Monday, December 24, 2007

return (again)

Israel tomorrow.

I'm excited, but I'm not so excited. I mean, wasn't I just there yesterday?
But, sof-sof, it is good to return. Because the longer we are away from something the more we forget that which made it special.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

on hanukkah and other subjects

The 59U went by as I was walking to the bus stop at Hillman and I slowed down, dejected at the prospect (we seem to write this often, but do we ever speak it-- "the prospect of x..."?) of waiting for an inordinately long amount of time (all time seems inordinately long when waiting) for another Murray Ave-bus to appear. But, then, right then, the 61C appeared. What hope! I alternately cursed and prayed for the light to change so that I could make it across the street to board before the bus pulled away. And I did. It was a big double-bus with a teacup in the middle. The woman in the aisle across from me was asleep, and there were two guys a few seats up talking to each other. They weren't sitting together, but were on opposite sides of the aisle, a seat back- meaning that one could have moved up a seat and they would have been closer. I found this very strange. They talked the whole way home, though I do not know on what because today, for the first time all year, I listened to music on the bus. I was so proud of myself for abstaining and told myself that I enjoyed the complete bus experience and world experience (of sound!), but today seemed so much calmer without bus talk.

I had been wanting to tell a 61C story for a long time; there are so many; it has been pulling at my heart; I did not know what else to write. I can tell more. I can write a book. I could draw pictures, too, though they do not shout as much as words.

The apartment is sooo clean! Don't worry, dad, I am doing a great job of studying for finals. But oh how clean it is! Quite enthralling. enthralling. Proper lighting, accent lighting, has a great affect. As does sweeping and straightening.

Hume, everyone's favorites commercialist modernist political theorist, often wrote essays titled "on x." I borrow the idea from him. Do not believe he ever wrote on Hanukkah. I confused Rousseau and Hobbes on my political theory final. Their considerations of man in the state of nature, at least. Haval haval haval.

Tonight is a summer night. Mad, I know! But true how true! Still in the 60s in Pittsburgh and it is 2am. I live for nights like this. Other things as well, but how powerful of a sentence that is!, even if on first read we know it cannot be true. It sounds like it should be in a movie. Or maybe it is.

Hanukkah. Beautiful. Two memories: leaning over menorah on dining room table at home and getting hair caught on fire (did it actually catch fire? or did mom just shout to be careful?) and making shapes with the melted pool of wax. Here, in this place where I live, it is almost more Jewish than Jerusalem. Only five businesses on Murray Ave had any sign of Christmas, and one was Starbucks. So few homes have lights, which is empowering and sad because lights are so beautiful.

A lit menorah in the window of Gino's Barber Shop.

Eight night of Hanukkah in our apartment. My 20-shek menorah from Mr. Zols on the left.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


"A Case of You" by Joni Mitchell is one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

and also

This is what I saw yesterday upon* leaving my History seminar and walking to Starbucks to meet Sam. This is what I see everyday. oh, the beauty.

Also, I was gchatting with my madrich (the high schooler that assists in my class Sunday mornings) and alladasudden he asks how "my boy stuff" is. awk awk. I state, as has been proven, that there are no good men. He gets genuinely upset on my behalf, writing that
"ur nice to me and ur fun from what i see so u should be able to find someone... and when u find that guy u will honestly be so happy."
Yes this is true but I don't need/want/argh relationship advice/questions/remorse from a high schooler! Or anyone, really.

Can't these things just happen?!

oh, and it snowed today. That made me really happy.**

Anyways. Really going to work on that paper now.

*I write upon but I would never say it. awkward?
** I know you were all wondering whether today's snow made me happy, so I felt I should clarify.

quiet town

listen to: Quiet Town, Josh Rouse

As it turns out,
I want to open a kosher cafe/bakery/bookstore.

1. I had a meeting with a career counselor today.
Scary things, careers. I've been a student for so impossibly long I fear I won't know how to operate outside of a classroom. Also, I study history. And I don't want to go to law school (yet). Or any graduate school (yet). And I know many things that I like to do but none specifically that I want to do. Hence, career counselor.

2. So Strong says
In my Strong Interest Inventory I scored highest in Social (helpful, collaborative, cooperative), next highest in Enterprising (fast paced, assertive, influential) and third highest in Artistic (creative, flexible, self-expressive).

My top five interest areas are teaching and education, religion and spirituality, social sciences, visual arts and design, and management.

I should find the following careers appealing: college instructor, school counselor, operations manager, paralegal, foreign language teacher, HR manager, social science teacher, special ed teacher, community service director, top executive.

I like to work and learn by: interacting with others, learning new ideas to apply to abstract problems, assuming leadership and directing others, playing it safe and making decisions carefully, and independently- responsible for my own work and achievements.

I would be a horrible: athletic trainer, medical illustrator, physicist. (sorry, dad.)

3. I'll Briggs your Myers
My reported type is: ESTJ. Extraversion, ~Sensing, Thinking, Judging.

My most attractive job is in the protective services, closely followed by work in production and manufacturing. ESTJs frequently work as: managers in small business or sales, purchasing agent, teacher (technical), factory supervisor, public service worker, social service worker.

4. I can see clearly now (the rain is gone)
It is clear that my ideal job is owning/working in a cafe/bakery/bookstore.

5. Questions/considerations/statements
Simple Treat, Pittsburgh's last remaining kosher bakery, is closing because the owner is retiring.
The community* needs a kosher bakery.
I like bakeries, I like to bake, I like decorating, I like being busy, I like talking to people, I like feeding people.
I should open a new kosher bakery.
Coffee is important. I like coffee. I love cafes. Cafes are wonderful and worldly.
I should make it a kosher bakery cafe.
Books are life. Books will look good on the walls and add an academic feel. Tmol Shilshom is successful.
It will be a kosher bakery-cafe-bookstore.
Dependent on space (preferably two Murray-Ave storefronts), the pick-up bakery-counter will be in the front left, with cafe and seating to the right and extending back. Natural woods and warm colors will be used.
The name I am not sure of. If a porch space were involved, it would be called The Front Porch. Possibly Punctuation, though that is more cafe and less bakery. Possibly MaTov, meaning "what is good" and alliterizing with the Hebrew word for sweet. Possibly Rebecca's. Possibly Rugelach.
I know nothing about business or operating a business. I have no capital.
I would be very happy to be doing this.
If I did this, I could not move (soon) to Israel.

listen to: All My Days, Alexi Murdoch

I should write my paper.

* it seems I have elected myself to speak for the needs of "the community"

Sunday, December 02, 2007

if I hide myself wherever I go

a most fitting playlist:

For You, Barenaked Ladies
Journey to Eretz Yisrael, Shlomo Gronich and the Sheba Choir
Comfortable, John Mayer
Bright Smile, Josh Ritter
At This Point in My Life, Tracy Chapman
אודי, בין השמשות
Under the Weather, KT Tunstall
Come and Find Me, Josh Ritter
סיגפו, בית הבובות

though I'm here in this far-off place

"I read by candlelight at night now. It's just enough to see but not enough to startle or keep me awake. I've been choosing pocket-sized books and Plays as they're easier to stuff in my suit rather than have to carry a bag. But I'm finding great joy in the moving in and out of stories and characters more quickly. Though I always wish I were as brave or as wild or lost as everyone I read about. I want to explore every place and live in every era. Sometimes this delusion gets me down about the state of things, vaguely, the world. But candlelight inventory keeps me in check before bed." Jason Mraz, from his fb blog
(but it could be me)

The day is almost over and I am starting to breathe. I lost and regained my cell phone. But (as I keep telling Kate and she keeps telling me I already told her) I don't lose things. Physical things, at least.

