights had light bulbs in them inside the living room / kitchen area, they went out and bought new light fixtures! I never thought I would appreciate light fixtures until now. They really add some dimension and updated feel to the apartment. So now when you all come out to visit you can see my new light fixtures!
4)What a better thing to by myself when here in Israel than a Talit?! There are specifically two that I want. The first one is a Women of the Wall Talit. Women of the Wall is a group of women that meets every Rosh Chodesh (head of the month), join together at the western wall and pray. From there they all meet at a park (i think) take off their top layer in which they are able to show their Talitot and read from the Torah. They have a special Talit they where and they are available for purchase. I would love to purchase this Talit. Donations are welcome. Recently the head of IRAC Israel Religious Action Center, Anat Hoffman, was arrested at the wall for holding / touching the Torah. After spending time in jail her punishment was that she is band from the Wall for 30 days....just long enough for her to be able to attend the next women of the wall meeting!!! The other Tallit that I want to get is one that I am able to make / design. All that we have to do is buy the tzitzit and then we get our own frabics and other items you would like to add and make your own! Don't worry this is not something I will do in much hurry, but if it turns out well, I can make one for everyone!!!!
5) Moshe my lovely nut guy! I am finding that it is relatively hard to get homework done in my apartment since I don't have a desk in my room and the living room area is where we all talk so I have been going downstairs outside and doing a lot of my work there. Moshe has been correcting my homework! Thanks Moshe! I am pretty sure when he looks at my homework he is laughing at how simple it is, but not much I can do other than what I am doing. The great part is that when he is looking over my work I get to eat all the different kind of nuts he has at his stand! (I know this sounds dirty, but I don't really know if there is a better way to say everyone, keep your mind out of the gutter!!!) :D The other day when I was on my way home from school all my lovely friends were outside. The guys from SOYA (the really good asian place) and I have also become friends. So I am walking by and they said Moshe isn't working now. I looked over to the nut stand and I was like well ya...since he isn't there. And then they told me "no, he is working here anymore" I nearly lost it! I kept asking them if they were serious and why. First they told me that he got married and I told them it wasn't funny. Then they told me he got a new job. I asked them where and they said the didn't know. So I spend a good portion of my evening calling my friends and telling them how Moshe wasn't there anymore! What happened! So later in the evening when I came back from Greg's apartment one of my other friends from SOYA was there and he told me that Moshe was on vacation and is coming back in two months. And while this is somewhat a relief ultimately it's two months...that sucks! So again, when Moshe returns I will be having a little talk with him. Hopefully the little talk will be a little bigger since I will have had 2 more months of Hebrew. I will let you all know in two months what happens with that situation.
6) Last Thursday instead of having class we had a program. We all did different programs and the name of mine was art in the field. Although it wasn't my first choice, I still excited. We met at the central bus station here is Jerusalem where we met up with Ofer, one of the roommates of one of my classmates. He is a student at the art and design school here is Jerusalem. So once we start our treck to the location of which we will be producing art the rest of the group started to talk about how we were going to Gaza. Not being a Geography major, and being geographically challenged as it is I really believed we were in Gaza. It felt as though we had been walking for hours in the heat and all I wanted to do was sit down in the shade and drink water, but it reality we had only been walking for about 10 minutes. Once we finally got to our destination, which was not in Gaza I was really able to enjoy the view. We were at an old deserted palestinian village in Lifta. It was interesting seeing all the run down homes and all the different items that were left behind. And while I am not an artist I did enjoy taking pictures of the many things we got to see.
