life, Yeshiva

Rosh Chodesh Elul 5765: The first day of a new life

Today’s date on the Jewish calendar is the anniversary of very significant day in my life. On The second day of Elul in 2005 (5765) I spent my first full day of yeshiva in Israel.

It was the beginning of a magical journey that would change my life forever.

Continue reading “Rosh Chodesh Elul 5765: The first day of a new life”

Israel, Judaism, Opinion, Yeshiva

Blood: This Day In Yeshiva History- January 3 (with a current twist)

I meant to write this last night but I met up with a few people I hadn’t seen in a while. Priorities, Priorities… Here’s what I wrote in my journal:

Big Day today. Magen David Edom came today to the yeshiva for us to donate blood. I donated for the first time in my life. It made me feel great too. My mom talked to me about it beforehand and she really encouraged me to do it. She said that she’d done it several times and more importantly, it was donated blood that help prolong Bubby’s life. That gave me even greater incentive to participate.”
Bubby is the Yiddish name for grandmother. My Bubby passed away a little over a year at the time – Nov 2004. I actually forgot about this detail about the whole experience, but nonetheless it’s noteworthy to recall because of how important she was to me and it gives me great joy to simply bring her up in conversation.

But here’s the current twist: My dad showed me this article he was emailed on Wednesday. The article was entitled “Filthy Jewish Blood”.
Talk about an attention catching title. I won’t spoil it, but it basically discusses the under-reported practice of Jewish humanitarianism – TO THE PALESTINIANS IN GAZA.

That’s right. To the same place they just sent ground troops last night. I can’t help but wonder if the roles were reversed, would the Palestinians consider a similar practice?

When I look back to when I gave blood that day, I thought about how much of a service to the country I was doing by giving my blood to those who need it. I thought of victims of terror attacks, hospital patients, soldiers in combat… pretty much anyone who’d be in need in blood to keep on living. Like my Bubby.

But to Palestinians in Gaza?
Wouldn’t that seem a little counterproductive?

The other day I posted an article written by my friend who discussed her experiences as a medic who had to care for an actual terrorist. She mentioned that regardless of who or why, human life should be protected and preserved if means to do so are available. Human dignity shouldn’t be compromised regardless of the situation. The article makes that very clear in a very creative manner by asking you to put yourself in the shoes of an Israeli solider facing the body of wounded Palestinian who just tried to kill you.

But the article goes on to another point. The articles mentions how in addition to humanitarian relief, several trucks of blood were sent in from Jordan.

Jordan? Why blood from there? Didn’t I just give blood? Didn’t I just mention that regardless of who it is and why, human dignity comes first? What’s the story here?

It turns out my blood isn’t good enough…

The article explains:

“The truth is, just as Israel has had to come to terms with a Red Diamond as its medical symbol abroad (since the International Red Cross made it clear that the Red Star of David is offensive to too much of the world), we have also somehow had to make peace with the fact that even our blood is considered sub-human and filthy by the very people with whom we are supposed to be making peace.“

I’m going to leave at that. I’ve posted the link of the article above. But here it is again:
It’s no coincidence that this article came out almost a few years after I blood @ my yeshiva in Israel.

Let me know what you think.

Hanukkah, Judaism, life, outline, Yeshiva

A Preview to “This Day In Yeshiva History- January 3” (background info)

Well it’s actually because I can’t get the full post out in time before shabbat comes in 4:34. So I’ll give a quick sneak preview before I post the whole thing tomorrow night.

I spent a year in yeshiva (a Jewish school for Biblical studies, males only) in Jerusalem, Israel. That year spanned from September 2005-June 2006. The name of the yeshiva was Ohr David, an American yeshiva (all the guys who went there are American, except us Canadians). The place was recommended to me by my rabbi @ NCSY, a Jewish youth organization I’d been involved with in high school. I also had connections through an NCSY summer camp called Camp Sports I attended in Baltimore, where a lot of the guys who went there eventually went to Ohr David. I won’t call it a Baal Teshuva yeshiva – for Jews who weren’t religious when born and brought up but are re-connecting) but there were some BTs there, like me. I’d say it was more for guys who had potential but failed to realize it, guys who had issues at home and needed a place to just grow and prosper. We actually had a great mix of guys from different walks of Jewish life, from different places, upbringings, and where we were holding in our Yiddishkeit. But we all had one thing in common – we were all looking to improve ourselves one way or another. There was just 55 of us at most, and soon enough as the year begun, we were family.T’ was the best year of my life.

In fact the Lunar calender this year is on the exact time set it was that year – which means that all the holidays and when they will fall on the secular calendar are on the exact day of the week with exactly the same circumstances – i.e. the sixth day of Hanukkah that year fell on shabbat (Saturday), which also happens to be Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the month) = that also happened this year. I know that because its the longest Birkat Hamazon (Grace after Meals) you can say – because of the inclusions. So I’m interested to see what similarities evolve between this year and that year.

I wasn’t exactly sure when I was going to do write this because the Hebrew date at the time was the 3rd of Tevet, which was just after Hannukah (which ends on the 2nd). I was also unsure about what date I was going to write about because a lot happened at that time. I figured I’d go with the english date for now, because I had another article I wanted to write on the last day of Hannukah, which was the day I wrote my previous two articles. I’ll decide later whether or not to keep to English or Hebrew dates, depending on the significance of the day and happening.

The 7th night of Hannukah, happened to be New Years, and a Saturday night, therefore once Shabbat was over, technically we could party if we wanted. Even though we were technically on a break over the Hannukah holiday, there were still some optional morning classes, we went to meals at our rabbis house almost every night of the holiday, and had a big party in the yeshiva of of the nights too. So New Years Day was pretty much our only day off. I spent it pretty well, which I tell in detail in the next post. Okay. So first I’ll recap. Being Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night) in Jerusalem on the night of December 31st, also the 7th night of Hanukkah. Surprisingly enough, I actually have an opportunity to do something for new years. I’ve never really cared about new years, it’s just another day to me. All I did was meet up with friends at a place and soon after midnight we headed back to yeshiva. Aside from not being the most important thing, we called it an early evening because 6 of us wanted to go to the Dead Sea for the day the next day, and we had to leave early to catch a bus to do so. That was a fun day.

I could have purely focused on that day but a few days ago, my dad read me something he was emailed, which seemed like such a coincidence considering what I was doing in yeshiva a few days later on the 3rd, so I decided to choose that topic while including something about the days before.

Hope you enjoy it!
Shabbat Shalom/Good Shabbos/Sabbatical Salutations and Benedictions

(don’t ask about the last greeting)

blog stuff, Judaism, life, school

New Feautures in Town

The Mayor of TevyTown has decided to introduce a few new features to town. They could come around here or there, one a week, when I feel like it; they’re just a few things I wanna get out in the open. Fun stuff, check em’ out.

Life and What Life Shoud be
An on going entry about Judaism vs. the world around me. How I’m dealing with things around me, current things going on etc. “A little bit of Torah amongst the craziness.”

Flashback Freeze

Let’s go back in time and talk about something that happened to myself that’s worth talking about around, include why it’s relevant (duh).

This Day in Yeshiva History

Citing journal entries, we go back to the greatest year of my life and find out what I was doing @ that time. A space for nostalgia, inspiration… something to feel good about.

Week/Month in Review

What the title says. I’ll do my best to post these on either Fridays, Sundays
or Mondays. If I miss those dates then I’ll make it up on Tuesday or Thursday. If it isn’t something substantial to give it its own own post, it’ll wind up here.

Now enjoy the next two entries…

And a very happy birthday to my dad, Zev who turned 50 last week!!