But now it is raining (we love rain when proper footgear is involved) and I am having soup and Tracy Chapman is on and I am starting to breathe.

Friday, November 30, 2007

best soup ever

This really is the best soup ever. I've made it for two Shabbat dinners and my friends keep on asking me to give them the recipe and telling me how poor their imitations of it are.

Cook, share, be happy.

Lentil Barley Soup
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, 1/4 inch dice
2 cloves fresh garlic, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 stalks celery, 1/4 inch dice
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes (we've also used peeled+chopped fresh)
1 (10-oz) box frozen chopped spinach (also used chopped fresh)
1/2 cup dried red lentils
1/2 cup dried green lentils (I just use one color because Pittsburgh doesn't like options)
1/4 cup dried pearl barley
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock, more for thinning (we once used a boxed chicken broth and another time the stock powder thing)
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

- heat oil in large pot on medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 3-4 minutes, until shiny and translucent.
- Add carrots, celery, oregano, basil, thyme. Stir + cook 3 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and spinach; stir.
- Add red lentils, green lentils, and barley. Add stock.
- Cover pot and simmer over low heat 45 minutes. Thin with extra stock as needed.
(I like to let it sit overnight so that it really gets a great flavor)


Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I think, nay, I have decided, that what I need are more people who are real.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

by the way

In two days, a few hours after the bus ride home with Eva listening to her iPod and musing together, and a few more hours after I've turned in my term paper, my dad will sit me down, probably in the living room. I'll take the blue fleece and wrap its soft warmth around me, my legs tucked under me and knees sticking out, sinking into the couch. Dad will sit, or more so lay with the pretense of sitting, on the blue arm chair with his feet (sneakers still on, but to be untied and taken off in the course of the conversation/lecture/discussion) pressing into the leather ottoman.

Dad will turn to me and pelt me with a series of questions (I know you will, don't deny it, daddy!): What do you want to do when you graduate? Where will you live? Where will you work? How will you get a job? How will you pay off student loans? What are your plans for the next five years? Next ten? How will you find a husband?

I know he will ask me all of these questions because he tried to once in September, over the phone, and I said that this (this = Rebecca's life) would be better discussed in person. When would that be? he asked. I told him I assumed that Thanksgiving would be the next time I would see him. Well, then, he said.

So that'll be, like I wrote, in two days.

These are clearly important questions. Clearly clearly. I know this because: I think so and am therefore trying not to think about them that much; everyone I meet asks me them; everyone whom I go to for Shabbat meals asks; and my dad would not sit me down in the living room in such a manner for unimportant questions. Important questions include: did I like his song about fried bananas, why I do not let him eat more uncooked chocolate chip cookie dough (pre-adding chocolate chips), etc. :). Being clearly important questions, they all deserve serious consideration and thought and discussion, which, I understand, is what certain people blog about. I, however, am a quirky individual, and prefer to diplomatically skirt around all clearly important questions I do not definitively know the answer to. (I mean, if I knew how I were going to "find a husband"- dad's phrasing- I would have done so already, no?)

But it is indeed this question that has been at the forefront of my life lately, so I shall make a few diplomatic skirts around it in a pretense of not at all answering it.

First, an excerpt from Kate's blog on the topic:

I think it's important I say something about basherts. All my friends, probably because we're graduating college this semester/year and are all single, etc., seem to be obsessed with the idea of meeting our "soulmates."

For clarification, I'll say here that I don't believe that there is one person special and intended for another person. However, I think that to find someone who you can be compatible long-term with is difficult and perhaps even the work of years. I use the term "bashert" mostly in jest, to mean someone who I would consider dating. And dating I suppose with a view to marriage, meaning I could in some sense see myself long-term with the person.

I was telling Wendy today that I don't think that people should draw up a set-in-stone list of qualities for their "basherts," because someone might come along who makes you see things differently, who doesn't fit the mold and who actually turns out to be right for you.

Maybe I'm too naive, maybe people don't come along and surprise you. Maybe I'll end up all alone and have to marry a snake...

No comments on Kate's post because her thoughts, on this topic, are my thoughts.

And an excerpt from quirkyalone:

For the quirkyalone, there is no patience for dating just for the sake of not being alone. We want a miracle. Out of millions, we have to find the one who will understand.

Better to be untethered and open to possibility: living for the exhilaration of meeting someone new, of not knowing what the night will bring. We quirkyalones seek momentous meetings.

Right? This speaks to me. This is me. So it is fine I am here now, where I am. I'm just waiting for the right one. Or, until Dad sits me down in two days and asks me what I plan to do about this.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

west of here

I dreamed I was coloring, then my alarm went off and I colored outside the lines.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)


You're not Northern, Southern, or Western, you're just plain -American-. Your national identity is more important than your local identity, because you don't really have a local identity. You might be from the region in that map, which is defined by this kind of accent, but you could easily not be. Or maybe you just moved around a lot growing up.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

Friday, November 02, 2007

יש לי סיפור קטן על ישראל

יש לי סיפור קטן על ישראל.

בארצות הברית, כאשר אמבולנס נוסע ברחוב, כולם אומרים "אוו וה ווי, מה לעשות?! מה קורה?!" וכל המכוניות מפסיקות עד האמבולנסס עובר.

לא כזה בישראל. בישראל, אף אחד לא עושה כלום כאשר אמבולנס נוסע ברחוב. המכוניות לא מפסיקות, הן לא נוסעות לאט, כלום.

בישראל, האנשים מרגישים, "מה, יש לך בעיות? אתה חושב שיש לך בעיות? אני אגיד לך..."

I have a small story on Israel.

In America, when an ambulance drives down the street, everyone says, “Oy vay voy! What’s happened? What can I do?” and all the cars stop and pull aside until the ambulance passes.

It is not like this in Israel. In Israel, no one does anything when an ambulance drives by. The cars don’t stop, don’t slow down, nothing.

It’s like in Israel, the people feel, “What, you’ve got problems? You think you’ve got problems? I’ll tell you what problems are…”

Monday, October 29, 2007

all gone to look for america

As a little girl in Norway I often, too often, heard my mother say to my little brother and myself, 'If you do not behave properly, we will just have to send you to America!' This threat would bring us to line. During the long summer holidays with my kinfolks on grandmother's mountain farm our fears of America would be re-inforced. Mother's younger sister, Tomine, would walk around ghost-like, never speaking to anyone. She was very pretty, but she made us all sad.

'America did that to Tomine,' master Rina used to say. She was the one who had brought Tomine back to Norway with her.

