Things that Stay and Things that Go- Jaffa Edition

40 weeks became 40 days. 40 days became 40 hours. And now, I am down to even less time than that. Tomorrow night around now, I will be either on my way to or at the airport. Two days from now (“days” being used in the Genesis-Chaper-1-not-necessarily-24-hours sense due to flight and time zones), I’ll be in California. I am more than ready. I’m about 85% packed. There are a few things still out: laptop, aeropress, hammock– the essentials, you know– but most of my things are nestled into a suitcase and backpack and purse. If the people at the bag drop are kind and/or my bag makes the weight cut, I won’t even need to check my smaller bag as a carry-on because it’ll fit snugly inside the suitcase. But I feel like the chances of my bag clocking in at under 20 kg are slim.

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So, harkening back to my packing list from early September, and my updated packing list from my move up to Jaffa, I give you an edited, updated, and probably incomplete list:

Things Packed:

  • Clothes for summer
  • Floppy hat
  • (New) sunglasses
  • Sneakers
  • Chacos
  • Blundstones (aka Israel’s official unofficial shoe)
  • Hammock
  • Water bottle covered in with the remnants of a couple of stickers
  • Big purse
  • Little purse
  • Several knitting projects
  • 1 bag of assorted toiletries
  • 2 1 toothbrush
  • 1 half-used  mostly-used travel-sized tube of organic toothpaste
  • Many A couple 1 half-used tube of burt’s bees lip balm
  • 2 expired epi-pens
  • Many A few hairbands
  • 1 2 boxes ziplock bag of of vanilla sleepytime assorted Israeli herbal teas
  • Aeropress
  • Jedi mug out of which to drink said coffee
  • 1 small bag of za’atar
  • 1 envelope of Very Important Papers/Documents
  • 2 reusable grocery bags
  • 1 siddur
  • Alanna: The First Adventure
  • The Blue Day Book
  • Many Jewish texts
  • Cards and letters from folks back home
  • Notebooks
  • Journal
  • Far too many  Not enough  A few writing implements
  • Kindle
  • Laptop
  • Headphones
  • Phone
  • Many chargers and adaptors
  • Several kinderegg toys
  • 1 small stuffed moose, 1 small stuffed dragon, and 1 eucalyptus pod
  • 1 2 1 tallit, 2 3 2 kippot, and 1 set of tefilin
  • 1 mezuzah
  • 1 set of shabbat candle holders

 

Things sent home with visitor from the States 2 months ago:  

  • Clothes for winter
  • Raincoat
  • 2 sets of tzitzit
  • 1 tallis
  • 1 siddur
  • 1 box of assorted jewelry
  • Hiking boots
  • 1 reusable grocery bag
  • 3-liter camelback not covered in stickers
  • Sleeping bag
  • Many Jewish texts

 

Things Left Behind: 

  • sorta smushed flats
  • flip flops 
  • 2 bags of worn out clothing
  • 1 mostly-used tube of overpriced sunscreen
  • bags of cumin, curry powder, and cayenne
  • PartiallyMostly-used containers of red miso paste, soy sauce, and sriracha
  • 1 barely-used half-used bag of flaxseed meal
  • many toiletries 
  • various chocolate delights
  • 4 oz of ground coffee
  • 1 reusable grocery bag
  • 1 ziplock bag full of ziplock bags
  • Umbrella
  • The Lonely Planet: Israel and the Palestinian Territories 

 

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I’ll have more to say soon– probably tomorrow before I leave, in fact. But at the moment it is relatively late and I am relatively tired, and I have one more night in my Israeli bed to take advantage of. Tomorrow I sleep in the air (and I don’t mean in my hammock, although that would be way more comfortable than my seat on the plane).

