Tag Archives: Hebrew study

A small triumph

Today’s Beginning Hebrew class ended with us learning the “ee” vowel, and then I turned the page and was confronted with the blessing on the Torah before reading (aliyah). AND I COULD READ IT. IN HEBREW.

When I got home I typed “Hebrew text” into Google images. I can read the Hebrew text it shows me. I don’t understand the words, yet, but knowing how to read the groups of letters is a huge thing. It means I can now start to read and recognize words I know, and learn ones that I don’t with their meanings, eventually.

This is exciting for me. I have been struggling with this for over a year now.

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Filed under Jewish Practices

Snapshots of my Jewish Journey

– Tikkun Leil Shavuot was amazing. The husband and I went to it together. There was song, a Kabbalah class (we were part of a living representation of the Tree of Life, which was really neat), some videos that Rabbi felt we should watch on how big the universe really is (which he then related to Torah teachings) and a small service in the sanctuary to close things up.

– My husband and I went to lunch yesterday and admired a very cute baby at the next table. The baby’s father smiled and said “He actually has a Hebrew name.” (For the life of me, I can’t remember it – I know it started with “N” and had a “ry” sound in there somewhere, but that’s all.) So we said “Well, shalom, little guy!” I was wearing my kippah and we both had our Mogen Davids on, so I don’t know if the father was Jewish or not, but he felt the need to tell us that his son had a Hebrew name, which I thought was kind of cool.

– My best friend, my husband, and I went to a used bookstore next door to the local Jewish deli a few weeks ago, and she found this amazing siddur and bought it for me as a gift. It has a metal cover, and inside the siddur itself covers most of the holidays and the Shabbat service.

siddur-avodat-metal-turquoise

– My husband and I are going to start a Beginning Hebrew class in July, and our second conversion class starts on the first Wednesday in June. I’m excited and nervous about both of those things, and I wish Duolingo would get their Hebrew class up and running already (but hey, at least it’s in development).


I realized the other day that it’s been more than a year since I started this blog, and I’ve learned a lot since I started it. At the same time, I’ve also settled down. I will be officially a Jew before the High Holy Days – in fact, I need to contact the mikveh folks to see if they’re open on the morning I want to go there, because it’s a Friday – and it seems like the most natural thing in the world to me. Occasionally I’ve felt a twinge of “am I being presumptuous?” but that, I’ve found, is more about past abuse and not about whether this is right for me or not.

It is right for me. It is me. She’asani Israel.

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Filed under Conversion Process, Day-to-Day

Friday Feature: What Are You Thankful For This Week?

It’s time for the Friday Feature again, where I ask you what good things happened to you this week. This is direct from Telushkin’s Book of Jewish Values, Day 69.

This is a regular Friday morning feature for this blog. Telushkin intended his book to provide topics for Shabbat discussions for at least a year, as each “week” is composed of six values (one per day) and then Shabbat, where he encourages us to talk about those values at our Shabbat dinners and services. I feel that the idea of gratitude is so central to Jewish practice that we should be reminded weekly of what we might be grateful for.

While I know that this might seem a little self-centered, I’m also doing this so that people will have some food for thought for their own Shabbat dinners about what they might be thankful for. I generally talk about the following areas of my life: work and career; family and friends; health; household; my conversion studies; miscellaneous life; and the wider world. Feel free to add or subtract as necessary for your own use.


Shabbat ShalomToday I have an enormous amount to be grateful for, both from the past week and going into the new week. 

I have been offered a class at a new school, and the hiring paperwork meeting will be this coming week, which will get that squared away and get me started on an online class for the last half of the semester. I’ve also got many students petitioning to add my classes, which is admittedly a big ego boost for me. And I’ve finished my first full week of classes, mostly unscathed! And I’ve been told I’ll have a full schedule in the spring at at least one school, which is also fantastic news.