She was only 17 when she emigrated, gay and strong--the things I could tell you. Melancholia the doctors called it. But we all know it was America that killed her.

שאלות שלי שהן לא כל כך שאלות

it is 39 degrees fahrenheit in pittsburgh
where the sidewalks are covered with leaves
that are slippery when it rains
make me happy and clear.

my toes are cold but i cannot sleep with socks
confine and forbid and my toes prefer freedom
, locke argues, is man's right to live in security with his property.

b'shaim hashem
is the song of the moment
magazine is a bit pretentious
is a word that we pretend we know the meaning of

i want to write a post on israeli ambulances
remind me of hannah
is the name i give to females in my hebrew homework
intimidates and affronts with no concern for personal space
is also pretentious.

i cannot write like ee cummings ( )

—tommorow is our permanent address
and there they'll scarcely find us(if they do,
we'll move away still further:into now
fear that i am giving what i should be taking
accounts, taking back, taking life, taking away, take
it from me.

the girl i tutor does not understand
hebrew question words
in hebrew have greater value in the language of my brain than those in english
lit 0580 intro to shakespeare next term
s you use to define me, you define me? in america i have become defined and identified and delineated.

three things that frustrate
---no answer
---lousy moral/civic arguments
---lack of morality

(רק צל של מה שרציתי לומר)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Quest

A video taken over the summer of Young Cousin Sean's Quest to Find a Friend at the Jersey Shore.

Cute, eh?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

loud prints

had some friends over for shabbat dinner for parshat lech lecha. told the story of the prince who thought he was a rooster (or a chicken, depending on your hashkafa). served homemade challah, vegetable soup, israeli salad, lettuce salad, long grain rice, ratatouille, and chicken. teambuilder- how everyone knows me/favorite rebecca story. (feel free to share if were unable to make the meal for reasons of being in different countries, eg samoa, israel.) was really nice to host. my method of introducing people to each other: "this is t. he is canadian. t, this is s, she has been to canada." it has been pretty successful, though the people may talk about how crazy the introduction was than the actual subject that brought them together.

here is the table, set in the sunroom.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

but he talks like a gentleman

monday, 8:32pm, leaving hillman library with friend f (non-Jew, friends with many Jews), a nice-looking man in khakis and red button-down shirt approaches us with palm cards.

man: I would like to give you some information on this event.
(I see the palm cards. they have a cross on them.)
me: oh, no, thank you.
man: But it's actually about Jesus.
me: I know.

(walking away)
f (loudly): what, you don't want to know about Jesus?
me: no, not really.
f: are you Jewish or something? (knowing very well I am Jewish.)
me: Pretty much.

(walk across Forbes Avenue. encounter ends.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

days like this

(days like this)

make me :) deep down.

the wind blows and we dress warmly and drink tea and cappuccinos and listen to yummy music and sit cozily and give warm hugs. the wind wakes me up and i smile and laugh.

this- the above- isn't exactly what I wanted to post yesterday, but I couldn't figure out how to post what I wanted to post but I still wanted to share the general idea so that is what came out. what I really want to figure out is how to upload just audio files - like this. any ideas?

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I started writing a recipe book during my long summer at home, during the endless meatless Nine Days. There are many meat recipes in the book. Friend A had a recipe book at Hebrew U she made with her mom, basically a photo album with the recipes written on index cards for viewing and sliding-out ease, arranged by food type. It was a good idea, so like other good ideas, I took it.

iHo slipped me some of her favorite recipes on white index cards, and rl shipped me some via email, and I copied many from my momma's cookbooks and the recipe card index I made her one year for Mother's Day. Fifth grade, I think. (Feel free to post your own recipes and I'll write them on the pack of multi-colored index cards I got from RiteAid to study for my Geology exams. do it!!)

I like recipes. (What a sentence, Rebecca. Really says a lot there. Phew. Better go take a five minute break to consider that before I keep reading.) They provide good combinations and fresh ingredients and ingredients I have never heard of or considered as ingrediable before. When I don't cook using recipes (meaning when I cook using just my mind) things happen. Things generally do happen, yes. So either I end up making delicious pasta primavara or I saute strawberries with zucchini and mushrooms. There are many ideas and recipes in my head waiting to get out and be made and sometimes they get made together in what in my head seems like a swell idea but on the plate not so much. So I occasionally progress from the strawberry/zucchini madness and look up a series of recipes online for the same dish- like mushroom barley soup- write out all of the elements I like, and piece together a new recipe from that.*

On Wednesday-- well, some background first. Life has been extremely hectic for the past four weeks because of all of the Jewish holidays- Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and most recently, Shmeni Atzeret and Simchat Torah. The holidays are great, to be sure, and I __ (connected?benefitted?felt?grew?), especially after spending last year in Israel and having time to digest and internalize all I learned there. All of the holidays (excepting Yom Kippur, which was over Shabbat) fell out Wednesday night- Thursday- Friday, leading right into Shabbat, Friday night-Saturday, thereby creating a "three-day yom tov," three days on which all of the laws regarding Shabbat (electricity, writing, etc) except cooking are in place. Meaning, synagogue every morning +, eating out for every lunch and dinner (for three days in a row, with yummy holiday meals at each gracious host, even this gets exhausting), and no class or doing school work of any manner. I missed my Thursday classes for three weeks, but I told the professors, and they, unlike Kate's evil Hebrew Scripture's prof, are really kind and understanding. This past week I had some midterms (though a few of my syllabi say there will be "two midterms" so I assume I'll be suffering again soon enough), with a test Wednesday in class and an essay due and a test scheduled for Thursday. I turned in the essay and took both tests Wednesday, and babysat in the morning, so when I got home my brain was pretty much absent. Hannah (roommate) and I had decided that we would have Shabbat lunch just by ourselves, and I elected myself to make some kind of side dish.

So, on Wednesday, an hour before the holiday started, I decided to make rl's "fake sesame thai noodles." We don't have any noodles, so I put some orzo on to boil (messing up the directions for that) and just tossed an unidentified amount of peanut butter with hot water and oil and other flavoring liquids I thought would go well. The peanut butter sauce covered the orzo by a three-to-one (whatever that means) ratio, but there was hope that "something" would happen in the fridge and it would better itself.

Hannah had made chicken salad for lunch, which was a good thing. We tried a spoonful of the orzo-peanut butter and then put it back in the fridge, to be improved upon.

Which brings me to now. I decided to tackle the thing (well, at least, avoid wasting a whole bowl of orzo and peanut butter) and sauteed some veggies and tossed them with some heated orzo/pb. Turned out pretty well. יש תקווה, יש תקווה.

So, סוף סוף, (finally), what I actually wanted to share was my trip to Phipps Botanical Gardens today with E. Dale Chihuly's glass exhibit grows between the plants and trees and butterflies there. I took a few pictures with the cell phone, which is a phone and therefore not the best camera, so do check out these websites for better images. (My favorite is the Float Boat.)

The glass is planted in the middle of the gardens, growing up from the soil, wrapping around plants and trees.

The echoes of the plant movements and color changes in the glass bring attention to the natural beauty of the plants themselves.

