Tuesday, December 1, 2009

just another day

i was never the type to sit in coffee shops for extended periods of time. even in college, when most people seemed to be at folsom street coffee or market brewery, i could often be found in my norlin nook quietly studying (a.k.a. reading facebook updates). in jerusalem though, i spend a significant amount of time in different coffee houses around town. i sip tea and think about my life here, a process which has presented significant perspective into a web of dilemmas. my conclusions are honest and admittedly disappointing to some but i confidently embrace them as i hope most will. 

i look forward to returning to the states in june and do not intend on making aliyah (becoming and israeli citizen). as of now, i have no immediate plans to enroll or apply to graduate school and refuse to do so until i am absolutely clear as to why i would be doing so. i am excited to live with the responsibilities that come with financial independence and struggle just as every recent college graduate does with budgeting, bills, and designer footwear. i understand and appreciate this year as another year to 'discover who i am and who i want to be,' but yeshiva life is not real life. i learn material not relevant in a broader perspective with people i share almost nothing in common with. aside from our religious affiliations, i share nothing with my classmates (specifically collegiate experiences and career intentions), and even the mutual classification of 'conservative jew' creates tension. basically i feel as if i do not belong there and am starting to wonder why i came. hopefully i will figure it out by the time i leave if not sooner. 

don't misunderstand though, things in general are still great. i love being in jerusalem and hearing hebrew (well english with hebrew here and there), and i love meeting israelis (well mostly foreigners with israelis here and there). i have been going to a small venue to hear local bands at least once a week and i love it. i love the food and the shuk (market) and the belligerent taxi drivers who refuse to use the meter because they want to rip me off. but it's all good.

i often think about visiting and i am so excited to board the plane to denver on feb 24th at 12:05am. i want to be with the 'duplex' and the 'dnadsers' more than anything and create new memories to laugh about. i love you and miss you. 

be safe, be good, be happy, and don't be mean. oh and if any news breaks on weezy's weapons case (prison entrance date, etc.) PLEASE let me know.

i love you-lisa 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the end of october/beginning of november

i was thinking of comparing my life in jerusalem to my life in boulder. it is impossible simply because every similarity can also be construed as a difference. for example, i could discuss the commonality of sitting in class all day but then argue the difference in the material i learn. i could argue the 'daily gym visit' parallel, but this is also problematic because of the difference in patronage. at c.u. i was surrounded by sorority girls with bobbing pony tails and deep-v american apparel tshirts, while here i am overwhelmed by israeli men working off the pita and humus from the night before. so now you see my dilemma. 

all in all life is good. i have started thinking of my apartment as home and recognizing the faces in the neighborhood stores i visit. i love traveling around the country (tel aviv mostly) but the second i leave jerusalem i crave my return. the combination of hassidic men and their secular counterparts is unique to this city as well as the terribly fitting sheitels donned by women my age. but jerusalem is my community, and ramban #7/apartment #15 is my home. i honestly always knew i would live in israel for an extended period of time, but the unknowingness of said plan lain within the capacity and timing. 

every blog i post has a significant portion discussing the possibility of staying here. i won't write it all again because my questions remain the same. if i were to assign a theme song to this issue it would be 'should i stay or should i go' by the clash. should i stay or should i go now??? 

i haven't been hit by any cabs yet, a remarkable feat in itself, and i understand bus drivers like a pro (they tend to mumble in hebrew). i have fallen in LOVE with running and even completed the 10k in tel aviv last saturday night. i am meeting people from outside the yeshiva and grown closer to those within it, both of which offer new dimensions to my social experience. i often talk about my friends at home and find myself smiling and laughing uncontrollably when sharing our experiences. i miss you and love you all so much!

congratulations to older brother brian on his engagement and am excited for the big day in june! mazel tov dude.

i love you all and cannot wait until the end of february when we can order a diet coke, double vodka tonic, and water at the dollar wells. 

peace out from jewland, 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

jerusalem is a very special place during the high holidays. things shut down, people are friendly, and food is everywhere. and, while these characteristics are not uncommon during shabbat, there is a rare feeling of calm perpetuated by almost every jew in the city. not everyone keeps shabbat, myself included, but it seems like everyone celebrates rosh hashanah. different customs and traditions dictate everyones behaviors. the sense of jewish unity is strong and bold in every neighborhood and synagogue. yom kippur is monday and i am confident the same characteristics will apply this week as they did the week before.

