Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I love Shakshukah! It's a combination of eggs and tomatoes that is a great breakfast or lunch dish. At the little coffee shop at school they sell a version of it. And I have had it in other restaurants around Israel. It's a pretty popular dish. So a week or so ago I decided that I wanted to make it and the recipe is pretty easy to do. It just takes some time.

I found a recipe at My Jewish Learning and of course changed it.


Tomatoes - 11 On the vine (a little more than 2 lbs)
Fresh Garlic - 9 cloves
Large Red Onion - 1/3 of an onion
Spicy Paprika - 1 tsp
Olive Oil - 6 Tbsp
Salt - 3 tsp
Eggs - 4 large


Cut the tomatoes into chunks, a little smaller than a quarter of the tomato. Chop the onions and the garlic.
Combine the olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, onions, paprika and salt in a small saucepan.
Bring to a simmer and cook UNCOVERED over low heat until it thickens, stirring intermittently.

AT THIS POINT I took a large portion of the sauce and put it in a container to have ready to go for another day.

Transfer to a small, frying pan and bring it to a simmer
(Use a larger pan if you are making the dish all at once).

Crack an egg and put it on top of the sauce.
Break the yolk (unless you like it runny) and cover the pan to poach the egg(s) until they are cooked.


Yields 4 servings, but you can use medium eggs and serve less sauce and make it go for 5 or 6.

How was it?
The Taste was pretty good. I like the spice from using spicy paprika instead of sweet. The extra garlic was good too. It was really good with a pita! This one was a little runny. I think I may have over done it with the olive oil. Maybe take it down a tablespoon or two. As far as the presentation goes, I don't know if I poured the egg on the wrong way, or if I broke the yolk too violently. It didn't look quite right.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Settlers of Catan

So there are times when I'm looking for something to do. I like to play games and there are some people here that like to play too. Usually I've been playing a lot Sheish Beish (Backgammon) and earlier this year it was a lot more Banana-grams or Scrabble.

A few months ago, I finally learned to play this complicated board game. One of the best parts about this game is that on the basic level there is a wide variety of strategies that you can employ to try to win. To make the game even more interesting, the board changes every time AND the value of each item changes each time you play the game.

Daniel doesn't like when it is described this way, but it feels like a combination of Risk and Monopoly. It's really been a lot of fun.

I'm really nerding out a little bit, but I really love playing this game and I can't wait to pick it up when I get back to the states.

Even better, though, is that there are expansions that you can add to the game. Even though it makes the game much more complicated and adds more strategic thinking about how you can win, it actually makes it a lot easier to learn. It's really a lot of fun and if you like to play games, I would highly recommend picking it up.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In Joshua's Shoes: The Ride of a Lifetime

I hope you've been enjoying the long long posts I've posted about my time on the Ride4Reform. Not only was it an amazing way to see Israel in a very different way, I had the opportunity to get to know a lot of amazing people. Even more than that, I was very happy to help raise money for the IMPJ and Progressive Judaism in Israel.

Aside from the pictures and posts on this blog, I have a post available at TCJewfolk.com discussing that part of the experience. You can read it at this link or from their website that contains a wide variety of posts about Judaism in the Twin Cities.

I had an incredible time on the Ride4Reform and I hope that I can make it work to come back and do it again some time soon. Next year it starts in Haifa and ends in Mevasseret Tzion. It looks like it could be an amazing trek.

To learn more about the ride visit their site at riding4reform. And enjoy a few more pictures from the ride or if I'm friends on facebook you can see them there.

The Standard View

The View On Top of Tel Gezer - Day 1

Pit Stop in an Orchard - Day 2

Dirt Roads Through Fields - Day 3

Riding Down a Desert Hill - Day 5

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ride4Reform: Day 5

It was chilly and windy when we convened in the garage of our hotel in Arad. We received final instructions and information about the route that morning. One of the most important things to take note of was the wind, especially at the beginning when we were going to bike directly into the desert and the wind.

They weren’t kidding.

We fought our way to the Arad Airfield against the wind the entire way uphill. On the airfield the wind got worse, and I thought that it couldn’t get any worse. That was until we turned into the desert. Rolling hills of sand-swept off-road path threw themselves at us.

Struggling uphill I had to orient my bike hard to the right and lean into the right in order to stay upright and on the path. At one point I was blown off to the left the wind was so strong.

Once the wind had settled a little bit, we came out of our hiding place to continue on the route down to the Dead Sea. The further down into the desert we went, the warmer it got. There was also less wind the further we went, so we pressed on.

