Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yofi Tofi!

Well I've been here for over a week now.
That's weird.

I feel like I just got here
but also feel like I've been here for a while
....both at the same time.

(I feel like a missionary for saying that,
they always say that at the beginning of their missions it seems.)

I'm starting to get into the routine of things
as far and classes and stuff goes.
They seriously assign so much reading it's insane,
I don't know if I'll ever get accustomed to that. haha.
I don't know how people actually get through it all,
especially since the reading assigned isn't...easy.
It's times like this I realize:
I'm a college student.
(Seriously...I'm way too young for that.)

Yesterday we had our second day of Hebrew class.
I am enjoying learning a little bit about the language
but even more I am enjoying hearing stories of everyday life
from our Jewish teacher
Mrs. Goldman.

There is so much about Jewish 'culture'
(I use that word cautiously due to a lecture we just had in our Islam and Palestine class)
that I know nothing about!
The little I DO know is SO interesting to me
and it definitely makes me want to know more.

For example.
She taught us a song:
"Shabbat Shalom"
(Peaceful Sabbath)
that many Jewish people will sing on Fridays at sundown
to welcome the Sabbath.

She said that her family always turns off all electricity
in preparation for the Sabbath
as the Sabbath is meant to be a family day.
People should not be distracted with other things
or "Do work."

She also shared with us a prayer that is sung
after every meal in which they eat bread.
From what I understand
everything you could eat (or drink) has is a prayer that
one should recite either before or after
(...I think it depends on the food as to when you say the prayer but I'm not sure).

Tomorrow we get to go on a fieldtrip to
The Western Wall
(which is one of the Holiest Sites of the Jewish faith).
We will be there
on Friday at sundown
to welcome in the Sabbath.

We were instructed to wear long skirts
and to not bring cameras or purses
as the Jewish people consider this
and therefore breaking the Sabbath.

I think learning about other religions and cultures
really makes you reflect on
your own faith and traditions.
(cue Teviah [from Fiddler on the Roof]... "TRADITION!!")

Whether you agree with the doctrine or not
I think there is much truth that can be found in all religions,
and I think we can learn aspects of faith from many different places.

It is fascinating to me
the respect that the Jewish people hold
for the Sabbath day.
Admirable I'd say.

Another thing I learned in Hebrew class
was the expression
"Great, excellent!"
Mrs. Goldman said that often kids will combine
with the word
meaning: good.
And say:
"Yofi Tofi!"
(I've decided to adopt this expression into my vocabulary...hence the post title :))


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