Thursday, January 29, 2009


Hey all!!!

I am so very exited because this week I met with my advisor. Her name is Orit, and she knew me right away when I came into her office. Yoel told her about me, and that I am looking into getting an internship in Pisgat Zeev, at the community center there. She automaticly started asking me questions about my major and minor at Wagner, and how long I have been in theatre and dance. She was soooo excited, and couldnt wait for me to get started.
Then we got into the classes that I wanted to take for the semester, which does not start until mid-february. I told her that I wanted to take a course within the art/music spectrum, something about the holocaust, and something about religion. She already knew exactly what would work for me based on my background, and my future within the arts and education in jewish communities.
Since Hebrew University does not have a large amount of classes in the arts there was only one that I could actualy take, but it just happends to be perfect for me; Biblical Figures and Stories in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Art. This class is all about looking into biblical figures starting with Adam and Eve, going into Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, King David and more, and the art peices through history that that have depicted them and there stories in different ways. It sounds sooo great, and will let me tap into my knowledge of Art.
The next classes she signed me up for was Jewish-Non-Jewish Relations and Rescue During the Holocaust. Perfection!!!! We are going to be talking about the people that hid and or rescued Jews during the Holocaust. We then are going to talk about the bombing of Auschwitz; and the reactions of the Pope and the Vatican during that time.
Then the sugar on top!!!...I told Orit about my work in a Reconstructionist jewish camp for almost 5 years now. She imidiatly thought about this religion course; Religious Foundations of Judaism 2: Intellectual Trends and Ideological Development. It is a survey of medieval and modern Judaism, including: Judaism in the Middle Ages-Bible commentaries, poetry, philosophy, kabbalah, messianism, Hasidism; Modernization and modern religous ideologies( Reform, Neo-Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist); American Judaism; Zionism and Israel. WOW!!!...thats a lot, but so worth it, I am so excited, I cannot wait to get started.
Other then those classes, I have to take another Hebrew course based on how well I did in Ulpan during the past weeks. As well as the internship course. I feel like I have a lot on my plate, but I know that Orit would not want me to take these classes if I couldnt handle it, and I always have a choice to drop a class if I dont think it is right for me.

In other news...hehe...My roommate and I were invited to have dinner with Yoel and his wife Chava. They have three children who are all a bit older then me, and I hope to eventually meet all of them. I got to meet his son Dror (I dont think I spelled that right...sorry), and there dog Shadow (sooo sweet). Chava made a wonderful dinner with tuna noodle cassarole, mac and cheese, israeli salad, and bread. We talked the entire time about everything; music, movies, was a lot of fun. Shaina and I were so full we didnt think that we could put anything else into our stomaches. The Chava brought out dessert...chocolate ice cream and cookies, it hit the spot. After dinner we just sat around the table and talked about being in Israel, and how this is such an amazing experience. It started to get late so Yoel took us home and showed us differnt places in the area on our way back. Chava also gave us some of the cassarole to bring back to our dorm with us (which Shaina and I ate the next night for dinner).
This weekend is full of fun!!...I am going to the community center in Pisgat Zeev for a tour and meeting people in the community.
Friday night I am going with Shaina to the Kvar (the student apartments) to make shabbat dinner for our friends Ariana, and Uriel. I am so excited to cook a fun meal for my friends. I think that is what I have been looking forward to the most, feeling like I am a mom, and taking care of the people that I love. I feel like my mom at times, taking care of the people around me no matter what, and almost always haveing a smile on my face while doing it.
I find myself feeling this way a lot, it is differnt here however. At home, or at Wagner I feel that I have to take care of my friends, it's not an obligation because I enjoy doing it, and I never say no to my friends. I take care of people without thinking of the results in the future, if I am going to regret it later, or if they are going to do the same for me in return. In Israel, I do things when I want to, I take care of my friends when they need it, and they take care of me. I offer to make dinner or help others, it is never forced on me, and everyone is so appreciative when I act this way. I feel love to the point of an unbreakable bond. My friends at home and at Wagner are my friends, and I love then to death, but the friends that I have made here are my soul. They make me thank god that I am alive, I am thankful for every moment that I am here, and I find myself stoping during the day and saying a prayer for the things I have reseved.