Standing on a bridge, looking down at a stream boarded with glass plants and green plants, the eyes focus in on the color and abnormal presence of the glass.

I wonder first what my world would be if this fantasy were real- if I could walk through a dark green forest and happen across beautiful fairy tale creations of bright yellows and blues and oranges growing from the ground.

Then I realize the glass draws in the eye. Our eyes focus on its colors and curves, and as we gaze we start to pick up on bends and hues and life of the green plants surrounding the glass, and slowly realize the beauty natural creations around the glass, which were really there all along.

It's like that catchy song from Love, Actually.

So what I am trying to say is that this is a really good eye-opening feet-tiring exhibit that you should see. Come to Pittsburgh. I'll make dinner (no experiments). Or if you're here, I'll go with you again. Life is good. Do the better things more than once.

(what a post this is! so varied in its form and function. not at all what I was expecting. and much longer too. the end attempts to be so...inspirational and wise and the beginning witty and clever. long night, folks. recipes and visits please.)

*itunes surprises me. sometimes, when on shuffle, I hear a song, and am like "woah! what a cool song! whose music is that?" then I realize it is mine and brush my shoulders off. A blues song- "Smokestack Lightnin'" by Howlin' Wolf just came on, and, well, my shoulder needed some brushing. (damn now I sound conceited. well, it is just a blog and I am projecting myself as clever etc etc...)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

על החיים

"They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."

Andy Warhol

Monday, September 24, 2007

lack of focus

leaning over my biopsych book and notes right now to type this. good sign, eh? i am v. bad at reading textbooks- especially science books- and listening to people lecture. my roommate gave me some silly putty so sometimes i play with that during class and it helps me focus, but otherwise i draw pictures and make lists and doodle.

this is my modern britain professor, dr white. he has a big flop of white hair. pretty perfect. he also has arms, though not in my sketch.

this is my political theory professor, dr whelan. he lectures with his tie tucked into his shirt and a big pocket protector in his pocket. i think it might actually just be a pencil case. he never takes his tie out.

i got a lunch bag! mom said i couldn't take tuna fish, etc to school because it would go bad after a few hours so i had to buy a bag. the store didn't sell ice packs ("seasonal item"), but they did have back-to-school lunch bags (for elementery schoolers) on clearance. only $1.72 for this beauty!

(look! i've read already ten pages in my book tonight!)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

desk lamps and green tea

I am very much in the mood for watching Jerry Maguire tonight. חבל (haval- too bad) that my roommates are no longer my roommates and their DVD's are no longer in the bedroom next door. But I have hours of reading and learning and memorizing to do* so God (or fortune, call it what you may) worked it all out.

* I often forget that being in college actually entails reading and taking exams and writing essays. The woman I babysit for told me that each three-credit course is equivalent to six hours of homework a week. Six hours a week! When do I spend six hours a week on all of my classes? Aye, there's the rub. Midterms next week. Three exams, two papers...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

yom kippur


that was intense.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

the ten days of posting

strange, eh? i'm working on the תשובה - teshuvah- repentence/return- part of it as well.
but god gives life and thus i live.

these pictures are of an afternoon.

beloved front porch- bench and facing chair.

notebook in the slated sun.

roses on the piano.

moses on the porch with the two tablets.

me with sleeping baby.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

open arms

these are things i see and things i live and these things make up my life (and make me happy too :) ) .

this is a bench at carneige mellon. eva and i walk around cmu sometimes and pretend we are smart and studious and go to school there. we also like the campus (an actual campus!? you mean a college can have its own campus?!). this is a nice bench. (a nice bench, rebecca? use your words, use your language! how is this bench nice? benches can't be nice! people are nice. benches are hard or well-placed or delightful. ok, well, this bench lifts up the corners of my mouth in a smile. tov?)

this is where i live. one of the many places, i guess. and i don't live on the river. i live- family home is- a block away from the left shoreline. this is the delaware river. new jersey on the right, pennsylvania on the left. taken when mom and i were driving home across the rickety bridge. sunset is mmm.

this is a bench, like the other, except i knew it first and it is closer to pitt so i love it more. it is part of the new (new? already three years old) schenley plaza where my friends and i lunch on mondays at noon and eva and i lay in the grass. lowercase lettering is greatly admired and loved.

this is the sunset from the columbus airport. my flight was delayed for five hours so i wandered around the terminal. the end was deserted so i hung out there and read and watched the sun set. two janitors came over and spent their break talking to me. the man sang gospel music- "wade in the water" - at my request.

this is the most beautiful and most favorite building of learning. the cathedral of learning. the words, the meaning of the words! a holy place of learning. in the commons room (favorite place to study sophomore year) a quote by robert bridges reads: "here is the eternal spring; for you the very stars of heaven are new."

view from forbes ave (cmu) down to the cathedral of learning lit by the setting sun.

(fall is my favorite season.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

fast car

this waiting and not knowing and apprehension is making me argh.*

explain yourself, life!

one way or the other or no way at all this hiatus is too much.

There are three things to do when the kettle boils. First, pay no attention to it, and so waste the energy. Second, clamp the lid so hard that there is an explosion. Third, invent a steam engine or make some tea.
Clarence R. Skinner
"Fashions in Revolution," March 1918

*college students have advanced abilities at expressing themselves.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

things I found in an old notebook

distracted notes I took during social theory class three years ago.

I see the things on my desk and I file them away into a drawer, out of my sight -- I get the emails and put them in the appropriate folder.
my organization is cluttered in itself.
I cannot clear my mind so instead I put away the laundry that has been piling on the purple chair.

just once--to talk to someone when the moment strikes.

when you are in jerusalem, when do you stop and sleep???

the dustiness of my room

how I avoid doing my work forever

excitement and smiles at connection between two people with the warm autumn air flowing between.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sunday, September 02, 2007

the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe

(on being back in pittsburgh, at school, after a year in israel.)

I feel like Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia. She steps into a wardrobe while playing Hide and Seek with her siblings and enters another world, where she has great adventures and meets wonderfully exciting creatures, to find her way back out of the wardrobe, back to the professor's house, to find that no time has passed, her England is still the same, her siblings are still the same, and only she has changed and experienced Narnia. And no matter how she tries to tell her brothers and sister about what she discovered, she cannot make it real for them. It existed for her, and the longer she is away from that wardrobe filled with fur coats leading to Narnia the greater the risk is for her, too, of forgetting or of disbelieving all that happened to her in that other world.

Change some of the pronouns and this story is me.

Monday, August 27, 2007

multiple choice

I woke up this morning

a) when the alarm clock went off
b) to the sound of someone blowing a shofar
c) naturally

Friday, August 24, 2007

Nice RAK, Pittsburgh

When I moved in on Sunday it was wicked rainy and tempers were high (as can be expected in a move-in in the pouring rain with a lot of things to transfer). My dad and I recruited one of the Chabad rabbi's sons to help us move things, which was helpful, until we attempted to move this huge overstuffed couch that is somehow in my possession. It wouldn't fit through the door of my apartment building, and my dad, rain-drenched and otherwise bursting, wanted me to give up and just donate the thing to Goodwill. I really liked the couch, but how does one say such to a father when can't push the thing into her apartment?

