Monday, December 3, 2007

Golan and Hannukah (or is it Channukah)

So its been a few days and I'll update you all on the happenings in my life here in Eretz Yisroel.

This past weekend Ofri and I decided to take a little trip to the Golan Heights for some camping and hiking. To say it was fun would be an understatement. We camped, we ate, we drank beer at the Golan Brewery, and we hiked a gorgeous trail. The pictures say what my words cannot. We held close to the maxim of camping in the States: "Pack in, Pack out. Take only pictures, leave only footprints." Overall it was a great way to spend a weekend.

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah and it has made me realize a few things about this Kibbutz. First, while they claim to be 100% secular, they still celebrate Jewish holidays. Their level of observance is not what anyone would call high, but there is acknowledgment of all the major holidays. (Hannukah being the most recent I have observed.) The dining hall has a Giant Hanukiah and I'm told we will be lighting a candle every night.

Tomorrow night is the second night of Channukah and thus my Hebrew birthday! I'm kind of excited to spend my first holiday here in Israel. Hopefully this weekend I will go to Jerusalem to see some of the HUC kids and maybe the Klein-Katzes.

On a more personal note...I arrived at a few decisions regarding my life recently. I've decided to keep a kosher style diet from now on. I'm wholly unconcerned as to whether a rabbi tells me that meat is or isn't kosher. However, I'll attempt to buy only kosher cuts of meat and stay away from those animals that cannot be kosher. I'm also no longer mixing milk and meat. While I'll probably miss cheeseburgers, making each moment Jewish seems more important. To continue with that theme...I've also decided to again wear a Yarmulke all the time. I'm sure this will make Dad happy as he sent me off with a large number of them. I'm convinced that these personal decisions will be good for me in the long run.

Hope you all have a wonderful Hannukah!


Phyllis Sommer said... cheeseburgers. we'll discuss. back to kippahland for you, eh? very interesting decisions to make for you, and remember that life is ajourney and you can always make changes to your personal practice...

looking forward to seeing the golan pics.

i thought you were born on the first day of chanukah?

John Sklar said...

I Think you might miss porterhouse steak too but rib steaks can be good too.

Nice choices... I'm glad I sent you with the kippahs. I've got more.

Jessa said...

What will the kids at al's think of this kosher thing :-)

GIPAC said...

Hey Harry,
Mazol Tov on becoming Shomer Kashrus and on the decision to wear a Kippah. I started out the year wearing a kippah all the time, and Tzitzit(tucked in mostly), to go with my growth in observance. It's incredibly empowering for me. Definitely strengthens my self-identity on campus and in life. In Israel you'll be one of many wearing a kippah obviously, but you can take the same lessons from that and your newfound kashrus to strenthen your emunah.

GIPAC said...

ha whoops just realized i posted from the gipac account, It's Dan Goodman if you couldn't figure that out.