Friday, February 29, 2008

Israel love overfloweth

I've recently been particularly bothered by the blind hatred of Israel, the sympathy for terrorists and the general...lack of awareness around me. I have created this for myself as a way to document and compile everything I have, and can find in support of Israel. Feel free to leave comments with criticism or further support.

Economic Benefits
The United States has done a cost/benefit analysis and has concluded since the '70s that having a allied democracy in the Middle East is worth around $240 billion (total since '73). The fact is Israel is the 151st-smallest country (It could fit into Florida 8 times!), with 11% of the world's population but has the 24th highest per capita GDP, and a $100 billion economy (larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined). Despite global criticism (World to Israel: "Tough Luck"), incessant terrorism, constant barrages of missiles into Israel, and the terrible quagmire of discontent, Israel's economy still manages to outperform that of the United States, Europe, the UK, and Japan. Israel has the second highest percentage of university graduates in the workforce (behind only the US) and the lowest percentage of adult illiteracy and the highest percent of primary school enrollment in the Middle East (higher than the US).

It has designed the airline industry's most impenetrable flight security and U.S. officials use Israel for advice and technology in handling airborne security threats. Israel has the highest concentration of high-tech companies in the world apart from the Silicon Valley. The Israeli Company, Givun-Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera (PillCam), used to view the small intestine from the inside, to detect cancer and digestive disorders and other Israeli researchers have developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood -- an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failure. The Israeli government plans to invest$230 million in nanotechnology research and development over the next five years, which would make nanoscience one of Israel's most heavily invested R&D fields.

Of course, Israel invests in weapon technology. They have created "small flying robots" (the "bionic hornet") which are a further development of the pilot-less "drones" which our government already uses in our war on terror. Just in case Israel seems 'war-mongering,' remember that it is a country surrounded by enemies who have tried many times in the past to destroy her, as well as currently shelling her cities and ambushing her civilian population. Necessity is the mother of invention and, Israel has the manpower, education, and intelligence to be up to the task.

In the late 19th century Israel was considered barren due to deforestation, soil erosion, and drought. The fact that agricultural production continues to grow despite severe water and land limitations is solely attributable to the cooperation between researchers and farmers. The agricultural sector in Israel is based almost entirely on science-linked technology from which the US benefits. Basically, despite the fact that Israel is in the middle of the desert, and has only 5% of its populace acting as farmers, it still feeds itself and exports $4 billion in agriculture each year. (Just in case you were curious, Israel's total exports are $42.86 billion/year.) The United States (and other countries) receives a great deal of benefit from collaboration with Israel in the form of technology, innovation and imports. For example, The Middle East has been growing date palms for centuries. The average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of dates a year. In comparison Israeli date palms are now yielding 400lbs/year,are short enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder, and have medicinal benefits.

Media Controversy
I think it's important to note that despite criticisms of a Zionist controlled media, there is little proof to back that up. Check out this senior editor of TIME.COM, who displays his hatred of Israel. The media fails to publish accurate data on Israel. I.e., the Guardian claims only 10 rockets landed in Israel contrary to multiple sources including Hamas' own reports. There's also that part where the UN, which consists of primarily pro-palestinian nations, unjustly criticizes Israel and denies clear truths. The media and the UN, however, overlook claims that Israel is a dirty microbe, governments which participate in the indoctrination of youth to desire death in order to kill Israel, and downplay the advances in more humane military technology. Despite being proud of their suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism, the media portrays Palestinians sympathetically, using sickeningly inaccurate terms like "resistance" and "militants". It even calls firing 11 rockets peaceful, and skews images to make it seem like the Palestinians are packed behind "border" fences looking longingly into Israel (from a fence over 1/2 mile from Israel!). Old photos are re-posted to make current events seem more dramatic. Just glance at headlines to see the clear bias merely with the choice of words.