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Things that Stay and Things that Go- Jerusalem Edition

In honor of my move from Jerusalem to Jaffa, my almost-5-months-in-Israel mark (that’s tomorrow), the new semester (starting in 45 minutes) and harkening back to my packing list from early September, I give you an edited, updated, and probably incomplete list:

Things Packed:

  • Clothes for summer
  • Clothes for winter
  • Floppy hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking boots
  • Sneakers
  • Chacos
  • sorta smushed Flats
  • Blundstones (aka Israel’s official unofficial shoe)
  • Raincoat
  • Umbrella
  • Hammock
  • Water bottle covered in stickers
  • 3-liter camelback not covered in stickers
  • Sleeping bag
  • Big purse
  • Little purse
  • 2 4 reusable grocery bags
  • 1 bag of assorted toiletries
  • 2 1 toothbrush
  • 1 half barely-used tube of organic toothpaste
  • 1 half-used travel-sized tube of organic toothpaste
  • Many A couple half-used tubes of burt’s bees lip balm
  • 2 epi-pens
  • Many A few hairbands
  • 3 1 ziplock bag full of ziplock bags
  • 1 box of assorted jewelry
  • 1 2 boxes of vanilla sleepytime assorted Israeli herbal teas
  • 32 40 oz of ground (groan) coffee (yay!)
  • Aeropress to brew said coffee
  • Jedi mug borrowed from best friend out of which to drink said coffee
  • Partially-used containers of red miso paste, soy sauce, and sriracha
  • 1 barely-used bag of flaxseed meal
  • Various chocolate delights
  • bags of cumin, curry powder, cayenne, and za’atar 
  • Envelope of Very Important Papers/Documents
  • 2 siddurim (Koren and Kol Haneshama)
  • 1 guitar
  • Alanna: The First Adventure
  • The Blue Day Book
  • The Lonely Planet: Israel and the Palestinian Territories 
  • Many Jewish texts
  • Cards and letters from folks back home
  • Notebook
  • Journal
  • Far too many  Not enough writing implements
  • Kindle
  • Laptop
  • Headphones
  • Phone
  • Many chargers and adaptors
  • 1 small stuffed moose and 1 eucalyptus pod
  • 2 tallitot, 3 kippot, and 2 sets of tzitzit

 

Things passed off to Parents to take home a month ago:  

  • 1 questionably-useful completely useless pair of slacks with 1 questionably-useful completely useless pair of pumps
  • Ender’s Game
  • Many, many Jewish texts

 

 

Shabbos Blessing- Week 4

(New to weekly blessings? Here’s more about them.)

Week 4? I’m not sure exactly what happened, but somehow I’m about to experience my fourth shabbat on the ark. This one also happens to be the last shabbat of 5776. Rosh Hashanah falls on Sunday night, and the Jewish new year will commence. You could say that there’s a holiday every week here in Jerusalem with shabbat, but Rosh Hashanah is the first “big one,” the beginning of a year cycle that I will spend largely in this place. I have a lot more to say about that and look forward to sharing about the holidays as they come, but for now it’s blessing time.

(As a side note, I think this week’s blessing might be able to nudge some of y’all who thought about writing me a blessing but decided not to because you were intimidated by the word “blessing” to follow up. With deep gratitude for those who’ve contributed and have told me that they will later in the year, I’m not at 40 yet and am looking for more! So if you think you shouldn’t write one because it needs to be religious or long or anything to be worth it, just keep reading.)

Right before I got on the plane to come to Jerusalem, I got on a plane to Minneapolis to visit some dear friends from college, because two of them, after nearly a decade together, were embarking upon a new shared adventure. Her name’s Matilda. She doesn’t do much at the moment except eat and poop and sleep, but I still think she’s pretty great.

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This is not Matilda. This is a purple waffle in honor of Prince, eaten for brunch in Minneapolis the day I met Matilda. You can imagine that it is Matilda, but I will not put up a picture of Matilda, because that might not make her parents particularly happy with me. 

As we visited the 2-week-old babe and her parents, her Dad (How? How is that possible? How is my first-year roommate a Mom? Why is time such a crazy thing?! Ahem–pardon the existential crisisetta) grabbed a sharpie and piece of paper and wrote me this:

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This blessing is perfect especially for today. Today I’m beginning a 2-day moving process. I got to Israel with an AirBNB studio for the first few weeks. Today I’m walking most of my things about 10 minutes from here to an apartment I’ll share with an Israeli roommate. I’ll bring the rest of my stuff over tomorrow. When I got here, I really thought that I wanted to find a studio, but when I visited the apartment I’m moving into, I got a good feeling about it. I surprised myself by feeling kind of excited at the idea of having an Israeli roommate. I hope to learn a lot, even if we don’t end up being particularly close, and I hope very much to work on my Hebrew with her (even though if we’re aiming for clear communication I’m sure her English is leagues upon leagues better than my Hebrew). More than anything, I’m eager to settle into the place where I’ll be until late January, when I’ll pop over to Europe for a week or two and then move on to Tel Aviv.

