These and Those

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

Being Cool and Staying in School!

Posted on October 10, 2012 by Heather Kantrowitz

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Originally posted on Sept. 19:

Hello friends and family!! I’ve finally started school, and it’s been keeping me so busy I haven’t had time to update my blog. So, here’s the past two weeks in a nutshell: 1)SO MUCH LEARNING 2)SO MANY NEW FRIENDS!

School: It’s been a combination of challenging and rewarding so far. I finally switched my classes around so that I’m happy with my schedule. I’m taking a class on Genesis, the “Megillot” (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther), one morning of Mishna (Jewish Oral Law), Turning Points in Modern Jewish History, a “Parshat HaShavua” (Torah portion of the week) class which is ALL IN HEBREW, AHHHH!, a Rabbinic Thought class, and a Teaching Prayer class. I’m also taking a class on Trope (how to chant the Torah), a Chasidut class, and a class about “Neviim Rishonim” (First Prophets – Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings). Needless to say, I am busy and exhausted and my brain hurts after a long day (sometimes 8:30am-9pm) but it’s been lots of fun so far. As everyone keeps saying, “all beginnings are hard,” but I’m really enjoying myself so far.

Friends and other adventures: We had a Shabbaton (weekend-long retreat) for the whole school and I really bonded with a lot of people over the weekend. Everyone is so nice and so welcoming, and I’m having so much fun. I’ve really been enjoying getting to explore Jerusalem the past few weeks. The Ben Yehuda Street area has TONS to do – bars, shops, frozen yogurt… the essentials. It’s about a 15-minute bus ride from where I live and there’s always a new friend who wants to go hang out down there. There’s also a great street close to where I live, about a 5-10 minute walk, which is a fun place to go and obviously much closer to home. For Shabbat and holidays I’ve been getting to go to lots of different friends’ houses for meals and go to lots of different styles of services, which has been fun.

Sukkot is coming up, which means a nice long break from school. Originally, I was planning on traveling with a few other girls and hoping to get a last-minute deal to Turkey, Spain, Italy, or Greece, but we can’t seem to find anything cheap enough πŸ™ so I think I may end up going to this festival in the desert for a few days just to get out of Jerusalem for a bit. I’m sure whatever I end up doing, I’ll have a good time πŸ™‚

Miss y’all so so much, and I’m really wishing I could be with everyone at Doak this weekend to watch the Noles dominate Clemson… but I do know that this is right where I’m supposed to be for the next year!! Wishing everyone a Happy New Year, and GO FSU!!!!