Jewish law codes spend a lot of time on the concept of vows. They are not to be made lightly. This is why you will often hear someone say "I'll do that, bli neder" - meaning, "I'll do it, but I'm very carefully not making a vow." So this post is definitely bli neder!
It is 5:30am Israel time and as I prepare to leave my hotel room to head back to the United States, here is a list of things I want to tell you about from the rest of my trip since my last post:
- my tour of the spice market in Tel Aviv (possibly one of the best tours - we got samples!!!) and walk thru the Carmel Market. I bought Yael a Dora the Explorer costume for Purim!
- our viewing of a performance by NaLaga'at - Please Touch - a deaf/blind theater company.
- my dinner with Robin (and Jay) from aroundtheisland.blogspot.com - awesome.
- Friday morning's pluralist Beit Midrash at the Israel convention center. We were joined by israelis in a morning of study and conversation. It was really great.
- lunch at Mahane Yehuda at which I was told by the retaurant's proprietor that there was no shakshuka on Fridays, of course.
- buying hot Marzipan chocolate rugelach and eating it right there.
- taking a taxi home because it was hailing.
- celebrating Kabbalat Shabbat at kehillat Har-el and sharing dinner with Rabbi Ada Zavidov (and others) in her home
- attending two Shacharit (morning) services - the first at Shira Chadasha, an egalitarian Orthodox minyan at which 10 men as well as 10 men are required for a minyan. We were early enough that my presence mattered. The second in Mercaz Shimshon, the headquarters of the World Movement for Progressive Judaism, overlooking the Old City. While the service was long and not entirely to my taste, it was really incredible to witness the aliyah to the Torah of Rabbi Harold Kudan, Am Shalom's Founding Rabbi, in honor of his 50 years in the rabbinate. It was also incredible to witness our incoming president, Rabbi Ellen Dreyfus, read from the Torah to accept the mantle of leadership.
- getting into the Old City in driving rain and gusting wind only to find out that the Arab Quarter was on strike and no shops or restaurants were open.
- getting soaked walking down Ben Yehuda shooping for gifts and getting a latte at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Jaffa.
- making new friends amongst my colleagues and re-kindling old friendships. Now we don't really exchange cards - we just say "friend me on Facebook"! Talking about blogging and technology was one of my favorite parts....go figure.
- trying to absorb the constant state of change and growth in eretz yisrael. And wondering if the light rail system which is being built will ever be done...and wondering if downtown Jerusalem will ever feel the same.
- packing to go home after 6 days in which I arrived with carry-on luggage only. Everyone thought we were so laudable to only pack that way....and yet I still overpacked and didn't wear it all and I had to really cram to get it all in the bag to return....oh well, you live and learn, right? I'm all packed and ready for my last breakfast followed by the cab ride to the airport.
Reading back over this post, I realize that I did tell you now, so I think I don't have to worry about revisiting. Whew, I'm safe from the neder :-)
Back to our regular blog programming later this week!!!!
Saturday, February 28, 2009