Sunday, July 10, 2011

i hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow, and each road leads to where you want to go....

 ....and if you're faced with the choice and you have to choose
i hope you choose the one that means the most to you
and if one door opens to another one closed
i hope you keep on walking til you find the window....

When new doors open in our lives it is incredibly exciting. Often when these doors open we are so excited about the future we do not even think about the doors that might be closing behind us, and every so often, these doors wind up slamming—maybe even months later, and this can shock us. It can hit that we have not properly mourned what we are leaving behind. Often, we hear this slam when we least expect it….like when we walk into services Friday night, at a progressive synagogue in Israel.
As I walked into the synagogue, out of the corner of my eye I saw the very familiar faces of the Biery family—members at Temple Israel of Hollywood, and part of my family Chavurah group for the Shabbaton program I taught in last year. I was then bombarded with many of my former students showing me hamsah necklaces and purses they bought, stories of their first few days and questions about why I was in Israel, which were followed by questions of if I would be in LA again next year.
This was the first time I had to tell someone from my Los Angeles life, face to face, that I was moving back to New York. To make it even harder they were kids, some of my favorite kids, from one of my favorite jobs of all time. They of course then asked me if I would be a Rabbi at TIOH when  I was done with school, and I told them I had 5 years of school before I would know.
The parents told me to keep in touch, and I took my seat excited for Shabbat, but on the brink of tears as I realized that I am going to New York, which means I am not going back to Los Angeles. I am still incredibly excited to be moving back east, but I realized that I have never taken the proper time to mourn and come to terms with the closing of one chapter of my life.
With Shabbat excitement mixed with a twinge of sorrow for closed doors I moved into yom Shabbat [in Hebrew the word for Saturday is Shabbat]. HUC hosted an Alumni learning on the topic of how to teach Israel. The educator geek in me was excited as I sat and listened to brilliant minds discuss the best ways to teach Israel to Jews who do not live in Israel. Here again, I had another intense moment of reflection, not at all based on the subject of the learning [side note—the learning made me incredibly excited and grateful to start my studies at HUC].
Doors have recently closed: my masters from AJU came in the mail, I moved from LA, my summer travels are finished, and I am properly mourning the closure of so many doors, but at the same time the future holds so many exciting things that as I walk forward a little sad, I smile knowing I am mostly incredibly excited and bursting at the seems with what the future holds. 

....i hope you never look back, but you never forget
all the ones who loved you and the place you left
i hope you always forgive and you never regret
and you help somebody every chance you get 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Language Barrier

  I promise a very long post about my first few days in Israel and Europe…but first: The Language Barrier....
If I had to describe my Hebrew, I would say that it was good enough to start Rabbinical School, but nothing to write home about. Normally I am able to find other words for what I want to say [example: instead of asking them to "split the check", I told the guy that "we did not want to pay together" which as far as I know, uses more words], which makes me long winded but you can comprehend me.  This language barrier is expected, and is a chance to grow my Hebrew skills. 9 times out of 10 the person I am talking to is more then willing to listen to my 7-year-old-sounding Hebrew and respond slowly so I can catch what they are saying. Sometimes they laugh and say in English "you want to practice your Hebrew, I want to practice my English", and we have conversations each of us hearing the language that is native to us, and speaking a foreign tongue. It is sometimes frustrating when I forget a word that I know because I have not used it in awhile, and sometimes I do just want to default to English, but I am trying and that is what I suppose counts.

That is also not the language barrier I am talking about. Nor am I talking about my feeble attempts to remember High School Spanish, or how lost I was in Italy. No, I am talking about the language barrier between me and my washing machine.

I woke up my first morning back from Europe with more laundry then I knew what to do with, and set about the task of starting it right away. I rolled out of bed and went over to the laundry nook, where to my shock, the washing machine was written in.....GERMAN. I expected English, I 1/2 expected Hebrew, but German? I got my landlord to show me how to work the machine, but I have no clue what cycle my clothes are actually being washed on. I just throw everything in and pray to God it all comes out okay.

I promise a post about Europe and some of the more serious things I have been ruminating about, however I felt like that story needed to be shared.