It's all quite ironic given the fact that the Palestinians are ruled by the terrorist organization Hamas, which has, written into its charter, an acceptance of proven anti-Semitic lies and a desire to kill all Jews. Leaders long for a map without Israel, replaced by an Islamic republic, because the fundamental struggle can end only when all Jews are destroyed. Sometimes, Hamas tries to say it does not want all Jews dead but merely wants Israel to disappear. They're lying.
A site keeping track of the daily attacks on Israel from the palestinians.

Silly "News"
Hah! In April 2006, NBC News’s Dateline attempted to stage an Islamophobia sting on NASCAR fans.

In November 2007, ABC News’s Primetime Live attempted to stage a homophobia sting in Birmingham, Alabama.

Now, Primetime Live replicated the same thing in Texas!

Here are some suggestions I like (credit goes here):

Set up a Southern white guy wearing a pink shirt with a popped collar and some uggs with hidden cameras, put a George Bush T-Shirt on him and have him walk down a street in Pakistan. Or, better yet, have him walk down a street in Detroit.

Have a man, or woman, wear a pro-life t-shirt to a Women’s Studies class.


Charles Johnson points out that CAIR acted as "authorities" for this piece. Hey, ABC News stage managers: How about sending someone undercover at a CAIR office for a month and seeing what bigotry and fraud you turn up?

Oh, and here’s a helpful reminder from IBD based off data compiled by the FBI:

FBI data unequivocally shows that anti-Muslim hate crimes are plummeting, in spite of CAIR’s allegation to the contrary. Besides, given the number of faked hate crimes, how do we know which are true. (I hate the fact that this question is raised, though, because I think ALL hate crimes are terrible. They can be addressed, however, only if the truth is known.)

Why is it that we watch reality television for entertainment and watch theater for news?

Hopefully, this will end soon
I think if the Palestinian leaders suspended the constant rocket fire that has been raining on Israel for quite some time, they'd have more luck in convincing the Jewish State to halt its military.

If another government sponsored the firing of over 3,000 rockets into Chicago (150 of which were in the past few days), I'm pretty sure far that government would soon find itself obliterated (as would be expected). This isn't someone getting shot. This is a country's people living in fear. Just because people are living in their basement bomb shelters does not mean that Israel is not justified in trying to allow it's people to live without terror. In fact, many Israelis feel they have tolerated the attacks for too long and will no longer stand to be the most heavily bombed place in the world.

Yeah, a think that if it would be ok to hunt an individual who shot and killed a single guy in Chicago, it is also ok to fire 150 rockets into a place from which 800 rockets have been fired in the past two months. It would be senseless for Israel to continue to allow these rockets to fall on its citizens without doing what it can to stop the attacks.

Survey estimates
that "only" 7% of Muslims are extremists. If seven percent of the world’s Muslims are radical, we’re talking about 91 million people. That's a lot!

Edsel: vernonFL: Ending this crisis is so simple:

Hamas = stop shooting rockets at Israel

Israel = loosen the borders a little to make life better for people.

If I was Condi Rice I would tell both sides to agree to the above or no more $$$ for either.

I agree with you. Unfortunately it's politically impossible to put any types of sanctions or constraints on Israel, and Hamas doesn't get any aid from the U.S. by law.

Wait, why do the Palestinians need U.S. aid in order to stop shooting rockets into Israel? It seems like they would save money if the cut back a bit on the rockets, maybe from 200/week to just 100? I mean, I guess the rocks massive stones are pretty cheap, but maybe they could use those to build infrastructure instead? But, well, if the Palestinians stopped fighting, they would be betraying Islam (see Hamas' charter) and would stop creating the poor oppressed martyr image they have carefully cultivated.


On a lighter note, just for fun, here's the world's tiniest Bible. I think it's amazing that such a small country has been able to accomplish so much. Looking at all of this evidence, I have no idea how someone could feel that the US should retract all support for Israel. I mean, the US is making a smart decision in investing $3 billion/year in the country. Of course Israel is not perfect, but it not worthy of hatred.

/I know some of my sources are biased, but there's a gazillion of them, and combined, it's pretty decent.

