Thursday, January 28, 2010

Slow Tuesday

1. Office wireless is back! That means that even with my busted (work) computer, I still I have a reason to come in to the building!

2. So it's not just me: "Srugim" is a cultural phenomenon. (I don't love the article, but any press is good press...Right?)

3. Huge interest in ASB (Alternative Spring Break). Anyone want to meet me in New Orleans?

4. It was freezing went I went running this morning. Like, gloves cold. Made me feel right at home.

5. The "Passport to Israel" committee would like to make masks of organic kitty litter, instead of Dead Sea mud. Umm, what?

6. They have a point:

7. Exciting travel plans are in the works. I'll keep you posted...

Shall I Put it in the Landfill?

1. Well, this is cool. I don't believe in iPhones, but this nearly changed my mind.

2. Cool fact about Washington University in St. Louis: Greta told me today that all waste receptacles are marked either "Recycling" or "Landfill." Way to rock the guilt trip, Wash U.

3. Chevruta (partnered learning) with a student. It was great.

4. For the record, Seffi is in Madonna di Campiglio. Which looks like this. Jealous? Me too.

5. Being the last one at the office makes any day feel more productive.

6. Made pad thai for dinner. I love tofu.

7. Wait. The Krembo is an international confection? I think my head just exploded.

Pancakes on the Bar

1. I was supposed to have brunch with students, but one had a conflict and had to cancel. I, however, still wanted a pancake from the amazing place we were supposed to go (Yes, one pancake. They are HUGE.). So I went, and since I was alone, they seated me at the bar. Pancakes on the bar at 2 in the afternoon? Okay, I'll go with it.

2. Sunday was absurdly productive...

3. ...until I accidentally took a 3 hour nap.

4. Somehow I forgot to include a victory from Friday on that day's list: I made a pull-apart challah! Not that it was complicated, it was just different and fun. It looked like this:

5. Also for Shabbat: the return of Friday flowers!

6. I roasted a squash for the first time, and made soup from it. Great culinary success.

7. This is why I must always carry my camera: The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile was wandering around Gainesville today. Why? Unclear. I don't ask questions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Belated Weekend

1. We began davening (reciting the morning prayers) outside on the patio. It was a gorgeous day.

2. Fun Torah reading - I love it when they leave Egypt!

3. Some Ramah alums came out for services. So good to see them.

4. After lunch, some students came back to my apartment to play Bananagrams. That game is genius. Seriously.

5. Went hunting for a particular Birthright monologue to show a student, and instead found this:

Sap Central, but I kind of like the end.

6. I also found this gem, from our current Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Way to go, Kumar.

7. After Shabbat, I received a frantic call from Sarit, who wondered if I could remember her ringtone from our year on Nativ (Which, for the record, was 5 years ago. So no, I couldn't remember it.)

Not to worry: the crisis was averted when Sarit called back an hour later, singing, "do do dodo checheche..." repeatedly. Thank goodness.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Shabbat Sha-party?

1. Had a lovely coffee date with one of my Birthright students.

2. We've turned Challah for Hunger into Challah for Haiti for the foreseeable future, and I got to visit the Challah sellers for the first time. They did a great job, and it was so interesting to watch the responses from people on campus.

3. One of my Birthright students organized a reunion Shabbat dinner party. It was very well-attended, and a lot of fun.

4. ...Plus, there were bagels (she said she had to - "they're Jew food!").

5. I was concerned about how to get to and from the downtown location of the party - until a group students offered to walk me!

6. At one point, there was a giant platter of cookies. Until a, umm... compromised student tried to take one. Then there was a giant platter...and a cascade of cookies to the floor. Hysterical to watch.

7. And then a student proclaimed his undying love for me. All in all, I'd say it was a good night.

Not in Kansas Anymore

1. Old news by now, but still so funny:

2. Even funnier? That this guy saw it coming (if you've been to Ramah or in USY, you have definitely seen this bit performed live):

3. There's a sale on flights to Orlando! Quick, everyone make plans to come visit me.

Don't all jump at once...

4. I'm not sure who I feel worse for: the state of Massachusetts, or Scott Brown's daughters:

5. Tornado watch in the 'ville. Just call me Dorothy.

6. Wandering through websites about Venice while talking weekend plans with Seffi, I stumbled upon this fine establishment. Oh, the memories.

7. My experiment to make our family favorite applesauce chocolate chip cupcakes healthier was not a total failure. It was not a total success, either. I will persevere.

