I finished my Anti-Semitism book report! It wasn’t that hard in the end. I just needed to muster up the self-discipline to sit down and finish it. I also started studying for my Hebrew midterm on Monday. It was a productive night. I also napped a lot. Pretty standard midterm week affairs.We had another Poland meeting, since our usual time on Thursday would be taken up by Thanksgiving. We did a matching activity, where we were given a term, place or person and had to match them with the definition or their biography. It was surprisingly educational. As usual, I realized how little I know on the subject.
I had my Hebrew midterm; totally rocked it. Talmud class was wonderful as always. SivanS. and I pretty much got ourselves invited (slash invited ourselves…) for Shabbat dinner at some point. He was fine with it so at some point that’s gonna be the best dinner ever.We had our first ACTUAL football game. It was a slaughter. As in, Nativ made one touchdown and the other team made four. But we got “jerseys”! They’re actually just maroon t-shirts but they have Nativ on the front, numbers (got my lucky number 17) and sponsors on the back. They’re pretty great. I was really disappointed in how I played during and after the game- I didn’t catch a single pass and I was beating myself up about it. I ran back from Kraft Stadium, which is past Gan Sacher, about a 30 minute walk mostly uphill. It was hard but I’ve gotten a lot better at running since I started football. Running made me feel better but I was still not in the mood to be around people. I caught up on a couple episodes of the League and went to bed.
I did laundry with SivanS. this morning. Clean sheets were definitely necessary. I studied for my Talmud final on Wednesday and then headed to Anti-Semitism class. We started talking about the Holocaust, not just Hitler’s rise to power or the Nazi Agenda. We actually learned about the concentration and extermination camps, the timeline of people who went through them, etc. There was a lot of overlap from the last Poland meeting. It’s really quite nice how much overlap occurs between the two classes. Either I’ll learn something in Poland and we’ll talk about it in Anti or the other way around. There’s a lot of reinforcement which is always good.Dinner was great. I’m always a fan of Schnitzel and ketchup.Erev Nativ was SUPER interesting. Karmiel and Kfar were together for a serious discussion while Yerucham did something fun, because they hadn’t really done anything like Angry Birds or a paint fight thus far. Our serious night was watching the movie Trembling Before G-d, which is about gays and lesbians in Orthodox Judaism.I had never really thought about the conflict between their religious beliefs and their lifestyle choices. There were a few couples, some hid their faces, others didn’t, that were interviewed, a few individual people who discussed their experiences and their childhood. There were also many Rabbis, psychologists and experts who were interviewed. We watched 3/4 of the movie then broke up into groups to discuss how we felt about it. After our hour-long discussion, we had the option of going back to our rooms or finishing the movie. I felt it was important to finish the movie.Afterwards, we had a Kfar party for EzraS.’s birthday. His mother sent him a surprise cake that was delicious. It was chocolate cake with strawberry filling and vanilla buttercream frosting. Most of it was eaten, even by other tracks because we could in no way finish a 50 serving cake. Some of it ended up on faces, as usually does with my track. Kfarmers are weird… and messy.
My Talmud midterm went pretty well. I feel good about it, but I won’t know for sure until I get my grade back. Then, I had Anti, which I couldn’t really pay attention to. I tried, but it didn’t work. Instead, I sent Grandmaya an email and Stumbled.After class, I went to Dr. Epstein’s, my Anti teacher, office hours. I wanted to pick the topic for my final paper. It has to be a fairly broad topic because it’s an 8-10 page paper, but it can’t be too broad. I picked medical experiments in Auschwitz. I was trying to decide if I should pick Dr. Mengele, because I’m interested and ridiculously fascinated by his so-called “experiements”. Instead of narrowing it down to just one doctor, I decided to incorporate the other three famous doctors also doing experiments in Auschwitz. I guess it’s a good sign you’ve picked a suitable topic when you’re actually excited to write a research paper…I got home about an hour later than usual and I went with RachelH. to Hummus Bar. It’s this wonderful small, cramped restaurant where hummus is the main dish and you pick what you want to add to it. I’ve heard the rice and beans meal there is really good, but since I went late in the day, they were out of rice. I got Hummus Basar, which is hummus with ground up meat on top and a little bit of chickpeas and olive oil. Don’t be fooled if it sounds kind of weird… it was DELICIOUS. They serve pickles, a small veggie salad (i.e. tomatoes and onions) and a whole lot of pita. We wolfed down our food and I had a lot leftover. Oh and not pictured? The best falafel I’ve ever eaten.I came home and digested for an hour before doing circuits. I hadn’t really worked out in a while, so it’s gonna be slightly hard getting back into it. But, I’m excited to work out again. I quickly showered and ran downstairs to the auditorium for our weekly showing of a classic movie. This week? The Shining. I was excited, figuring I could handle it and get over my fear of scary movies… That didn’t happen. Twenty minutes in: Dick was asking if Tony ever showed Doc something about the hotel and I was done. Creepy factor shot up and it was my time to go. How am I supposed to sleep after seeing this?Answer is to read a lot of articles on Cracked.com and stop thinking about it. Obviously, the latter one is not working.
