Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Back in Business


Now that I'm feeling more settled, here's a quick update on what I've been up to since being back, and what is in store for the coming weeks.

American U Hillel Trip:

  • An American University Hillel came to Budapest on a JDC spring break trip. I joined them for a few days, visiting sites in the community and meeting with members of the Jewish community, most of whom I know well and have worked with. As a way of transitioning myself back into my life here, I loved the chance to play host and remind myself how well I know the city and how happy I am to be here. We also visited some places I had not been yet and was so happy to see, including the Jewish kindergarten and Cafe Europa, a group of Holocaust survivors who gather for conversation and activities. 

Grandparents visit:

  • This past weekend, I was very lucky to have my grandparents visit me! So many people were out of town this weekend, so I could be totally happy and present throughout their visit. We saw some of the great highlights of the city, ate delicious meals, and enjoyed the chance to catch up. It is always special when close family and friends visit so that I can give them a glimpse into my life here, which is so hard to capture over words or pictures. 
  • This past weekend, all of our madrichim/leaders were out of town, leaving only Linda (my supervisor) and me. We usually let the madrichim lead the programs, but this was our time to shine! We decided that it was a chance to include some more serious content in the meeting. She suggested that we introduce the idea of the Talmud...little did she know that I created a Hebrew school curriculum on introducing the Talmud to middle schoolers with no background on the subject back when I was in St. Louis. We did an activity in which each group was given a text from the Torah: one group about Shabbat and the other about Kashrut. In different areas of the page, they had to answer a number of prompts. They then had to clarify the terms so as to understand the literal instructions, then they had to extract the overarching values, and finally to reflect on how this law could be meaningful over time and to them today. Little did they know that by answering the questions, they were acting as junior rabbis and creating their own page of Talmud! After presenting, I opened a book of Talmud to show them what they had done, and then offered them some thoughts on what it means to have a tradition of interpretation that is alive until this day.
  • We have a camp (weekend retreat) this weekend, focused on the topic of antisemitism. Through programs and lectures, the teens will understand the background and context of this tricky issue, as well an understanding of how it may relate to their lives today and how they can respond to a number of situations. I wish I could understand the lectures, but I will happily attend and spend the time with the teens, and learn from them what they are taking away from the experience
  • We have some exciting programs with the other two Jewish youth groups in the area in the next few weeks, including a ball (like a prom) together, and a camp at the end of April, of which I am a co-educational director.

And.... Passover is staring us all down! Sam and I are going to be visited by our friend Samantha (JDC Fellow in Berlin) next weekend, and then we'll gear up for Pesach! Wow, does time truly fly...

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