In the middle of making a decision as to what to do with the couch and midway through the door, a car stopped on the street and a man got out, strolling over to us and saying that it looked like we needed help. Clearly. He then took charge, have us move this way and that and take the feet off the couch and push it such a way up the stairs, and leading it all the way into the living room of my apartment.

My dad offered to pay him, but the man refused, bringing God and acts of goodwill up, and my dad said that God also created money so that we could thank people, and gave the man ten bucks.

Now I have a beautiful overstuffed couch in my living. It's uber comfortable, if you are interested in stopping by to try it out.

Nice Random Act of Kindness, Pittsburgh.

(If it weren't so hot here I would love you even more...)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

hardwood floors and arched doorways

The new apartment in Pittsburgh is amazing. Huge, beautiful, bright, clean, with hardwood floors and an arched doorway. And a sunroom!!! mmm.

This is a view of the sunroom! from the living room. The curtain I found in Israel at the thrift store on French Hill. It is huge wonderful orange British design. Thinking of flanking it with some sheer curtains.

This is the view of the living room from the sunroom!. The door leads to my bedroom (huge) and the doorway (arched!) to the washroom, kitchen, and roommate's bedroom. Still working on the layout a bit but the couch (free...) is uber comfortable. And I am borrowing someone's unprotected wireless. :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

inspiring movie moment

in Jerry Maguire, Jerry at the sports agents convention in Miami, frustrated and fed up with the direction the business is in, sits down (well, generally) and scrawls out his Mission Statement.

it begins:

It's 1 AM and this might be the bad pizza I had earlier talking, but I believe I have something to say. Or rather, I have something to say that I believe in. My father once said, "Get the bad news over with first. You be the one to say the tough stuff." Well, here goes. There is a cruel wind blowing through our business. We all feel it, and if we don't, perhaps we've forgotten how to feel. But here is the truth. We are less ourselves than we were when we started this organization.


We are losing our battle with all that is personal and real about our business. Every day I can look at a list of phone calls only partially returned. Driving home, I think of what was not accomplished, instead of what was accomplished. The gnawing feeling continues. That families are sitting waiting for a call from us, waiting to hear the word on a contract, or a General Manager's thoughts on an upcoming season. We are pushing numbers around, doing our best, but is there any real satisfaction in success without pride? Is there any real satisfaction in a success that exists only when we push the messiness of real human contact from our lives and minds? When we learn not to care enough about the very guy we promised the world to, just to get him to sign. Or to let it bother us that a hockey player's son is worried about his dad getting that fifth concussion.

There is a good bet that I will erase all of this from my laptop, and you will never read it. But if you are reading it, and you're reading it right now, it is only because I was unable to stop. I was unable to forget the quiet questions in the hallways, when some of you, usually the younger agents, or interns, asked me on the side: "How do you keep all these lives, all these clients, separated in your mind?"


Somehow all this has been bubbling up inside me. A man is the sum total of his experiences. And it is now that I am interested in shaping the experiences to come. What is the future of what we do? Give me a goal, and I will achieve it. That has been my secret design for most of my life. Perhaps you are the same. We're all goal-oriented, so I hereby present a goal.

How can we do something surprising, and memorable with our lives? How can we turn this job, in small but important ways, into a better representation of ourselves? Most of us would easily say that we are our jobs. That's obvious from the late hours we all keep. So then, it is bigger than work, isn't it? It is about us.

How do we wish to define our lives? So that when we are sixty, or seventy, or eighty and we're sinking down onto that cool floor of O'Hare airport, with playoff tickets in our pockets, perhaps we too can know that we led A Happy Life? Is it important to be a Person and not just a slave to the commerce of Professional Sport? Do we want to be Remembered?


I have never been a writer, but I can see how this great lost art will never truly die. Putting words to paper is a sacred thing. It's more than a phone conversation, it is a document. It is something you are putting on paper. The relationship between a phone call and a letter is the difference between a magazine and a phone book. One you leave on a plane, the other you save.

Let us start a revolution. Let us start a revolution that is not just about basketball shoes, or official licensed merchandise. I am prepared to die for something. I am prepared to live for our cause. The cause is caring about each other. The secret to this job is personal relationships.

other inspiring movie moments?
mayhaps something from in the face of evil?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

just on emails

how frustrating it is to have someone respond to an email I just sent them within twenty-four hours of the time I sent it, thereby demanding an equally fast response-to-response on my part that needs to be witty, engaging, and clever!
it takes time, people! I can't just bang this stuff out left and right.


me: X keeps on responding to my emails within a day
Kate: omg
me: so frustrating

only for the important ones do people wait forever to respond to (HAVAL! AVOID!)

me: no response yet from X. i sent the email almost two days ago already!!!
Kate: lameeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

define: google

Google, with apparent clairvoyance, has removed the Golan Heights from Israel and denoted it as Syrian territory in their maps.

Monday, July 30, 2007

listening to

yosef karduner, shir l'maalot. (a song of ascents.)

I lift my eyes to the mountains,
from whence will come my help?

there is a blind dog on my lap.

Friday, July 20, 2007


sometimes I forget that there has to be a world outside of the books I read.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Jews and Chinese Food, and Other Stories

Jews and Chinese Food
Today (tomorrow, actually, but we are American so we celebrate holidays a day before their actual date) is my bubby's 82nd birthday. We went out to eat, but, being who we are, had to drive 45 minutes to Cherry Hill, New Jersey* to eat at MAXIM'S glatt-kosher middle eastern restaurant, glorified and renowned by their weekly ads in The Jewish Exponent, Philadelphia's Jewish weekly. My mom was thrown by the Chinese-sounding man who answered the phone, but hey, this is America, anyone can answer a phone in a glatt-kosher middle eastern restaurant. My mom and I got to the restaurant first and were seated. We opened our menus and were shocked (shocked!) to find that
MAXIM'S glatt-kosher middle eastern restaurant was no longer MAXIM'S, having been bought out three weeks prior and recreated in the form of LIN'S glatt-kosher chinese food restaurant, now bringing the total number of kosher restaurants in the Philadelphia area to ~11, of those, ~4 Chinese places. Seems a little exorbitant. Dear readers, what is the attraction between Jews and Chinese food? Is it Newton's unstated fourth Law of Motion?

Other Stories
1. 'Twas just me and me mum for Shabbat. Was sad and quiet. No singing.

2. Finished Gaiman's American Gods. Really enjoyed it. He is mamesh smart. Reminiscent of Joyce and Joseph Campbell. Now working on Reading Lolita in Tehran but looking forward to going to the library.

3. a snippet of tonight's gmail-chat conversation with kate:

me: did you like the part about rachel? [in the last post]
Kate: LOL yes
me: it would be so perfect
Kate: omg that would be great
me: it's perfect! they're american- baseball is the american national pastime; and have both made aliyah!
Kate: he's canadian
me: OH.

4. Currently learning how to drive. Beware, people.

* not to be confused with French Hill (Jerusalem) or Squirrel Hill (Pittsburgh) or Thornhill (Toronto).

