December 25

I think this is the first December 25th that I’ve ever experienced without it feeling like it’s Christmas. Well you can imagine why.

It’s been so nice not to be bombarded by all of the consumerist frenzy that leads up to Christmas or to be plagued by Christmas songs for one month.  That’s not to say that you can’t celebrate the holiday in our holyland or find people who do celebrate it. Some Pardes students went to midnight Mass in the Old City, which must have been quite interesting. Meanwhile, according to Haaretz, while Christmas is Gaza has been much more muted this year–partly because of a murder of a Christian Palestinian–Bethlehem is supposedly seeing one of its biggest celebrations as of late.

Today I went to classes as usual. We’ve been struggling through the hardest passage in Talmud that I’ve come across so far. It’s incredibly intricate and lyrical so that it leaves your brain fried to a crisp. The Dean of Pardes told students a story of how during the late ’70’s he and his niece were on their way to Rachel’s grave in Bethlehem and hit a lot of traffic. He didn’t understand why until he realized that he was driving to Bethlehem on December 24!

This evening I went to my Megillat Esther class, where I learned a few more trompes. Did I tell you that I was learning how to read it? It’s a really fun series of trompes and I’m hoping I’ll be able to read a chapter at a Purim service this year. I didn’t realize that the trompes not only help you figure out how to sing a word but also help with the phrasing of the sentence and where to put the stress in the word. I’m curious about the history of trompes–Torah, Haftorah, Megillot and it’s one of my projects to find out more about the origin of the music.

That’s all for now. Except that I found this article in Haaretz about the Adalah Center advocating a binational state to be somewhat disturbing: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/936490.html

Oh yes, and I forgot to mention that Eric and I went to a Pardes 80’s party last week. It was held by the Poland fundraising committee, which is raising money for Pardes’ yearly educational trip to Poland. It was funny because Eric was the only person there who actually remembers the ’80s.

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