Today was the ending of two things, and the beginning of another!
In the morning, we had our Closing Ceremony for the Fellows. We handed out certificates in the following manner: Shira called up the first Fellow and said a few words about him, then that Fellow said nice things about the next Fellow receiving a certificate, until every Fellow had received a certificate. THIS WAS THE CUTEST THING EVER. :)))) There was so much good will and love in the room! The Fellows really became one group and supported each other throughout. I hope everyone-both PT staff and PT Fellows-will keep in touch! I’ll miss everyone!
Tonight, we had our last Yalies in Israel event. The person who coordinates these events rented an apartment in Rechavia (in Jerusalem) and we all came together for a final Shabbat dinner. Before eating the delicious catered food (which I will describe soon-don’t worry :p), I decided to go to Orthodox Shabbat services with some of the other Yalies. I had never been to any services in Jerusalem before, so I decided it was high time I went on this little adventure. I’m so glad I went! Even though I didn’t understand any of the Hebrew, the experience was priceless. First, I found the synagogue itself very interesting: it was Orthodox, so men and women were separated by a curtain. However, it was also egalitarian, so women led most of the services. Evening services were divided into three parts. It was mostly beautiful singing mixed with a little bit of verbal and silent prayer. As I sat there, listening to everyone else harm in synchrony around me, I really caught a glimpse into what it means to be religious. More than just following traditions (that are seemingly strange and idiosyncratic to outsiders like me, I might add), it’s about a sense of community. I really felt that tonight and I’m not even Jewish! It was the most peaceful and thought-provoking environment-an experience like no other.
Our Shabbat dinner itself was just the best thing. We ordered all the food from a fancy catering company called Naomi’s. Before eating, we (and by we I mean all the Jewish people while I just looked around and enjoyed the Hebrew songs :D) sang our own Shabbat songs (the ones that are usually sung at Slifka) and this time, I really did feel a part of something bigger: the Yale family! It was so cute to see everyone together and to enjoy a meal together without the disturbance of phones or the Internet. And the food? Too many mouthwatering goodies to fit into my stomach! The menu: two salads, pita with three different kinds of hummus (I most enjoyed the spicy one :D), ravioli, zucchini pancakes, vegetable samosas, lasagna, and quiche. As if all that weren’t enough, READ WHAT WE HAD FOR DESSERT: chocolate mousse cake (I definitely died and went to chocolate heaven), rugelach, grapes, watermelon, lychee, figs, and baklava.
Although it was sad to say goodbye to both the Fellows and some Yalies, I also mentioned that something new is starting: the 2012 London Olympics!!! OMG most people probably don’t know this, but I am OBSESSED with the Olympics. LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!! (And the odds be ever in all of my favorite athletes’/countries’ (and YOUR favorites if you care) favors. :D)
Shabbat Shalom and HAPPY OLYMPICS!!!!!!!!! :)))))))