This past Shabbat I traveled north to Haifa for the Bar Mitzvah of Moshe, a cousin of Shiri (Ezra’s wife). Shiri’s Moroccan family is warm and gracious, eager to host and include us. Shiri is from Kiryat Sh’muel, a suburb of Haifa. Haifa lies on Israel’s northern Mediterranean coast (noticeable on a map of Israel -- its bump), about an hour drive north of Tel Aviv. On the way we pass Herzliya and Cesaria, and Israel’s northern coastal cities like Netanya, noted for its beac
There is an energetic buzz in the Beit Midrash. Sixty or 70 students, nearly all in their early 20’s, are studying, usually in a chevruta, a partnership. One is talking and the other responds. It is the ancient and modern sound of Talmudic learning. Suddenly, I am startled. Across the room I hear shouting. Why? What? Then I realize, it is a Talmudic student or two shouting in a give-and-take in chevruta. It is not the only startling noise I have heard in the yeshivah.
It took me about two weeks to settle into a routine. I shopped and organized my apartment, started to acquaint myself with Efrat, and became familiar with the Yeshivah and the approach of my teacher, Rav Boaz. I was then (two weeks ago) ready, weather permitting, to walk to classes and to, little by little, get to know Efrat. One of the delightful surprises came on the first morning’s walk. Passing a bus stop, something caught my eye (ouch!) and I peeked in and saw, inside
This pre-Shabbat’s drive, unlike last week’s excursion to Elkanah, took only about five minutes. It meant that on Friday, with limited Shabbat preparation, I could devote much of the day to study and family calls. Alyssa cooked Shabbat dinner not only for the three of us, but for four other dinner guests. As she loves to bake, she made at least two delicious sweet challot for each meal, along with a first for me: Our appetizer was hummus topped with ground beef. Then came