Thursday, January 22, 2009


Hey all!!
SO a lot has happend int he past couple of days since my last entry. I have a feeling that the last one was just to let you all know that I am alive, which is always good, but not exactly what you want. Wagner sent me some questions to answer first, and then I will get into the good stuff...not that Wagner's questions are not informational and fun, I just have a lot on my mind and I dont think that those questions will cover what is up.

So here you go Wagner!!!...
1) After a week in Israel my first impressions are the same as they were when I got here. AMAZING..I wish that I could use a better word, but I can't, everything is just so incredible that it can't be described any other way. I say to my friends on facebook that I feel free, and that everything that I left in the states can't touch me here. Everyday is a new experience, and it never gets old. I walk outside with my roommate and all we can say is that we are just two college girls walking around in Jerusalem, going to school in Israel. The people here are welcoming and wonderful, and I have already had offers from communities in the area that want to have me over for shabbat dinner, which is extrordanary. It truely makes me feel excepted and at home.
2) The things that I love about my new home is everything visually. I look out my schools windows and I can see ALL of Jerusalem, like I am on top of the world. Plus, the weather is always BEAUTIFUL so you feel like you can see until forever, as if you are looking into an endless desert. I also love that you can walk practicly everywhere. If you go to the Shuk (market) in Jerusalem, you can walk for 10 minutes and be in Ben Yehuda street which is one of the most popular shopping/bar/resturant/etc. area in Jerusalem (SOOO MUCH FUN!!!).
3) The food is GREAT!...I love being a jew in Israel and haveing no problem eating the best Hummus, pita, falfel, shwarma, etc. in the world. When I went to the shuk the other day I went to the bakery with a group and they literaly take out a steaming hot batch of rugula and serve it to you right there. You bite into it and feel so warm and happy, it's doughy and choclaty and amazing all in one. The food at school is good too. We have several cafe/cafateria's on campus and right next to my dorm room. Cafe Aroma has great coffee, which I pretty much get EVERY morning. The cafateria's on campus are seperated between milk/meat/and parve. So if you keep kosher you are in great luck, these places also have a lot of differnt things so you are never stuck with the same choice every day.
4) Honestly, I dont think I dislike anything. If I dont like something in the beginning I normaly like it later. I let myself try new things, and I WANT to have new and crazy experiences.
5) I made a great group of girlfriends that are american (Shaina my roommate, Sarah M., Sarah, Ariana, Nicole, Becca). They are great and we hang out everyday. I also have a lot of friends that are Israeli. I go to a jewish overnight camp during the summer so all of the Israeli's that work there during the summer are planning on getting together with me A LOT. They all mostly live in Tel Aviv but some of them have cars, and it is not expensive to take a shuttle bus there (takes about 40nis (10 dollars) to go from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv), and about an hour to actualy get there, sometimes less depending on traffic.
6) At the moment I am takeing Ulpan, which everyone is required to take before starting classes. Ulpan is a hebrew language intensive, I have class every morning for about 3-4 hours. It is a little bit hard but I am working hard and figureing things out as I go. My roommate knows a lot more then I do so she can help me with anything that I might need. It also helps that I have Israeli friends that can help me. Always fun!!
7) Many funny things have happend. Mostly silly things during the course of each day, such as; counting and nameing all of the cats/kittens that we see EVERYWHERE in Israel. Seriously they just run around free, and it isnt like a couple in different areas, it's like 10 cats everywhere you go, they cross your path, get into your garbage and sometimes enter your building and hangout outside your rooms just for fun (mostly because people forget to close the main entrance to our bulding. My friends and I have also had some fun moments exploring our area. We went for a walk last Friday to find the market to get food for the week. One of my friends Becca said that she knew the area and that she could take us right ot the market we were thinking about. We ended up walking in a circle for about a half hour and passing the market on our way. It was so funny, we got to the market and colapsed in front of the market and had to take a moment to regain out strength, both of body and sanity.