Endless Workweek

1. I fully support the dubious logic seen here.

2. Got a Gchat update from Sefster in Italia. Good to know you're alive, kid (and eating lots of pizza).

3. Shout out to the artist formerly known as Bondo, who not only correctly noted that I mispelled אבעבועת, but also provided a thorough explanation of said word in this comment. Thanks, Eric!

4. Matzah ball soup. Sometimes, it's good to work in the same building as the only Kosher establishment in town.

5. A little bit of glad-handing with a community bigwig: definitely not my forte, so it was nice to learn from the best.

6. Enthusiasm for ASB (alternative spring break). Now I just have to get them to actually apply.

7. Somehow, I have completely ceased to watch "Gossip Girl." I am not at all interested in sitting through the episodes, I just want to know the storylines. Luckily, tonight I discovered that a (male, rather hippieish) student is obsessed, and convinced him to give me the 5 minute summary. Now it's just like I saw the entire 3rd season.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Wedding and Some Editing

1. Way to go, Meryl. Nice shoutout for Partners in Health (the only moment of the Golden Globes I saw, and have now seen approximately 8,000 times - apparently lots of people I know like Partners in Health too).

2. My cousin Ilana got married! In London, so I could not attend. But I can look at pictures, and enjoy seeing just how gorgeous and happy she and Simon looked. For example:
Okay, it's not one of the smiley-est ones. But I like it.

3. Passport to Israel planning meeting. The Birthright alums are planning it entirely themselves!

4. The bookstore down the block from me is having a sale. Well really, it's going out of business, but that doesn't sound as positive. Anyway, I stopped in and bought some excellent birthday cards (among other things).

5. Thank goodness for Israelis (I'm sure everyone has seen this by now. However, I saw it on Tuesday, hence it belongs on Tuesday's list):

6. The least coordinated woman I have ever seen stood in front of me in hip hop today. More power to her for sticking with it, in spite of her total inability to follow the instructions.

7. Got to look over not one but TWO friends' essays tonight. I know, I'm a glutton for punishment. I can't help it.

Autotune Can Be Useful

1. No work. I knew I had strongly positive feelings about civil rights.

2. Sleeping in.

3. Had a nice run.

4. Constant Contact - the bane of my professional existence - was rather painless.

5. Chevruta with one of my students. So nice.

6. "Praying With Lior" is now on Netflix. And not only that, but it can be watched instantly on the computer. So unexpected, but it made my (spiritual) day.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Long Weekend

Really? No comments on the peace plant? I thought that was a pretty impressive comeback.

1. Brunch with some Birthrighters.

2. Avigail came to the 'ville! (...and brought Kevin...which directly led to my blitzkrieg attempt to become Kevin's favorite of Avigail's friends.) As a result, I spent a wonderful afternoon and evening with one of my favorite families here.

3. I think my favorite thing about Kevin is that he understands that palm trees belong solely in vacation locales. Most people around here think that palm trees are normal vegetation. They are wrong.

4. At Casa Oren, I was mistaken for Avigail's sister. Why does everyone think that all redheads look alike? I promise, we don't.

5. ...and then we saw "Up in the Air." Unsatisfying, but in a good way.

6. ...and THEN Kevin learned how to use chopsticks. Hilarious video to follow.

7. If there is such a thing as Purim presents, will someone please get me one of these?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dream a Little (Absurdist) Dream

This is a boring one. I apologize in advance.

1. Florida is crazy. When I left the apartment this morning, it smelled like summer rain.

2. Good turnout this morning.

3. I learned a new Hebrew word from the Torah reading. And by learned, I mean read but have not yet bothered to look up. אבבועות, anyone?

4. Played with Zoe and Shai.

5. Took a loooong nap.

6. Had a CRAZY dream, in which a former camper and I (and possibly some old USY staff?) were cast members on Gossip Girl (alongside the actual cast members)...which was being filmed in Jerusalem. Anyone care to interpret?

7. I would like to move here. Tomorrow, if possible.

Snap, Crackle, Pop...Fluff?

1. Cold snap officially over. It's January, but it feels like spring. Confusing.

2. Made it home with ample time before Shabbat (ample in comparison to last semester. I'm working on it.).

3. Even had enough time to make Rice Krispies Treats for the first time (I had the oddest craving all week long. I finally caved.).