      Wednesday, February 20, 2008


      Another blogger stated that my post "weighty questions" created the impression "that if modesty was actually about not standing out, it would be alright to go to the gym in gym clothing," but, from reading my post, it appeared "that modesty is about silence after all…"

      I am not sure if that was truly the impression I gave, or if she was reacting to my response to her post asserting that "thinness" and "modesty" were dirty words, or if it was a combination of both. However, I replied with the following, in which I assert that thinness, while not a moral good is still a type of "good" and I assert that tznius is done for focus on ones inner self.

      I was not attributing thinness with any moral value. I compared it to something that has a moral value, but the comparison was just used because they are both "good." Being thin (or, as I used it, "thinner," i.e., loosing weight) is physiologically, emotionally, and mentally good as seen in the linked articles which demonstrate longer life, greater happiness, and lower stress. My analogy to giving to charity was done so I show how obtaining something that is pretty much universally accepted as "good" sometimes benefits from outside pressures and influence. If people do not even give charity without benefits other than the moral good, then it is easy to understand that some people would not lose weight without benefits other than those listed. Some people need some societal pressure to get them moving in the right direction. Do I think that the pressure current society puts on people is healthy? No. But, I do think that a desire to be thin can be healthy and is not unnatural considering the benefits derived.

      As for the quote from my blog:
      Thanks for the publicity? I am not sure how you get that modesty is about silence. I think in order to perceive that my wearing a skirt to a normal gym would be silencing, you'd have to do some mental acrobatics. First, I am not silent, ever. I am friendly, outgoing, ebullient, sarcastic, and noticeable. Everyone at my gym knows this and if someone told them I was silent, they'd be very confused. Second, when I wear a skirt to the gym, I certainly do not disappear. In fact, it lead to much conversation. I talked to them about Orthodox Judaism, about why I am converting, and about why the heck I would be wearing a skirt while doing pull ups. If anything, wearing a skirt gave me more of a voice to express something more personal. However, that is a one time thing, so it doesn't prove my point. The concern expressed about my skirt is because it is not long enough. Having a 3 inch longer skirt that would cover my knees would not make me any more silent. The further concern is based on the fact that it seems odd to think about modesty while at this particular gym. I have gone to numerous gyms, and I have been to those where the gym was a fashion contest involving designer sports bras, barely there spandex shorts, and masks of make-up. If that environment allows a greater voice to women and caters less to men, then my perception is way off. At my current gym, most people wear practical work out clothes and people are there to challenge themselves. So, it feels strange worrying about tznius while I am there because I feel like I am around my work-out family. But, I realize that my feelings of closeness are not always shared and I realize that I am making a lifestyle change and commitment to be aware of who I am. To shed the standards of modesty I have chosen for myself just because it seems odd, or seems unnecessary is contrary to who I am. If I am protesting injustice by wearing all black for a week, I continue wearing black even if it's night, even if it's dark, even if no one else is wearing black, and even if people not protesting are wearing black. By wearing tznius clothes to the gym, I maintain focus for even that hour on who I am, and people around me see that I am committed to principles I have chosen. After 45 minutes of exhausting myself, my skirt helps remind me that today, I'm modest. Today, I am not my physical body, I am more than that. The other people at the gym do not talk about my skirt much anymore. Just like we don't talk about Chad's full body tattoos or Sarah's 36 piercings. The great thing about my gym is that it isn't about what we put on our bodies -- it's about who we are on the inside. It feels weird worrying about wearing clothes to focus attention on my internal self when the attention is already focused there. It feels weird wearing black clothes when no one notices but myself, or when no one can tell because there is no light, but the focus just returns to the fact that I am not wearing black clothes for anyone but myself.

