These and Those

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

[Staff Guest Post] A Cast, An Urn and A Community

Posted on January 28, 2014 by Hirsch Fishman

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by Debra Weiner, Pardes Staff

I have lived in Israel for over 20 year yet had never visited Turkey – only 2 hours away yet worlds apart. When I heard that a group of students would be traveling to Turkey with Rabbi Levi Cooper, I jumped at the chance to travel with them. I had the privilege to work closely with Levi and an incredible team of students in planning this first ever “mishlachat” from Pardes. It seemed as though we were planning this trip forever, from endless emails to planning sessions and phone calls. Suddenly, it was Wednesday, a day before our departure.

u1r1nWe wanted to present the community that was hosting us with a gift and they asked for Shabbat urns, a basic item that we take for granted but cannot be purchased in Turkey.

My sister lent me a huge duffle bag that would fit an urn and some food supplies purchased, with the help of Chef David Berman. I had started packing Tuesday night, only to discover that the duffle bag was torn. So Wednesday morning I headed for work, with the duffle bag, planning to drop it off at the local shoemaker on the way. It was the perfect day to walk, sunny and warm, the only vestige left of the snow storm in Jerusalem were the tree branches still piled on the sidewalks. I walked gingerly trying to step over branches. The next thing I knew I was on the ground, having tripped on a branch. I got up, brushed myself off and continued toward the shoemaker. I dropped off the dufflebag, and as I left I realized that my left arm just wasn’t right. I made my way to the nearest TEREM ambulatory care clinic and low and behold found myself with my left arm in a cast and I am LEFT HANDED!!!

Now what! I had been eating, drinking and dreaming about this trip for months. Could I go, and if I did go would I be a burden to the group?

Team Turkey rallied around and encouraged me to go. Levi informed the community in Turkey that I had broken my arm. They rearranged housing to make it as comfortable for me as possible. I had the privilege to stay with the Rabbi of the community, Rav Naffi Haleva and family, who were so warm and hospitable. Following introductions,I learned that Rav Naffi received his smicha (ordination) at Yeshiva University in New York and had studied with my sister’s brother in law, Rabbi David Miller!

We are all part of a community that gives and also receives. The Pardes community and the Turkey community welcomed me, took care of me and made sure that I was ok. In return I along with a remarkable group were able to give in return with the Shabbat urns and with our trademark Pardes learning and chevruta. So what is the connection between a cast, an urn and a community- PARDES!

Team Turkey 2014

Team Turkey 2014