May 7, 2006


Last week was Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAztmaut. Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers followed by Independence Day. I think it is especially fitting that one follows the other. This year on Yom Aztmaut I was at a party I casually asked the father-in-law of a friend of mine if he had fought in any of the wars here in Israel. "Oh sure. I was in an armour training camp in the Negev in 1956. I was rushed down to be in a tank in the war in Sinai. Then I was in Sinai again in 1967 for the Six Day War. Then I was in Gaza for the War of Attrition [an undeclared war that involved a series of very bloody scirmishes between the Six Day War and theYom Kippur War]. Then I was in the Sinai again with Arik [Ariel Sharon] for the Yom Kippur War. I crossed the Suez Canal in a tank. Then again I was in Lebanon [in 1983]. That's when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure." Ask a stupid question...

Later that evening I was talking to a little girl about fireworks when the topic of conversation switched to planets. It was then that I realized that after speaking Hebrew at varying levels of fluency for almost 15 years, I never once asked if the names of the planets are the same in Hebrew as they are in English. They are not. Well, the first 6 planets are different. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are the same.
Hama= Mercury
Noga= Venus
Kadoor HaAretz= Earth
Maadim= Mars
Tzedek= Jupiter
Shabtai= Saturn
I can't believe I never thought to ask... The girl was about 6 years old and she knew all the names.

This past weekend, I went on a Shabbaton with the yeshiva I'm studying at. It was really beautiful. Lots of fun. We did however discuss that the end of the year is coming. I don't want this time in Israel to end. I realized that one reason why is that I love being a joker. I have felt free to be a class clown here, unlike when I'm in law school where I think I would not be as well received. For example: During a late night organized activity where refreshments were served, I found a fifth of Johnnie Walker that was empty. I also found a bottle of apple juice. Needless to say, when someone sees you chugging an entire fifith of whiskey, you get some incredulous looks. I milked that gag for over a day. It was a gas to hear people asking me teh next day if I was feeling alright. They thought I might have a hangover...

Finally, This past shabbat, I gave my first Dvar Torah. It was one of my goals this year to feel comfortable enough in preparing a davr in order to actaully present one. It wasn't perfect, but as a first go, I was very satisfied. Hopefully I will have the motivation to continue to do them back in Los Angeles.

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