      Tuesday, February 19, 2008

      When it Rains, it Pours

      I have been fortunate to have met many people recently who are willing to learn with me and/or help me learn. In fact, I have had so much help that I am now a bit overwhelmed and need to sit down and get very organized. School is also getting pretty demanding. I have a detailed paper outline due next week, a rough draft of a different paper due in a month, and the third paper I have to write is just on my own. A paper may not seem like a big deal, but when one paper determines my grade for an entire semester of class, it really is a big deal. I also have a midterm on Thursday. My goal is to have each paper be about something that interests me because I think that will make the paper easier to write. So far, I have these topics chosen:
      • International Human Rights Law & Children: Human Traffiking (I'm thinking, though, about maybe doing something about human rights violations in Egypt, especially after watching this series) (20 Pages)
      • Public Health Law: Bottled Water. I considered GMOs and terrorism, but I think bottled water is more manageable given that the issue is narrower to begin with. (15 pages)
      • National Security Law: United States v. Israel Foreign policy. Something along the lines of continued support for Israel is key to the national security of the United States. (20 pages)
      • Biotechnology Law: A discussion of the contributions of Israel to the world's advances in biotechnology and the implications of the attempts to limit research in other countries. This is the shortest paper at only 1500 words.
      This past Shabbos was wonderful and the chazzan at shul was the best I have heard. I got sick on Sunday night and yesterday I went to an event where the head Rabbi of the Shul had a Q&A session, but I was way too ill to participate, despite the fact that I tried really hard to pay attention. I'm getting better and should be 100% by tomorrow or Thursday at the latest. The Rabbi in charge of my conversion emailed today requesting a meeting for 10 minutes. He assured me that I am "not in trouble" but said that there is "one thing" he wants to talk to me about. Despite his assurance, I'm worried. I don't know what that "one thing" is, but I imagine there is some manner in which I have failed or erred. I suppose we'll see.

      Monday, February 11, 2008

      Weighty Questions

      Today, at the gym, I did a front squat and maxed out at 145lbs. Even I am amazed. I am pretty strong, and always have been, but it makes me feel very accomplished to achieve something that seems so impossible. I also ran 1.5 miles, did around 40 push ups, 40 squats, 20 lunges, a bunch of push presses, and worked on doing a "clean" which is a really difficult move. All in all, according to my Polar heart rate monitor, I burned 908 calories in 48minutes. Not too shabby. So, why post it here?

      Back to tznius. I go to a gym that does group personal training. 4-5 people share a trainer and we do lots of different exercises using free weights, rowing machines, rope climbing, running, etc. Recently, I started wearing a skirt to the gym. I wear a pair of close fitting pants and then put this loose cotton skirt on top of them. I wear a long sleeve, loose t-shirt and tennis shoes. I have been looking for skirts that are better options, and all I can find are these running skirts that are quite short but better than pants, maybe. But, even so, I doubt that what I am doing is really acceptable. Although my trainer is a female, men are sometimes in my group and they are frequently often in the gym. The people who go are mostly older than I am, married and with an established career, and I have never felt that anyone was there being distracted by un-tznius thoughts. However, how do I know?

      But here's my issue. How can I get exercise and be tznius? I know some FFB girls who run in pants, even on the sidewalk. I know some women who have treadmills and rowing machines in their homes. From experience, I know that I need to have someone who pushes me to work out. Usually, this has been in the form of paying money (even though I have had something available at school), and having a trainer (who calls if I do not show). So, staying in my house wouldn't work. Also, the type of workout which is most effective, and enjoyable, is not safe to do by myself. If I attend a women's only gym, I still risk that men will come in to get their wives, as janitors, lost and confused, etc.

      I know that women, even dressed tznius, are not really supposed to dance in front of men. However, exercise is for health and dancing is for fun. Does that matter? If I somehow find a way to have a skirt that covers my knees, is my gym class acceptable? If someone needs to go through physical therapy similar to exercise, are they allowed to have men present? At what point is something necessary enough for health that a heter is given? If someone has been instructed to exercise by a doctor is it more important than someone who knows they should exercise just to remain healthy? Does it matter if everyone at the gym is not-Jewish?