7) So I have now had two of my education Seminars and I am really enjoying them. I handed in my first paper which my teacher enjoyed and also gave me a lot of constructive criticism for. The classes are very informative and I feel as though I am really learning a lot from the readings and learning to develop my own opinions and develop strong enough evidence to defend the way I feel. The first class we got to know each other really well as well as doing an active listening activity. I never realized how hard it is to listen to someone for 2 minutes and not be able to talk to them about what they are saying or asking them to elaborate on certain situations. It was really challenging but in the end I think it was really beneficial. The next assignment I have due is on the 5th of September where Sam and I will be doing a presentation. Wish me luck! I haven't started the book yet, but that is the plan for shabbat this weekend.
8) This past Shabbat I had dinner at my apartment again. Ryan, Greg and I went to Har El for services and Tina, Sam, and our friend Becca went to Shira Chadasha. The services were amazing. They seem so community oriented to me, and even though the Rabbi gives her cermons in hebrew she speaks slow enough that I am able to understand the main point of what she is saying. The cantor at the synagogue is an HUC graduate and is originally from Texas. This weekend I plan on going to Shira Chadasha which is a Modern Orthodox synagogue. I will definitely let you all know how that goes. I made an amazing dinner! I had my famous lemon chicken (even though it was a little dry) with pasta and sundried tomatoes and garlic. It was delicious! Way to go me. I decided to sleep in for services on Saturday morning and I woke up just in time for Sam and Tina to get home from Services. After we had leftovers for lunch I thought it would be fun for us to do a little text study since I didn't know what the Torah portion of the week was. So as we start to read we start to discuss the text (obviously) and there were moments when our conversation began to get really heated. As much as I wanted to stop the discussion when they got heated and I got frustrated I really enjoyed the overall experience and I think that sam and I are going to make this a weekly tradition...we'll see what happens on Saturday.
9) As students we all have to pick what is called a Truma project. It is a volunteer project for the year. I am not sure what we have to do for it after the end, such as write a paper of create a report or what not, but it is something that is supposed to last the whole year. At first I was nervous that the different projects were ones that I wasn't going to be interested in, but once I read all the options I wanted to participate in almost all of them I didn't know which one to do. The two that I requested to do because I am allowed to do two are one called Avi Chai which is a program that works with Israeli's that work at American Jewish summer camps for the summer...perfect for me!!! The second one I put down is called FSU and it is where we get the opportunity to go to the Ukraine for Passover and help lead seders at peoples homes and in congregations. We are not there for the whole time so I would still get to experience Passover here is Israel. I don't know yet if I get to do both so when I find out I will let you all know.
10) Cantillation class has been going well. It really isn't as hard as I thought it would be. In class yesterday we actually chanted the first three verses of B'reishet. It was really cool to be able to put it all together and not have to sing it based on a tape. (No offense Cantor Korn). So Tamar (the head of the Cantorial Department) told us that if anyone wanted to Chant Torah to let her know so I did and in two weeks i will be chanting torah. I will keep you all updated on my status of how I am doing in learning it and how it goes. Let's cross our fingers that I will do great!
11) Today we had our first test for regular ulpan and monday we had our first quiz. I received an 82 on the quiz (which I wasn't very happy about since I was getting good grades in the pre-ulpan) and when I was done taking the test today the teacher looked it over and I got two things wrong! YAY! I don't know how many points those two things were worth, but I am glad that I am back on track.
I think that's it for now. Sorry that it has taken me this long to write to you all. Life around here has been pretty crazy and I am going to have to start to work out a system for blogging time. I miss everyone like crazy!!!! Love you all so much!!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