When the organizers said that the last day was going to be the most technically challenging, they were not joking at all. Paths were hard to navigate because you couldn’t get the tires to catch traction and it was littered with rocks on top of the track and poking out of the sandy road.

After finally reaching desert we made our way towards the Dead Sea. Twinkling in the distance it was a goal we needed to reach. Up and down through the valleys of dried out river beds we would our way around the hills until we finally made it to an overlook to see Ein Bokek. It was an incredible view to see.

But we didn’t look at the view for too long. We needed to make it to Masada. Deeper into the desert we went.

We approached one last descent that we needed to tackle before our last small climbs before dropping into Masada. I knew it was going to be a challenge and waited to be one of the last to go down. I had been having a hard time riding in the pack because some of the younger riders were not always looking to their sides before changing their direction.

Down the hill I went. I was careful to keep my hand near the rear brake, but I wanted to feel the air whipping past as I went down the hill. Like the day before, I picked a line of attack and went for it. Passed the point I had picked out, rounded the corner and picked a new line to ride down.

I worked my way down the hill and saw that I was at the last descent of the ride. That is it and I was done.
We were only 8-10km from Masada and I was ready to Cautiously I worked my way down the steep path as rocks skidded out from under my tires. I could see the bottom of the last descent, I picked a line I wanted to follow around the rocks at the bottom, loosened up on the brake a little and started down.

It was going great until I realized that I didn't have the best approach towards these last few rocks I needed to get around. I tried to correct my path but I couldn't change direction even though I was moving pretty slowly. I hit the rocks and expected that the shock-absorbers would do the trick and get me around it.

I felt my front wheel stop short and the back wheel start to come off the ground. The next thing I know I'm upside down and my bike is coming right after me. I had the presence to kick it away so it didn't land on me and I hit the ground with a thud. I looked to see if anyone was coming behind me, and it was clear. I made sure I wasn't broken anywhere, and I was fine.

Then I picked up my bike and started walking it towards the group that was waiting. The shifting mechanism on the handlebars was bent, and the deraileur was bent into the spokes of my rear wheel. With only 8 km until Masada, I thought I was going to hop into the truck and be taken there.

I think these are the rocks that I couldn't avoid. I don't remember which ones exactly

I don't know if the resolution is good enough, but the derailleur is bent into the spokes.

Instead, our amazing volunteers did the best they could to bend the deraileur back into position and perform a mini-tune up to let me ride it out.

It took a long time to get through to the end because I was fighting the machinery on my bike. It didn’t shift as quickly as I hoped and I was stuck working in gears that are not good for riding down hill, especially into a headwind. But I finally made it out of the desert paths and onto the road.

A short, snaked, paved road and I made it to the end. Waiting at the bottom of the hill was a group of the Israeli Rabbis who had been staying in Arad for their convention. They were singing and clapping as we flew into the park and hopped off our bikes for lunch in the shadow of Masada.

About ten minutes later a bus full of HUC students joined us to celebrate the completion of our long journey. It was amazing!

Ride4Reform: Day 4

The Ruins for the Pit Stop

It was a cold, rainy morning. I have never put on that much gear to go for a bike ride. Layered and capped off with a raincoat I was as ready as I could be. We knew that the morning was going to have a long climb, followed by forests and then another long climb to the peak of a mountain for lunch.

Five minutes into the ride the leaders ordered us to stop and wait under some trees because it was raining too hard for us to keep biking. So we waited for the clouds to pass over us. With drizzle still falling on us we moved towards our first objective; Climb Number One.

At the beginning it didn’t seem like it would be that big of a deal. I hadn’t looked at the chart for the day. I reached what I thought was the peak and the road started to turn. As I made it around the corner I saw that we weren’t done yet and it was just getting steeper. YES!!!

I continued climbing, and climbing, and climbing the hill. By the time we made it to the top I was exhilarated! Not that tired, just excited to be at the top of the hill. It was an incredible view and completely worth the effort. I kept thinking about the climbs I watch during the Toure de France. This one felt really steep and I wondered what the grade of the incline was. It averaged between 14% and 19%. This is not nearly the same inclines that professionals ride, but I have to tell you, it was intense and a lot of fun!

A few kilometers later we met another part of our group that didn’t want to deal with this climb, but they wanted to tackle the highest climb of the five-day-ride. Working our way through another forest we started to go up Mount Amasa.

