Monday, February 26, 2007


UYO was incredible.


The best part for me to watch was the bonds created between people who seemed so different. We had women in jeans and men in gartels talking respectfully and openly about religion, egalitarianism, family, hobbies, etc etc. At the graduation ceremony, there were the two non-Jewish instructors, and a rebbetzin in a suit and sheitel and pillbox hat, and all manner of Jews in between, all in the same circle singing "Sending Me Angels" (or watching everyone sing).

Beth told me that one of her friends, who came to graduation, was on a "high" all day Sunday just from the graduation. So you can imagine what the course was like.


We've now got tremendous momentum going. So many people have expressed interest in the May class that I think it may be half full already. There are ten who have expressed a desire to do the instructor-training course, which means that in a couple of years I won't have to fly teachers in from the States any more, and we'll offer the course in Hebrew. Beth's fundraising continues apace, with a Purim card project in the works and a graduate of the November class volunteering to plan a fundraising dinner. Another graduate just offered to plan a reunion Shabbaton in a few months for all UYO grads in Israel.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

She's Alive!

Oh my gosh. I am exhausted.

Thank God, it's all for good reasons.

First of all, I love my new teaching job. I have just 17 students, all really nice kids who generally do their work (or sit quietly without making any trouble when they don't). Also their writing is quite good. Overall, I'm impressed with them, and I think so far I'm doing a good job (which feels great. No more nightmares!) I don't think they are necessarily saying I'm their favorite teacher, but I'm probably not their least favorite teacher, either. And because there are only 17 of them, and we meet only once a week, I can actually spend real time planning lessons and giving them individual attention. Wow. What a feeling.

But it's taking up a lot of my time. Planning lessons, grading papers (I'm behind already) . . . and ALL the readings on the curriculum are new to me (no, I'm not just one page ahead of them), so there's research to do. Urgh.

Meanwhile, UYO is this week! The teachers leave for Israel in about 24 hours! It is going to be a phenomenal class, even better than the last one. The fact that we have a waiting list, and I'm still getting calls from as far away as Tzfat, is a really great sign. But the best part for me is that now I have a team to work with. Last time, it was pretty much just me doing the work and sticking my neck out. Now, there's a whole group of people who have invested their energy into filling the class and making everything go smoothly. More about the incredible fundraising efforts of Beth in another post.

In the middle of all this is my writing . . . you know, the work I do for pay . . . I was filling in as a guest blog-post-compiler here (scroll down for my posts from Feb. 1-14), and here's a link to one of my more recently published articles.

So much to blog about, so little time. Still must write about my trip to Hebron . . . and the Mughrabi Gate scandal that shouldn't have been, but was . . . and why do I care so much that Anna Nicole Smith died? (I know why. I'm interested in the legal proceedings around what will happen to her estate.) . . . and I almost feel sorry for Britney Spears, but not quite . . . Oh, last Saturday night I went to a trade show for wedding/bar mitzvah vendors. My God. Me, single, 34, Jewish, in the Jerusalem Convention Center surrounded by models wearing tacky tacky tacky wedding dresses, and dozens of vendors catching my eye and saying Are you the bride? Are you the bride? Are you the bride? And then there was the one who asked Are you the mother of the bride or of the groom?


OK, so you are probably wondering about my health. My physical health, I mean. Well, I don't have pneumonia. After coughing for a month and living with severe pain in my side that indicated I may have broken or sprained a rib, I finally went for a chest X-ray, which was all clear. I am now on powerful antihistamines (sexy, eh?) and ibuprofen (oh, yeah, baby!), and will have my second appointment tomorrow with my nice new osteopath, Sheera Sher, who last week kneaded and prodded the aching muscles around my (sprained, not broken) rib. Thanks to her I can now raise my arms without wincing, and I'm sleeping better at night.

If you think that this post means I'm back to blogging regularly, I have to be honest with you . . . in the next seven days, I have to run a UYO course, grade a pile of papers, write a 1500-word article, start research on three others, edit a brochure, and plan an entire unit on The Merchant of Venice. And see my osteopath. So, um, you may not see me for a while.

Then again, you may.