My partner and I have moved towards our marriage plans – tentatively, but it’s still motion towards. My kids were here last weekend and that was simply lovely; the older one was a huge help with chores and the younger, although laid up with a sprained foot, was wonderful company. Tonight my partner is going to go with me to temple and the pre-service oneg, which has me very excited that he’s showing interest in my conversion. 

My health seems to be all right. Even though I’ve had a bad backache, I can still move and do what needs to be done, which is a good thing. 

I got in four hours of cleaning in my home today, including (finally) deep-cleaning the bathroom where our late cat, Mimi, had lived before she had to be put down. I have had trouble going in there but today I finally got it taken care of, which is an accomplishment. It’s now a usable bathroom again. I’m trying out a new smaller reduction of my challah recipe to see if it will work in the little pan. A half reduction still rose wayyy outside the pan edge when I last tried it, which resulted in a mountain of bread with a little challah on top. If this one works (I reduced my original recipe into one-third), I’ll take this small loaf with me to the oneg tonight and cook a larger one for here at home – or, maybe, the other way around. Who knows? (Edited to add: It worked! Exactly the right amount of dough for that pan. I’m making a second one as I write this, to take to the oneg. Whee!)

I’m also considering finding repurposed items to use as ritual items, instead of spending money on spendy items that I can’t afford. I am not sure what I’d repurpose for a Havdalah candle-holder, but I can see repurposing a spice jar as a Havdalah spice-box, for example. Some of my ritual items are already repurposed; most notably, a goblet a friend of mine gave me is my Kiddush cup. 

Now that my preps are done and my classes have started, I can start really working on my Hebrew studies again. That starts this coming week, with actual scheduled time for me to spend on it every single day. No more shirking!

I am very thankful for the new cease-fire in Gaza and the intimations that a longer peace may be coming. Long may it hold. 

What are you thankful for this week?

Shabbat shalom! I’ll see you on Sunday, most likely.


 

Image credit: “Shabbat Shalom” by Karen on Flickr: “Shabbat Shalom” by Karen at Flickr:http://preview.tinyurl.com/lbayfzu Used under Creative Commons License.  

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August 29, 2014 · 1:08 pm

Backing Off a Bit

I realized on Sunday that I was completely overwhelmed by my life, and that writing a blog post was sort of last on my priorities list. I’ve left you folks without a post for two days, and I can’t guarantee you’ll always get six posts a week (I wish!), so I will not make any promises.

Also, I’ve done a lot of introspection since early May, and that’s starting to calm down a bit now. I will continue to post about my studies, and about the things I’m learning, as well as my day-to-day interactions with others as a Jew-ish person, but there’s also only so much fodder for new posts, you know?

So, here’s what’s been going on with me.

First, I e-mailed a different rabbi to arrange a possible meeting. The current rabbi has me very uncomfortable because I do not feel heard or listened to (two different things). I have not heard back from Rabbi #2, but it’s also just Monday evening. I’ll email again on Wednesday if I haven’t heard back from him by then (who knows; he may be sticking to the “turn away three times” rule).

Second, I’ve been overwhelmed with other things outside of my studies, so I haven’t had a whole lot of new stuff to read (although I have a lot of books to take back to the library at this point). I’ve been working my way through the Read Hebrew practice book, but it’s slow going. I’m also admittedly frustrated by not knowing which “t” sound to use in any given attempt to write a word. For the first time, I understand why so many of my second-language students struggle with “s” and “c” and “k”.

Third, I have achieved grain-free challah that actually tastes like challah! I admit to being quite excited about this; I shared it with some friends who are in the know, and they approved. This makes me very happy.

I’ve been reading other folks’ blogs that deal with what’s going on in Israel and Gaza, but I’ve said my piece about that, I think. I’d like to recommend a couple of  blogs from the last few days for your reading pleasure, however.

Pop Chassid reflects on his biggest mistake: ignoring science. 

Meanwhile, Rabbi Adar talks to us about 10 Ways to Enhance Your Jewish Home.

Yep. That’s all I have for you today, folks. (Anyone want my grain-free challah recipe?)

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Filed under Conversion Process, Judaism