December 16, 2012/ 3 Tevet 5773/ 8th (last) day of Chanukah
For a spiritual, political, and emotional feast, my husband Chaim and I will be staying in Jerusalem for 3-1/2 weeks in January. We have rented an apartment and are pretty open-ended as to what we will do during our stay. There are a few “musts” during this visit — I have a couple of teaching gigs and Chaim has a couple of ghosts to wrestle with there (he grew up in Israel but hasn’t been back in about 25 years). We will try out different synagogues, roam the streets, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells. Mostly, we will just BE, not in New York City, our permanent home, or the Berkshires, our home away from home, but in Jerusalem, our spiritual home. Though I have been to Israel twice in the last 12 years, both visits were work-related and didn’t offer me the leisure that this trip will allow. My last lengthy visit to Israel was during my first year of rabbinical school, 1988-9, a year marred by my mother’s death and an unexpected trip back to the U.S. Her yahrzeit will fall during this trip.
My other “must,” however, is to write everyday. During the recent violence that erupted in Gaza, with rocket scares as far away as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, my friends all asked whether we were still going on this trip and wondered how they would know we were okay. On a lark, I off-handedly offered the suggestion that I blog while there, as a way of informing my friends and family members of our safety and goings-on.
Once I put that idea out into the world, it grew on me. I’ve always considered myself a writer, and I believe writing to be a spiritual practice. However, I’ve never made it a daily practice. This blog will give me the opportunity and will hopefully jumpstart a lifelong daily writing practice, beyond the time-limited blog of my time in Jerusalem.
Today is the last day of Chanukah, a Hebrew word that actually means “Dedication.” I decided that my dedication project for Chanukah would be to start this blog and to dedicate to writing while in Israel, in hopes that the practice would stick. Here I am in the last hour before the holiday ends, and, technophobe that I am, I may have actually mastered the mechanics of setting it up (with the encouragement of my new friend Peter K.).
I think the writing itself will be the breezy part of this journey…