OK!!! that I have answered some Wagner questions let get to some fun stuff that I did in the past week.

I started Ulpan, which I said earlier, and I have finaly gotten a handle of where everything is on campus. We start registering for semester classes in the next couple of days so I am really looking forward to that. My roommate Shaina and I have really just been chillin, doing homework, and getting to know each other a little bit more then we probably should...hehe...I love her, we get very silly together, especially before going to bed everynight. Then on Thursday my Cousin Debbie who lives about 20 minutes away from my school picked me, Shaina, and Ariana up and took us to her home. We had a birthday dinner with her, her husband Alon, and children; Shai, Gil, and Guy. Their oldest Avigal works in the airport so she could not be there, but I am sure I will see her soon. It was really lovely, we made dinner, did our laundry, and watched some television.
THEN THE FUN STARTS!!!...Friday was my 21st Birthday!!!!...we slept in on Friday went out for a birthday breakfast, went food shopping for the week and went back to our dorm. Around four o'clock we started getting ready to go out. Since Jerusalem is mostly dead during Shabbat, it is really hard to get a bus from place to place. we had to get a taxi to take us to what is called a Shirut service (Taxi Bus) that takes you from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, which is compared a lot of the time to New York (how wonderful for me!!!). We got to Tel Aviv and took another taxi to my friend Aviv's apartment to put my our stuff away before going out for the night. We went to two bars, and a club, and ended our night around 3am. OY it was a night to remember, I had sooo much fun, and I can't even imagine how I would have spent my birthday in the states.
My friends and I came back from Tel Aviv the next morning the same way that we got there. We got back to our dorms around noon and fell asleep until around 4pm. At that point my roommate and I just hungout did our homework, had a quick dinner, watched a movie, and went to bed.
I am haveing the the best time, and I know that there will be so many more amazing times to come. Have fun checking out theses great pictures (there are many more but there is only so much I can put onto one page). I love and miss you all sooo very much and I hope everyone is healthy and happy. I know that I am!!!

B'Shalom and Blessings,

Monday, January 19, 2009

"A Whole New World"

Hey all!!
So I got to Israel about 6 days ago and I havent really gotten a chance to breathe. Which is why I am writing my first blog entry on my roommates computer, because I have NO internet...I am going a bit crazy, but hopefuly I will have my computer up and running soon!!

Anyways...Israel is amazing, I arrived last Wednesday at 6am in Israel, which was about 11pm U.S. time. I was sooo very tired but I knew that there was so much to do. I met my roommate on the flight and I was so excited to see a friendly face. Her name is Shaina and she is from Boston, and goes to UMass. She is very sweet and every since we met I dont think we have separated. Our new friends here have been calling us the mommy's, and that we are like an old married couple.
When we finaly got to the Hebrew University campus Shaina and I received our dorm rooms. we had to truck out HUGE bags up six flights of stairs (OY, WE WERE TIRED), and keyed into out room that would be ours for the next 5 months. When we walked through the door we were shocked. I think that Shaina refered to it as a jail cell, and I was syaing it was nicer then that, at least a reform school dorm. We then decided that instead of complaining we would make the room our own and decorate it with everything possible. Plus, we finally realized that WE ARE IN ISRAEL!!!!...O MY GOD!!!!...I think complaining about anything at that point was just silly.
During the net couple of days we went to orientations, saw the campus (which is beautiful, pictures wll be coming shortly), went food shopping with our new friends; Sarah, Ariana, and Becca, and just explored untill our first day of Ulpan.
My first day was on Sunday the 18th. It was a bit scary considering that I havent looked at the aleph-bet since hebrew school, and only god knows how long ago that was, and I havent spoken any hebrew at all since camp last summer, which I dont even know a lot from anyway. Thankfully I was in a class of about 10 people, all with different levels, some who had never seen a word of hebrew in their entire life, a couple that already knew a little bit of script and some words, and me with some others that needed some reminding and a fresh start on the alphabet. It is a little bit hard because our teachers do not speak/teach in english, only in hebrew (ivrit), which is a bit concerning but I am sure I will be able to keep up. I am having a lot of fun and I cannot wait for the weekend, it is my 21st birthday and I am going to be spending it with my family in Reut, and friends from all around to take me out for some Israeli night life...wish me luck!!!


Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Hey All!!
I know it seems like a very long time since my last post, but then again there is a lot going on in the world pre-leaveing.

I had an amazing time up until now. I celebrated birthdays (Happy 21st Samar and Erica, xoxoxo). Spent some time with friends (of course), Worked at my theatre with my mom, she is one of the scenic artist's for the show Romance, Romance which opens this week, everyone in the area should see it. I also had a great New Years, I went to my old friend Jason's apartment, I haven't seen Jason in probably 6 years, and he welcomed me into his home with open arms and so much love. I went with my girl Kristina and a bunch of her Elizabeth Town friends, of whom I love sooo very much. It was amazing, I rang in the new year with old friends and new one's.

Then reality sunk in......

Behind all of the fun I had been having with my friends and family I was still keeping myself informed on what was going on in Israel. Israel and the Hamas were still fighting, and it seemed like it was getting worse everyday, but then again the media in Israel is VERY different then the media in the states, so I didn't know who to believe.

My friends from Israel send me messages saying that they are fine, and that they are hearing the same things that I am in the states. One of my friends even said that a bomb went off outside of his apartment 2 weeks ago and his classes were canceled until further notice, he moved to his mom and dad's house just in case. He then said to me, "Fish, it's never going to be great here, but it is better that this is happening now, and then we will get another couple of years of peace." He was so calm, but I knew that he was right, it's never going to stop, you just have to hope that it calms down long enough to put your self back together again. At the same time my mom had been e-mailing our cousins that live in Israel, right by Hebrew University, and they were saying that I will be fine, and that they are so very excited to see me. One of them is graduating from the army, and I am so proud of him, he went to the south to take some classes in order to finish up and that was the only thing that I was concerned about, I was scared for his safety and for the safety of the rest of my friends that could most likely be called up and sent to Gaza to fight. That is what scares me the most, I care more about the people that I love more then myself, and that might seem bad, but it is who I am.

I kept on getting phone calls/texts/facebook messages and more from family and friends from all over asking if I was still going abroad, all I could think of was, why wouldn't I go? I would get questions of what is the security like, and how far away are you from Gaza? I would answer these questions quickly and with a little bit of wit; "security is high, and it's just the matter of being smart and not doing anything stupid, Hebrew University is on it 24/7, security is under control...and my school is in Jerusalem, in the new city, and it is about 50 miles away from Gaza, I will keep my distance."

Then...there were the silly questions that started coming..."what happens if you die?" At this point I just chuckle because of the way that question was put together. I would respond with "I'm pretty sure that if I die then I will be dead," the person that asks this would say that my response was not funny, and I would just say to them that it was kind of funny, you have to laugh a little but about what you just asked me. I would then give them a better answer to their already messed up question. "Like I said before, I just have to be smart, don't go to Gaza, don't get on public transportation, the usual."

Just to let everyone know, I am not scared of what could happen to me, if I was scared of those consequences then I wouldn't be going, there are worse things that I have been thinking about for when I get there like; not doing well in my classes, sucking at Hebrew, not making friends...etc.

Then, about two night ago, I found a glimmer of hope and meaning to all that was going on. My cousin (the one is Israel) sent my mom a link to an article that was sent to her. My mom said that I should read it and tell her what I thought. At first I was thinking, it's probably just another news post that still makes no sense, I then read the title "A Caterpillar an An Anthem." I started reading it and I was so moved that I started tearing up, it was a beautiful short story about a man experiencing the bombings with his family and how it was affecting the people of Israel.

This is what I leave you all with, read the story. if you print it out, it is about 7 pages, and believe me it is well worth it. Go onto the Internet type in and when the site comes up press "Dispatches" and read the first story "A Caterpillar and An Anthem." It will change your life, I promise.

God Bless, and Love,