Working and working we finally made our way to the top of the mountain. The peak we sat on was 850 meters above Sea Level and we had climbed 500 meters of it! Again we were fighting against the winds that whip around the peak of a mountain and I was very thankful for the structure we sat in.

As we were preparing to leave, the guides explained to us that part of our descent would be incredibly technical. This meant that we needed to pay a lot of attention to the rocks that could be in our way. I was excited that we had practiced on many smaller technical descents and I was ready to roll.

The entire descent (that wasn’t only a descent) was all off-road. The path was rockier and harder to keep a grip on the ground. Until we hit the technical part.

They asked us to get off and walk our bikes over a small section of it because the wind was blowing too hard and the path was very challenging. But once we got through that, it was back on the bike. I set weight back on the saddle, gripped the handlebars and eased off my brakes.


At times I intentionally pulled up on my handlebars so I could jump over some obstacle that was in my way. There were other times that the rocks themselves tossed me into the air. The trick to getting down was to keep your weight back and your hands on the rear brake only.

You cannot really waver, you need to make a decision about the line you want to bike down and go for it. If you’re too nervous, it’s best to walk for a little while.

Safely at the bottom, I was out of breath and my calves were on fire. I spent the whole descent standing, it’s best to stand to absorb some of the shock instead of taking all of the bumps you hit. This was an amazing thrill and I was so glad I had decided to do it.

After waiting for everyone to catch up we continued towards Arad, where we would stay that night. To get there we moved through some desert towns and one of the cutest things I had even seen happened.

In one of the villages we passed through, a bunch of kids came running after us. I had a massive smile come across my face when one kid ran into his house and came out on his bicycle. He started chasing after us and it was hilarious!

Fields Before Hills

On the way towards the hotel we would stay at we were surrounded by amazing views and more rolling hills.

Finally in Arad, we got to stay overnight at a hotel and meet with some of the Israeli Rabbis that were meeting at the same hotel for a conference. What a way to wind down for the last segment of the Ride4Reform.

But if you think that was a tough day, Thursday was insane. Look for the day 5 post to come soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ride4Reform: Day 3

We stopped near collapsed train tracks for a pit stop

The morning of the third day of the ride we were confronted with a lot of long rolling hills and they were mostly off-road. We were on the sides of farms that kept trying to steer us off to towards the left. It was still an adjustment trying to stay on course while dodging rocks and loose patches throughout the morning, all the time leading up towards a nice little climb on gravel.

I must admit that I wasn’t completely adjusted riding on this type and after a few minutes of climbing this hill, my legs were burning with lactic acid. When I get to the top of a hill, I like to just go down again. I can keep churning my legs without working that hard down a hill and try to clear some of that out. We stopped.

Rather annoyed, I hopped off my bike to look around the beginning of this forest. I found an incredible ancient well and cave site that we stopped near. The views were incredible, even though at times I didn’t always have the chance to look around because I was working on the paths.

We left the forest by descending through it. It was incredible!

Quickly down the hill with a little bit of skidding around the corners I got to the bottom safely. Being the third day, they had told us to be careful since most people started to feel comfortable on their bikes and they start to take risks that they don’t really need to. I have to admit, I may have fallen into that trap. But I was safe the whole way down.

After waiting for the rest of the group to meet us at the bottom of the forest, we crossed onto the road. I was really happy to be back climbing on pavement until Itay, our leader, said that we were turning off to head up another hill, a pretty good sized one.

It wasn’t terribly challenging, but I was starving and had way too much water. I worked so hard to get to lunch.

At the top of the hill the wind was whipping around and it was cold, really cold. But our hosts for lunch had a Bedowin style building set up that shielded us from the wind. They were fantastic and had prepared some fresh Lavinah for us. Lavinah is a warm Laffa (large pita that is similar to a Chipotle wrap) filled with Zatar, fresh Goat Cheese and Oil. Amazing!

Most people went on a tour of the Winery, located below us, but I decided to stay above and stretch out. My legs were getting tired. But once everyone came back topside we hopped back on our bikes and started towards another long climb to finish off the day (this was in preparation for the wicked climb we would have on Wednesday).

On the way down from lunch I started to feel that my front tire was low. I kept checking the level from the top of my bike and it didn’t look that bad. Then I made a wide left turn. I needed to stop and fix it.

We filled it with air and I started our climb. I love climbing!

I caught a good chunk of the group, but by the time I got to the top of the hill I was just about riding on the rims again (riding on the rims: a tire that is so low that the metal structure of the rim is almost touching the ground).

