Thursday, December 1, 2016



I try and periodically give an update about the status of my professional life here, so here it goes.

In some of my past posts, I was pretty optimistic about being able to fill my schedule with new engagements and commitments in the coming weeks and months. As it turns out, it's not so easy. Being the first fellow here, and being in a large community with many different organizations, I have relied on good old professional networking to try and create more structure for my position. Through contacts I have met on my own or have been introduced to, I have reached out to all sorts of professionals in the Jewish community to pitch a partnership. In a meeting I had yesterday, I was told that working with an American Fellow may sound enticing, but the Hungarian community is actually kind of hard to break into. The Hungarian Jewish community is pretty homogenous, because there has not been a major influx of a Jewish migrants in perhaps hundreds of years, and the community here has roots that often date back many generations. Therefore, the common tongue and common history unites them in a way that makes it a little less exciting to have an American Fellow.

In any case, I think that it's safe to anticipate that future fellows will take my place in the Hungary placement, and the more the community understands that they can expect to have a Fellow around whom they are free to utilize for all sorts of community programs, the better off the longevity of this placement will be. Of course, I also want to have the chance to get busy, so I'm doing my best. I have some potential to join various community programs, from after school childcare to a Jewish elderly English club, as well as a special needs group that meets for art and dance. Essentially all community programming is run in Hungarian, but I will try and carve out a space for myself to succeed as a participant/volunteer. I am in contact with the large Jewish school, the Szarvas summer camp, and the Jewish Museum about other potential involvement.

My BBYO work remains strong, and we're getting ready to close up our first semester of programming on a high note. Since our camp, the tone of the group has shifted in a very positive way, with the group feeling more united, and with the teens having a new openness to the programming that we offer. We began an ongoing heritage project to encourage reflection on the teens' family histories, which will hopefully result in a reflective community visual art presentation to be submitted to a heritage project run out of Beit Hatfutsot in Israel. This Shabbat, we will join BBYO chapters around the globe in celebrating Global Shabbat, which for us will include prayers at the synagogue, a potluck Shabbat dinner, activities and games, and a sleepover together at the synagogue.
Here are some teens showing off their family heirlooms to the group. Both of these boys brought in tallitot.


Some other exciting news, our Mannequin Challenge was featured on a Hungarian website!

So while I remain optimistic that my life will become busier in the next few weeks, I remain patient for now. At least BBYO is in good shape, and we're already looking forward to our trip to Dallas for International Convention in February!

Final update: For those of you keeping track at home, I still have taken exactly 1 proper standing shower with a shower curtain during my nearly 3 months here. When I moved in, there wasn't a curtain, and I need an extra long bar to be able to hold one up. I acquired one and had it for exactly one shower before it broke. The apartment owner is installing a new and improved one next week, so a new era will begin soon! No more sitting in the bathtub and cleansing myself like a baby!
Enjoy this picture of Parliament under the Margaret Bridge, take from the vantage point of Margaret Island. I went on an evening run and couldn't resist taking and posting this picture.

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