      Friday, February 8, 2008

      Concerns I have

      When I first learned about tznius, it was said that dressing tznius created an emphasis on who a person is, and not on a person's appearance. Therefore, covering up allows a person to de-emphasize the parts of themselves which do not express the internal. The face, being the medium for expression, could be exposed, but the collarbone, knees, and elbows (and areas in between) should be covered. The cut off points are clearly delineated on everyone's body and I was told that joints have very significant meaning, although I'm not sure what. So, ok. I want to do what's right, and even though it means I needed to adjust my wardrobe, it wasn't a problem for me to at least try. I have never been particularly fashion oriented, and I have no problem doing what seems to be right even if I do not fully understand it. However...

      I have read a few incidents lately that have caught my attention. First, the caveat that I have only read about these things and have NO first hand experience with any of them. I have not spoken to any of these people, nor have I seen evidence. I fully believe that all of these may be grossly out of context and/or misrepresented. However, I think I would be foolish to ignore them because even if they are all fiction, such fiction would still create worry. Because my point exists even if the following are not true, I have taken down links I am uneasy about posting, because if they are false, or misunderstood, I would hate to spread such misconceptions.
      • Pictures of tznius women's faces used to advertise sheitles, are tznius, but pritzus, and thus a store owner’s failure to remove themjustifies boycotting his store.
      • Schools need only educate girls in things that will help them be better wives and mothers. Science, Shakespeare and Algebra does not help someone raise a family and crams "poor girls [sic] heads" with too much stuff!
      • A clothing store near Shabbat Square was set on fire, while Geula neighborhood patrols are armed with containers of bleach to damage the clothing of women who break the dress code (including wearing knitted, denim, jersey and spandex).
      • A woman should not swing her arms while walking in the street
      • This article (here, the full article, in Hebrew) interviews some of the followers of the Rabbanit, women who have taken tznius to an extreme. One woman wears 5 skirts, two capes, seven scarves, and a veil angled to cover one eye. Although she feels guilt, she leaves her other eye uncovered because she is disgusted by the idea of using her children as guide dogs.
      These things concern me. Not because it causes me to love Judaism any less. I know that extremes exist within all good things, and that everything can be manipulated from being "good" to being "bad". My worry is that the line could be blurred. I think an obsessive focus on tznius could create distorted body images for women, in much the same way that the secular world has done so. Girls become anorexic as a way to control their bodies, to reach "perfection" through self destructive behavior; it seems like wearing tons of layers and covering your face and not speaking to men is similar in an extreme attempt to exert control. If you are hyper-tznius, then you no longer have to worry that you may cause a man to sin, you no longer have to worry that someone may attribute immodesty to you. If any show of femininity is shameful, pritzus, dirty, or forbidden, why not be safe and hide every bit?

      People often say that if you are "more religious" then you do X. However, I do not like this term. I find that it doesn't often mean that person A does 260 mitzvahs and is only somewhat kind and loving towards Hashem and his family while person B does 316 mitzvahs and is 100% kind and loving towards Hashem and his family. I find it's more often that person B is much like person A, only person A also does 20 extra stringencies. At some point, I think the extras are not done for honorable purposes anymore, but are done so a person can show how religious they are. For example, in high school, there were girls who would bring things to school in bags from designer stores in New York, although they usually wore clothing from local department stores. I was once told by someone who did this that bringing a bag from a fancy store in New York allowed that purchase to be twice as useful. Not only could you wear that expensive blouse, but you could let everyone else know that you owned such a blouse by bringing the bag! So, the point of the clothing was not that you liked it, but rather that you wanted everyone else to see that you had the (taste, money, fashion advice, etc.) to shop at that store.

      So, if one over-emphasizes tznius, I could see that the goal of focusing attention on the person instead of appearance would be lost, and in fact, the focus is again on a person's appearance. Like I said, it's nothing that would make me change my path, and it's not something that concerns me too much, but it is something I would never want to experience myself and something that warrants some thought.