A puncture. Ugh. Luckily the support staff pulled up behind me to lend me a bike to finish the day. It was mostly a long descent towards our Kibbutz, Kibbutz Kramim,

After fighting with my bike all day on Monday, I missed it at the end of the day on Tuesday. There was something different about the balance, the shifters, the shock-absorbers and the handlebars. Something just didn’t really feel good about it. I only had 3km to finish, most of it downhill. But I was really happy to finish and not get picked up by the support truck.

After some long stretching, I was glad to go to bed early. Wednesday was going to be a tough day.

Wednesday, Day 4, is coming soon.

Terrorist Attack

Something strange happened today in class.

I was sitting and listening to a lecture about the current Social Worker Strike in Israel. We were learning about the public service sector of the Israeli economy. A little bit after 1500 IST, Dan turned his iPhone towards me and all I saw was a vague headline on Haaretz announcing that a bomb had exploded near the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem.

I was taking notes on my computer so I started to pull up new sites, Haaretz, the New York Times and BBC. The first story I read said that there was a bomb that exploded and 18 people were injured. Quickly I went to Twitter and Facebook to post that there had been an attack and I was safe.

Slowly but surely the teachers in the room started to get phone calls and texts. The students that have kids in school here started getting calls and Dan and I were still trying to get more information waiting to be told what was going on. One of our instructors was sitting behind me and she tapped me on the shoulder and asked if something happened.

Not wanting to disrupt the class, I quickly scrawled her a note.
near central bus station
18 injured
nothing else on Haaretz yet"

As more people were in and out of the classroom, and some of the administrators were coming down and talking to people at the kindergarden that is on campus, our speaker started to catch on to the fact that something was odd. She asked if something had happened, and the few of us that had been able to get online explained that there had been an explosion near the bus station. Haaretz was then reporting that 25 people were injured, 4 of them severely. But that was the best I could get at that point in the afternoon.

We were told that we could leave the room to call people if we needed to, and we continued a discussion while the instructors tried to figure out what to tell us. They hadn't received any good information either.

When class ended, they told us to make sure to have any HUC students that were not at school at that point to check in so they could find everyone and make sure we were all safe. And we all are okay.

The latest story I read reported that, 1 woman had died, more than 30 more were injured. And that's the best I can find.

I continued to read other news stories online and they said that there was increased violence on the Gaza border since last weekend, including Palestinian Civilians and Militants killed by the Israeli Air Force (IAF). Additionally I read about many more rockets that had been fired from Gaza into cities and territory in the south of Israel.

Then there is the terrible murder of the Fogel family in the Settlement Itamar two weeks ago. I know it might be jumping to conclusions, but it's human nature to think that these events must be linked somehow. If they aren't, these are terrible coincidences.

I continue to hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. But as I'm studying the conflict that has started in the 1930's, I have begun to realize that the situation here is not so black and white. A lot of the rhetoric I hear wants to paint the picture that way. As it is in most cases, there is a lot more to the story than 2-sides.

I don't have a solution to solve this problem and I don't know that anyone does. What I have come to understand is that it takes discussion and understanding. Extremism on any side will get us nowhere. I firmly believe that we need to be able to look at a situation from many angles at once. Only when you try to understand the other perspective (not agree with, but accept that another person has a different perspective) can you begin to solve problems like this.

These thoughts kept racing through my head as I walked home this evening. My eyes could have been playing tricks on me, but I thought I could still see lingering smoke in the direction of the Bus Station. But when the bus I was passing backfired, I jumped.

I'm not scared. I don't think that I am in any danger living here for the next few months. I am a little worried that these senseless, violent acts could escalate. For now I will continue to do my work, go to school and avoid crowded places.

It's weird. It has been three years since the last attacks. Haaretz and Reuters have collaborated and created a timeline of attacks.

Right now, I'm safe. My friends are safe.
My thoughts and prayers are with the people that have been affected by the bombing today.
But for the next few days I will just put my "Israeli Face" on and go on.

Ride4Reform: Days 1 and 2

I'm more of a road-biker. In fact, before this year I had never been on an off-road trail since I was 12 or 13. Yeah, I'd been out on my mountain bike a little this year to train for the ride itself, but we didn't do any actual trail riding.

As we got started we hit a hill or two. I really quickly got the hang of not pushing down on the handlebars, since that's just wasted energy. But that shock-absorbers in the front of my bike really came in handy once we started to get out onto trails. About an hour or two into the ride we came to Tel Gezer, an amazing view of an ancient settlement. And that wasn't the only thing there.

