Sunrise on our balcony

Here’s a picture I took of the sunrise from our balcony. Eric and I get up early to meditate and stretch on the balcony. It really helps clear my mind and help me feel like I am easing into my morning.

I’m hoping to do some swimming in the morning or evening. I checked out a public pool in the Emek Refaim neighborhood, although it struck me as somewhat seedy and not very relaxing. Perhaps I’ll try going when it’s not so crowded–like reaaally early in the morning (as long as I can get to class on time).

Speaking of Hebrew class. I’ve gotten to hang out with some of the ulpan folks on a more regular basis, particularly the Anglos. Almost everybody is friendly, while at the same time, I think folks tend to hang out with their respective language groups and sometimes with people in their classes. Interestingly most Americans and Brits are from a religious background while the South Americans are more secular. It makes for an unique mix. Most of the folks are single, and I give them a ton of credit since I would feel incredibly lonely if I were making aliya by myself. Thank goodness I have Eric here with me.

Monday night, a large portion of the school (both religious and secular) was at a Rabbi David Stern’s house for a Tu B’Av barbeque (which is like the Hebrew equivalent of Valentine’s Day). I think Rabbi Stern is affiliated with Aish HaTorah and he runs a program called Jerusalem Connection which can be found at http://www.jerusalemconnection.org/. I didn’t get back until nearly midnight. Rabbi Stern’s apartment is in the Old City across from the Churva Synagogue, an Ashkenazi synagogue which remained in ruins for years. Once again the synagogue is being reconstructed and the building seems to be progressing quickly. From Rabbi Stern’s balcony, we had a view of some of the Temple Mount and a decent panorama of the whole city.  

Before we got to the party, a few of us visited the Kotel. The place was a lot more packed at that hour because people were davening Mincha (afternoon prayer). I decided to pray at the Wall along with my classmates. I haven’t felt such a spiritual connection when davening for quite some time. 

Another week closes, and I find the time going by so quickly. I’m trying to blog twice a week these days, but even now that seems like a lot! Next week Eric and I are going out of town on Friday and Saturday to hang out around the Haifa region, and I’m so excited because this is my favorite part of the country to visit. I’m looking forward to telling you all about it.

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