The weather. It's been sort of awkward. It's that in-betweeny kind of cloudy that's not sure when it wants to burn itself out. It's a coffee-colored, sweaty background to my first week back at Ein Prat. So I've been running at night, generally, taking the road less traveled, if you will. And that has made all the difference.
If we're already talking about running, I'll just mention that I'm planning on running in the "mirutz" or race that takes place hereabouts every year. They call it the Race of "Here are our Houses" which sounds politically charged in English, but when translated to the Hebrew it comes out to כאן ביתינו (ka'an beiteinu) and the acronym for "KAN" turns out to stand for K'far Adumim, Alon and Nofei Prat which are the names of the settlements of the area. So I suppose it sounds politically charged in Hebrew, too. Hmm. In any case, they have three "races" - 2km, 5km, and 10km. I'm doing the 5km. You're all welcome to sponsor me, the money will be going to a charity....JUST KIDDING. Its just for fun. Prep for the Danskin (rock!).
Sofa"sh (Sof Shavua -- Weekend)
The time between Yom HaShoah (Monday) and Mishmar (Thursday night) is all a blur. Nothing happened, everything happened. We had special talks, activities, chavrutot, ceremonies, songs, and then it was the weekend. I went Tuesday night to Migdal Oz, to see it again - to see my friends, to see what had changed and what hadn't. And going back reminded me. It reminded me of all of the great changes, the crises, the emotions that I experienced there. And I decided I was going to go for Shabbat as well. So on Friday I got myself back to Migdal Oz for a Shabbat for the first time in three years. It was lovely to be back. Same food, different toranim. Same Tefillah (prayers), bigger building (they built a whole new space for Mechon Herzog). Same feeling, different experience. I split my time between the first year Americans and my friends in second and fourth year. All in all, it remains a place full of song and pilpul (thanks, Adi Zalis!!!). Saturday night was a double birthday party. And on Sunday it was off to Midrasha -- full-speed ahead.
Cemetery/Ceremony (I'm not the only one who gets confused in foreign languages...thanks Adi Zalis!!!)
Pardes was coming to the Midrasha. And they asked me to help out. So, of course, I agreed. But what they hadn't told me was that my task was to put together a program for Yom HaZikaron. And when it came to light that this was, in fact, what was at hand, I felt a bit out of place. Who was I to put on an emotional show for the day upon which Israelis commemorate their fallen heroes, their victims of terror, their fallen loved ones? And how were the Americans to connect? How was I (it wasn't just me, don't worry I had lots of help) to strike a balance between languages? Between cultures? Between Jews? The program went like this in the end:
-Siren (all of Israel stands silent for one minute to commemorate the dead)
-"Introduction" (this is where I explained what would happen...in Hebrew and then in English)
-Reading of Names (of fallen soldiers or people who died in terrorist attacks -- names provided by Ein Prat's members)
-Yizkor (prayer for the dead)
-Reading of Names
-A personal story from a friend from Ein Prat
-Reading of Names
-A poem read in Hebrew and simultaneously in English
-Reading of Names
-HaTikva (Israeli national anthem)
And people liked it. It was meaningful, somehow. They came up to me and thanked me. Thus, your song today is a song I love, a sad song, one that, when played on the radio during the second intifada would let Israelis know that there had been a terrorist attack. It's called Darkeinu and this version is from the TV show Burganim (which I've never seen, and can therefore not be held responsible for its content).