ITS THANKSGIVING! WOO! And to celebrate, I had the second half of my Hebrew midterm! It was actually really easy. After a terrible boring Bible class, I raced home to go to football practice. Since it was Thanksgiving and there was special programming starting at 5, we couldn’t have actual practice, so we met for half an hour to go over plays and strategize for next week’s game.After our meeting, I started to get ready for Thanksgiving. I raided SueS.’s closet and found a cute dress. The girls of Kfar had an impromptu photo shoot to commemorate our first big American holiday on Nativ.We all headed down to Moreshet Israel, the synagogue attached to Beit Nativ, to daven Ma’ariv (Evening prayers) and have a presentation for all the guests coming to Thanksgiving. Every year on Nativ, past Nativers who are currently in Israel are invited to have dinner with the group. This year, there were over 100 guests eating with us. Our Nativ Acapella group performed two songs, Yossi Garr, the director of Nativ, spoke a little bit about what we’ve done this year so far and then a video was shown. It was very cute and nostalgic.Next came the food. Let me preface this by saying I’m used to having Thanksgiving dinner a specific way and I don’t like big changeups. Dinner was AWESOME. I didn’t think Agron had it in them, but they did. We had the usual salads, vegetables and plates of hummus (who would’ve thought I’d ever have hummus at Thanksgiving?) but the real excitement came when we saw this just waiting to be eaten. There was green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, tons of turkey and even cranberry sauce. It was delightful to eat real food again. Oh and that turkey from above? Here’s an after shot…Post dinner was surprisingly energetic. Usually everyone in my family sits down to watch a Pixar movie and we all fall asleep. Not this year! A special video had been made just for us to watch in the auditorium. Earlier in the week, a few Nativers interviewed everyone. No one knew what for, but we got asked random questions about our parents, to describe our favorite fruit, etc. They mashed up everyone’s answers into a hysterical video. The videographers ended up having us describe Yossi Garr and Maya Dolgin (our Nativ coordinator)- a LOT of hilarity ensued.We moved next door after the short movie and found tables littered with muffins and bowls of candy. We ended up making turkey muffins! They were super cute and quite delicious.As usual, everyone got a little crazy and a lot of messy. I don’t think any of us have actually grown up yet…After we got ourselves cleaned up a little bit, we headed back into the auditorium to watch Thanksgiving episodes of The Simpsons and How I Met Your Mother. It was nice to watch real TV on a screen other than a computer. It was a really lovely way to end my first Thanksgiving abroad.
I woke up early to do LeahR.’s laundry. I was the only one at breakfast for the first twenty minutes, so I had a conversation with one of the kitchen guys in broken Hebrew. I went to go get ready for a coffee date with MixB. which ended up being moved to next week. WIth a morning open and nothing to do, I decided to go with TeriM., DeenaA. and DaniN. to the Biblical Zoo. I’d been meaning to go for some time but hadn’t gotten around to it. We took a taxi there and spent over two hours looking at animals we wished we could’ve played or snuggled with. They were all just too cute.We took a taxi home in time for lunch and a nap. I woke up, watched some Dexter with SivanS. and welcomed in Shabbat with dinner and our weekly Tisch. We sang songs, ate Marzipan rugelach and I went to bed.
Sivan S. and I walked to Yedidya by ourselves and got a little lost. It was alright, it took about 30 seconds to correct ourselves, but it was still worthy of a laugh. The service was, again, absolutely gorgeous. We walked up to the bima after and an adorable 5 year old girl came up to SivanS. and said “You’re coming home with me.” She then promptly grabbed her hand and pulled us towards her family: her dad and two brothers, ages 12 and 2. The last sibling, a 9 year old brother, stayed at home with his mom. We walked back to their apartment, about 20 minutes from the shul, and had a really interesting conversation with DeeDee, the dad, about their congregation as well as what he did as a lawyer.
Brit, the sole daughter, was holding SivanS.’s or my hand the whole time. Once we got to their home, it was clear this meal was going to be much more enjoyable than the previous days. I played basketball with Tevo, the 2 year old, who was the sweetest boy ever. Lunch was incredible and the conversation flowed effortlessly. The couple was young and genuinely interested in SivanS.’s and my lives, as well as our experiences with Israel on Nativ. They both spoke Hebrew and English and the kids spoke mostly Hebrew but understood our English. It was so comfortable, almost like being at home again, that neither SivanS. nor I wanted to leave. They were adamant that we come back to see them and the feeling was mutual. Their children also loved us, which is apparently not such a common thing, so that was also an excellent sign. Overall, it made our day.