Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Sunny New Semester

It is a time of beginnings. At the preschool, the first student to wear a t-shirt to school this spring was called to the front of the classroom during circle time. "This is a very good sign," the teacher said, "now the days will get much much longer and the sun will shine and it will be hot and we can put our coats way up in the closet and start wearing sandals and t-shirts to school."
The beautiful weather feels more to me like the end of the school year, and more and more I find myself searching online for interesting things to do in New York next year (for instance, did you know that at Wednesdays at noon to 4pm there are free tours of the pre-Revolutionary African graveyard at 290 Broadway at Duane Street?) and thinking less and less about being here in Jerusalem. And yet we still have months left!
Classes began this week, but were interrupted by Purim (about which Daniel plans on posting this afternoon, I think, so I won't step on his toes). I am taking: Yiddish, Sholom Aleichem, Masculinity and Nationhood in Hebrew Literature, Anthropology of Israel, and possibly a course on Collective Memory in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, as well as Hebrew. I have not yet had all of these classes because of Purim-related cancellations, but those that I have had are terrific. It was so nice to go back to class and know people in every class I was in - a bit like high school really - with high fives and reunions of friends, and sarcastic comments about how bored we are already when clearly everyone is actually happy to be back. My Hebrew teachers seem much better than last semester, and I think this is going to be a good few months.
My parents' visit was amazing. I don't want to bore them by writing all about it when they, in fact, were there, but I will tell you just a few snippets: they arrived in the pouring rain and cold of Israeli winter and were unpleasantly surprised to be stuck in our apartment to avoid wind and hail for the first day or so. As things calmed down, we left for the Negev, stopping at a Bedouin Museum that was all but deserted, Ben Gurion's Negev home - the very modest dwelling where he spent the last years of his life living out his Zionist vision on a kibbutz, and Makhtesh Ramon, the world's largest crater formed by erosion. There we hiked past beautiful multicolored stones and enjoyed incredible vistas. We traveled to Eilat to relax on a beach not unlike the Jersey shore, save that we could see the Jordanian flag waving in the distance. We ventured into Jordan to visit Petra, an archeological site carved in a crack in rocks of the valley of Arabah. It was the capitol city to the Naboteans, who intricately carved dwellings and truly stunnung burial sites out of the rock. We returned from the South to spend a week in Jerusalem, taking walking tours of the Old City, going to Yemin Moshe, Har Hertzl, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Hebrew University, the Museum of the Seam, and more. We even spent a day in Tel Aviv, walking and shopping, and I purchased a dress to wear at Rebecca's wedding. I can't believe we did so much in the two weeks they were here, and it was so terrific to spend time with my parents and to share my life here with them (and show off my Hebrew!)
It promises to be busy for the rest of Daniel's stay here as we're trying to fit in as many opportunities as possible to spend time with friends, see Israel, enjoy the weather, etc. on top of fulfilling our academic obligations. I do intend, though, to be more on top of blogging than I've been these past few weeks, and apologise for my absence from the "blogosphere"
Hope all is well with all of you faithful readers!

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