Friday, July 13, 2007

shabbat and baseball

I was worried that in coming back to America, Shabbat was going to be far less wonderful and shabbistic then in Israel, much like my general view of how life in America would be compared to life in Israel. I've learned that comparisons in this matter are worthless, not needed, and without contribution to my general well-being. (Which are basically three different ways of saying the same thing.) I've lost my focus of this thought* so shall move on.

Shabbat at home. Me and my parents.
On Friday my mom goes food shopping and gets the challah and then comes home and cooks it. We live about fifteen minutes driving from the nearest shul, so we stay at home. in the hour before shabbos starts I run around and put in the timers for the lights and tape the lights in the bathroom and make sure I have food and set the table. Before my mom and I light candles, I get changed and then we ask my dad to turn off the tv so we can light. My mom lights her big candlesticks and then I light my little candle dishes and we bless and hug. Then we sit down to dinner right away because we have no blech to keep the food warm. My dad ordered some NCSY bentchers from the ArtScroll catalog, and we open and sing Shalom Alechim. I sing the first part of Eshet Chayil (a woman of valor) aloud, and my dad reads it in English, pausing to analyze each verse and comment on how well it applies to my mother. It's really cute. Then my parents stand and bless me-- my mom's Hebrew is better than my dad's, so it sounds like a round when they do it-- and then they each kiss me and go back to their seats. I stand up and do Kiddush, the blessing over the wine, drink some, and pass the glass to my father. Then my dad and I get up to wash and he makes the blessing over the challah. Sometimes during the meal he'll tell stories about his grandfather, who fought with General Pershing against Pancho Villa and also was helped build the Lincoln Tunnel. When we finish eating, we bentch, saying the grace after meals. We do it all out loud. Then we try to sing some songs, but I am absolutely horribly tone deaf, my mom only remembers some songs from when she went to Camp Ramah when she was 13, and my dad didn't grow up Jewish so he has no memory to recall. We start thumbing through the pages of the NCSY bentcher, looking for songs we know or that my parents will be able to learn from me despite my lack of tune. I turn to "kol ha'olam," (all the world is a very narrow bridge), but my dad thinks that we should be able to know all of the songs and starts making up his own tune to the first one listed, "av harachamim." after a minute he gives up and consents to learn "evdu." When I try to teach my parents another song, my mom interrupts to tell me that I really should get voice lessons. (thanks ma.) My dad says, every week, that we need to make a CD with all of these shabbos songs so that we have a bigger repertoire for the next week. Finally giving up on singing, we retreat to different parts of the house and do our different things.

hm. I realized that I just about described the average Friday night happenings in a religious Jewish home, and therefore that this post may seem somewhat silly. But this is my house, you see! My house and my parents and my life and we are doing it together. We've done bits and pieces before, but never all this, and it is mamesh wonderful to be doing it all together with my parents.

(in other worlds)

My bubby called me a few weeks ago to tell me about an article she read in the local Trenton paper about Israel's new baseball league. It's a great thing, this Israel Baseball League. Interesting staff. The commissioner is the former American ambassador to Israel and Egypt, Daniel Kurtzer. Professor Andrew Zimbalist, the "pre-eminent sports economist in the United States" is on the Executive Board Committee, and Bud Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball, is on the Advisory Board. Besides boasting such a well-known staff, the League claims to be the "League-of-Choice for the premier international baseball player." Though the League focuses its recruitment efforts on Jewish ball players (players of "Jewish extraction"), men do not have to be Jewish to join up.

I enjoy attending baseball games and sitting in the stands and cheering on my team and always hoping that I would be chosen for the in-between-innings entertainment or that my seat number won a free car wash. However, these American games are lacking when it comes to inter-inning entertainment. My friend Rachel recently went to an IBL game at Kibbutz Gezer, near Laturn, and highly enjoyed that the 7th inning stretch was replaced by a 5th inning mincha break. I think I'll email Rachel's boyfriend and suggest that he take her to the IBL game with the "Wedding Day" theme, "
when the baseball field plays host to any couple that wants to get married and the league provides the rabbi, the chupah, the wine, the glass, even a piece of wedding cake to all fans in attendance, ending with a gala fireworks display – all free of charge to the lucky couples." I mean, poor students, free wedding...

* Listening to the Matt Nathanson free-at-noon concert on wxpn. He's pretty funny. I was going to go- have ticket and all- except life happened and Dad got sick and the dominoes fell. Matt Nathanson's new song, "Car Crash," sounds a bit like Snow Patrol's "Headlights on Dark Roads."
I like listening to people talk. When my computer worked and I used itunes, I downloaded the great speeches in history podcast and would listen to them while I wrote essays on the Rambam's view of prophecy and India-Israel foreign relations.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

these are the very words she uses to describe her life

on saturday I read The History of Love by nicole krauss. she is married to jonathan safran foer, author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated. this is too bad. for me, I mean. however, this does not discredit any of their works. if anything, they will now be read for pure literary merit. which they should be. all being very good books. one might even call them excellent.* nicole dedicates the book to her grandparents (who taught her "the opposite of disappearing") and "for jonathan, my life". pretty sweet. I suppose they get along well. for a dedication like that, they must. unless she is hiding something. but that is doubtful. I imagine them sitting in their new york apartment, a view overlooking central park or a river of some natural landscape, surrounded by books and bookshelves and a modern painting or two and low-lying (?) furniture. they cook for each other (after all, they are married.) and read their books to each other and comment and cross out but avoid the use of red pens because they are too harsh. but that's just me.

their writing styles are very similar. maybe it is those late night editing sessions or being surrounded by someone so much you start to think their thoughts or even their attraction for each other and their similarities that lead^ to love. their writing is refreshing. a new fiction. as claire messud of LA Weekly posits, "alternately delightful and hilarious and deeply affecting." elizabeth berg, author The Year of Pleasures, calls it "a work that captivates, challenges, and consoles, all at once." these and other verbose and adjective-heavy reviews can be found on the first six pages of nicole's book. but what nicole herself writes is better than even what the Cleveland Plain Dealer has to say on it. it's uplifting. a good story.

here is an excerpt, from page 72 , "the age of silence":

The first language humans had was gestures. There was nothing primitive about this language that flowed from people's hands, nothing we say not that could not be said in the endless array of movements possible with the fine bones of the fingers and wrists. The gestures were complex and subtle, involving a delicacy of motion that has since been lost completely.

