Tuesday, June 9, 2009


A few issues of business (yes I CAN say that in Arabic):

- Some of you have asked me if I got to see Obama speak. The answer is no. I watched most of his speech on TV at a restaurant we went to for lunch, but it was dubbed over in Arabic so I could only hear about 80% of what he was saying in English. For the purposes of self-protection and due to the risk of State Department inquiry, I will avoid making any political comments on this blog, but I will say that Obama is a charming speaker and I am happy to call him my president.

- Some of you asked for clarification of who the “we” are. “We” are the Intermediate/Advanced Critical Language Scholarship recipients in Alexandria, Egypt. A group of 25 Americans from across the country studying various subjects at various levels from architecture undergrads (my roommate) to medical researchers working on a masters to PhD students in political science or philosophy.

- Others of you have told me that you can’t post comments. THAT’S WEIRD. I don’t know why, but I’ll do my best with my flimsy Internet connection to check it out and get back to you.

- Others yet of you have responded to my blog via email, which is amazing. Please continue to do so. You make my day. ☺

-Today I’m going to put the song first, because I left you hanging last time and I don’t want to forget --- the song for today is kind of how I feel in Egypt. And, as I was saying to one of my friends here, I'm OK with feeling this way here. In other places (namely Israel), I'm not comfortable being identifiable as foreign, but here, since I A) physically CANNOT blend in and B) I don't have a profound desire to be one of the locals, I am OK being "An American Girl" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. I would link it, but since my internet connection is SO bad, I can't get youtube up - I've been trying for hours now - so I'm just going to post this and if you want to, just search for it in youtube. Eeeek. Sorry.

We checked out in the morning after the customary 6:30 wake-up call (painful) and got on the bus so that we could be the first group into the spectacular, though very dirty, Egyptian Museum. ‘Aamr gave us an incredible tour - he’s really a very impressive tour guide - and I learned something about Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms of ancient Egypt. My favorite, obviously, was Queen Hatshepsut who ruled Egypt as a king - false beard and all - for a couple of decades because the next heir was five years old at the time that the throne was vacated by all of her other immediate male relatives. I won’t bore you with any more details, but I will say that some of the stuff, especially the tomb of King Tut and the alters that were in abundance, reminded me of various chunks of Leviticus, and how the Jewish people are forbidden from carrying out various rituals, building various types of statues, and even returning to Egypt. It felt weird.
Hands down, the most frightening experiences I’ve had in Egypt have involved crossing the street. I just thought I’d say that before moving on.

OK, so I want to write a book entitled “My Bizarre First Shabbat In Alex” and distribute it widely to any Orthodox Jewish people who go abroad. No time for details now, but lets just say it was fine, and I’ll be more prepared next time.

Saw everything that there is to see in Alexandria for tourist, and will be going back to most (Alexandria museum, Greek-Egyptian catacombs, Montazah Gardens, etc.) so I won’t write about them now, but I will say that I was deeply impressed by the catacombs. If you want to see them, here’s a link that’ll give you an idea of what I saw.


  1. if you write a book about shabbat in alexandria, i want a signed copy!!!! sounds like youre having an awesome time, really makes me want to go on that program next summer. miss you lots :(

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  3. oh oh I wanna see the catacombs but I don't see a link. I visited the Capuchin monk Catacombs in Palermo Sicily last year and it was soooo cool and bizarre and unsettling. full of fully dressed skeletons (some with hair) from about 100 years ago. they are mounted on the wall and sort of hang there like a what I imagine the addams family basement might look like. Google image at your own risk!