First Day of the Rest of My Life

here it was....the first official day of Ulpan and with it my first Cantillation class. The morning started off a little rough, missed my 18 bus to school so I had to take the 21 which drops us off a block over and 3 or 4 blocks down from school rather than right in front. So, Kitah Bet was not bad at all! At first I was a little intimidated because the teacher was speaking a lot faster than my pre ulpan teachers had and her voice is kind of nasal like. After the first part of the class I was very much in my element and felt really good about the class. The schedule for today is a little funky. We have a 30 min break at 10am and then a 15 min break at they really don't give us time to eat lunch.
After school was over I went with two friends, Sam and Ashley, to the Mamilla Deli to get lunch since we didn't actually get to eat lunch today. I had a turkey sandwich and it was amazing. I am really starting to notice that this country is obsessed with pesto....they want to put pesto on everything! So after our lovely lunch date we headed back to school where I edited my paper for my Education seminar tomorrow. I am really glad I took the time to edit it...I may have just graduated college, but taking months off from writing papers definitely did me in. After my hour and a half of paper editing I attended my first Cantillation class. Now, for education students Cantillation isn't required, but of course I wanted to take it. There are two different classes, an easy one and a hard one. Tamar, the head of the Cantorial program here is Israel told us that the easy class is for people that don't know Cantillation and that aren't that musically inclined, and the harder one is for people that know Cantillation and know music. So my issue was that I don't know Cantillation and I can read some extent. So I figured I would try the harder of the two classes and if I needed I would switch down next week. And guess what?!?!?! Jaqui McCabe will be staying in the advanced class! Granted today was the first day and it was just going over Torah Trope I was a pro! I got really scared when all the people from the easy class came out freaking out saying they were never going to be able to ready Torah trope but it turns out I am better than I thought!
So after Cantillation I took the bus home since I had a million things in my backpack and there was no way I was going to carry that heavy thing home. I immediately plopped myself down on the couch, watched some stuff on my computer and slept for an hour. It was great! I definitely needed the nap. I woke up and packed up my things to go downstairs and do my hebrew homework. I was joined by some of the newbies (the people not in pre-ulpan) who had just returned from their walking the psalms tour that I did earlier in the summer. They loved it! Then I noticed Moshe was at work tonight..which was weird since he told me he normally goes to school on Sunday nights, so I will have to ask him about that on Tuesday. I told him how I was not happy that he didn't come for our playstation date to which he told me that he went somewhere (not in Jerusalem) to visit his family. I said ok, but he can't let that happen again :). I had Moshe correct my paragraph I had to write for class tomorrow and part of my paragraph was about how I was a soloist at a Synagogue in Arizona. As an orthodox Jew you can only imagine the kind of reaction he had to this. He asked me if I wear a Tallit and if I read from the Torah and I told him yes and I seriously thought he was going to have a heart attack. After this Moshe and I had a good conversation (with the help of google translate) about the differences between Reform Judaism and Orthodoxy....I think I got some points across especially when I told him that we too believe that we are the children of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac, and Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, and Sarah. I don't think he realized that we knew these kinds of things.
Anyhoo, now I am in bed and need to go to sleep! Long day tomorrow! Miss you all so much! please leave comments on my postings! i love them!


Saturday, July 17, 2010


Sorry it has taken me so long to do another blog post, I have either had nothing to write about or am just pooped by the end of the day I just go to sleep and then obviously don't write anything. So this past week we had orientation. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. But overall I feel it was a waste of time. I feel that orientation is the time in which we are to be oriented into the school and the program and not sit through lectures that cause us to feel as if we are already taking classes. Here is an example of what our days looked like the past week...this was monday:

8:30am - Words of Welcome from our Dean, Rabbi Naamah Kelman
Introduction to Orientation and the Year in Israel Program
Overview of the summer
10:00 - coffee and cake
10:30 - session - who am I and why am I here? ( my name is Jaqui and I am here for my first year of Ed school)
12:30 - lunch
1:30 - wrap - up session from the morning (would have made more sense before lunch maybe?)
2:15 - Session with Rabbi Michael Marmur, HUC Vice President of Academic Affairs (now, we would hope he would talk to us about the academics and the academic expectations for the year and the years to come, but noooooooooooooo we were lectured about Essential Enduring Questions.)
3:15 - break
3:25 - General Q&A
4:00 - security review
5:15 - conclusion

