At Ein Prat they both show clips of Elizabeth Gilbert (author of "Eat, Pray, Love", a book I purchased second hand today since I've now completed "Brief Interviews") and walk around at night over the gravely ground of their caravan compound without shoes.
Yes, MOST of them don't wear shoes. At all. But I decided. I'm going to go anyway. I may not fit in. Mostly because I'll probably opt for shoes.
I got there when it was dark. I actually arrived in the middle of dinner -- and discovered, almost immediately, that I knew two people there. This was convinient because I a) was feeling self-concious about my Hebrew that was all coming out Arabicized, and b) needed a caravaan (trailer) to sleep in. I attended a chug, night seder and, in the morning, daf yomi and seder boker. As I find myself struggling to classify the "feel" of the place and these experiences, I think the only thing that I can say with surety is that I know that at Ein Prat I will not only face linguistic and academic challenges (in both the horizontal and vertical directions), but also emotional and physical ones. For example, there's no place to do laundry. Ugh. But they do have horses...and camels. Priorities, I see, are in order.
Kfar Adumim (~300 families) and Allon (~150 families, plus the Midrasha) are settlements located just to the northeast of Jerusalem. They will probably be included in Israeli proper in any sort of settlment deal that Israelis and Palestinians may (inchallah?) come up with. But for now, it is still a part of the "occupied West Bank". But it is also located no where near any Arab villages. There are Druze who, err, nomad (if you'll pardon the use of the word as verb) a few kilometers away, but for the most part, the area is much safer than the settlement bloc south of Jerusalem where I spent my first extended stay in Israel. It's also a very differnet type of settlement - these are not religious Zionist settlements, per say. They were built by the labor movement, most notably by Yigal Allon, one of Israel's most famous generals. Hence the name of the settlement in which I will be living (Allon). Anyway, I'll spare you the political history and just say this: I am excited to attend this institution.