Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Look At Me!! Look At Me!!

Look at me! I started a blog!

I hope to use this as a way to keep those in America in touch with my time in Israel. However rare or often I get the chance, I will update with thoughts and pictures in relation to what's going on in my life, Israel, yeshiva, or just whatever happens to be floating around in my head.

It is such a fascinating time to be going to Israel! The political scientist inside of me is excited to be a direct witness to a war and an election. Watching the election process in America is interesting enough, but my heart can barely contain the joy of observing the process in a country with such a volatile political landscape! The war, while perhaps frightening, is far enough away to not be felt directly, but still present enough to be acknowledged. As the year goes on, I'm (sadly) sure that violence and politics will play a role in what I write. I will also have the chance to watch America from the outside. While I never miss a chance to divert from popular opinion and criticize America, I don't necessarily think that an outsider's view will make me more critical; perhaps the opposite will be true. Seeing the export of ideas, feeling the importance of the American government for stability in Israel, and recognizing that no country is like America may give me a previously unknown sense of pride. However, my removal from a bombardment of (understandable) media outlets may cause many of the events to go unnoticed.

Living in Israel is likely to transform my views on Israel. While I recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a state, and understand that the country was born out of an international tragedy, I have a hard time feeling comfortable with the notion of a "modern" Jewish state. From the foundation of the the current state, huge mistakes were made with regard to refugees, and Israel continues to suffer from these mistakes. Even today, Israel continues to (in my opinion) compromise where they should stand firm, while being strong where they have room to compromise. I also have religious pause in relation to the State of Israel, as the Talmud in Kesubos makes a strong statement with regard to the appropriate time for the creation of a "Jewish state". However, whether religiously sanctioned or not, the State of Israel is important to Jews, and any true threat to her security is a sakana for klal Yisroel. The balancing of these ideas, and the standpoint of a person who depends upon Israel for safety may change as my time and experiences grow.

My religious knowledge, though certainly not limited or immature, will certainly be expanded while in Israel. Attending a chareidi (ultra-Orthodox) yeshiva is sure to help in this expansion. However, since the yeshiva is so integrated into the local neighborhood, with classrooms, synagogues, and residential apartments (all belonging to the yeshiva) being spread all over the area, I will surely perceive my interesting location. The neighborhood of the yeshiva is one of the oldest neighborhoods outside of the Old City, having been built two centuries ago by followers of the Gra (Gaon of Vilna) who left Lithuania. Over the years, the area has undergone growth, making it a crossroads for religious and secular Jerusalem. To the west and northwest of the neighborhood, the city is largely religious, with complete modesty and religious observance. However, to the south and east are located areas with mostly secular (traditional at best) residents, and the bustling center of Jerusalem is mere blocks away.

All of these things and more will be written about during the course of my stay. I hope to use this medium to share my trip with you more fully, so that you get a more "inside" sense of whats happening.


  1. You do write well!

    Talmud that's Gemorah right?

  2. Have a GREAT Visit. Take Care keep in touch. Your writing is very nice. Mom

  3. You have impressed me very much with your writing. For being as young as you are, your words, to me, carry quite a bit of wisdom for one so young. I absolutely enjoyed reading your writing and think you could be a writer, if you cared to. Anyway, you and I only had brief encounters but I want you to know that you from the first time I met you, impressed me very much. After reading your words I extend to you my utmost wish for you for a future filled with all that you want in yourlife. You have a good start. Take care and I look forward to reading your updates. Joan Smiley, JCRS

  4. Take Care and Be Safe. G-D Bless. Keep in Touch. Remember I will be with you always. Love MOM