יום שלישי, אוגוסט 23, 2005

We're on a mission from G-d

Just to give you a sense of how God is running my life.
I went to lunch today, ran into a friend who asked if I wanted a lift to mincha at beni akiva around 5. Fine. I almost didn't catch him but in the end I do. We walk in to the shul, Benji spots me and says "You're coming over for a bbq tonight". Nice.
While I'm there I'm told that BA is running it's summer camp in New Zealand in Dec-Jan. Hmmmm...

Ed-jama-ca-tion thingies

Boy am I wiped.

Counterpoint - coun·ter·point (noun)

1. Melodic material that is added above or below an existing melody.
2. A composition or piece that incorporates or consists of contrapuntal writing.
3. A contrasting but parallel element, item, or theme.
4. Use of contrasting elements in a work of art.

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

5. A program run out of Moriah Jewish Day school in Sydney geared towards turning teens, into thinking teens.
Source: One week of an amazing experience.
Copyright © 2005


Some background. Bear with me. Before I left Israel, not knowing anyone in Sydney, I asked my friends and neighbohrs to put me in touch with some of their aquantences in the city. One friend gave me an email for Rabbi Davey Blackman, a nieghbor put in touch with a fellow by the name of Roy Steinman, and Saul wrote a letter to a few friends of his. Among them, Dave Shaw. I recived the most wondeful email from Mr Steinman with an offer to come down and if there was anything he could do to make my transition in to Sydney a little easier. I set an apointment with his secratary for 5pm on thursday. I wrote a short note to David Shaw useing the email address that Saul had given me, telling him I would be in his area on Thursday and would try to cross paths with him even for just a few minets.

I arrived early, found David and introduced myself assuming he would recognize my name from the letter. He invites me into his office, gets me cup of coffee and then says "So, how can I help you?" It quickly become clear that he had recived neither Saul's letter, nor mine. Long story short, we chat for a while and he asks me if I want to join them on his Counterpoint program. So that's where I've been for this past week. Wow. Real, thoughtful, emotional, worthy of time and energy to be investeed into them. And alot of time and energy went into creating these things. Professional quality video and sound, musicians, the works.....

More later.... Must sleep....

I have a sense that vis-a-vi the kids, this is one of those thing you take for granted and don't realize how amazing it is. Gotta be careful of that me-self

יום שני, אוגוסט 15, 2005

A bit of my Jewish side


For the past few weeks I've been struggling to deal with the chutz laaretz reaction to Sharon's plan to walk away from gush katif. As I've written earlier, there seems to be an attitude of "It's not our issue" and "We need to support the freely elected Israeli government." This shabbos I was in Sydney's northern suburbs and in shul, before the prayer for the IDF the rabbi said a few words. To paraphrase his words and also what I took away:
"This week will be a difficult one for all of us. We need to feel the pain of the thousands of Jews who are being taken from their home that they have known for a lifetime. We also need to pray for the soldiers who are being charged with this task of removing them. Whether we agree or disagree with the decision, we pray there will not be Jews fighting Jews." I found, with some sense of wonder in myself, I agreed with him. By now, we have done what we can and the outcome is in the hand of our creator. My only prayer at this point is that what ever the outcome, it should be peaceful. Whether the soldiers and the homeowners hug each other, cry and then together walk out of the house, or whether they sit down and say "I can't do this". Please God, let one of those images, whichever one you choose, be what the 2800 foreign journalists send out to the world, not one of Jews fighting their brothers.

Tisha B'Av in the winter. 12:00 was chatzot. I felt I hadn't said enough kinnot yet. I would have been fine continuing for a few more before stopping but the tzibbur stood up and started singing through Alei Tzion(traditionally the last of the Kinot) in the usual tune. Did you ever notice that when you pick up the pace it's even quite cheery? As we're zipping through the kinah, with my mind still processing the earlier ones, I found myself a hair away from banging on the bima for every one to stop. I wanted to ask "Do you understand what you're saying?" To read out a few lines in English of what they were all joyously singing. "For the pounding and the numerous blows... and for the smashing on the rock of her infants and youths." How were they able to sing an upbeat to such horrifying words? Even after the kinnah was finished I was going to say somethings but Ashrie and Aleinu...

Standing on the side while everyone else was saying alenu I was bothered by the shift; I hadn't finished my "morning".

But maybe that's the point of Alei Tzion. Even though the words describe the horrors of the churban we all stand up and sing because all of these troubles are "Tzireha - birth pains". Yes, we suffer but we also see the light ahead. And whether we want to shift or not, the service is set up in a way that we must.

And so in the afternoon we don't say kinnot, we don't sit on the floor. We clean the house and pull ourselves (by hook or by crook) into a mindset of Moshiach. We are told that Moshiach is born on the 9th of Av. This is that afternoon.

"Sasson v'simcha yimatzei bah, todah v'kol zimra"
"Joy and gladness shall be found there,
thanksgiving and the voice of song."

יום חמישי, אוגוסט 04, 2005

Drug Education

Drug Education. Wonderful programs.

It's my second day at UNSW and I pick up a student union magazine. On the back cover(in small letters "ANTI-ADVERTISEMENT") is a full page ad saying "Maccas. You don't know what it'll do to you." From the small print I find out that this is a street pharmaceutical.

Nice of them to put me in the know! I haven't been on campus one week and these friendly people are putting me on to all new drugs! And as to their tag line - "You don't know what it'll do to you." Great!! Sounds fun? You bet! What good is escaping from reality if you know where you're going??

I'll have to see if I can scan the ad.

יום רביעי, אוגוסט 03, 2005

Getting in

Getting in was it's own challenge.
It was the first time I got to stand in the foreign nationals line. Traveling between Israel and the US I would look at the poor sops who had to wait in the much longer line while I, the 'citizen', breezed through. I'm told becoming a local here takes more than just asking nicely.

They also take this quarantine stuff very seriously. I stood in line (another line) for 30 minuets to declare a packet of tuna and some instant soups. "No, there is no meat in the soup." -What's this writing, Hebrew? "Yes, ma'am." -And there's no meat in it? "Correct." - You sure? ......
But customs went smoothly because the airline didn't have my luggage. It must have enjoyed Hong Kong so much. By now it has turned up.

I'm still dealing with the Study Abroad office sorting class lists and schedules. I'm not even taking the truly goofy courses. One guy told me he's enrolled in GENS1032 - "Are we alone?, The possibility of life in our universe." I've got a little bit of self-respect. (Though I might go audit it.)

Have you ever noticed that airlines feel obliged to have 3:2 ratio of romantic comedies. That's higher than all other movie genre. And I'm taking probability so soon I'll even be able to predict the chances of my getting hit with more of them on my flights home.

יום שני, אוגוסט 01, 2005

Getting out

Hong Kong Airport

Yaniv works for the IBA. He writes subtitles for films. I met him halfway through (and running late) a 9 part documentery on Blues. The music, not the color. I shared half a sandwitch with him, he wasn't intersted in putting on Tefillin. I thought I had overweight problems, he was going to bring his bicycle down but it would have put him 11kg over. At the $20 per kilo the airlines were charging it was cheaper to put some stammps on it.

Other random things: The fellow next to me going to Hong Kong was an industrial engeneer. He said he travels alot for work but was enjoying his job. He said it was always changing.

Rewind back to bording at Ben-Gurion. On the phone with Sarra I tell her my university is 15 mins from the beach. After I hang up a girl standing next to me says - "NSW, right?" Turns out she learns there too. I'm already thinking 'Information! a friendly face! Right off the bat. Hey, this is gonna be easy!'
Haven't seen her since.