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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Summer of Change

Greetings! This summer is the first summer in a LONG time that I will not be working full time at camp. I will be working 4 weekends at Camp Livingston, but it's very different to go up for a weekend and return home. If nothing else, it means that I am rested before I go and am able to return home for a good night's rest after the weekend. Anyway, it is quite different. I even remarked to Batya the other day that it didn't really feel like summer yet (this was June 15)...her response, "Well you aren't at camp," is the truth. Of course, I did enjoy the weekend at Camp Livingston, and I look forward for my trip next week!

Here IS what I am doing this summer: I am working as a chaplain (or student chaplain) at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Working at CCHMC has been such a learning experience. Everyone is so incredibly nice...it is a truly amazing place to work. I wouldn't say working in a Children's Hospital is fun, but everyone enjoys working there and you can see that in how dedicated they are. It is truly the best hospital I have ever seen, and the care that patients and their family receive is amazing. I am assigned to the recovery from surgery floor. 99% of my patients are only there between 2-7 days and then they go home. So, although I am not seeing anything really traumatic, I am able to connect with families and learn about their stories and where they are in life.

I spend between 20-25 hours a week at the hospital. The other 15-20 hours is spent in class with a group of 5 of my classmates and a CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) director. We discuss our clinical work, spend lots of time discussing our growth as pastoral care providers, and reflect on our time together in group as well. I have learned this summer how to be an active listener, and I find myself spending a lot of time reflecting on what people are saying to me - responding rather than reacting. This has truly been and will continue to be helpful for me in my professional and personal relationships. I look forward to the great work I will do during the rest of the summer and in my congregation in the next year - as well as in the rest of my life!

In August, August 18-29, I am returning to Israel again! I am leading a Birthright trip again with my dear friend Claire. She and I led a trip together last January (2009), so it will be fun to do it all over again! Once again, it will be a group of 24-26 year olds. This time I am leading with Israel Experience - an awesome organization! Should be a lot of fun...especially since it will be warm! And, I am looking forward to seeing some of my friends in Israel that I haven't seen in over a year and a half.

Batya and Carlie are doing great! Carlie is turning into quite a talker and I wonder every day where she gets that from :) I am definitely learning to respect my family so much more now as I am sure I was the same way. However, Carlie is such a beautiful little girl and she is inquisitive, smart, and really likes to do just about everything...very easy going just like her mother! Batya is a life saver. She allows me to explore all of the wonderful areas that I am interested in. Being at home this summer has reminded me how wonderful she is and how great our marriage is. I love her with all of my heart and soul, and I hope she remembers that.

Anyway, that's all for now. We are going to see a 4th of July fireworks show this afternoon with our dear friends Andrea and Sam. They were just married in May in North Carolina...and their wedding was awesome! I hope to write on this blog at least every couple of weeks now. I will be beginning my 4th year in August, and I am hoping it will be a less academically demanding year, so I hope to be able to blog more often. Only time will tell!

Happy 4th!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Heaven is in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Ok, so maybe I am joking, but only a little. Beth Shalom congregation in Fort Walton Beach is an amazing place. Just this past weekend, I was able to co-officiate a conversion and I officiated a Bar Mitzvah. After many hours of travel - with many, many complications - I arrived in FWB and was blessed to be a part of these two simchot. I can honestly say I do not regret at all going through what it took for me to get there. I have mentioned before how lucky I am to be working with this congregation. I cannot restate that enough. The congregants are incredibly nice, and they allow me to try new things every time I am there. This congregation is really allowing me to grow in my rabbinate - allowing me new opportunities and experiences that will be invaluable as I continue my education and career.

The sheer amount of snow we have seen this winter is ridiculous. We have set records already, and we have more snow coming this weekend. If Batya doesn't kill me before we leave Cincinnati (June, 2012), I will have to promise that we live where it is warm! And, let me tell you - I am not happy with the weather. It is pretty (the snow) for about 10 minutes...when the cold sets in, it's over - no more pretty, just awful!

This semester is going by pretty quickly...we are already just about half way through with the semester. With Purim and Pesach coming up over the next month and a half, it will all be over before I even have a chance to take a breath. Then comes the fourth year - a lighter academic year - and a chance to breathe before the 5th year rolls along. But, I am getting a little ahead of myself. The truth is - I am learning so much this year, and I can not be thankful enough.

That is all for now - I will write more again next month!
Stay warm!

Friday, January 15, 2010

2nd Semester, 3rd Year - Beyond 1/2 Way Finished!

That's right folks, I am now officially more than halfway done as a rabbinical student. Of course, I still have 2 + years left, but now I am on the "downward" slope, as they say. Truth is, if I can make it through this semester, I will be much happier. They say the 2nd and 3rd year are the most challenging, and while I completely agree, I also hope that this semester is less time consuming as last semester. But, only time will tell!

I am taking the following classes this semester: Human Relations (continued from 1st semester), Homiletics (continued from 1st semester), Christian Scriptures (a class I am VERY excited about), Missionizing (No, they are not teaching us how to missionize), Modern Philosophy, Codes (Post Talmudic Jewish Law), and Commentaries (on the Torah - Rashi, and others). It will be a very interesting semester. I am excited to learn about the Christian Bible...

Carlie and Batya are still doing well. Carlie would be happy just about anywhere, doing just about anything. She really is a blessing as a kid...yes, she is challenging sometimes, but all in all, Batya and I are pretty lucky. Batya still loves her job, but as it is again winter, and VERY cold, she is trying so very hard to not be frustrated all the time. She is such a southern girl...and I thank God everyday to have led me to such a patient and wonderful woman.

That's all for now. I will write more this semester, when I have time!