So that was just day one, the next day went till 730. The best was on Wednesday when they took us to the Tayellet. We did a great program there (one I do feel could have waited until the actual school year to do) but the view was amazing. To our right we were able to see the wall that divided Israel and the West Bank and to the left we were able to see the old city. But here is the best part, none of us really knew where Tayellet was in relation to anything else especially since we took a bus there. At the end of the activity there were no buses and the school essentially had has find our way back to our apartments from the middle of the desert! are they on drugs?! It was a 45 min walk back to my apartment and I was one of the people that lived "close" to where we were.
So orientation overall was good but bad. It gave us all the opportunity and time to get to know one another but at the same time they wore us out for school tomorrow.
Last night we did Shabbat all together at HUC. I really enjoyed that. We had a discussion first about the Kiddush of Shabbat and the different parts of it. I am not going to go in to detail now but a quick piece of trivia....did you know that Polish and Russian Jews are the ones that started using candles for their shabbat light because it's too cold their during the winter, and everyone else uses olive oil. (i don't know who everyone else is since I know at Isaiah and other Synagogues they use candles...) anyhoo, I thought that would be of interest to you :) After the discussion we all went in to the Synagogue for services. I loved them! They reminded me a lot of camp. From services we went to Dinner which was amazing! Very yummy. Then SONG SESSION! I tried to take pictures but since it was so dark out they didn't come out very well...sorry! But I do have video so I am going to try and figure out how to upload videos on to facebook and for all you lucky ducks that are friends with me on facebook you will have the opportunity to watch the video.
Today I chose not to go to services. I was so tired from the week I needed to take the day off. So I slept till 1! I honestly don't remember the last time I slept that late. I got up and finished my paper that is due on Monday and now I am typing for all you lovely people :) .
Tomorrow we start the regular ulpan and since I know everyone was VERY concerned about which class I would be in I am happy to announce that I am in Kitah Bet. yay me! Here is a quick hebrew lesson, kitah is the hebrew word of class and Bet is one of the letters of the hebrew alphabet. the different kitot (plural for kitah) are: aleph, bet, gimel, dalet, and hey. (these are all letters of the hebrew alphabet). I got placed into Bet! Some people from the pre-ulpan got placed in Alef, some in Bet, and some in Gimel, I am more than happy with my placement!
What else is new....? OH! I made friends with my nut guy! (i feel like I may have told you all this before but here we go again!) His name is Moshe and he is orthodox. He works at the convenient store / nut stand right next to my apartment. He works in the evenings so every time when I am walking home and he is working I say "lila tov moshe!" and he says "lila tov Jaqui!" The other night I went downstairs for something to drink since I ran out of ice tea up here and he was working and we started talking. And by talking I mean attempting to talk since he doesn't speak English and I don't really speak Hebrew. So we were able to make plans for me to teach him English and he would teach me hebrew and then we would play playstation! (the convenient store has a tv inside in which we would have been able to hook up the play station) so I was VERY excited about our play date and then he wasn't at work! I was not so happy so Moshe and I will be having a little talk tomorrow...and by little i mean very little since he won't understand what I am saying. It will probably consist of "where were you? Ok." It will be a GRAYT conversation.
So tomorrow is the first day of school and I am excited. I am really excited about the different people that are going to be in my class. It has been really nice getting to meet everyone that is going to be part of the program. I finally know all my classmates that are going to be in LA and I am very excited. :) Anyhoo, it is time for lunch and then I am going to meet some girlfriends at a park near by to hang out play some music and just chat. It will be a very relaxing Shabbat. I will TRY and write tomorrow after school to let you all know how the day went. Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pictures from the 4th of July Picnic

The long awaited pictures from the 4th of July.
This is Alexis and I.
Sara and I.
Sara, Me, Sam, and Josh. Sam is another education student so we will be having lots of classes together. Josh is an intern for the school so he is he for the summer and then he will be returning to the Cincinnati campus for his 5th year of Rabbinical school
Alexis joined the picture.
Alexis and I again.
Sarah on the right.
We are pointing up Sarah's beautiful engagement ring! Congrats to Sarah!
Alexis and I.
This is Mike and I. I didn't want to make him hold me up for reals in the heat.
The Educators! Me, Nina, Sam and Brian. Brian is an education student in LA with me! The other two are for the NY education program.
Sooooooo cute!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Weekend Away and 4th of July

Well it has been about a week since my last post...sorry. I just don't see the point in posting short messages that will consist of "I had school today, it was ok." So at this point I would be expecting weekend updates since that is when I am going to be having my adventures! At least until the real work hits me. :) So let's start at the very's apparently a very good place to start.

