יום ראשון, דצמבר 31, 2006

What is Limmud??? Hanah Kehat reports

Hanah Kehat is an orthodox Feminist women we brought to Limmud from Israel. Here is what she wrote about the confrence:

Exactly between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, in the midst of a British university, a huge conference of Jewish studies takes place.

Hanah Kehat reports from Nottingham – 27/12/2006

NRG Maariv Online (http://www.nrg.co.il/online/11/ART1/523/073.html)

Translation: Yuval Keren & Clare Rees.

Every year between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when the Christian world is in the midst of the festive season and most universities are on vacation – the largest conference for Judaism takes place.
In a magical place, in the buildings of Nottingham University in England, among pleasant groves, a wonderful pond and immense lawns, thousands of Jews gather from all over the world, especially from England and Israel, for a full week of Jewish studies. They include families, children, adolescents, the young and the old; academics, Yeshiva students, housewives, artists and even Jewish Hollywood actors – from all strands and denominations of Judaism. This year the Israeli group who came to teach and study was particularly noticeable.

There are thousands of sessions, chavrutah study groups (including hundreds of simultaneous chavrutah groups), Israeli and Jewish music performances, a marketplace of Israeli crafts and accelerated courses in a variety of fields including Bible, Oral law, Kabbalah, Chasidism, Israel, Zionism, Hebrew mysticism, Feminism and Judaism. Everything goes!

Alongside these sessions there are panels on current affairs. There are even special activities for children of which one of the highlights is Israeli-style Pyjama parties.

The walls of the campus were decorated with thousands of posters presenting hundreds of key Jewish figures, past and present. There was a large display of the map of Israel on the floor. Thus, whichever direction you turn, you catch Judaism and ‘Israeliness’.

During the conference there were a few unique experiences. The Havdallah ceremony at Limmud is a very unique sight of hundreds of candles glowing in the dark accompanied by magical Jewish melodies. The variety of prayer services and the long discussions that continue deep into the night alongside singing and dancing also contribute to the magical atmosphere.

The special theme of this year is responsibility and mutual obligation. The emphasis on kindness and graciousness causes the participants to wisely and sensitively initiate friendships and personal introductions at every opportunity. The kindness is also extended to the environment. The conference is characterised by deep awareness to the environment. The use of non-recyclable items is avoided and there are recycling bins everywhere.

This year a new project was introduced to Limmud - ‘Tell me Text’. It is a ‘marathon’ that takes place three times a day where each of the speakers presents to the audience a text close to their heart. This personal choice of text teaches more about the person than it does about the text. Words are revealed as personal friends, as a source of power, of inspiration, of personal revolution and as stimulants for change of life. Dr. Alon Tal, one of the Israeli environmental activists, read Yizhar Smilanski’s speech to the Knesset – ‘A Land Without Wild Flowers Will be a Hotel not a Homeland’ – as he fought for maintaining the wildernesses and by which he convinced Ben Gurion to establish the law of protection of nature. The poet Eliaz Cohen read his sensational poem, ‘Hear O G-d’. Other intellectuals presented wonderful texts that changed their lives and determined their life choices.

Hundreds of volunteers worked for a year to plan and materialise this giant project. Thus I met an eleven year old boy who volunteered to manage the conference registration. For months he recorded and edited the registration forms, sent to him via the Internet.

When are we going to import all this to us? Well, at present there is Limmud-Galil – small and excellent conferences that are held once a year in the upper Galilee. Still, Limmud started small in England and grew into thousands of participants. Let’s hope that this little sister will also turn into a multitude.

New Year`s Party - what`s the point???

In my social circles in Israel no one will ever dream to go to a New Years Party. It is something only secular people, with a very big S will do , not nice ex Bnei -Akiva girls like us.
Here in London though, even me - quite a geek you must admit, found myself sort of invited to 3 parties/dinner parties.

Most of all I don't get the point of celebrating this - and its nothing to do with the Pope Sylvester, that in Israel the evening is names after him. Its very ironic as many pogroms and killings of Jewish people across Europe were due to him.
The thing is, I cannot find what to celebrate.
Rosh Hashana allows me to reflect upon the good things, things I might consider improving, making new resolutions(and breaking them by Yom Kippur), with a lot of compassion, with different rituals that help you to feel you belong to a community that understands you, and understands the human situation you are in. We all regret our sins together, we all commit to improve our ways, together.

I find this new year quite irritating for few reasons:
1. I will have to remember its 2007 when I write my checks. PG by May it will be a habit.
2. Another reminder that I am not getting any younger.
3. New budget year.

I might go to a party tonight, to catch up with some people I didn't have the time till tonight. But still, there is some thing very lonely about the Christian new year for a Jew abroad I feel. Its not really a new year, all the new year`s resolution were just set up 3-4 months ago. Everyone else seems quite marry and drunk to be honest, so what should a good Jew do?

יום שבת, דצמבר 30, 2006

Letting Go - One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

I am learning a new art - the art of Letting Go.
It involves much practice. The intelectual element is not crucial here. It reallity thst matters.
And I , that always felt reality cannot hold my emotions, confront the need to let go.