yeshiva is getting better. i am still in class from morning till night but the classes are getting more interesting and i am getting to know more people. rabbinic and cantorial students still make up a large sum of the student body, however i am feeling less intimidated by them. the gap year college students (18 year olds) aren't bad either. i hated being with them at first because of their 'high school mindset' but, as it turns out, the college sorority mindset isn't much different. you decide if that is good or bad.

i am about to have almost two weeks off from class and i am excited to see what happens. there are music and art festivals, concerts (matisyhahu is coming on the 7th!!!), and i finally move into my permanent apartment on October 1st. i have been feeling very transitional lately because of my yeshiva environment adaptation and month long apartment lease. i think that once i hang something in my new bedroom i will feel more at home (tapestry, weezy, kramer, whatever.).

backtracking though, i spent most of last weekend at other people's apartments for meals. i walked all around jerusalem (mostly barefoot because fancy shoes suck) eating and drinking and laughing. i learned so much about my classmates and met their friends from all around the world. i saw their apartments and realized that although they were small and crowded, everyone felt at home. they were excited to welcome me and share their holiday with the people around them.

i keep thinking about my next step in life. i talked about this in my last entry, but i am extremely torn about staying in israel for the next year. it is still early and towards the beginning of this one, but maybe i should start making plans for fall 2010 and onwards. staffing a year program or working at the american consulate would be cool, but then again so would working for sony in la. i honestly have no idea what i want to do, nor what i should do. people (my mom) keep telling me i am lucky to have these years to explore the world and identify what and who is important to me. i agree, but i keep wondering if i have to be in israel to do that. i can question and learn in the states, but questioning and learning in israel is awesome as well. as i said, i just don't know.

i still really miss my best friends and i always look at flights to denver and la to visit. i definitely feel the walrus withdrawals but find comfort in knowing i am not the only one missing that life. i know we all miss the late nights on pearl, the (sometimes shameful) morning afters, and the eagerness to repeat it all over again. the weather is changing in boulder (thank you facebook statuses) and i remember the snow and the beautiful leaves around me. israel is still hot, so no parallel there, but i am starting to notice cool breezes in the evening when i run. i run (mostly walk) around the different parts of jerusalem and look at the faces of those i pass. people are young, old, students, professionals, religious and secular, but all are in israel. i cannot get past this feeling of a common passion for the livelihood of this small, terror ridden country.

i often pass soldiers on the street, which is fantastic, but i am starting to wonder what they are thinking. they probably see me as a wealthy american drinking my way through the country, and while they are wrong, i could see how this is probable. i, on the other hand, wonder where they grew up, what unit their parents served in, and if they are counting down the days until they are released. the army is difficult, to say the least, and i respect them so much for serving.

i am excited to begin the new year on good terms and a clean slate. i will grow and mature in ways i never thought possible through experiences i never expected to have. i am excited to see where my decisions take me and who i will meet because of them. hopefully this is the year i will go on tour with weezy and rap for holly grove; one can only hope.

i love and miss you all and i cannot wait until i have my next mysterious drink on pearl.
happy new year. be well and prosperous.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

first three weeks

my life in jerusalem consists of class (7:30-6:15 everyday) and going to the supermarket across the street from yeshiva. on average i visit said store twice a day, party because i forget i need real food in my apartment but mostly because, when i go around lunchtime, the place is a zoo. i grab what i need for lunch and walk to the checkout line, where there isn't much of a line at all. i wait patiently, often listening to a t.i./weezy playlist, while pushy israelis argue with one another over who is next to cut me in line. i finally get to the checker who is sitting down and could care less about separating my groceries from those around me. i pay and quickly bag my peach, water, and edamame so the next customer's stuff doesn't intermingle with my carefully selected items.

israeli society is fascinating. of course i knew this before i arrived but it think being a part of the 'daily grind' has granted insight into my perspective. i walk to and from class and listen to the cab drivers honk at literally nothing. i am surrounded by jews of all religious denominations traveling to countless educational institutions. some might wonder where i am going, just as i do them. but, when it comes right down to it, we are each living in Jerusalem putting up with the same grocery store nonsense day in and day out. i like it here and even catch myself wondering what it would be like to live here with a real job under real israeli citizenship. i will never look israeli, nor will i act like one, but maybe living and working here is my future. the possibility is small because i have a job in la waiting for me, but it is always an option.

