11 April, 2010

Almost there (here?)

Jerusalem...again. Apparently while I am in Israel, I have a desire to blog far more so than when I am in the States. Perhaps the latter will change with this one, as this is going to be a lengthy endeavor.

Here I am. More "אני פה" than "הנני", for now. I've come so far it seems, and yet I haven't even made it to the start line. I've made it through the 'I can't believe I want to be a rabbi' decision process, the application process, through the interview process, through the acceptance process, and there is one of the hiccups. I have been accepted (wohoo), conditionally (boo). Turns out, my Hebrew ability, not so great; not quite good enough to have passed the test the first time around, although very close. Such a small thing as language was not going to keep me from this dream. I find myself in Israel right now, finishing up a 2-wk course with Ulpan Or just before I am scheduled to re-take the exam. I am feeling good, a little nervous, but more-or-less confident in my ability. I am perfectly ok if the results come back and say that I should do pre-ulpan. In fact, I would almost prefer that, because being in Israel for longer can only be a good thing. When I get a little down at my Hebrew skills, I remind myself of my personal timeline regarding the language. Honestly, I am proud of how far I've come.

Recently, HUC has set up a facebook page for upcoming Year-In-Israel students, and on it soon-to-be students are writing introductions about themselves. I am appreciative of the intros prior to meeting in person in a couple months. I find that a connection can evolve and the people in this new community feel less like strangers. As I read these introductions, I am a little intimidated by some of the comments. People who are Jewish-study majors, who have been going to and teaching at camp for over 10yrs. People who have been going after this dream since adolescents and have laid all the groundwork for it.
Then there is me. I am a scientist. My first career is as an analytical chemist; a career I have been active in for several years. All the learning I have done with Judaism has been outside of a university setting. I owe a huge shout out to the library (and amazaon.com !), to my Hebrew tutor Eti, and especially to the clergy at Har HaShem, my synagogue. Without them, this transition would not have been possible.

And what a transition! As the transition is still in its infancy, I am bogged down with practicalities. Most of which my upcoming classmates can no doubt relate. Get medical paperwork, for me and the cat. Get visa (just for me, he doesn't need one). Make packing list, cut in half, check, double-check, triple check, cut in half again. Look for apartment in Jerusalem--very different than in America, because in Jlem, neighborhood really matters. Come to realization that I must get a roommate (first time for everything I suppose). Keep up with summer HUC reading. Get overseas or internet bank account. And the list goes on and on and on. First priority--pass Hebrew re-take exam.  It is such practicalities which prevent me from being fully here.

The less tangible, non-object oriented tasks, are much harder. Saying goodbye to family, friends, community, home. That will not be easy (nor should it be). Until my first priority (see above) is accomplished, I will not be starting on this part of the transition.

I sit here, in a room in Rechavia, feeling like I am in a dream. Perhaps I am. For next week I will be back in Colorado, back in the lab, back with my friends and this will be a memory. Rather, this moment is a glimpse into the future. For here I will sit in seven weeks, and it will not be a dream and I will really say "הנני".

No comments:

Post a Comment