Thursday, October 29, 2015

How Shabbat At School Has Conquered my FOMO.

Quick definition of terms:
Shabbat: the Jewish Sabbath day going from Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown.
FOMO:Fear of missing out, usually used to describe social situations.

I have only missed one Shabbos dinner since I have been here at school. Therefore, I have spent a huge amount of time with my Hillel friends and other members of the Jewish community here at school between all of those dinners and all of the holidays, I'd say we are essentially family. Yet, if you go to my Facebook page(perhaps you were sent here from there), you will see that there are very few pictures of me with these incredible people. This is because it is a Jewish custom not to use electronics on holidays, including Shabbat. In an age of "pics or it didn't happen," this fact is incredible. All of those amazing memories did happen, and they were sacred even though we didn't take pictures. The removal of the need to preserve every single moment actually allowed me to have more fun and make more meaningful relationships, and I no longer worry about FOMO. I just worry about enjoying myself.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Lech L'cha: To A Place That I Will Show You

This is the D'var Torah that I gave tonight if you were not at Hillel dinner.

There are hundreds of things that people describe as “life changing experiences.” Any of you who can think back to your own college experience remember picking which incredible trip to Israel or social justice seminar that you were going to write about. I am very skeptical of life-changing moments. By no means am I saying that things in my life haven’t changed me over the years. But those life changing moments are not something that I recognized in the moment. They only appeared to me in retrospect. More on that in a second.
The Torah portion this week, lech l’cha, is incredibly fitting for Parents’ weekend. In this portion, God leads Abram to the land of Canaan, the land in which he will build his people. Also in this portion, Abram’s name is finally changed to Abraham. Lech Lcha, some of the first words in the parshah, can be translated in a few different ways. One of which is “go to yourself.” We are commanded, as Jews, to find ourselves through whatever path we may take.

As I start to construct my self in college, I’ve been thinking a lot about the people and moments that have made me the way I am. That made me think about backstroke flip turns. Backstroke flip turns require you holding your breath and estimating the placement of the wall. One of my coaches when I was a kid made us do them over and over and over, and I hated it. I would swallow water and bang my head on the wall (obviously not on purpose) until I was incredibly frustrated. The same coach pushed me off the diving blocks over and over until I was confident enough to jump off myself. I didn’t realize how much these lessons that I learned on the chlorine-coated deck really affected me until I looked back on them. I wouldn’t have taken as many risks if it hadn’t been for that one coach. He is the reason that I volunteer for so many things today and probably the reason that I’m standing up here. There is no doubt that he helped me to “go to myself.” Tonight, I’m asking all of you to  think  about those experiences which ed you to “lech lcha,” go to yourself. Shabbat Shalom.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Why I ADORE Cassandra

I am a total nerd when it comes to Greek mythology. I admit it. There is very little that makes me more excited than reading and talking about the gods and goddesses of the ancient world and their shenanigans. Throughout the years, I have read hundreds of different pages of mythology from a multitude of sources. After all this time, I have one favorite character: Cassandra. Cassandra, the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba refused the sexual advances of the god Apollo, and as a result, she was given the gift of prophecy, however, she was cursed with the fact that noone will ever believe her. She foresaw the destruction of Troy, Agamemnon's death and many other things, but nobody ever took her seriously.

Despite the fact that these stories took place across the world and long ago, I think that the portrayal of Cassandra still has strong significance today. We are too quick to write off people who speak harsh truths. This is especially true of women who we are quick to dismiss as "crazy." We, as humans, must learn from Cassandra. We must learn that sometimes the things that are hardest to hear are also the things that we need to know the most.

Monday, October 19, 2015


I first want to apologize for not posting for the last several weeks. Midterms happened. But then i realized something. i realized why I am doing all this. yes, I have a ridiculous about of papers to write. Shh... I'm trying not to think about that. But I know that someday, I can help people, and through prayer and through a whole lot of hard work. I can indeed get through all of this.