I am attaching an old post, with the poem One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop< I posted this in the begining of September. four months down the line, I am sort of in the same place.

יום שישי, דצמבר 29, 2006

Had a great chat with MW about music, poetry and innovation in art. unfortunately cannot remember what was said, just remember it was fascinating. Shame. would have loved to do something with that.

יום חמישי, דצמבר 28, 2006

Back in Muswell Hill.
Limmud was great, beyond any expectations. It was a tough challenge - just juggling between the presenters I brought, to the sessions I led, to the lectures I wanted to hear took a lot of energy, that I seem to lack lately.

My favourite things were:
1. the Havdala Session led by Gila Sacks, Sensitive deep and uplifting.
2. Modesty, Covering and Reveling - Sarah Joseph, a Muslim women who covers her hair with a hijab, and Hannah Kehat - an orthodox feminist agreed upon few important things I feel passionate about:
a. Men should not discuss what a women sould wear - that cannot be modest, and it turn here into an object.
b. Tere is a sense of protection or empowerment you gain by covering yourself.
C. Although men ruled to cover the hair those two women, coming from very different prespectives, found thier own reasons and rationalizations to do so. is that new feminism or feminism going wrong? not sure but I like it. It was facsanting to see the semilarities.
3. Jason Demant discussing the morning blessing of - thanks G-d for not making me a women, He brought few sources and explained his own solution. I still don't understand why some of the blessing are on the negative side, My answer to that is blessing - thanks g-d for making me a women)
4. Adi Ness -An Israeli photographer- I will try and show some of his work on the blog.
5. Gareth Berliner - A Redbridge boy doing comedy - about his life with a clinical illness. very powerful
6. Eliaz Cohen reading his poetry
7. Scratch Joseph. Love the musicul and it was so heart warming to see everyone so excited.
8. Not the food, don't even ask. really.

יום ראשון, דצמבר 24, 2006

At Limmud, heard few good sessions, one of them about Havdalah was highly inspiring.
The programme semmsamazing, Spending some quality time with M, meeting up with freinds. its good.

יום שישי, דצמבר 22, 2006

Met up with the Lunch Club girls spontiseously. The question of me visiting Redbridge was brought up.
I feel I cannt. Its too painfull. Just the thought of walking around South Woodford brings tears to my eyes. The lovely furniture Shop, Waitrose (the best one in London!), the charity shops. Cannot do it. More tome needs to pass.
Dont even Mention visiting Sinclair House. that is unbearble to just imagine.

I still feel something was taken from me. I should learn how to let go. Its well about time. is it?
I am staying at M`s, in her lovely flat in Muswell Hill. Its a warm happy place. Its good to be here/ We are leaving in two hours to Limmud Confrence. Quite excited.
So I am in London. The city is covered with a blanket of fog. I find this quite ironic - Like Moshe Rabinu viewing Israel from Mt Nevo - from the distance. As I get here after four months of longing, I cannot view, recognize or familiarize my self with this much loved city.
H who was so kind to pick me up from Heathrow after 2.5 hours of delay, suggested it might be easier this way. Its not really London, I am not really back here. The fog adds a mystical aspect to this visit. Am I really here? Is this the same city I lest four months ago? Following Heraclitus - one of my favourite philosophers - Its not, as you cannot cross the same river twice, as the river is in consistent change and its not the SAME river. His student added, you cannot cross the same river even once.

יום רביעי, דצמבר 20, 2006

Pinchas Sade, and some evidence about my blog

It happened to me for the first time today. I searched for Pinchas sade on Google, and the third refrences is my blog. not bad.
Quite chuffed. yeup.

יום ראשון, דצמבר 17, 2006

A Dance by Pinchas Sade
My translation

Do you remember how once,
As you set silent, your wonderful legs
Folded underneath you on the armchair,
I looked at you
And when some-kind-of-dancing-music was heard on the radio
I came and danced in front of you
Although I don't know how to dance I danced in front of you, and light of that
Evening, and your yellow hair and the tranquility and the happiness - -

This memory, why
Rose in mind, and I
Even don’t know where you are, after all of these years
At this night time. Because now, now again
I came, here in my isolated room, in front of this empty armchair of yours
And danced in front of you.

Keeping up with the Stein`s

The film I saw last night with M, she was a shlicha in the states, and I was sad to hear the film reflects many in the Jewish community. The way the Bar Mitzva is portrayed, the family values, the priorities, I was laughing a lot, don't get me wrong, but not for the right reasons.

M and I naturally saw few empty seats on the first raw - so we made out waythere, as we sat this tall guy approches me and in English make it very clear that the seats are for the VIP`s.

and I thought I was one. (but not really)

You are what you walk like

So, I went to shul on Shabbat - which is always a good thing, its was over heated to I was standing out side the Women's section, in the corridor enjoy the crisp Jerusalem air. Towards the end of the service this very familiar man approaches me, says Shabbat Shalom to me. I politly reply. I look it him, firstly I notice his body guard, and them I notice the way he carries his body. Sometghingvery special about him. I look at him, our shoulders almost touching, and I realize, its Senator Jo Lieberman, catching his wife`s eye telling her the were invited to Kiddush upstairs. So the point here, is not Which Shul it was(Chovevi), or the fact he was very kind and polite but more about the way he carries himself. You look at him and you know he is a leader. You can trust him. Spooky but true.