      (Addendum: I would like to add that I think communities come together because they relate on a certain level. Through that, certain standards are formed because those are the places of overlap. If I move to a community and I want my children to be around modestly dressed people, I would be quite upset if a family of nudists moved in and insisted on running around. Of course, I wouldn't stone then, but I would try to encourage them to adhere to the community's mores (through frank discussion, example, and trying to be warm and understanding). However, if the family insisted on running around nude, I would probably ignore them and encourage my family to do the same. So, I understand. I think that applies with less extreme grounds. I could understand why a Synagogue would probably have a problem with a house next to the Shul having a volleyball tournament with girls in bikinis and a pig roast on the front lawn on Shabbos. I think that these other communities are similar, but the examples are different. Even if not for religious reasons, I like Judaism because it gives me comfort that the community produces educated, religious, happy, unique, well rounded, friendly, caring and creative children. I like that I wouldn't have to be as concerned about sex in 5th grade, gangs and throw downs at the grocery store. However, at some point, a community needs to guard itself but recognize that there are different communities, beliefs and ideas and that the Torah places great emphasis on loving kindess and the proper way to influence others.)

      Wednesday, February 6, 2008

      Danger, Will Robinson!

      So, I watched a few episodes of The Jewish Americans, which I found to be informative and thought provoking. Hoping to find other shows, I had set my DVR to record shows with the word "Jew." I chose Jew so it would include Jewish, Jews, and Jew. However, apparently, that also includes jewelry, which explains the 73 infomercials I just had to delete from my DVR. Oops.

      Also, last night around 9:00 P.M., a friend messaged me to tell me that her neighbor had just been robbed at gunpoint right outside her apartment. Two weeks ago, two men were robbed at gunpoint while studying inside one of the smaller shuls in the area. Apparently, there were four armed robberies before that one. I'm afraid of what I'm going to do on Shabbos. I could stay with other people, but I do not want to have to do that forever (or even until I go to Israel). I eat out every Shabbos, but I do not think it would be reasonable to expect someone to go so far out of their way to walk me home every week. I've asked Rabbi Dan if maybe a group could be formed to walk this way every Shabbos, but I am not sure how the logistics of that would work. I suppose we'll see.

      Tuesday, February 5, 2008

      Praxy vs. Doxy

      Someone recently mentioned that Judaism seems to lack a focus, or emphasis on the spiritual side of religion. Not only do I think that converts should already have enough "spiritual feeling" before they begin, but I also think that a desire to have spirituality, or theology, taught is a remnant of Christian influence. I also wrote this:

      I am in a community that is full of outreach to non-religious Jews. Much of my first experiences were through these groups. When I received my syllabus for conversion from my Rabbi, I was confused by the lack of books on "spiritual" matters. Over time, I have come to love the difference and embrace it. This is how I have come to understand it:

      Orthodoxy: Correct thinking
      Orthopraxy: Correct practices

      I used to be a Southern Baptist, and in lessons, I was always taught to be loving and kind and respectful, etc. However, there were no clear guidelines or indications to what this meant. It was pretty subjective, and when I would ask for clarity, I would get none. When I was realizing that I needed to convert, I asked one of my Minister friends whether one should try to follow the "old testament laws." He told me that a person could do what they wished and what made them feel closer to God, but should not feel chained to the law. I found this too vague and in clear opposition of the spirit in which the laws were given.

      As I became more informed about Judaism, as things began "fitting," I realized that the rules and laws in Judaism are spiritual and far more spiritual than what I had ever experienced. Why? Well, by acting in the manner Hashem has prescribed, one can understand Him so much better. If His laws are flexible and you only follow what sounds good and what makes you "feel" closer, are you really learning about Him or getting any closer? I have heard many times that one should practice mitzvahs first, and understand the reasons why later. It's not because the reasons aren't important, but it's because the reasons are much clearer once the actions have been done.

      In conclusion, I think one reason Christianity fails is because one cannot have Orthodoxy (which is Christianity's focus) without first having Orthopraxy (which is Judaism's focus).

