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Friday, March 28, 2008

Tabili Mayim!!!

Ok, for those of you looking at this title and wondering what the heck that means, I'll tell you. One way of "asking" (I put this in quotes because Americans asking and Israelis asking are two totally different things) for water is to say "Tevili Mayim." (pronouned Tu vee lee Mah yeem) As Carlie is going to a Hebrew speaking (and sometimes Arabic) kindergarten at the YMCA, she is speaking more Hebrew than English. Actually, the other day when Batya asked Carlie to place something on the table, Carlie responded, "Lo table, Shulchan." (Not table, table (in Hebrew).

Yesterday, Batya, Carlie and I drove to Eilat for a nice family vacation. The Israel Progressive Movement for Judaism (IMPJ) holds a bike ride to raise awareness for Progressive Judaism in Israel. The bike ride begins in Tel Aviv and ends in Eilat - a 5 day bike ride. So, along with our family vacation, we went down to cheer on the riders as they ended their ride. It was nice to see so many of my classmates participating.

Getting back to Carlie...we were having dinner at our hotel last night. Carlie finished her juice and wanted water. So, she started screaming at us and at everyone in the restaurant, "Tabili Mayim!" Now, as Carlie's Aba, I was very impressed with her Hebrew, and Batya and I both laughed. At the same time, we were immediately hushing her because it was kind of loud and quite rude. Several of the servers looked at us funny, and some giggled with us!

We had a yacht ride in the Gulf of Eilat last night with many of the riders. It was really nice...the weather is great here, and Carlie had a blast. I will post pictures up to our webshots page in the next couple of days. Today, we walked on the boardwalk in Eilat. It was really nice to just get out and be a family without any worries...and Carlie enjoyed the sun!

Next week, I'll be hiking with some classmates up North a bit. I am looking foward to getting out with some classmates, and enjoying nature!

Purim....I am sure you've already seen the pictures. Carlie's 2nd Purim, and first in Jerusalem, was a lot of fun. She really enjoyed being Minnie Mouse, and Batya and I had a great time too. It was really a spectacular sight to see so many people in costumes around Jerusalem. Not much else is going on. We are officially 8 weeks away from our return to the States. In just a few weeks, I'll be traveling to Belorussia with some classmates to lead Passover Seders in the FSU. It will be a great experience, and I am looking forward to it!

I'll try and get another blog up before the trip to the FSU, but I'll for sure have one after the trip!

Shabbat Shalom!

Friday, March 7, 2008

We're Okay...and the Southern Tiyul

Shalom Friends and Family!

Last week, the HUC Year In Israel 2007-2008 class went on our final Tiyul of the year. As it has been a very cold and difficult winter in Jerusalem with snow twice, we were excited to be able to go "down south," especially with our shorts and bathing suits to go swimming in the Gulf of Eilat. We started our Tiyul at Sde Boker, which was the Kibbutz that Ben Gurion retired to after his service in the Israeli Government. He is buried there with his wife. His vision for the future included settling and developing the Negev Desert. His famous line was, "The border begins where the plow stops." So, developing the desert was of vital importance!

We then went on a wonderful and exciting hike in the Mahktesh Ramon. Mahktesh does not translate into English as this type of landscape was discovered in Israel. It is basically a naturally made crater in the South of Israel. It is a beautiful area of Israel, and I highly recommend anyone who visits Israel to visit there. This is the place where a few of us went on an overnight hike in September. It is gorgeous! From there, we went to Kibbutz Yahel, one of the two Reform Kibbutzim in the Arava Valley (just north of Eilat) in the middle of the Negev Desert.

Over the next two days, we went on an awesome hike on Mount Shlomo. This is a long hike, not very hard, but with a few quite difficult places. It leads to a beautiful overlook of the Gulf of Eilat. Check out my pictures from the Tiyul by clicking on the Webshots link on the right! There are some gorgeous pictures. We also spent the night in a Bedouin tent called Shacharut. It was a great experience, although it was a little "hollywood"esque...too planned and too touristy. But, it was in a beautiful place.

On Friday, we went to Kibbutz Lotan. This was my favorite part of the Tiyul. Kibbutz Lotan is a Reform Kibbutz in which the residents live their lives based on a VERY eco friendly lifestyle. They recycle everything, and they really make good use of everything they recycle. Check out their Kibbutz: www.kibbutzlotan.com. Anyone who is eco friendly or "green" should check out this Kibbutz. They really lead by example, and are very innovative in their ideals on being eco friendly.

Shabbat was very nice and relaxing. We had Shabbat Shacharit out in the desert, and we spent a lot of Shabbat afternoon playing sports. We also received some very troubling news about our classmate and his family in California. I ask that everyone who reads this blog keep the Spinrad family in their thoughts and prayers as they are in the process of making some very difficult decisions.

About last night...yes, there was a shooting at an Orthodox Yeshiva/Seminary in Jerusalem. It was about a twenty minute walk from our house. We were enjoying the Engagement party of a couple of friends of ours when we heard the news. We are ok, and our awareness of security is certainly heightened. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those who were killed and injured last evening. We only hope and pray for a time when we don't have to phone our families and friends to let them know we're ok. For now, just keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.

Tonight, I am going to Ramat Hasharon, a Reform community between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, for Shabbat services and dinner. This should be a great experience. Next week, we have a "Rabbinic Seminar." I am not sure what we'll learn at this seminar, but we are really beginning to get excited about being able to come back to the States and share our new knowledge and experiences with family and friends.

Until next time, I wish you a Shabbat Shalom!