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The last Shabbat of 5780

I'm watching the Morasha Havdalah with star-guest Jan Laiter and all my favourite people at Morasha while writing this, peeking into the community I left for good. The community that has been my home for 2 years, and I am eternally grateful to all the people who shaped me in those years into who I am today. I miss those people very much and I do feel a litte lonely here in Jerushalaim, but I am confident, that I will find my friend group soon. 

Moving here and going to Pardes was the right decision, but I feel like I'm at the verge of something big. Every day I am discovering new things and new communities with new people and I'm just taking in and watching. On Friday evening I was at an English Modern Orthodox community in Baqa (the Dvar Torah was in Hebrew though surprisingly!). Shabbes morning I went to my first street minyan just one block away. A young lad was reading all the combined Torah Portion of Nitzavim Vayelech and he got all the Aliyot. Many of the daveners I heard were French, a hint on the big French Jewish community living in my neighbourhood. For slichot on Saturday evening I was in a traditional egalitarian community which davened a Nusach Meshulav, with elements from Sefardi and Ashkenazi slichot with melodies from both. It was a great experience! A couple of fellow Pardesniks were also there :)

For Friday night seuda I was invited also at a fellow Paredesnik. At the table we talked about an essay he had written a few years ago advocating for the acknowledgement of Jewish homosexuals in their orthodox communities. The other guests were linguists - so that Shabbat meal yielded many interesting and thought provoking conversations. I am definitely going to revisit that topic more in depth in the future.

For Shabbes day Kiddush we had a bochur from Maaleh Gilboa, one of the Yeshivot in the North of Israel that I contemplated going to. He was in his second year there. We talked a litte about his experience there and I don't regret deciding against Maaleh Gilboa. I wanted to be in Jerusalem in an open space and Pardes is perfect for that.

The rest of Shabbat I was reading a book about Jewish Feminism that I found on the shelve here. The essays in the book I felt were screaming from frustration which was noticeable in the extreme language they used. Like with many of the things I hear about current critical issues I am really interested what an Orthodox rabbi would say to all the claims in such a book for example. Would he use excuses to explain it away or acknowledge the problem? How does he see the issues addressed in the book about mainly the traditional Jewish view on women? I also learnt a thing or two about the character Lilith and that was very interesting. The essays definitely also gave me something to think about. One thing that they all made me feel is the reassurance for myself that I am going to treat my future wife with the utmost respect and as an absolut equal partner in our marriage. 

And ah yes, the impeding lockdown. If you have been following Israeli news, everyone is preparing for another month of complete lockdown and it's even unsure how the High Holiday prayers are supposed to proceed. On Sunday the PM's office (which is right down the street from me) will decide if to adopt the proposal of the ministers. I will only believe things in this countries politics when I see it. If it comes it comes and we'll make the best out of it. Even if I personally am not the biggest fan of Zoom classes, I understand that it is necessary. This week though we still have in person class and I am looking forward to another week of learning Torah all day! Yay :)

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