Lunar Park is the term that Israeli Bikers use for a trail that's set up like a roller coaster path. Short, steep climbs followed by short, steep descents and some nice embanked turns. I was really nervous at the start of it, I'm not a huge fan of roller coasters, but it was totally worth it once I dove head first into the first descent.

We finished the 55km of the first day and ended up at Kibbutz Galon sore and exhausted, but it felt awesome to roll into the gate of the kibbutz. And if I thought I was sore that night, that was nothing compared to the pain I felt in the morning when I hopped back on my bike. After spending about 4 and half hours in the saddle the day before, I wasn't really happy sitting in the exact same position the next day.

That soreness became numb after the first twenty minutes of biking (and slowly but surely, I stopped noticing that pain every morning when we hopped back on the bike).

It wasn't more than 10 minutes or so into the ride on the second day that we ran into a real obstacle. There was a tunnel we needed to go through, but there had been some rain and combined with bad drainage, it was flooded!

Can't go over it. Can't go around it. Gotta go through it!

It took us a very long time to get everyone through this mess. We could only really go one person at a time and many people didn't want to get themselves that dirty. We tried different tricks, but in the end, there was nothing you could do. You just had to get muddy.

Then came something I was really excited for: Rolling Hills! Slightly steep, but short climbs followed by quick descents only to go up another hill. There was going to be a series of four of these in a row and I was really excited to get after them. But there were a few problems I ran into.

There was mud all over my derailleur (derailleur: the device that changes the gears on your bike) and it wouldn't let me shift quickly. On top of that, I was coming at this ride with the mindset that I ride my road bike with. My deraileurs on my road bike are much nicer and it is a lot easier to shift. So to my shock, I couldn't climb!

I love climbing and I couldn't do it. I was so bummed that I just couldn't get my bike to respond to me the way I expected. By the time I got up to the end of the last climb, after dropping my chain two or three times (dropping my chain: when the chain falls off the gears). I was really frustrated. Sharon was there, so I staged a nice picture showing my feelings for my bike. Don't worry I didn't actually kick it.

By the end of the second day, I had performed a little road-side maintenance with the help of our guides and I was able to finish in good spirits. Especially after our last few kilometers.

Single Track was an amazing way to finish the day. At the widest, the patch was the width of a tractor tire. At the narrowest it was as wide as a bike tire. Complete with quick turns, hills and descents, rocks and trees in the way. Single track was so much fun and took us almost to the end of ride.

It was a quick finish to Kibbutz Ruhummah. One of the most satisfying things was leaving through the gate of one kibbutz and riding almost to the door of our room at the second kibbutz.

Check back soon for day 3.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Black Tea

While I was on the Ride4Reform they served us a really good tea at all of our pit-stops and meals. It may have been the fact that I was exhausted and parched, but the tea we had was incredible!

On the last day of our trek I asked for the recipe. Here goes it;

Black Tea

I made some of it the other day. I still need to perfect the proportions, but it depends on what you like in your tea.

I put a little more than a cup of water, a tea bag, a teaspoon of Nana, a teaspoon of Zuta and a teaspoon of sugar.
For me this was not quite sweet enough compared to what we had on the ride. But it was close. I'm thinking a little more sugar and it will be perfect!

I wish I could give you the English names of the herbs, but I still can't quite figure them out. Nana is close to Mint, but it's not quite the same. Zuta is a larger problem. The word translates as something small or a small brick. It looks like sage, but isn't quite. The smell is like Nana but sweeter.

I was told that Nana is only really available in this part of the world. The question is, do I try to bring some of it back? Anyone know what the laws for transporting Herbs?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Back in Action

I realize it's been quite a while since I put much of anything up here. As you may know, I spent all week last week on the seat of a bike riding all over the center of Israel. That also meant that I missed an entire week of school. Between mid-terms and making up all of the work I missed I've been a bit overloaded, not that I'm complaining.

Compounding that problem, the cord to charge my laptop broke. I think it had something to do with the fact that I take the cord everywhere so I can keep my computer running. Although I was able to borrow cords at school to give myself some more juice, I had to be judicious about how much time I spent on my computer aside from using it for class.

A special thanks to one of my classmates that was back in the USA, I have a new cable and everything is good again. I have a few days off for Purim and I'm almost completely caught up on my course work. Look for a few posts in the coming days to update on what's been going on for the last few weeks.

Also look for a new post about the Ride4Reform on TCJewfolk.com in the next few days.

