The Olympics are now winding down with the final competitions to take place over the weekend. I wrote in last week’s email of the dream of the Olympics, to experience and to be the best, or simply, to do one’s best. To apply oneself with commitment, devotion, and dedication to a dream. These Olympics have really been something to behold: The commitment demonstrated by some of the athletes to persevere in the face of what may seem insurmountable odds, or to simply perform after having faced tremendous hardship, or, as in the case of the Israeli ice dancing pair, to perform proudly for your country, your heritage; these are all characteristics to which we can all aspire.
The Israeli dance pair skated to a tenth place finish after skating to hava nagilah and to the music from Schindler’s List. They reached their goal of finishing in the top ten and they beautifully paid tribute to their family members lost in the Holocaust. They truly made Israel proud. I unfortunately wasn’t able to watch on tape because we couldn’t figure out our DVD/cable contraption. It was really upsetting. But I did get to see other events live some events rebroadcast and we all enjoyed watching, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. A particularly poignant scene occurred Tuesday and early this morning, (last night for you), during the women’s free skate competition. The Canadian skater competed, remarkably, on Tuesday night and early this morning (last night for all of you) after the sudden death of her mother in Vancouver on Sunday. It was a very moving, gut wrenching performance and you just had to admire the courage she possessed. The crowd was with her and at the conclusion of the performance, she looked up and thanked her mother. She finished with the bronze medal and so much more. In my opinion, she is a model of courage, an inspiration.
The saga of the Rabbi Elon incident continues and it is very distressing to read about this man’s fall from grace. Many people here feel that if a man of his caliber, torah knowledge, and his level of commitment to his students that he had, and the level of respect he engendered, could be accused of the egregious acts he is accused of, then well, it is quite the loss of innocence and trust. But the final story has yet to be told.
Yechezkel is spending this Shabbat away from home. He and a friend decided to go somewhere where they hadn’t been so they made plans to go to the Shomron, to Kfar Tapuach. He will be joining us on Sunday and returning to Jerusalem on Sunday evening to celebrate Purim there. To clarify, Purim outside of Jerusalem is celebrated on Sunday, and in Jerusalem, a walled city, on Monday. I am not sure of all the reasons why this is.. I will be learning about that over Purim.
Eitan went on a tiyul shnati, annual tiyul to Eilat. They traveled to Eilat where they hiked the Eilat hill. He chose the toughest, most intense hike, where the they hiked for many hours each day. Though we were concerned, he managed beautifully. In fact, he spoke with the guide a Holocaust survivor, in such fluent Hebrew that when he told the guide that he was an oleh chadash of just six months, he was genuinely surprised that an oleh could have such a high level of spoken Hebrew. Eitan came back from the tiyul with such an appreciation of what he saw and experienced and said it was the best tiyul ever. The theme of the tiyul was ‘ma rabu maasecha Hashem’ ‘how great are God’s creations’ and Eitan truly felt this way.
In other news, Purim preparations are unique here. Purim baskets of mishloach manot, decorations, costumes, and ‘oznei haman’ (Hamantashen), can be found everywhere in malls, stores on the street, outdoor vendors, etc. It’s a lot of fun to see and refreshing. We are invited to a Purim improv night after megilla reading which we are looking forward to.
Depending on how you look at it our weather is either horrendous or miraculous. Horrendous in that it has been thundering, lightning, pouring and hailing for the past twenty four hours non stop with no end in sight. Miraculous in that it has been thundering, lightning, pouring and hailing for the past twenty four hours non stop with no end in sight. I know our weather is incomparable to yours, but still, it is quite gloomy.
Our Shabbat guest this week is Chavi Skolnick who brought with her much of the hail and inclement weather from NY. I guess we can blame, or thank her.
Well, Shabbat is almost here. I have so much more to write, but lack the time. So sorry, no political discussion this week, though, I read in Arutz Sheva of American Jews who are protesting the law of return and have been accusing Israel of discrimination against Palestinians. There are no words to describe these actions except to say that I guess foolishness knows no limits. Self hating Jews are a stain on our national and Jewish heritage and it so irks me that there are people who have so little to do with their time that this is what they choose to espouse. Isn’t there enough anti-Semitism in the world? Do we really need help?
Oh, almost forgot. On the job front, I have an interview on Tuesday after Ulpan so we’ll see how that goes.
Wishing all a Shabbat shalom, and Chag Purim sameach. And of course, I pray that this will truly be Gilad Schalit’s last holiday spent in captivity.
Missing you all as always,
Happy Birthday to my mom and to Meyer’s Dad!!