Rabbi Conover – Week 3 in Israel

This week’s blog brought to you by Rabbi Shoshanah Conover and Orr Shalom (Temple Sholom Youth Group) Social Action Chair Sydney Baer

In the second of this week’s double Torah Portion, Matot-Masei, we read the recounting of the Israelites’ journey through 42 stations on their trek toward Israel.  Many commentators puzzle over why the Torah enumerates each of these stops—some of them preferring to  simply dismiss this enumeration as superfluous.  Yet, as sixteen year-old Sydney Baer has become part of our family in Israel, joining us in Jerusalem as our babysitter, we have realized the importance of recounting the minor moments in our days that accumulate into one powerful experience.  While many of the places recounted in the last parashah in the Book of Numbers are ones of strife, we have taken the time to recount the moments of joy and appreciation in our own journey.  We hope you will enjoy reading about some of these moments and what we’ve learned from them.

Some Resting Places in Our Journey Through Jerusalem (and Beyond…)

1.  Watching the light show in the fountains of Teddy Park with a view of Jerusalem’s Old City walls.
Appreciate the laughter and joy of others at play. 
2.  Sitting with the boys as they enjoy 10 shekels-worth of candy at the markolet (small market) after camp.
Give thanks for the ability to witness the growth of people we love.

3.  Relaxing in the apartment with everyone together.
Enjoy the comforts of home.

4.  Eating vegetables with breakfast.
It’s never too early or late to be healthy.

5.  Taking long walks on Shabbat.
Give thanks for legs that can take us places—and know that there will be someone to push/carry us if need be.

6.  Experiencing  Havdalah in a room  filled with stories, song, and about 100 rabbis.
Find beauty not only in the beginning of a special experience, but at its end as well.

7.  Seeing the moon resting over the city.
Learn to take pictures with our eyes and minds that a camera could never quite capture.

8.  Hearing the Muslim calls to prayer at 4am outside of our apartment.
Savor the ability to enjoy sacred mysteries—both from our own and others’ traditions —even at times we’d rather be sleeping.

9.  Car rides to and from the Galilee—one of Israel’s most fertile and hilly regions to the north of Jerusalem.
Take time to experience the diverse beauty of nature in this miraculous country and in every place we dwell.

10.  Enjoying views of the Kinneret while reading on the mirpeset(balcony) in the Galil.
Realize that when done in the name of relaxing and rejuvenating, sometimes multi-tasking can be a very good thing
11.  Exploring the hillsides with streams in the Galil—picking mint and making it into tea when we get home.
Open up to sweet and savory explorations that can be enjoyed even after the trip itself is over.

12.  Laughter, laughter, laughter!
Enough said.