During the Age of Silence, people communicated more, not less. Basic survival demanded that the hands were almost never still, and so it was only during sleep (and sometimes not even then) that people were not saying something or other. No distinction was made between gestures of language and the gestures of life. The labor of building a house, say, or preparing a meal was no less an expression than making the sign for I love you or I feel serious...
the day before I read The History of Love I read New Face in the Mirror by yael dayan, daughter of moshe dayan. it was waiting on my dresser when I came home. from my father, who goes to goodwills and looks in the books for things that he might be able to sell on ebay. I didn't like yael's book very much. it scared me and I did not know how to react or what to think. yesterday I read The Last American Man by elizabeth gilbert. she is a brilliant writer. she just wrote Eat, Pray, Love; though the book is very popular and loved and universally admired and therefore there were no copies on the library's shelves. so I got her older one instead. it is a book about america and dreams and values and tradition and how we live. elizabeth describes the life of eustace conway, a man who lives in a "traditional" manner on his 1,000 acre plot in the woods of north carolina. he promotes life like this, living in a traditional manner, making buildings from the woods around him, eating the animals he kills, thanking the animals for giving their lives to sustain his, and so on. it's interesting. eustace works to spread this message, to become a Man of Destiny, to tell americans that they need to give up their materialistic lives and return to the woods. but, I wonder, wouldn't this destroy the woods if everyone returned? population problems? eustace is extremely impressive for doing and carrying out to such an extent what he so believes in. I could not do it. live in the woods, working all day, as he does. I do not think so.

right now I am reading American Gods by neil gaiman. I do not know what to think so far. it is like a scary movie you have just started to watch but cannot stop because you need to know what happens.

please, dear readers, recommend me some books to read. I am home for a month with naught to do.

harold and maude is on. must go. happy independence, my dear america.

* there is a wicked storm out. sheets of rain. pounding pavement. streaks of lightening. thunder that shakes the window frames. the works. it's pretty frightening, actually. i wonder how my dad will make it home from work.**
** as anyone who's read the pennsylvania learner's permit handbook knows, one musn't drive in thundering downpours such as this, and certainly not in the first 10 minutes of one when the roads are slickest. one should pull over, preferably into a parking lot, turn on flashers, and wait it out.***
*** I just read the book. that's how I know. not that I memorize seemingly random yet important facts such as these and recite them ad hoc. I passed the exam. thanks for your support.****
**** ok, the thunder is getting very loud and close and long now. I blame it on the river. the river (the one washington crossed) is down the street. I suppose I should turn off the computer and light some candles and read. just in case. of a power outage, that is. not of a reader's knowledge championship.*****
***** five stars seems a bit excessive. too bad blogger doesn't have superscript. the storm ended. i mean, it's a week later, baruch hashem it ended. we lost power for a few hours. there was no flooding. now it is july 4. but blogger puts the date as to when the post was started, not posted. haval.
^ I'm not sure if this is the proper spelling of this word. this word (and others, like lie/lay, choose) confuse me tremendously. I'll leave it like this, without checking it, so you will see I have some imperfections and believe in my humanity.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

on returning home.

there is a blue ceramic vase on top of the smaller bookcase in my room. i made it during freshman orientation, at the free arts classes offered at the carnegie. it has traveled with me from school to home and back again, but has rarely been used for flowers. never at home, where there are other vases that are easier to wash. and school in pittsburgh was eons ago. there are no places to buy flowers in oakland.

in french hill, in the concrete plaza between the mister zol's food store and the bank, stand a few benches and a planted tree. on fridays they are joined by a french man in his 60s, wearing a wool golfing cap, a collared shirt and bow tie or vest, and jacket. he is surrounded by buckets of flowers. there are cheap carnations and roses (sure to lose petals that afternoon) for ten shekels. more colorful overflowing bouquets are marked at 25 or thirty shekels. the french man sells to everyone who walks by, overloaded with shabbat groceries or picking up challot from the neeman bakery. he tries speaking to me in french, then hebrew, then english. he waits while i fumble for a response in hebrew (refusing to speak in english and not knowing a word of french). he asks me about the week. seeing me hug and kiss a friend, he asks why i do not do the same for him. he tells me that my mother must have beautiful eyes, looking at mine. when i am away for a few shabbatot he asks me where i have been.

i buy my flowers, sometimes a bouquet or sometimes two different solids, pick up the weekend edition of the newspaper (both haaretz and the jerusalem post- heaven forbid i should miss an interesting story in one by only buying the other), and stumble back to the apartment before my arms become dislocated by the weight of the groceries. i trim the stems, de-leaf, and arrange in the kankan/vase i got from a small stand on a side street of the shuk, with the flower overflow delegated to a series of empty wine bottles.

my mother has a garden. she spends hours every weekend kneeling on her green garden pad, weeding and transferring and trimming. when she is done she calls me out to look at her work. in elementary school i used to bring my teachers flowers from my mother's garden, wrapping the stems in a wet paper towel and putting aluminum foil around that to keep the water in, before running off for the bus.

i do not know what i mean to say by all this. i made a vase once. it sits on a bookshelf, shrouded in the dust of disuse. there is a kind old french man who sold me flowers for shabbat. my mother has a garden, which we walk around to look at but do not often pick from.

i can write it all out. i can tell stories. i could probably make a picture book, but i am unable to write, to express, what is deepest felt.

my return has been easy. my parents take care of me, feed me, and give me yard work to do. everyone speaks english. the sign in the newark airport reads: "customer service is our top priority." people ask questions, commiserate, and talk about the sopranos. bathrooms have only one flush. white clouds dot the blue sky. the grass is shockingly green and requires a weekly mowing.

it has been too easy. it does not hurt enough. where are my tears, my disgust, my anguish, my yearning? it is as if life in america is too easy. too perfect? no, this is not it, nothing is perfect. i watched the news last night: america is not perfect. it is as if it is too simple to exist here.*

in israel things matter. really matter. the price of vegetables, the latest political move, the weather! every cloud, every clear blue day in israel is a miracle to be celebrated. the land. every inch of dirt (speck of dirt?) is treasured. shabbat. it all means more.

life means more.
and this is what i miss.

*for me, i mean. i do not generalize. i live in x, z has been my life, and y is how i feel.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

jerusalem (rav kook)

יש אבנים ויש אבנים
יש לבבות ויש לבבות
יש לבבות שהן אבנים
ויש אבנים שהן לבבות

there are stones and there are stones.
there are hearts and there are hearts.
there are hearts that are stones.
and there are stones that are hearts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My mind's distracted and diffused/My thoughts are many miles away

in america. real life too, not just the movie. computer and i have not yet updated our clocks to reflect this. it is nearing 5am. strange to be here. not strange enough. more when the rain stops.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

carpeted floors and chirping birds

well, folks. one week left in this holy land.

two+ suggestions from each of you on things i should do before i leave, please.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


why, yes, they are all stupid, thanks for asking.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

ישראל שלי

היום הייתי בספרייה של מרכז טרומן. אני חוקרת את היחס פוליטי בין ישראל לבין הודו בישביל כיתה אחרת. בספרייה הזאת יש המון חומר. כבר ישבתי בספרייה הזאת יומיים בחדר קטן, עם רק ארבעה שולחנות ומדף ספריים עם ספרים בעברית, ערבית, אנגלית, ועוד שפות. הספרן הוא קצת מוזר אבל הוא עוזר לי המון ובן אדם משעשע. היום בספרייה דיברנו על ישראלים. הוא אמר לי שישראל כל הזמן משתנה ובימים האלה אף אחד לא דואגת לא משנה על מה שקורה לשכן שלו. הוא אמר שעכשיו תל אביב בדיוק כמו כל עיר בעולם. אין אהבת חינם בישראל בכלל. בעבר, הוא אמר, כולם עזרו לכל בן אדם והייתה אווירה קהילתית בארץ.

