Monday, April 11, 2011

King Havdalah

Delayed update! I wrote this entry just about a week ago, and I still need to find time to post pictures to go with it. I'll do my best to post more regularly, as I'd promised. So please forgive this slowness and enjoy some thoughts from not too long ago:

"Hey Yara, do you want to join us for Havdalah?"
"Do I want to join you and Abdullah?"
"Yeah, we're going to Havdallah right now."
"You're going to meet King Abdullah?! What??"

When we get lost in translation here, some moments are funnier than others. Last week I invited my friend Yara, who's from Amman, Jordan, to join us for the Havdalah ceremony that marks the end of Shabbat and beginning of the new week. She thought I was asking if she wanted to come with me to meet King Abdullah, the Jordanian monarch. Unfortunately, I'm not that good at networking!

As the immediate region became increasingly fragile, with saddenning cycles of violence on the Gazan border, we redoubled our dedication to learning together, and to working together. As Shabbat closed with coming of evening, I hoped that this week would bring more peace than the last. I am hopeful that the ceasefire established yesterday will last, and my friends and we will share together more moments of joy and togetherness that mirror calmness in the region.
Last week we all boarded a bus for our first group trip, for a three-day adventure engaging issues of water management; the bus was full constant drumming, singing, and group games, between planned stops that kept changing due to rain. On our first day we learned about sinkholes near the Dead Sea, and had a picnic lunch by a public beach. As soon as the tables were set, the skies let loose torrential bucketloads. By that afternoon, our schedule had already reached plan D, which turned out to be the beautiful nature reserve at Ein Feshka. Even with cancelled hikes and soggy sandwiches, our group was generally as upbeat as our bus was musty!

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