This blessing is also perfect for scooting me into the near year. I need to have the attitude of “GO!” I mean, I’m here. I need to take care of myself, and sometimes that will mean saying no to things and tucking into myself, but more often I’m going to need to push myself to be in the world. And, with apologies to the definitely-not-religious new papa, I’m going to turn to Torah now. (Just think of it as literary analysis, English major.)

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The world– like this lovely park that I walk through on the way to school every morning. 

I think about the message in Torah of לך לך- the literal message to GO! that God gives to Abram before he’s ready to receive the holy ה that will complete his name. I think of Nachshon going into the Red Sea all the way up to his neck before the waters part. I think of Eve going for the fruit in the garden (yes yes, controversial I’m sure, but I’m convinced that this was a very good thing).

When it comes to this week’s parsha of Nitzavim , I think of the “GO” juice within each of us. Towards the end of the parsha, after going over some lovely and some not-so-lovely parts of the covenant, God says to the people:

“For this mitzvah that I command you today is not too extraordinary for you or far away. It is not in the Heavens that one should say: ‘Who can go up to the Heavens for us and take it and make us listen to it and do it?’ And it is not across the sea that one should say: ‘Who can cross the sea for us and take it and make us listen to it and do it?’ For this thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it.” (Deuteronomy 6:11-14, my translation)

In short, the energy to go where we have to go, whether that’s to shabbat services somewhere new or to a screaming baby’s changing table at 3 AM., can be found in us.

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Things that Stay and Things that Go

Things Packed:

  • Clothes for summer
  • Clothes for winter
  • 1 questionably-useful pair of slacks with 1 questionably-useful pair of pumps
  • Floppy hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking boots
  • Sneakers
  • Chacos
  • Flats
  • Raincoat
  • Hammock
  • Water bottle covered in stickers
  • 3-liter camelback not covered in stickers
  • Sleeping bag
  • Big purse
  • Little purse
  • 2 reusable grocery bags
  • 1 bag of assorted toiletries
  • 2 toothbrushes
  • 1 half-used tube of organic toothpaste
  • Many half-used tubes of burt’s bees lip balm
  • 2 epi-pens
  • Many hairbands
  • 3 ziplock bags full of ziplock bags
  • 1 box of assorted jewelry
  • 1 box of vanilla sleepytime tea
  • 32 oz of ground (groan) coffee (yay!)
  • Aeropress to brew said coffee
  • Jedi mug borrowed from best friend out of which to drink said coffee
  • 4 granola bars
  • Envelope of Very Important Papers/Documents
  • 2 siddurim (Koren and Kol Haneshama)
  • Ender’s Game
  • Alanna: The First Adventure
  • The Blue Day Book
  • The Lonely Planet: Israel and the Palestinian Territories 
  • Other books that snuck in past heightened security
  • Notebook
  • Journal
  • Far too many writing implements
  • Kindle
  • Laptop
  • Headphones
  • Phone
  • Many chargers and adaptors
  • 1 small stuffed moose and 1 eucalyptus pod to remind me of America
  • 1 tallis, 2 kippot, and 2 sets of tzitzit to remind me of why I’m leaving America

 

Things Left Behind: 

  • Tank tops
  • Short shorts
  • Short skirts
  • Short dresses
  • Many shirts
  • Formal dresses, skirts, and pants
  • A hammock’s rainfly
  • Much jewelry
  • 2 water bottles
  • 1 bag of books
  • Boxes upon boxes of books in storage
  • Boxes upon boxes of other things in storage
  • 1 favorite city
  • 1 home country
  • Many loved ones
  • 1 cat