This past weekend Nina, Mike and I went on a little adventure to the north. We went toYa'kov (mom, I will be taking you there) and to Tiveria. It was exactly the weekend that I needed. We left jerusalem early Friday morning a took a bus to Tel Aviv. From Tel Aviv we took the bus to Zichron Ya'kov. Zichron Ya'kov is a beautiful little town. It kind of reminds Zichron me of Sausolitio (sp?) but with more hills. It has a lot of really cute little shops and restaurants. So when we first arrived in town we immediately had something to eat (since Nina was very hungry). We went to a cute little cafe kinda thing and I had Shakshuka. Shakshuka is poached eggs in a maranara sauce. They serve it to you in a warm skillet with bread and sometimes other dipping sauces. This is the third time I have tried Shakshuka since being here and this was the best one I've had. After eating we walking around the town a little bit. I bought a really cute cuff bracelet. It's turns my wrist green so I am going to have to buy some clear nail polish so I can wear it! After a little window shopping we went down to the winery. We didn't do a tour or anything, especially after they told us we needed to make a reservation, they were booked, and they were closing for the day. So they were kind enough to allow us to try some of the wines. I think my dislike of red wines (except Maniwzevits) was confirmed through this trip. So after trying two white wines I stuck to what I know and bought a bottle of Muscato. From the winery we took a bus ride to Tiveria.
I was not all the impressed with Tiveria. It might have been because there was no one out because of Shabbat but I was not all the impressed when we got there. So when we got there we checked in at the hostel and get ready to go out to dinner. The hotel recommended a small place for us to go eat, but when we left the hostel we made a right turn instead of a left and walked and walked and walked and didn't find anything. After coming to the conclusion that we weren't going to find anything to eat we turned around and went the other way and finally reached the promenade. We never did make it to the restaurant the hostel recommended, since Mike and Nina were against going there, and went to Big Ben. It was probably to worst meal I have had since being in Israel. I ordered a chicken salad, and the chicken was good but the salad was lettuce, a couple vegetables, and oil. Definitely not worth the money I spent on it. From there we went to an ice cream place and I made my own frozen yogurt. It was really good; Banana's and chocolate with Pecans. After eating our yogurt we went back to the hostel and hung out with the people that worked there. One of the guys Omri, spent the hour making fun of us and our american accents. At first it was funny, but then I thought it got kind of wasn't like we were sitting there making fun of his Israeli accent. Anyhoo after a little while of hanging out with the hostel people we went back up to our room and watched part of Avatar.
We took the morning to sleep in and relax and finally got out of bed around 11am. After packing everything u[ we went back to the same place we had dinner and breakfast, luckily the food was better but the waitress had a bad attitude. After eating we headed over the the beach. All the beaches in Tiveria are privately owned so we had to pay to get in. Once we were in it was beautiful. The beaches are rocks...not sand to that was interesting but there were so many people and the weather was so beautiful nothing else mattered. The Kineret is a fresh water body of water so going in to the water didn't sting at all! Yay! We were at the beach for about 3 hours, maybe a little more and I got major burned. From the beach we took the bus all the way back to Jerusalem... it was about a 3 - 3.5 hour bus ride. The end of our weekend get away.
This is a black and white photo of the Winery Mike took. It is a small and cute winery with delicious wine...OBVIOUSLY!
This is the beach. Here you can see the lack of sand. It was really hot to walk on! The mountain range across the way is Jordan. Everyone wave and say Hi!!!
Me holding up my bottle of wine I bought in front the wine. Yay for Muscato!
Nina and I are diving in to what used to be a pool...according to the sign at least.
Gotta hold my breath so I don't get water up my nose!
Beautiful pink flowers we saw on the walk down to the Winery. They were pink....I couldn't resist.
I was a little sad to find out there wasn't much of a scent, but it made for a really great photo!!! Yay pink flowers!!!!!
Nina drinking her Cold Coffee at the cafe. She said she could feel the caffeine seeping in to her blood. She was a happy camper after the coffee :)
It was a really long hike up the hill from the winery... I was a little winded to say the least. But hey, I would rather do that walk a million times than climb that damn mountain Masada again!

4th of July!
It was really didn't feel like the 4th of July but I knew it was. I wore red white and blue to school to support my country. At around 4:30 almost everyone that is here for the program met at Liberty Bell park for a picnic and BBQ. It was a lot of fun. I finally got to meet in person a lot of the people I have been talking to on Facebook. Everyone is super nice and it is also refreshing to see some new faces. There were no fireworks or parade but it was very nice and relaxing to hang out with EVERYONE in a non academic setting.
From left to right: Alexis, Sarah, Me, Bryce, and Jay. This is at the picnic and the only picture I have right now. I am waiting for people to give me their photos and then I will attach them to the next post. Jay and I went to Arizona together so it was really nice having him around! Congrats to him and Bryce who just got engaged!!!!!

Side note: On Saturday morning when it Tiveria we received a phone call from a fellow student informing us that one of our classmates mom passed away from a sudden heart attack. The student is now home and will be returning back to jerusalem after sitting shiva for the week with his family. Obviously, whenever something like this happens we are stricken with much grief and saddness but even more so when it comes so suddenly. I just wanted to tell you all how much I love you and how much you all mean to me. I would not be where I am without the love and support of you all. I miss everyone very much and look forward to continue my blog experience with you all as just one more way of me keep all of you with me during my life changing experience here in Israel. Shalom vl'hitraot!