Sunday, March 30, 2008


School has gone from busy to hectic to overwhelming. Although I have no exams this semester, I have four papers to write. International Human Rights and Children is going to be about Egypt, Public Health is about Bottled Water, National Security is about the importance of Israel, and I'm not yet sure about Biotechnology. I may do GMOs. I have a draft for two of the papers, but there's not much time to get everything else done.
Thankfully, I have a job for the summer at the Department of Health. I'm really excited because it's the position I wanted and I am hoping that it will affirm my desire to work in public health law.
I have written to the Dean of the school about attending Seminary in Israel next year. The Seminary said I need a letter from the Beis Din. That's the intimidating part. I have never met with them, and I am not sure how to set it up. I don't want to talk to RabbiY about it until I am ready to go in. I'm not sure when that will be, but I'm hoping it will be soon. I now learn on Monday, Wednesday, and Shabbos with four different people. It's so much all at once that it's hard to keep my head on straight.
I've been so overwhelmed of late, that I made a slew of mistakes at my current job. I have had the job for about a year, and I should not make these thoughtless mistakes. I really like my boss, but I'm pretty sure I tried her patience this past week, or couple of weeks. I'm just hoping I didn't push her too far.
The Jewish Law School Students Association at my school has been pretty busy too. We volunteered for a local Purim parade and carnival, which was really fun. We wore graduation gowns and wigs made of cotton balls and posed as the King's Lawyers. We threw out blow up gavels during the parade and I sold prune hamentashen to a 102 year old man.
I have realized that I really love legalese. I love it in American law and I love it in Jewish law. I really like learning new halachos and discussing the nuances of them. I really want to learn this stuff more formally, though, because I always feel bad about saying anything I've because I'm so worried that I'm wrong. My most recent favorite halacha is that a man shouldn't put on two articles of clothing at the same time because it might cause him to forget Torah. Women are allowed to put on two articles of clothing at the same time. Guess why.
A guy in the community converted this past week. I am not sure how long it took him, but I've been trying to talk to him for a while. He's been busy. He was married to a Jewish woman (he married her after a Conservative conversion, they both became more religious, and then he converted Orthodox) who is very nice. I went to her Sheva Brachos on Saturday night. It was a bit sad because she was sick and there weren't many people. She said that she wasn't really excited because the marriage was just a formality. However, someone pointed out that the marriage was very exciting because she was marrying a new Neshama. It was sweet.
I met another woman who converted. I am not sure how long ago she finished, but I am sure I'll find out. She took over 3 years for the process, though. It's really nice talking to people who went through my experience. It makes it seem less lonely. This woman has offered to talk to me any time, so I have to make sure I get her number.
I'm cleaning my apartment for Pesach. A Jewish friend who has a non-Jewish roommate is going to stay with me because she isn't sure that her roommate will be able to do all the Pesach stuff. Although we're not sure if she can "trust" me, we figured that it was a better certainty, plus, she's new at this and we'll learn together.
FG came back from Israel for a while. I'm really excited to spend time with her whenever she's willing and I have it. I hope that happens soon.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Ok, I'm pretty sure this wasn't written with the intention of including converts, but it reflects my appreciation for the conversion process, even if I am sometimes frustrated by what seems like an indomitable task:

The essential point is that living beings do not undergo sudden, complete transformations. The caterpillar does not become a butterfly in a single act but as a result of a gradual process, governed by certain laws. Within the process there appears to be a series of jumps between distinct stages, and these the baal teshuvah must make from time to time. But these transitions, too, are neither as quick nor as sharp as they appear. Sudden entry into the world of Jewish religious life is a rare phenomenon for the simple reason that these changes are highly complex. The acceptance of Judaism is not a matter of one-time affirmations or moments of revelation. Such transitory experiences can be important as turning points, but in Judaism they can only serve as the starting point of a very long journey.

~Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

Saturday, March 1, 2008


I've always wanted to travel, but I've never had the funds and I've always been in school. I recently saw Endless Saturday, and now I'm wondering if someone could backpack around the world and be an observant Jew. It warrants looking into. For that reason, I'm making note of these links:

A Map of Saturday.
Blog of guy who made the movie and his new blog.
Information for travel preparation.
Worldwide hostel search.