It’s currently Saturday night, which means that Shabbat just ended.
I started preparing for Shabbat yesterday afternoon, which began with an accidental nap. I also got an e-mail from the CY with my ulpan (Hebrew class) placement. I’m in level Bet, which is the third of five levels. I was expecting to be in Bet or possibly Gimmel, but if Bet proves to be too easy I can switch levels. After showering and braiding my hair, I was ready to go to services. The CY has a Shabbat program for us at the beginning of both sessions, with services taking place at Moreshet Yisrael, the synagogue on their campus. Moreshet is one of the few Masorti/fully egalitarian synagogues in Jerusalem. The services are pretty American in style, although they were led by an Italian man yesterday. After services concluded, Yarden (a teacher at the CY) led a brief shiur (lesson). The best part of the shiur were his twin baby daughters he brought with him! Dinner at the Agron guest house was next on the schedule, which is where I got to meet some of my fellow students. There seemed to be far fewer people than last year-I don’t know if the second session is always bigger, or if more of the students chose to go elsewhere for Shabbat. I think I may have been the least tired person in attendance-many had just arrived that morning. After dinner I walked back to my house, followed by a few others who were going the same direction.
This morning I had intended to go to morning services at Shira Hadasha, a shul which describes itself as “feminist Orthodox”. I had set my alarm (phone) for 7:30, but woke up at 11 due to my phone shutting off overnight. Tracey invited me to her Shabbat lunch, which was lovely. I spent the afternoon unpacking and making final preparations for class, which begins tomorrow. At 5, Tracey invited me to her Parashat HaShavua (weekly Torah portion) class, at the home of a woman named Rivki. It was a women’s class, and it was a wonderful mix of ages and observance levels. It was all in English, so I was able to (mostly) follow along well. It was really nice to meet a group of women who were all immigrants (I’m assuming) living in Jerusalem. We made havdalah after returning home, which concluded Shabbat.
Tomorrow is the first day of classes!