4. Spoke to my youngest brother on the phone. Suddenly realized that 10 years old is pretty grown up.

5. Did the Shabbat Intro at work. It went ok (which is to say, 3 zillion times better than anticipated).

6. Birthright kids came to Shabbat!

7. Sat with 1 1/2 of my favorite couples at dinner. Great company, great conversation.

Free Will Moving Toward or Away From a Purpose

1. Quick, before the cold snap ends - I have been LOVING this week's weather.

2. When I was home for the weekend between Israel and Gville, my mom offered to send me off with a freezer pack and some kosher cheese. I thought she was nuts. Now I'm just reveling in the expanded dairy section of my fridge. Thanks, Em.

3. Dear Chai Tea,
I love you (especially when it's cold enough in Gville to drink you).

4. Purim planning meeting!

5. Made lunch the night before. I don't know why this has only occurred to me now. Saved so much time in the morning.

6. Watched "The Answer Man" on Netflix (membership to which has taught me that lots and lots of movies get made - with well-known actors - that most of the public never, ever sees). Really good, I highly recommend it. (Today's post title comes from one of its pivotal scenes.)

7. Best quote of the movie (and my day):
"I love kids. They're short, highly emotional people who don't know anything. They rely on their creativity and imagination to get by in the world. A world, I might add, filled with giants. Amazing feat."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

100 Days of Minutiae

1. Still not my idea of a zionist hero, but at least she's better than Bar Rafaeli (who faked a marriage to get out of the army...).

2. Scroll alllll the way to the bottom. Read. Consider. I think it's bunk. You?

3. Coffee with a student. Always makes the day better.

4. Forgot to post this when I first found it. Luckily, I just found it again. SO adorable:

5. Had to read through many (many many) grad student bios today for work (looking for contacts in various departments). Kind of made me want to go back to school...eventually...

6. Kind of silly, but if it keeps the Kosher products coming, I'm all in.

7. And last but not least, today, (Wednesday) was my hundredth post! My, how time flies.
(Thanks to Avishai for pointing it out.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Na Na Na Na Everyday

1. The resilience of my peace lily (a housewarming present from my maternal grandmother). When I left for break, I resigned myself to its certain demise. I got back to my apartment Sunday night to find this:

Sad times for the lily. But a mere 36 hours later (after some enthusiastic watering and many mumbled prayers), it looked like this:

Way to go, peace plant!

2. Nice work, Google. Score one for freedom of speech (and thought...movement...lots of basic human rights that the Chinese currently lack, really.).

3. New season of Srugim!! (Thanks for the link, Shoshie Sprague.) If you aren't yet watching this addictive soap opera, start now (This site has the first season, with Hebrew subtitles. If you don't speak Hebrew, we can work out a tutoring situation.).

4. On my list of responsibilities for the new semester: more time on campus. Yay!

5. Work PC is still busted. On the up side, I now know more about Java than I ever thought possible. Computers are fascinating.

6. Lunch with a student.

7. Fairly uneventful (read: negative) day...and then I went to hip hop class for the first time. Instant stress relief, plus I learned that I have not been paying close enough attention to the radio over the past 6 months - there are some solid candidates for new guilty pleasure song out there.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back to Work

1. Hey look! Ariel Irwin is famous! (...and one of the most fun people to live with, ever. But that part I already knew.)

2. My work computer is completely, totally busted. The reasons are unclear, but to be honest having a forced less-than-productive day definitely cushioned my re-entry.

3. Good to see our nation's pop stars still use their lyrical abilities for the good of our youth:

4. Cooking for myself again.

5. ...from a fully stocked kitchen. Thanks, Publix.

6. If IgniteLearning had been around when I was in elementary school, I would probably be much better at math:

(Thanks for the link, Alli Rose.)

7. Getting enough sleep again. I could get used to this.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"No Man is an Island..."

1. Arrived at the airport with time to spare. I don't do that. It was kind of nice.

2. Flight was an hour late...but I still made the shuttle!

3. It appears John Donne is not an owner of Runways Transportation:

4. Behold, the benefits of living in the model unit - upgrades!

I came home to new countertops (gorgeous, right?), new microwave, new dishwasher (so...theoretically...if I knew how to use one...I could use my dishwasher), and new bathroom sinks!

5. There was NOTHING in my kitchen. I made soup from an old yam and an onion. I win.

6. Movie from Netflix in my mailbox. I'm beginning to contemplate the merits of membership...anyone have good movie suggestions to make me reconsider?

7. Asleep way before midnight. That's two victories in one day.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is There a Hebrew Word for Jetlag?

Shab was uneventful, and devoted primarily to changing my internal time zone. Still...

1. Lots of sleep.

2. Lots of New York Times.

3. Naptime on the blue couch.

4. Congrats to Rabbi Daniel Mayer Horwitz (Sarit's dad), on his appointment to the top 50 players in the International Correspondence Chess Federation. If, like me, you have no idea what correspondence chess is, click here.

