These and Those

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

A Shabbat to remember

Posted on November 3, 2012 by Andrea Wiese

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Last night, I had 30 women studying at Pardes over to my house for Shabbat. I was really worried about inviting so many people, but I just couldn’t only invite some, as I really love every woman at Pardes and really wanted to have a beautiful experience in my home.

Seeing that it was going to be such a safe space, I told myself that I was going to lead Kiddush, which I did for the very first time! I had my best friend, Hannah, stand next to me for support, and help, and it was amazing. The “L’chaim” of only women’s voices was beautiful. And singing zimrot, (songs) was also so much fun and women who may have been shy in another setting, were just stunning. Everyone was glowing and I was so happy that everything worked out!

Today at lunch, I went to Suzanne and Max Singer’s home. They were hosting a Shabbat Connections meal and I was lucky enough to be invited. There were two students from HUC Rabbinical School, a young woman who is 23 but already a lawyer in Israel, her boyfriend who builds websites (he is making Alex’s website) and another man who teaches literature to Palestinians in East Jerusalem. (He is the only Jewish person on the school’s faculty.) Besides the fact that Suzanne and Max are so interesting themselves, it was an amazing group. Lunch went so long in conversation and it felt like we had just arrived.  Everyone had such beautiful stories and wonderful future goals.

This video was made about Alex’s life and about the book that was complied with his letters and drawings.

I’m in the middle of the book now and I understand that Alex died, but I am falling in love with him, his ideas, beliefs, actions, hopes, and struggles. At the same time I am going through a mourning process because I know that he is no longer here, but to me, I just met him, and l’m losing him at the same time. Every time I pick up the book, it comes with tears.

Being in Suzanne and Max’s home today, being surrounded with Alex’s drawings and pictures, and also their love and openness, was beautiful, but difficult. I was near tears a few times in their home, trying to think of other things, but my thoughts quickly coming back to Alex.

I know that Alex and his family have affected my life. I always find it interesting when things are introduced into someone’s life. Why did I find Alex’s book now and not last year? How did I end up at Pardes when I was 26? Why do certain people come in and out of our lives when they do…etc.

Obviously there aren’t answers. But I am grateful nonetheless.