1) Experience at an Ethiopian Church in Jerusalem... one of the most unique and unforgettable experiences I've had yet! We were able to enter for a few minutes, after removing our shoes, and they were in the middle of a prayer service. The men were chanting and drumming (I thought of my friend Kufert who loves drumming!) and the church was circular, so we started walking around the perimeter. There were rugs covering the floor and several pictures on walls, columns, propped up next to walls, in nooks and crannies... almost all of them depicted Jesus, and I thought it was really interesting that Jesus was portrayed as white in an African Church. We were then asked to leave because we weren't dressed modestly enough (oops) but it was a truly unforgettable experience.
2) Jerusalem Beer Festival... Ironically in Hebrew this is called "beera b'ira" (the word for "beer" and "in the city" sound the same, so clever). I went with a friend of mine and we tasted beers from around Israel and around the world - including Brooklyn Lager ("TASTES LIKE AMERICA AND FREEDOM" we said!). We also played a fun game called "American, Israeli, or Russian" where we tried to guess the nationalities of other festival-goers. We deduced that based on fashion choices it was easy to tell where someone came from. Later that night, my friend Melissa from Tallahassee was visiting for a conference and needed a place to stay, so she crashed with me and I introduced her to Jerusalem night life (and chocolate rugelach the next morning!).
3) Academically (aka the biggest reason I'm here)... I finished Hebrew classes! Am I fluent? Far from it. Am I a lot more comfortable speaking Hebrew, conjugating verbs, and smiling at cute Israeli men? Absolutely. I took a 3-day prereq course about the siddur (prayerbook) which was tons of information to process but was fascinating for the most part. I also got placed into my Torah and Talmud (another body of Jewish literature/laws) classes in the "gimel" (3rd) level, so hopefully it will be challenging and interesting. I've met so many people in the past few days because of various orientations, and everyone in the program is amazing. I'm so excited and grateful to get to spend the next year here :-) Classes officially begin Sunday morning, so I'm sure I'll have lots to report next week.
4) New apartment!! This past week we moved out of our old apartment into a new one (and gained another roommate). This one is technically in the "Katamon" area of Jerusalem but it's right on the border of Baka. It's about 10 minutes away from my school, 5-10 minutes to Emek Rafaim, the busy street with restaurants, shops, and bars, and it's close to some major bus lines. The rooms are small but the living room/kitchen area is HUGE and it has a really nice yard shared by everyone in the building. We definitely plan on entertaining this year!!!
Obviously a lot more than that has happened but those are some of the bigger things that stand out to me. I hope y'all have a Shabbat Shalom, a good weekend, and most importantly GO NOLES!!!! I'll be wearing my garnet and gold in honor of FSU tomorrow. XOXO!