At the Gala evening of the Jewish Film Festival at the Cinemateque I saw Sahash Demidov, an Israeli actor, made aliyah from Russia some 15 years ago, and again, you could see his nature by his walk.

Made me think. What do people see at me?

Happy Chanuka

Was driving last night to watch a film. was listening to the radio 88FM. they played the Doors` Come on Baby Light My Fire.
And the DJ says - just to remind us all it`s the second candle of Chanuka. I was just passing the Kenneset, and saw the massive (and not so beautiful) menorah they have there, and thought to myself: Its good to be at home.

יום חמישי, דצמבר 14, 2006

Next week in London...

So next week I am arriving to London for Limmud, very excited. and worried. a mixture. Not only about what NOT to wear, but mostly because I will not have enough time to see all my friends that I deeply miss.
Worried about social interactions, about being overwhelmed and feeling its not my life any more.

A reality check

יום שלישי, דצמבר 12, 2006

It happened again.
I have this awful pattern of behavior. I agree to do things, too many things, I compremise my social life or going to the gym for that.
And you see, I am good with languages, technically I can say No in four languages, so how come I dont use that word?

יום ראשון, דצמבר 10, 2006

One of the sights I miss...

What is the address? its somewhere on N2, but where??? your help please!

Israeli wild flowers

Very 70`s!
click the title and enjoy

Wildflowers of Israel
This website is devoted to the study of wild plants of the Land of Israel which has been a focal point of interest to people all over the world since Biblical times. Everybody who is interested in the nature and the environment of this Land will find here a wealth of information regarding all kinds of its plants. Special emphasis has been given to the linkage between the plants and the Jewish traditions and scholarly literature. It is under development and will be updated frequently.
Plants can be searched by scientific and common English names. As time and means will allow us we will translate all the content into English and other languages.

Love it!

S.Y. Agnon

In this photo you see the Great S.Y.Agnon at work working from home. He used to hand write and his wife Ester would rewrite it again, as his hand write was chalenging to follow. He used to write his wonderful short stories and novels while standing. He is the giant uncle that anyone who claims to write in Hebrew has to relate to, mostly regarding prose. He won the Noble prize for litrature on 1966.
The depth of the themes from Jewish topics to modern existences, the way he masters the Hebrew language and his sensitivity towards humen being and History are true divine art, to say the least.
Went back to ikea last night, and bought, finally a book case.
I put it on the trolley, its length is 170 cm, the trolley is about a meter, so there are 70 cm hanging around making it all very complicated. I bumped into this lady and hit her, I apologized immediately, it didn't help, it still hurts. She gave me the nastiest look ever. I can understand her being upset and in pain. But I cannot find a reason for the tiny bits of hatred that sparked from her eyes.

יום שישי, דצמבר 08, 2006

What if my body will not listen to me?
How can I listen to my body?
What does this new-age language can mean to someone like me, who isnt fluent in this discourse?

יום חמישי, דצמבר 07, 2006

Was invited to a dinner part last night at my friends S & J (I think most of my friends first letter is S, M or J.
The company was great, food delicious. The conversation was around TV, blogs and bad dating stories.
It was all in English, and it felt good. I did switch between accents as happens to me, but I can still hold a whole evening in English!

Shoot the Freak - Coney Island

I was there while visiting my very good friend E. I have known her and her family since she was in Israel volunteering on Otzma programme, and we were her Israeli family.
The families got closer then we ever imagined. I think since they got over my cat peeing on her father`s bag on Channucka, he got us all wonderful gifts (I got a Raymond Carver book), we really felt this strong bond. from time to time we meet up, her parents came to London and we had a fabulous dinner at Six 13, I went with her mom to the Whitney Museum when I was there in September. Her sister reads my blog, family.
So during my last vacation there we went to Conney Island, we were both not feeling very good. the weather was changing. and then we saw this "Shoot the Freak" sign.
It made me feel sad, that some people might think this can be amusing. Its so medieval days, or high-school play ground, where all the bullies gang up on the weak one.

It was a great day, that evening we went to see Avenue Q, that gave us the lighter-bitter yet full of love and optimism of the American/Western society.

Where was this taken?

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.
T. S. Eliot

A poet can survive everything but a misprint. Oscar Wilde

There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing. John Cage

יום שני, דצמבר 04, 2006

I learnt today that I don't breath enough, and I should remind myself to breath from time to time.
Interesting to think about it. Always thought it just happens, with no effort with no awareness. But know I realize I ignore my body from time to time, and I should change that. Remindes me what Mamonides writes about the body, I will look for it.
Now, breath deeply ahhhhhhhh.

Fiddler on The Roof meets Avenue Q

I guess it was a question of time, click on the title and watch the combenation. Well it makes sense, putting Tuvia in his ultimate desire land - multi cultural Amerca or, Avenue Jew in this case.
Thanks to M for sending this!

יום ראשון, דצמבר 03, 2006


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