This blog is about my school, the purpose and the aim of my sojourn in Kookooland (for English speakers, the title of my blog is zizilend meaning kookooland). Pardes (meaning “orchard”) is a yeshiva (Hebrew school) where Jews of all backgrounds and affiliations can study their religion, at any level. In this yeshiva, boys and girls study together. (This is extraordinary since traditionally, yeshivas were only for boys). Here there are boys who do not wear a kippah and girls who do. The leadership is Modern Orthodox. The teachers (mostly Americans) are generally consciously liberal and open-minded. Before the year started, I thought that in the breaks between classes, my future classmates would jump up on the desks and perform their feelings in a live version of High School Musical. Later I found out that I was wrong. My Zak Efrons would improvise songs from the bottoms of their hearts during class. Though I was right about the jumping on the desks.
They do not give you candy for going davening (prayer) and do not look down on you if you do not daven
You can be anybody coming from anywhere, the most important thing is that you want to study. Continue reading →
Ez a bejegyzés az iskolámról, az egy éves zizilendi tartózkodásom okáról és céljáról szól.
A Pardes (a szó jelentése citrus- vagy gyümölcsliget) egy olyan jesiva (héber hittudományi iskola), ahol bármilyen háttérrel rendelkezők, bármilyen irányzathoz tartozók tanulhatnak zsidóságot, bármilyen szinten. Ebben a jesivában fiúk és lányok együtt tanulnak. (Gy. k.: ez egészen rendkívüli, mert a jesiva egy olyan intézmény eredetileg, ahol kizárólag fiúk tanulnak.) Itt vannak fiúk, akik nem hordanak kipát és vannak lányok akik igen. Modern ortodox a vezetés, a tanárok általában rendkívül tudatos liberális és szabadelvű gondolkodók. És amerikaiak. Mielőtt belevágtam volna ebbe a nagy kalandba, azt gondoltam, mivel a suli amcsi, tuti lesznek majd, akik a szünetben feltérdelnek a padra és elénekelik az érzéseiket mint a Highschool musicalben. Aztán rá kellett jönnöm, hogy rosszul gondoltam. Itt a Zak Efronok az órán imprózzák el dalban, mi ül a szívük mélyén. A padra térdelés stimmelt.
With the tenth of February just around the corner, it’s hard to believe that I’ve been in Israel for a month already. I have big plans for my time abroad, and while I’ve mostly been happily consumed with Jewish studies at Pardes, I feel like there’s still just so much for me to accomplish and experience in the short months that I have here this time around. Either time really does fly by too quickly when you’re enjoying your life, or I’m just not taking the initiative to make it all happen in the allotted time that I have to be a Jerusalemite, until that distant, undetermined date of aliyah arrives. More than likely, it’s a bit of both.
Now that I’ve returned to Jerusalem, several of the things that I had planned to do or decisions I’d planned to finalize have crept up on me and now stare me in the face as they remain unresolved. Moving abroad for five months takes some serious planning, and hopefully I’ve learned a thing or two from my previous trips abroad, like how to not run out of money; turns out, you need the stupid stuff to live on. For me, most planning involves crossing things off of lists that were hastily made in a late night panic after unsettling nightmares that remind me that things need to get done–things to shop for, things to not forget to pack, and things to take care of before leaving the country and find you should have done too late, such as notifying your bank that you are leaving the country, and will use the ATM while you’re gone, so please, please, please, don’t Continue reading →
Originally hailing from Boston, Marty Flashner has a wife and three kids, a law degree, an MBA, and worked for almost thirty-three years with Ernst & Young, one of the largest professional service firms in the world, including running the firm’s tax practice in Connecticut for the last ten years. Yet, for all this career success, Marty now wants nothing more than to leave an impact in his local Jewish community.
He characterizes his early experiences with Judaism as “kind-of mixed.” In third-grade, he rebelled and stopped going to Hebrew school, thus ending his formal Jewish training in childhood. “It was actually much later in life that I really started reading the Chumash and studying it in a more rigorous way,” he said. This study drove a desire to become more involved in his Jewish community, so he began volunteering for a number of different Jewish charities, including his temple, the UJA Federation of Greenwich, CT, and even Continue reading →
In Parshat Bo we are given the ﬁrst Mitzvah from G-d. The mitzvah of being aware and sanctifying time with Rosh Chodesh.
“This month shall be to you the head of the months;
to you it shall be the first of the months of the year”.
While reading BO I tried to think about if I was a slave and generations before me were also slaves, how would I react to this mitzvah? It is a foreign concept for a slave to want to sanctify time. Time is not a concept that slaves are aware of or have any power over. It is scary to think of the responsibility in having to plan your time wisely all of a sudden. Then I thought, G-d like a good parental ﬁgure, had the Jews play an active role in their change, so they felt the personal responsibility to keep it up. They had to take an active role in making their new schedule as a free people. The Jews are given this command and then given the physical task of the pascal lamb. Continue reading →
This is a poem inspired by what I’ve
been learning in Daniel Roth’s
Chumash / Mediation class. I read it
on our last day of class this semester.
(a prose poem)
Isaac have I loved
for he has filled my days with laughter
and through him God heard my cry
giving me a son
in my image
strong, free, fierce as a ram
my true progeny.
Older, darker, different
you orchestrated all our childhood games
I was happy then, to play along-
but no more!
Our family needs a new leader now
and I am the chosen one,
there can be no other-
even if you are my brother.
While you were growing up
I was shielding you from the harsh desert sun
I protected you from our father’s bouts of madness
I saw myself as a second dad to you;
And now that you are grown, you
don’t need me anymore.
I’m just your brother from another
life, when your life wasn’t yet your own.
Go in peace, my child.
May God be there when we meet again.
It’s been a long, dry spell in this blog, its onset corresponding somewhat ironically with the start of Jerusalem’s rainy season. The rainy season began with a clap of thunder and a few minutes of soft rain. I heard the thunder and didn’t quite believe it. Ran out to the merpeset (balcony) and felt the rain on my face! Everywhere around me, on other balconies, at open windows, and in the street, people stopped, marveled, and smiled! Here’s the rain, a necessary arrival after Israel’s dry, hot summer.
The new rain closely followed the start of the fall semester at Pardes Institute, where I am studying. Since then, Continue reading →
This week we are starting the sefer (book) of Shemot (Exodus), which literally means ‘names’. The weekly parasha is also called Shemot. I mention this because the first name that comes to my mind when I read this parasha is ‘Isra Yaghoubi’ (Year ’08-’09, Fellows ’09-’10). She was my first Chumashhavruta, and she left me with many clever Torah insights and lots of fond memories. This dvar Torah is l’zchutah (for her merit).
The section of Parshat Shemot that I’d like to focus on is at the beginning of Perek Bet (Chapter two) of Sefer Shemot:
An integral part of R. Daniel Roth’s חוּמָשׁ class (this year’s first installment of the Peace and Conflict track) is the summaries that students are asked to create at the end of a unit. Rabbi Roth gives free creative reign to his students to use whatever methods speak to them most—written mediation notes, art work, essays, etc.—to understand the conflict from multiple perspectives. This is often achieved by speaking directly through the key actors in a given unit. Below is one such summary from a second year PEP student who seeks to understand the main narratives in the familial conflict in פרשת נח based upon the insights of the commentators (Jubilees, Philo, Targumim, Baruch, Targum Neophyti, בראשית רבה, מדרש תנחומא, בבלי סנהדרין, רש”י, ספורנו, ראב”ע, רמב”ן, רד”ק, Cassuto, Gunkel, Armstrong). Continue reading →