היום גם הייתי באוטובוס, בקו א4, ממרכז העיר לגבעת הצרפתית. ראיתי ארבעה אנשים שהציעו לעזור לאישה עם תינוקת לרדת מהאוטובוס.

ישראל שלי? הישראל שלי היא ארץ מאוד מבולבלת. ישראל שלי היא הארץ של התנ''ך, שאלוהים נתן ליהודים, ארץ קדושה מאוד. אבל הישראל שלי היא גם מדינה עכשוויתית, עם הרבה בעיות (ולא כל כך הרבה פתרונות), מדינה של היהודים וגם של הערבים. ישראל שלי היא דומה למה שהספרן אמר היום בספרייה, אך הוא גם המציאות שחוויתי בקו-א4.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

bumped his head on the foot of the bed

it rains

i live in israel, therefore making this a very odd occurrence, as jerusalem is in the desert and it is after shavuot/late late may.

i like rain. it clears all of our anger at roommates for not doing dishes and memories of the exam we just failed and embarrassment at telling boy she likes him and bewilderment of returning home in ten days and things that hang, hang in the air with the dust of a hamsin until rosh hashana with apples and honey arrives or we are soaked in our may t-shirts.

i place a pronoun here and a verb here and a subject here and now we have a sentence.
i needn't windex my window any longer. the rain blew sideways with the wind and the dirt is washed away.

sometimes i write so poetically i get myself confused. does this ever happen to bakria?

Monday, May 28, 2007

the affair

between me, the roof, and jerusalem continues.

looking down from the roof towards the student dorms and east jerusalem

sun setting beyond cvesh achad/road no. 1

air conditioners on the roof and clouds

moon in a blue sky

jerusalem, the lover, at night

Sunday, May 27, 2007


it is night, almost mid, and i sit here summarizing hebrew newspaper articles and learning פועל. from my window, the few inches of shutter i have left up to encourage air flow and discourage mosquitoes show building four to the far left. there is one bedroom i can see from mine, on floor nine, on whose wall i notice an ancient map of the world. they are usually up later than i but the wall is dark. overhead a helicopter whirrs, and on the street an occasional car drives by. ahead is an apartment complex, with odd windows lit but revealing nothing beyond a haze of white or yellow light. over the roofs, past the rows of laundry shifting in the breeze, i gaze at an inch of the sparkling lights of jerusalem. they are yellow, green, white, and orange, i see no buildings but only lights, and these lights are my life.

the clouds today moved and danced and swam about. here, from my window, is the tail end of building four and the apartment complex and laundry drying across the street.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

flowers and hikes and marzipan

last shabbat ventured with some north americans and israelis (they do exist!) on a "unity shabbaton" up north to nahal tavor. spent the morning hiking, which was splendid.

this here is a picture of the allah-goddess- tree from the hike. lovely.

here are some nice flowers in rocks. really beautiful.

here we have a wonderfully placed tree, cow, mountains in the background, and sparse looming clouds. really great.

the hike was lovely. afterwards, we went to the marzipan factory. fantastic! after seeing marzipan dioramas, we were ushered into a special room where honored visitors are encouraged, namely through the provision of a plastic box of colored pieces of sugary marzipan, to create their own sculptures. utterly outstanding!

here is our security guard from the trip, barak, with the marzipan gun he made. walla!

here is security guard barak again, but he has been convinced to seek peace and abstain from violence, as epitomized through his crafting of a rose instead of a gun. kol hakavod, barak!

so, dear honored reader, i realize you are thinking to yourself: "wow, rebecca just had the most spectacular day of her life! first the lovely hike with nice flowers and cows and muddy streams, then marzipan guns and roses, how fantastic! she is soooo lucky." well, dear reader, someone somewhere must really love me because IT GETS BETTER.

if you were to run a marzipan factory, what would you have in the gift shop?
"obviously," answers you, my dear reader, "a chocolate fondue fountain."
exactly right!
if you were to have a chocolate fondue fountain in the gift shop of your marzipan factory, and a really nice group of students studying at the hebrew university came by, all nice and sweaty after a morning hike, what would you do?
"clearly," answers you, my dear kind reader, "let them place their fingers underneath the stream of chocolate in the chocolate fondue fountain and eat the chocolate directly from their fingers."
but would that be all?
"of course not!" say you, dear reader, "these kind students would be allowed to lick the melted chocolate off of their fingers, savoring every morsel, and then put their fingers BACK into the chocolate fondue fountain and do it again!"

if you were to name my emotion at the moment, what would it be?
"without a doubt," answer you, my brilliant reader, "utter elation."

Thursday, May 17, 2007


here i am very stressed and therefore enjoying (with great need) some ben and jerry's (today my roommate said that our apartment never fights because we resolve our problems with a pint of ice cream) and i glanced at the lid looking at the description and i did not recognize the ingredient named and i thought i wonder what that is? so i looked close and it was russian.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

by the rivers of babylon

it continues to rain.

i slip as i walk to the library-- crocs were made for israel but not for this. underneath the awning some students sit and watch the downpour like americans watch tv, mesmerized.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

danny get your gun

Thursday night, choice to hear Olmert speak at the Masa Gala or see my friend Danny get sworn in at the Kotel. I chose Danny.

The Tekes (ceremony) Hasbaah (swearing in) at the Kotel marked the end of basic training for Zanchanim (paratroopers) who enlisted March 27 and their official swearing in. The soldiers receive their unit's pins and get their guns. Zanchanim is one of the most elite units in the IDF. The soldiers are young, most just out of high school.* The plaza in front of the Kotel was mobbed with adoring family members, girlfriends, and etcs. There were far more people there that night than had been at the Kotel for the Yom HaZikaron ceremony.

I ran into Tamir, one of Danny's friends from kibbutz, in the Old City and he, having been a zanchan himself, knew where to stand and other useful things like... ... zanchanim don't tuck their shirts in. We wandered to the entrance of the Kotel tunnels, where all of the zanchanim that were being sworn in were standing inside of. Exactly like an American football game where the team gets pepped in the tunnel before taking the field, the zanchanim were chanting and cheering. So much energy! Arms tingling, heart racing with excitement as I watch and listen and know that Danny is there, that he is part of this movement.

This is one of the officers standing in front of all the new zanchanim before they begin marching to the Kotel.

A row of hayallim, soldiers, advancing to the ceremony. איזה כוח

After the ceremony (a bit boring) one of the tzevets- staffs- of zanchanim gathers around their מפקד- commander- to receive instructions about returning to base.

Danny finds us! The new zanchan in a whirl of movement.

Attending the tekes with the mass of Israeli families and seeing Danny afterwards was one of my best experiences here. I generally do not judge experiences or anything in such a manner because a) I have a really bad memory and b) it does nothing for me, but this swirl of people and emotion was mamesh one of the first times I have genuinely felt included in Israeli society and life.

*and short also. I don't think this is related. Just one of those things you pick up on if you are tall. It shouldn't affect their fighting too much.