5. New phone!

6. CSI with Ema. Odd how such a mild-mannered woman can stand the sight of so much gore. I always close my eyes.

7. Packed before bed - at a reasonable hour.

Bless Those Swiss...

1. Woke up to see these mountains out the airplane window:
Dan tells me they aren't the Alps...regardless, they were beautiful.

2. Deplaned directly to a shuttle bus on the tarmac. Now I can say I've been outside in Switzerland.

3. Against all odds, I made the second flight...thanks to the boisterous and inebriated Birthright group making the same connection.

4. Somehow, the plane wasn't full, and I had a row all to myself. Ahhh...

5. Swissair was showing Mulan! It's always the right time to hear that terrific soundtrack (Fun fact: Mulan is the only Disney movie which I was never afraid of as a child.)

6. And then they served us ice cream. Oh, how I love the Swiss.

7. Shab in the Jerz. Oh hey there, family.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Peace Out, Holy City

1. Touring the Old City with Yael (and her entire class from Bar Ilan)

2. Let's talk for a minute about Hashgacha Pratit (The Jewish concept of Individual Providence). Today, I went to pick up rugelach from Marizpan in the shuk, only to realize (back at Seffi's room) that I had left them somewhere in the middle of my errands...but tracing my steps to the stand where I bought lunch brought me close enough to downtown to warrant a trip to the camping store for a cheap duffel...where I realized my credit card was missing from my wallet...and jogged my memory enough to head straight to Japanika...where the card had been waiting patiently for me in the locked cash register since I left it there on Monday night. Thank goodness I forgot the Marzipan!

3. Got back from Japanika to see...Greta. She caught an early ride up the Jerusalem. Thanks for the surprise, GB!

4. Together, we went AdAm (and Chana's) wedding. Mazel tov! ...and since I'm taller than 92.3% of Jewish females, I could even see the simcha as it unfolded.

5. Post-chuppah, I met Seffi to walk over to our family friends, Alexis and Charlie. Aren't their sons adorable?

6. ...and then it was off to the 3rd and final stop on our restaurant tour, a (laaaate) dinner at Olive. Yum.

7. Back to Beit Nativ, for a photo shoot and some West Wing with Shosh and Arielle, until my sherut to the airport arrived (at 2 a.m. - thanks for staying up, guys!).

See you in the States!

Happy Birthday, Tan-Lan

1. The New York Times has officially sanctioned it: go out and have fun TODAY!

2. I've walked by the section of Aza where it meets HaRav Herzog a million times over the last few years. How is it possible that I've never before noticed this:

What is it made of? Why is it there? Lots of questions, no answers, and one really fantastic piece of art.

3. Tanni hit double digits! Happy birthday, kiddo!

4. Sefster and I found the BEST present for him ever.

5. ...and for Ema, who didn't have a birthday, but IS a wonderful mother. (Not that exact one, but similar.)

6. Seffi and I continued our tour of J-town restaurants at Caffit, and brought along some special guest stars: Alex, Raffi, and Gabe Cohen.

I took an MLK picture which came out terribly...and I still sort of love it:

7. My post-dinner evening: Krembos and Shoshmosh and skyping with Steve (Mr. Brownstein, Shosh's dad).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Perpetual Nomad

1. Woke up at the crack of dawn to pack up my things and Zehava's!

2. In Israel, one must always be grateful for rain. Today I was grateful both for precipitation, and for being indoors during the downpour.

3. Don't worry. All alarms raised were false. My Israeli bank account does not, in fact, have a negative balance. Score.

4. Kubbeh adventure with Shosh. I have never been so full in my entire life.

5. Just wandering. It's enough.

6. Dinner at Zehava's apartment with friends. Yum.

7. Note to self: never let future offspring create similar footage when they arrive at Jewish milestones:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The March on Jerusalem

1. Editing Seffi's paper. It's perverse how much I love to edit.

2. Learning with Rachie at Harova. I hope you weren't too bored!

3. Sitting with both Shteiner Shsisters at Shiur Klali.

4. I had some trouble with the class, but at the end there was quite the memorable quote: "Unity is not uniformity. Unity cannot be tested unless there is diversity."

5. Sushi with Seffi! Part 1 of our whirlwind Israeli restaurant tour.

6. After dinner, Seffi and I met up with Raffi and Alex, as well as some other friends of Seffi's from high school.

(Get it? MLK Jr.! ...Seffi is "Jr.")