Shabbat Shalom,

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hand-Washing Laundry

My clothes were really muddy. There were a couple of days on the bike ride that we hit some strong rain, and a nice mud puddle. It was disgusting. Just muddy, sweaty and gross. So I threw them into the laundry and hoped for the best.


After running through one laundry cycle, my stuff was still muddy. What was I to do? I spent an hour or so washing by hand all the the shirts and jerseys that I wore. They're pretty clean now, I couldn't get everything out. I even used some spot cleaner and I didn't get it completely clean...

Friday, March 11, 2011

An Achey Friday Morning

There is so much to say about the Ride 4 Reform. It was so much fun. I got to see incredible places all over Israel from the back seat of my bike. I took a pretty hard fall 8km from the end of the trip, so I'm pretty sore this morning. But on the whole, it was fantastic and I feel great and so accomplished. I don't have too much time to write about it now, I have two mid terms the first two days of the week and there will be a blog post for TC Jewfolk to come out with some information. I don't want to duplicate that post before it runs, so... more to come soon and you can see pictures on facebook already!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Riding for Reform Today!

Blogger has an incredible feature I've been abusing every so often. I can write a post in my free time and have it upload while I am nowhere near a computer. By the time this goes online, I will be on the seat of a bike somewhere in Israel. I have no idea where I will actually be, but we start around 7AM Israel Time.

If we're running on Israeli Standard time, that means a lot closer to a 7:30 in start time. Our last news letter gave us the route we'll be taking along with some information about the elevation and the steepness of the climbs. If you want to check that information, you can get it here The Route.

On Thursday last week, we picked up our Jerseys from Dusty, who has been one of the point people on our end. Of course we took a few pictures to have a good time with them.

A special thanks to Sam and Allie for taking the pictures and to Steven for sending them out to all of the riders.

I'm really excited to get on the road for the ride. And if you are able to support me at all, I'm still working on fundraising. You can donate and support me at this link Donate Here. Any support you can give is greatly appreciated.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


For the first time in a long time here I finally feel like I'm having a Shabbat I really enjoy.

Thursday night, after another great conference call with the Cincinnati campus, I joined a bunch of people out for dinner to celebrate their birthdays. The 2nd dinner of the night was for all of us that are doing the Ride for Reform (starts tomorrow morning, and I'm still raising funds, if you can donate check out this link) and followed that with hanging out with some more friends before heading home.

Friday I cleaned and got ready for Shabbat which I got to spend in the city of Tzur Hadassah. Two of the Year in Israel Cantorial students help lead services with one of the Israeli students in this community. They worked with her to organize home hosting for a Shabbat Dinner. It was amazing.

We had a very Sephardi (Spainish, North African heritage) dinner with our family. Complete with fish, soup, chicken, beef, salad couscous, tea, wine and dessert. It was incredible. I'd love to share with you the "blessing of couscous" with you, but I want to keep that in my back pocket as a story to use as a Rabbi. Maybe I'll put it up on here later, or maybe I can prepare couscous for you sometime and I can tell you then.

Not only was the dinner amazing, but I also got to help lead services for the community and bang of my drum all day. It's so much fun adding that to services, especially Kabbalat Shabbat (Friday Night Services).

This morning I had a hard time dragging myself out of bed to get to HUC on time to rehearse a little more. Running a few minutes later than I wanted to be, I got to school in time and joined in the closing song, "Say" by John Mayer, that Mike really wanted to use. It was a lot of fun, although non-traditional, I really liked it as a closing song. He might put it up online and if that happens I will find a way to link to it.

Services were great, and I really like the Sermon that Beni delivered. I know I'm going to miss all of my friends that are going to be at other campuses, but I am excited to keep learning with the people who will join me at Cincinnati.

Lunch was also really, really good, and I just got back to my apartment. I need to clean and pack up my place so I'm ready to go on the Ride 4 Reform, which starts tomorrow, but the day is just perfect. I don't really trust the weather reports that I get here, so I'm going to venture a guess that it's mid to high 70's right now, and a perfectly sunny afternoon. If I wasn't about to spend 5 days on the back of a bike, I'd be out riding right now.

It might be that I don't have homework to do for tomorrow, since I won't be in class. Or it could be that this is really just an amazing day. But in my world, and in my Judaism, this is Shabbat and what it is supposed to be like.

I know that according to Orthodoxy, Shabbat and the afterlife is a time that there will be no work and complete rest. To me, that misses the mark by a little bit. Shabbat is a time to be with friends, to enjoy the world. It is a time to enjoy the company of other people and to recharge for the next week.

This has been a perfect Shabbat!