      Monday, February 4, 2008

      I read about the bombings today in Dimona. I talked about why I want to convert last night. I spent all day trying to learn. I read some writings by Norman Lamm, listened to some shirs by various Rabbis and got a call inviting me to monday night learning. Then I got a letter from an old friend who was born Jewish but is...bitter. She wrote about how I'm getting sucked in and how I should run away. She hopes I'm in a phase because she likes the old me and doesn't want me to become a "brain washed drone." It makes me so sad. All of the dislike people feel. There's so much to know and there is so much beauty. Any need I have can be fulfilled by Hashem and it makes me so sad that other people don't understand.

      I Met a Seer

      I met a seer.
      He held in his hands
      The book of wisdom.
      "Sir," I addressed him,
      "Let me read."
      "Child -- " he began.
      "Sir," I said,
      "Think not that I am a child,
      For already I know much
      Of that which you hold.
      Aye, much."

      He smiled.
      Then he opened the book
      And held it before me. --
      Strange that I should have grown so suddenly blind.
      ~Stephen Crane

      Ditto to Stephen Crane.

      Sunday, February 3, 2008

      Darn it!

      I host game night every other Sunday. Today, for the super bowl, I planned on getting chicken wings from a local kosher restaurant and serving them. However, they were out of them by the time I contacted them 2 minutes after they opened. After running around town, I found some pre-made ones in the freezer. I had a friend come over and make sure my oven was clean, and then turn it on and let it broil for 2 hours (enough time to kasher it). Then, she left. Later, before game night, I opened the chicken wings and put them in the oven so they would be ready when people arrived. However, I forgot that now the meat has been left alone with me and cannot be considered Kosher. Lame.

      Saturday, February 2, 2008


      Ok, so, I know I have not said anything about last week. I've been really busy and have wanted to tell everything. I'm sleepy now, though, so let me make this kinda quick:

      Monday: in the morning, I meet with Jane who had offered to learn with me. We talked about prayer and Hebrew. She loaned me a Hebrew reading book and a children's siddur. Later that day, I get an email from Rabi Dan, offering to set up a meeting. A few emails later, I have a plan to meet him on Wednesday at 1:30.

      Tuesday: I set up a meeting time for Wednesday at 10:00 with Karen, a local woman who converted elsewhere and whose husband converted here. I also confirmed my meeting with Jane for Wednesday at 12:30 to learn The World of Prayer. So, my schedule will be tight. I stay up all night working on my jewfolio and end up printing it at kinkos via the internet.

      Wednesday: I wake up at 8, having gone to sleep at 6:30, drive to kinkos, pick up the Jewfolio stuffing, punch holes in it, form 2 copies. I drive to Karen's and run through all of my questions. It made me feel much calmer and helped me relax and was comforting to know someone who reached the end of this process. I leave there, drive to meet Jane, talk to her about The World of Prayer. She's excited to learn, and we decide to read through the first chapter and meet next Wednesday. I show her my Jewfolio, she says it's good and we talk about my nervousness and she wishes me luck. Then, I go to Rabbi Dan/ I am so nervous and stumble over my words at first. Thankfully, all my questions are written and I have my Jewfolio. I mentioned it, planning on just leaving it with him. He decides he wants to look at it first. So, he looks at it, and seems to like it. He asks me some questions, wanting to know if I know what's in it (most, but not all, I say. It is, after all, my notes to help me study). He is amused that chullent made my vocab list and asks me what Mohel means (I tell him, but think this is an easy question). I leave pleased at what he has told me (I'm on the right track, I can learn, Israel next school year is not an impossibility although he does not control the pace, etc.). Yay!

      Shabbos Kiddush: Adara informs me that she saw the Jewfolio and that Rabbi Dan was super impressed, saying that it's something he would you to help teach converts. I'm way excited. Rabbi Adan, the BIG rabbi, tells me that he saw my work and was impressed. I almost squeeled but managed a pretty calm thank you (I hope!). It made me feel so great. I am guessing happiness will be in ebbs and flows, but I'm enjoying it today!