7. ...and then Elan (one of Seffi's friends from high school) asked the harpist in the middle of Ben Yehuda if he could play. And he did.

Freedom is a Sta-ate of Mind

1. Getting enough sleep for the first time in 12 days.

2. Going for a two hour walk around Jerusalem.

3.Stopping in at the shuk to spend 10 shekel on a week's worth of breakfast fruit.

4. I went to the NBA finals! ...Nativ Basketball Association, that is.

5. Maoz for dinner. Yum.

6. Srugim date with Shosh. Sorry to have made your head hurt, but isn't it a fun show?

7. Sleepover at Shosh's!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Sibling Shabbaton

1. For shul this morning, Seffi and I held an alternative meditative service. In other words, we had an impassioned argument near the Dan Panorama about where to daven, and then went back to Beit Nativ to hang out. Lovely.

2. Lunch at Sylvie's!

3. Followed by hanging out with Bentzi...sorry we were was late.

4. Ripps/Kogen sibling havdalah. Read: we ran around looking for maariv for 20 minutes, gave up, sang both "Shavua Tov" and "No Smoking," and called it a new week.

5. Erev Nativ 24 with Shosh, Sarit, Avi, and Akiva.

6. Yael and David!

7. Hanging out with Seffi's friends. It's great to get a taste of his life here.

Welcome to the Pirates' Cove

1. I have the best brother EVER. Case in point: He walked over a mile at 2 am on New Years' to pick me up once my students left for the airport. I love you, kid.

2. I met the Josh the roommatey! ...and their room is as messy in real life as it appears to be in photographs.

3. Shuk time. Even with Taglit insanity on top of Friday craziness, it was still fun.

4. Kabbalat Shabbat at Shira Chadasha.

5. Rachel Immerman, it was absolutely lovely to see you.

6. You too, Shteins.

7. Dinner at Michael and Adina's. Great friends, good food, passionate conversation. Thanks for having me (and brother and roommatey)!

Johnnie Walker Reads Tehillim

1. The Tayelet, and the googly-eyed faces my students made as they looked out over the entire city for the first time.

2. Taking the students to Yemin Moshe, and sharing a bit of my personal family history.

3. Free lunch. I'm going to miss that Birthright staff badge.

4. All of the "Aha" moments shared in our closure session. Particularly the student who said, "My aha moment was when I bought a chai today. Before this trip, I never would have worn something like that around campus. But now, it's like...I'm proud to be Jewish."

5. Karaoke at our closing banquet! For the record, I am not a good understudy for LeAnn Rimes.

6. Presents from my students. They got me a beautiful siddur and book of tehillim...and my co-staff a bottle of whiskey. Go figure.

7. Happy New Year!

Yom Yerushalayim

1. Har Herzl. Definitely an "aha" moment for more than one of my students.

2. Israeli Hygiene.
For 1/3 of the program run by the soldiers in our group, the students had to pass around a bar of chocolate, sharing increasingly smaller bites. There is absolutely no way they would have agreed to play that game pre-trip. I love Israel.

3. For another 1/3 of the program, we learned a game called "HaTzayad" (The Hunter). Much hilarity ensued:

4. Dinner with Sarit and Shosh!

5. Running into Ilan and Daniel Marans, Joe Lustig, and Greg Berkowitz. Winter break in Israel is a site to behold.

6. Classic stereotypical Birthright quote: "I've been to the Western Wall, I've done my Israeli shopping...all I have left to do is get drunk and hook up with you!"

Sometimes, I fear for the Jewish future.

7. The bus ride home from our Jerusalem night out. Think karaoke and much Gator cheering - cohesive groups are a joy to staff.

The Ice Block Cometh

1. Kikar Rabin and Hechal Ha'atzmaut - two places I had actually never been before. Can you tell I'm not a Tel Aviv person?

2. There is a man currently encased in a block of ice in the middle of Kikar Rabin. He's trying to spend 65 hours there, in order to break a world record. We live in quite a world.

3. There are people who we meet for just a moment, but who still leave a strong impression. Today my students volunteered at the Jaffa Institute, and I met a boy named Amir. I won't soon forget him.

4. Watching my students experience pop rocks chocolate for the first time. I wish I had taken pictures of the, "Yum, chocolate...wait! What's happening??" face.

5. Arriving in Jerusalem. Finally, I'm home.

6. Seffi!

7. ...and as a bonus, MLK (Raffi Mark, Alex Lass, Seffi Kogen)!

(Sorry, Raf. I forgot to take out the camera when you showed up.)


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