These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Archive: March 2012

Week 27: Purim

Posted on March 12, 2012 by Derek Kwait

[Note: By request of the powers that be, all names in this blog post have been changed to protect the innocent.] It’s never easy to decide what you want to be for Purim. This year especially, limited funds combined with the sense of competition that comes from being surrounded by extremely clever people all day Continue Reading »

Week 26: Making a Lasting Impression

Posted on March 4, 2012 by Derek Kwait

When I woke up to a snowstorm this morning, I was so happy I could dance. It wasn’t just snow, it was big-flaked, sticky snow, the kind you could make snowballs out of were there enough of it, and it looked for all the world like there would be before too long. I grabbed my Continue Reading »

Week 25: Topsy-Turvy

Posted on February 25, 2012 by Derek Kwait

(X-posted from my home blog, Yinzer in Yerushalayim) There is a Jewish saying that when the month of Adar enters, joy increases, and another that when Adar comes, the world stands on its head. Officially, Rosh Chodesh Adar was Thursday, but the preceding week gave it a running start.   The first day of Women Continue Reading »

Week 24: More Leftovers

Posted on February 19, 2012 by Derek Kwait

(Mostly X-posted from my home blog, Yinzer in Yerushalayim) * For Tuesday’s group lecture, Robby Berman, head of the Halakhic Organ Donor Society came to give a riveting, inspiring, infuriating talk. I’ll sum it up in brief: There is no valid Jewish (or non-Jewish) reason to not save lives by being an organ donor. If Continue Reading »

Week 23: Planting Seeds

Posted on February 12, 2012 by Derek Kwait

(X-posted from my home blog, Yinzer in Yerushalayim) Some of my fondest Jewish childhood memories are of Tu B’Shvat. Every year in Sunday School, we at Beth Israel Center threw a huge seder, with tens of species of exotic and familiar fruits, and a student-made Hagadda. Every year I looked forward to watching the grape Continue Reading »

The Frustrations of Being an American Rabbi…

Posted on February 10, 2012 by Derek Kwait

As I was browsing through my hard drive yesterday I rediscovered this dramatic monologue I wrote for my Playwriting class in college. Here it is with slight emendations, I hope you enjoy it. (I apologize for the weird spacing, I don’t know why it’s like that, it’s not intentional.) (A rabbi’s office. The wall is Continue Reading »

Week 22: Aramaic, Women, Meditation, and Other Foreign Languages

Posted on February 4, 2012 by Derek Kwait

(X-posted from my home blog, Yinzer in Yerushalayim) I decided to challenge myself this semester, to fully take advantage of my time here by trying new Jewish things and getting outside my comfort zones. Since every subject of Torah has its own special jargon, world view, sources, legends, authorities, inside jokes, the result has been Continue Reading »

Week 21: Head of the Month

Posted on January 27, 2012 by Derek Kwait

(X-posted from my home blog, Yinzer in Yerushalayim) Despite popular belief, the Creation narrative in the Bible does not depict creatio ex nihilo, a creation of something out of nothing, or יש מאין (yeish mayain), as we say in Hebrew. In fact, as even the most cursory glance at Genesis 1 will tell you, before Continue Reading »

Week 20: The Arava Tiyyul

Posted on January 21, 2012 by Derek Kwait

(X-posted from my home blog, Yinzer in Yerushalayim) Tuesday through Thursday those of us who didn’t go on the annual Poland trip went on a tiyyul to the Arava. The Arava is a huge rift valley south of the Dead Sea split between Israel and Jordan. Similar to the Negev tiyyul, our primary activities on Continue Reading »

Week 19: Tastes of Home

Posted on January 16, 2012 by Derek Kwait

(X-posted from my home blog, Yinzer in Yerushalayim) As I end my first semester in Israel, I am surrounded by reminders of where I come from and how I got here. It started last Thursday night, when I made halushki, a Central/Eastern European dish popular in Western Pennsylvania, at my friend מיכאל’s (pronounced “Mee-kha-el”) apartment Continue Reading »

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