These and Those

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

Two shabbatot

Posted on January 5, 2010 by Katie

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I would like to share a unique shabbat experience I  had a couple of weeks ago. It was on a small religious yeshuv (town/gated community) called Hoshaya in the North of Israel. I went with my boyfriend to stay with one of his friends from Hebrew Universtiy who is studying archeaology with him. We had an amazing weekend of seeing various archaelogical sites around the area. The first was Sha’ar Hagolan which is a prehistorical archaelogical site that was found when they began to build a kibbutz there in the 1930s. They believe it was one of the first places that transitioned from a hunter gather society to an agricultural society. Since we were the only people to come to the museum that day, we got a personal tour from an old and slightly crochety kibbutz member who toured us around the basic tools, pottery shards and cone-head looking sculptures they found. On Shabbat day we walked for about an hour to Tzippori which was on the hill adjacent to her yishuv. Tzippori was a bustling town around the time of the Romans and many famous jews lived there included Rabbi Judah the Prince who complied the Mishna. Tzippori itself was amazing but it was more fun walking to and from her village through an olive grove and enjoying the beautiful view knowing that what I am studying in class was written in this place.

To top off the weekend, her family only eats raw food and so I got exposed to the raw food culture in Israel. They have bread only once a week so they can say the blessing over it on shabbat. They will heat food to a maximum of 45 degrees celsius and are total vegans. Despite the restrictions, it was suprisingly delicous food. What I could not get used to was the fact that they do not drink during their meals but only have tea afterwards. I have never met Orthodox Jews who were vegans before and it inspired me to know that people are really concerned with what they eat and to know that the “funkier” food movement I have seen in the US have made it here. It was also the first weekend since I’ve been here that was conducted entirely in Hebrew. It gave me a great chance to practice my Hebrew and positive reinforcement that I do indeed speak this language. More importantly the whole shabbat grounded me in the fact that I am in Israel for the year, and not just at Pardes and I hope that I can continue to remember that for the rest of the time that I am here.