Thursday/Friday – Day 133/134

December 12, 2012

The stress levels keep going up and up and up!

Thursday was the next major assessment in store for me with a ten minute singing test of the music I had learn for choral society. This consisted of about two hundred pages of music; Haydn’s Thereisenmasse and Vivaldi’s Magnificat, both substantial and fairly beautiful works. Thus, I spent much of today with earphones in one ear, the other listening attentively to my own pitching and music in hand, repeating certain passages over and over.

Other than that, I worked on tidbits here and there in prep for submission of a few larger project over the next week.

A highlight of Thursday evening occurred at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where small groups consisting of PGC members went around the wards to bring ‘holiday cheer’ to those who might otherwise be lacking it. And, though our singing may not have been our best and we were carrying our binders with us, people’s faces really did light up and they clamoured to hear us, some even getting out of their beds to sing and dance along.

Following that, from 7PM to 10PM was a dress rehearsal with the full orchestra for the next day’s choral society concert.

Friday was my final lecture in algorithms and final singing lesson. The singing lesson went excellently and I felt that looking over the semester I had made real progress which was a great feeling.

Friday night was shul at Shira Chadasha in Hillel. The minyan was lovely as always but still missing something compared to home. Hineni shout out to all of you. Afterwards I quickly scrambled for dinner with Aviva and Michal and a few others before heading out with Adriel Koschitzky, an orthodox soloist, to the choral society performance.

The performance I believe sounded pretty great, however I was way too nervous and started feeling sick partway through, partially due to the fact that I was struggling to hear anything other than my own voice, which made pitching somewhat difficult. However, it went well and ended well.

After the show finished I walked back with Aviva who had come to see the performance, Stephanie Li, and a friend of hers. Up to my room, I managed only a few steps before collapsing on my bed.

Sunday – Day 31 – Part 2

August 22, 2012

Sunday afternoon and it was time to head off again! Stopping at Alexanderplatz for a quick vegan Bratwrust made for a tasty pre-lunch snack and then it was off to the Hauptbahnhof (main station) for a train to Heidelberg.

Vegan Bratwrust


Boarding the train was a somewhat difficult procedure for me with all my bags, and, I soon found out that on a busy train such as the one I was taking, it was necessary to have pre-booked not only a ticket but a seat reservation. Above every seat was listed the passenger for whom it was reserved and without such a reservation I was forced to sit on the floor for six hours. To my discomfort, the area of the train on which I was able to find a spare bit of floor was un-airconditioned and Germany was experiencing its hottest day all year. The train ride was most uncomfortable but well worth it when I saw Elisabeth Schafer’s (of ISSI 2012) smiling face coming down the escalator at Heidelberg’s Hbf (Hauptbahnhof).

Heidelberg at Night

From there I met Damian, a friend of hers from ISSI 2011 and it was off to his place to put down my bags and have a little late dinner. After dinner at about 12 o’clock we set out ‘a walking the old city of Heidelberg, including to my joy, the old castle. There is not much I enjoy more than walking a city in the early hours of the morning. The castle was near deserted apart from a few drunk teenagers, and the old city was beautiful to behold. I was eager for the morrow when I would see it in daylight.


ISSI! – Israel – Day 8

July 29, 2012

Israel – Day 8

Today was the second day of the conference and I ditched after lunch. The sessions today were rather boring and dry. There was a symposium on the extent to which the bible and Talmud supported transcendent and immanent notions of god, along with Tony Biondi presenting an argument for the inclusion of such texts into ‘great books’ courses at US universities. The only really interesting paper was an analysis on a daf of Gemara regarding prophecy.

The second session today was a deep reading of something or other, in a traditional format that very nearly put me to sleep. Therefore, after making the most of the buffet lunch I hopped back to Nathan and Debra’s to Skype friends for a short while.

A few phone calls to Sarah and the Weizmann Institute later, I was off on my way to Rechovot, to see ISSI (the science program I did during my gap/shnat year) 2012. After missing two busses and getting stuck in traffic, I finally arrived forty-five minutes later than planned at the institute. Outside I took this photo of the building, at which point the security guard started waving at me to come over. After chastising me for photographing the institute he quizzed me for a good few minutes before letting me in to meet with the group.

On reaching the Young@Science youth village, I gave a massive hug to Nir Zohar my madrich (counsellor) from my year, still working there. After a chat, it was off to visit the Aussies! For those interested, Ezra, Paul and Shale had siblings on the year’s program, all who were very friendly to us. Eventually we were invited to go out on the town with them, as it was their second last night. As the group split up into a few smaller ones, Sarah and I headed out with my Australian friend Julian Kowal and his friends.

After a lovely dinner I trained to Tel-Aviv with Sarah, only to realize that I had purchased a return bus ticket to Jerusalem, losing myself a good 30 NIS ($7 AUD). After helped her get home I returned to Jerusalem for the final day of the conference.


© 2012-2024 Shaanan Cohney