In Which We Eat, Drive, and Eat

December 1, 2014

With my backpack on my shoulder and Ariella beside me, we walked over to 39th and Walnut where her sister, Dani was waiting with her car. The drive was quite enjoyable, Dani had good taste in music and her friend from med-school that she was driving home was really nice. We arrived in the early evening at the Biser-Kravitz-Levine residence in New Jersey. We hung around for a while not doing anything in particular, and then when Sarah came home (Ariella’s mom) we had some dinner and then went shopping for ingredients for Thanksgiving ‘Sheini’. Some of Sarah’s friends unavailable on Thursday night, asked for a second night of Thanksgiving so a second night (‘sheini’ in hebrew) was being hosted at the residence. That night I was up late working on all my assignments, realizing that the due dates were closer than I had previously expected.

The next morning I was up at around 10AM. Got ready, had a nice breakfast and was soon prepared to embark on the four hour drive to Bethesda, Maryland, with Ariella’s family. The drive down felt like it took a while. I listened to Billy Joel, got a tiny bit of work done on my laptop, and napped. It was a welcome respite, having the opportunity to do nothing for a few hours, and though it may have not been the most riveting of car rides, the opportunity to stress less was most welcome.

At around 5.30PM we arrived at Sarah’s family’s home, where celebrations were already underway. Fancy¬†hors d’oeuvres were being served by a Peruvian waiter, kids were running amuck and Turkey symbolism was everywhere. Ariella had made some delicious food for her and I given that the food at the meal itself was not kosher. The meal was a good opportunity to meet some more of her family and hear a little of their history. Sarah was pleased to explain to me all the connections and a bit of back-story behind everyone that helped me to place people. Particularly interesting was the oldest lady at the table, who had made aliyah from Europe (moved to Israel) before the war and had served in the IDF as a driver during the 1948 war. She also wanted to know about my family and how we had come to emigrate.

Following dinner, we drove right back to where we came from. Another good four hours. However with my workload, I couldn’t afford to go straight to sleep, so got to it for another few hours before collapsing.

Tel Aviv – Israel – Day 9

July 30, 2012

Today the conference had its moments of complete and utter boredom and a few really shining lights.

The first lecture I can hardly remember now, but was an analytical look at prophecy in the bible and whether there is virtue in suicide for the sake of others. The second was quite an interesting look at the principles of jurisprudence as derived from halacha (Jewish Law). However, the third one I practically fell asleep during. It covered some purportedly exegetical analysis however seemed to be more of a personal interpretation of things with little regard to historicity.

The penultimate talk was genius. An analysis of psalm 19 using biblical criticism in order to draw conclusions that would in fact be supported by a traditional reading, and using it to show how the traditional reading would be in fact more reasonable than that which broke it up into multiple parts and authors. Any one interested is well encouraged to ask me more!

The final talk was also of note, regarding the story of the Oven of Achnai was a reading of it as a tale of different kinds of power, and the utilization of violence as a core motivator in ancient political systems.

I left the conference somewhat more satisfied than when I came in, left with a few new insights and a happy tummy. Yum.

From there I left to Tel Aviv, this time to stay. Unfortunately when packing my backpack this time, I rather severely under-packed. Two t-shirts, one shirt, one shorts, one pants, one pair of sandals. Not enough for a whole week.

Arriving in a friend’s tiny apartment in Tel-Aviv, I showered in small quarters before meeting up with more friends from the Weizmann Institute, Gali and Ariel, and went for Pizza with them, Sarah Silverberg in tow! After a walk to ice-cream, (delicious,) it was home time again. Sleep came quickly.

© 2012-2024 Shaanan Cohney