Embark on an exciting journey into Israel, the homeland of the Jewish People and my home for the next year! I will be adding my new observations and perspective of student life at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, Israel. Enjoy the ride!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Israel Seminar

I realize that my posts have been lacking this year in Israel. Unfortunately, my schedule keeps me so busy that I barely have time to reflect on my life here or my studies. However, the beauty of school is that they assign you to reflect, and therefore I do! So, I decided that if I can reflect for my teachers, I certainly can include those reflections on my blog and hope that it will satisfy my readers for the time being.

I have to classes that require my reflection time: Israel Seminar and Education Seminar. This happens to work as far as my personal career goals, since those two things are my passions. I will do my best to add little things here and there besides my assigned reflections to keep you in the loop of my life. But, if you are ever wondering what I am doing here, you can safely assume that it is in the realm of reading, writing, or eating (because there is always time for that!).

Until then, forgive me for only providing you with this...

Reflection #1
Israel Seminar, September 19, 2007
The reflection among the group participants today helped me to understand the place that I am in regarding my relationship to Israel. Hearing that others in the group had experienced similar life-changing events here, and then feeling somewhat disillusioned or unattached to the country this time around helped me feel better about the situation I have felt in since returning to live in Jerusalem for another year.
The truth is that I think my lack of attachment to this particular city stems from my ambivalent feelings that developed over the time I lived here two years ago. Granted, I lived in Jerusalem for 2 and a half months, which is really only time enough to develop somewhat of a feel for the city, but I did not develop a particular love for it. I grew to respect the history here, and the recognition that this is the central place of the modern state of Israel, but I would not live in this city in Israel if I had my choice. I feel like most of Israel’s problems are embodied in this city, and the intensity of that is almost too much for me to handle.
Besides this, the whole discussion of the new Jew creates even more feelings of ambivalence towards Jerusalem for me. The pioneers that came to settle the land years ago would cringe at the sight of this city. The idea of the new Jew of the second Aliyah was to create a sort of Jewish nationalism and strength different from that of the first, seemingly the exact opposite to what this city looks like now. The way the rabbinate has taken hold of holy sites, such as the Kotel, draws on the tradition of the old Jew, and separates the modern day from the past. The pioneers of the second aliyah, in my opinion, would be against anything that prevented the modernization of Jewish practice. The idea of the new Jew is embodied in places like the Golan, where the fields are still utilized for making wine and other crops, despite the fact that Jewish farmers are not working sweat to the brow like the Jewish farmers of the Aliyah.
My hope for this seminar, throughout the year, is to grow an appreciation for my multilayered relationship with the land of Israel and the State of Israel and a better understanding of my passion for this country despite my issues with it.

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