Thursday, September 23, 2010


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oops, I’m very sorry for not writing for so long! Here are the highlights from the last week:

Tuesday-Wednesday, September 21-22, 2010

Tuesday night we went to the big Tel Aviv apartment and built a sukkah during Ulpan. We learned a lot of Sukkot-related words, which I currently don’t remember, which was fun. Sukkot is a huge holiday here in Israel – once again, everything is going to be closed for about four days, since it falls on a Wednesday/Thursday, and then Shabbat. Amy, Hannah and I stumbled into a sort of farmer’s market on our walk that was selling only these three things you “need” for your sukkah – we thought it was something awesome so we went in, but it was super orthodox. We were the only women in there, we were not dressed orthodox-ly, and we were clearly not going to buy anything. We left in a hurry.

Oh, something I forgot to mention was that I had a very interesting conversation with Morgan about state-sponsored orthodoxy. She told me that because studying Talmud and Torah is more holy than working, the state subsidizes men who don’t work and instead go to the Yeshiva all the time. Plus, they get more money for every child they have, so you see these orthodox women with 12 children begging on the street because the welfare they are getting can’t support their family, and their husbands won’t work. That is ridiculous. Be a religious state, that’s fine, but you can’t tell people that studying holy texts is more important than providing for their families. You just can’t. And of course the women can’t work, because they are orthodox, and also because they have 12 children. And this uses up a huge chunk of the state’s welfare allotment, which means that other people who are actually working and trying to provide for their families can’t get the assistance they need. WTF.

I remembered that conversation because apparently Sukkot is such a big deal that poor Jewish families are spending money they don’t have to build a sukkah (which is very expensive). That is crazy to me – isn’t the point that you invite those less fortunate into your sukkah with you? Then why, pray tell, are those less fortunate having to build their own sukkahs? Why can’t they go to North Tel Aviv and hang out in your rich sukkah? WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS COUNTRY.

Also, we were talking in Ulpan about how your invite important people to your sukkah. Our teacher mentioned Abraham, Issac, Jospeh, and I was thinking about how those are never the people we invited to our sukkah at Sholem. Then I got the “this week at Sholem” email and they talked about who they were inviting to their sukkah: Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi…obviously a different sort of population. I remember there were always fierce debates in my class about who to invite – Emma Goldman or Mother Jones? Ghandi or Mandela? Dr. King or Susan B. Anthony? It made me really appreciate (for the thousandth time since I’ve been here) my Sholem education. Sukkus, for us, was always a political holiday (like all holidays) and it taught me about civil rights and labor leaders I didn’t learn about in school. If we had invited old dudes from the bible every year, it would have been (a) boring, and (b) much less educational. I guess it depends on what kind of education you are aiming for, but I think the Sholem way is definitely the best. Also, I read some of the class notes to Hannah and Jodi, and they were like, “yeah, that place sounds amazing.” And I was like, damn straight.

Then on Wednesday we had a whole bunch of Ulpan, then a whole bunch of hanging out. Jodi and I bought DINOSAUR SHAPED CHICKEN NUGGETS for dinner (Morgan had them too), and we spent hours trying to watch NCIS, which was very challenging for everyone involved. But then we had a lovely dinner downstairs in the sukkah that Amy, Dante, Katie, and Nate built on their patio, with all the Yafo people and two Tel Aviv people (plus Jodi and Morgan, who are basically Yafo people at this point.) Then, after our lovely meal, we finally watched NCIS, which seriously disappointed me, by the way. If you haven’t seen it yet, go see it and then LET’S TALK. I also watched the season premier of How I Met Your Mother the other day with Amy, which I thought was excellent. Then we all went out to this bar in the flea market, which was fun until there was some too-intense conversation about the construction of masculinity going on. I love talking about gender construction, of course, but it wasn’t really working (wrong time, wrong place, needed a facilitator, wrong approach), so Dante and I sang “A Whole New World” instead.

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