i am lucky to have such a fantastic place to rely upon when i need an escape from america or i insight into myself. i have traveled here seven times since i was 17 with a variety of agendas and experiences. i have hiked, prayed, partied, argued, learned, and cried here, but never have i seriously wondered how israel would influence my future. after a year i know i won't want to leave, but the question is whether i will make myself get on the plane. will i find it necessary to return to la to work and establish a career instead of living here. both would be great, but one might be greater.

of course it is a transition from boulder. i am living in the most fought over city in the world after spending four years in a bubble. i had the time of my life in college: i met my best friends, intellectually explored and questioned everything, and built the self confidence that gave me the strength to change. i deeply miss my best friends and my family, but i know the distance is a good thing. i need to grow and mature on my own without nordstrom/la luna/tri-delta impacting my decisions.

this year is going to be great, and once i find a permanent place to live i know i will feel more settled. we are coming upon the most important holidays of the jewish calendar and i am so excited to experience them in the place where it all began. shanah tovah and a happy new year to all i love. i think about the people in my life more now than ever and i wish you a healthy and prosperous 5770.

i refuse to do the cliche yom kippur apology on my blog because it is impersonal, but know that if i wronged you it is probably coming. also i hate when people say 'may you be sealed in the book of life' because hopefully you already are.

weezy f baby please say the baby, and dont forget to lick the people you love like lollipops.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

the next few days

i was in class today from 7am until 3:30pm. intense? yes. confusing and boring? 100% yes. i really miss boulder and its 50 minute classes with its large campus and diverse population. i am one of the youngest people in the school not studying to become a rabbi, which makes me feel even more awkward because i do not know nearly as much as them. actually i probably could kick their asses in any seinfeld or weezy trivia, but as far as talmud goes, im fucked.

jerusalem is of course great. crowded, loud, (sometimes) dirty, but great. i feel really comfortable and at home here which is slightly worrisome because i have a job waiting at sony music when i return. maybe i would be happier staying in israel, land of sweaty jews and tired tourists, than hanging out with rappers. but, as for now, i am here and really stoked about the year. i plan on going to greece and italy and croatia and egypt and any other country that will have me assuming i meet someone/people fantastic enough to travel with me.

i wish i had something funny to say about lil wayne or soldiers or even ti but i can't think of anything right now. poor showing.

love from the 052-

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

blog 1-first days

this is awkward. i created this blog because i wanted to share my experience in israel but i am staring at this screen with insecurity looming over me. personal writing isnt really my thing so i will try my best to be witty and honest. i mean i can write a killer argument paper as to why the palestinians should shut up about the 'occupation,' or why death row inmates should not be executed, but personal stuff is different. so here is my best shot to provide some insight into my experiences thus far in jerusalem.

i spent two and a half hours opening an israeli bank account yesterday. of course the language barrier was a problem, but the concept of a line or even sitting quietly was completely foreign to israelis. i already knew this from observation at bars and stores, but i assumed being in a formal business establishment would have some influence. i was wrong. i speak hebrew pretty well, but listening to three different elderly israeli women arguing over who is next in line and why that person cut completely intimidated me. it was confusing and awkward. then the cab driver kept complaining about traffic. i said thanks and got out three blocks early.

hot israeli soldiers everywhere. beautiful yeshiva men everywhere. there are now gap, rolex, billabong, and north face stores in jerusalem, and i cannot, for one second, escape flo rida's 'fire burnin.' weezy will come soon enough, if not at the clubs then from the giant boom box i will carry on my shoulder like mc hammer did in the 90s. i move into my apartment tomorrow and plan on getting some common israeli decorations, like a tapestry or an olive tree for my living room. just kidding.

this year should be spectacular, and hopefully i will fly out to the states when my older brother and his wife have their baby in february. i miss you all and wonder why i cant post pictures on this blog. or maybe i can, who knows.

ps-if you are in colorado and reading this, f**k em up f**k em up GO CU!!!