Tuesday, December 16, 2003

My First Full Day in Israel

Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 7:14 pm Israel time

Shalom. Typing on C's computer (A gracious host who lets me use her computer and broadband and everything else - I'm staying here both weeks. Such a nice woman.) and listening to an evening news analysis program (debate between 6 people) in Hebrew (with all of the Hebrew commercials and etc) I smile - I'm really here. It wasn't just a dream.

Today was my first day volunteering for Rabbis for Human Rights. I spent today (as well as most of tomorrow) helping them prepare for their upcoming Annual Meeting. I am now quite familiar with their copier :-). The joys of volunteer work. Actually, as mundane as the work is, I enjoyed being in the office, hearing Hebrew spoken and participating in the amazing work which they do. Take a look at their site for a bit about it. Basically, the courageous people there work for the Human Rights of all, for individual and - more significantly - government and military actions which respect the part of us which is created in the Divine Image.

After a 7 hour "work" day, I walked to the center of Jerusalem. The walk brought back so many memories (where I am staying and volunteering are in the same neighborhood I lived in when I spent a year in Israel.) Each street, building and area I passed touched on my days here - many many good memories of a great (although not easy) time in my life. It's hard for me to describe the feeling here. There is a magic to Israel and a magic to Jerusalem. The hills (very very old mountains) of Jerusalem are covered with trees and buildings made of Jerusalem stone, a form of sandstone. Because all the buildings are built of the same material, there is a uniformity to the eye, and more significantly for me, a city which glows from home to home, business to business - especially at sunrise and sunset. As a Jew, there is also a magic here of being in a place where Jews live together and are in the majority. Here, the average person looks somewhat like me, or could be a distant relative. Here, I am not constantly reminded that I live in the US - a country with the blessings of religious freedoms - a country which is increasingly institutionally embracing Christianity. I love America, this is just a different experience.

Tonight I ate in my favorite restaurant in Jerusalem - a totally vegetarian (and very affordable) place with an awesome salad bar, delicious soups and a large variety of hot vegetarian entrees and sides. Yum yum yum. How nice it was to eat there again (even though it moved down the street since I was last there).

Well, I have probably rambled enough.
Time to sign off,