More and more students are beginning to arrive, and it has been wonderful to meet them. And, honestly, it's been quite amazing to learn just how diverse we all are... inspiring people with amazing experiences and some of the most beauitful goals I've heard articulated in a long, long time. It will be a good year.
I spent this past erev shabbat with a community called Nava Tehila. They are Israel's only Renewal community, something that actually surprises me; I assumed that there'd be more than one. Regardless, I've been asked to join them as a musician and singer for their monthly Kabbalat Shabbat services. No big deal, right? Well... they want me to play my violin, which, barring a couple theatre productions, I haven't done in public, solo, in a long time. (Since fifth grade, I think?) Further, it's all improvisation, which is something I've NEVER had the guts to do in public. Let's just say that this shabbat was all about pushing boundaries. I left the service feeling this weird mix of being energized and completely wiped out. It took a ton of energy to stay present. A sizable group of HUC chevre attended services, which was lovely, and a few friends from other places came as well. It was nice to have the support.
But, even aside from that, it was great to be with the community of Nava Tehila, who so warmly and immediately welcomed me. I knew coming here that I'd really miss Romemu (the Renewal community I am a part of in New York), and this is as close as I'll get. I don't expect one to completely substitute for the other, but there's a certain familiarity that's quite comforting.
I'll try to write more soon. For now, it's off to officially register for school (no turning back now!)... and then back to Ben-Gurion. I'm picking up one of my friends from the cantorial class who is arriving today. She's never been to Israel, and seeing a familiar face will help ease the shock. Besides, I very much agree with a pretty awesome FEMALE (her title, not mine... R, are you reading??) back in New York, that it's a shame that our society has fallen away from both seeing people off and picking people up at the airport. It's simply nice to have someone there... and so, there I'll be.
Kol tuv l'kulam!