This week’s blessing (see the link for an explanation if you’re new!) comes from a dear coworker-turned-friend. He claimed that “blessings weren’t really [his] thing,” but I think he deserves more credit.
May you have the knowledge that you are not alone. Even in moments of loneliness. May you have the ability to recognize and appreciate each moment for what it is and what it offers and be able to live in the moment. May you have fulfilling and enriching studies, both in and out of the classroom. And last but not least, may you have smiles and laughter in your life.
When I asked for these blessings, I said I would love both ones that affirm and ones that challenge. This does both. It is hard to remember that I am not alone when I feel lonely. It is hard to live in the moment when the moment is sweaty, or embarrassing, or stressful. It is hard to engage in studies in and out of the classroom when those studies are likely to involve situations that are sweaty, or embarrassing, or stressful, or all of the above.
Yet, these are all beautiful affirmations. I am not alone. I don’t have a huge network of known friends and family here with me, but I have a few folks from RRC on this journey in Jerusalem, and I am deepening connections every day with new teachers and with new classmates who will one day be my rabbinic colleagues. Although most of the journeyers in this ark with me are still near strangers, the quarters are tight enough that that’s bound to change. I am grateful that we all smell less than the elephants and skunks Noah had to deal with.
Each moment has value and is worth living. I can value the fact that, for now, my life here is itself a study in every moment. I have only been here for 10 days, the length of a Birthright trip. I went on Birthright almost 5 years ago. Prior to last week it was my first and only time in Israel. I am so eager to learn so much more than I possibly could in any 10-day venture.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that I can smile at any number of circumstances, and I can laugh at myself when I feel my heart race unnecessarily. One way I’m going to be smiling and laughing more is through a project I’ve taken on– a spoof of sorts of “Humans of New York.” See, there are so so so so SO many stray cats here in Jerusalem. And some non-strays as well, of course. I see them every day and they make me happy and sad at once. I really want to adopt one, but, with that not being particularly feasible, I’m going to content myself with taking their pictures and making up hopefully hilarious commentary. I call it “Cats of Jerusalem” (#COJ). If you’re not following me on instagram (em.cohen), and you like cats or #HONY or both, you might want to change that.
Shabbat shalom. See ya Sunday.