I should be asleep, but seeing as how I'm spending my birthday doing things I love, I am up at 2AM and I just took a nice, hot shower. Another thing I love to do is write things about myself, as I am a self-proclaimed narcissist, so here I am, on the blob.
On Wednesday nights, I enjoy the Conservative Yeshiva's learning community at Hebrew U. The way it works is they bring Schechter students (Rafi and some of my other favorite future-rabbi friends) to teach Torah to unsuspecting Hebrew U students looking for a free bagel. I've been joking that I'm Rafi's volunteer project, because if I don't go, he won't have a chevruta (friend/study partner) to teach. Deep down, however, I love the one-on-one attention, the text study, and the eating and schmoozing with my peers and the Rabbi who runs the program.
This week, Raf taught me how to read Rashi script. For those of you who either (a) know Hebrew fluently or (b) know about my passion for Israeli carrots, and the carrot in general, or (c) think I'm funny, will appreciate this vignette. I was (apparently doing very well at) mumbling out the right words with the screwy script (as if Hebrew isn't HARD ENOUGH TO READ), and translating , word by word. "Shmuel. Samuel." and "Hoo. He." and so on and so forth. Then I read "גזרותיו / g'zeirotav" and looked up at Rafi. "His carrots?" I said.
My carrot. Oh, I'm so very classy. Taken back when I was 25. Photo courtesy of Elana D., I believe.
After Rafi stopped laughing, he explained that that word means "His decrees" where "His" = God. I protested, saying that if a word has the root (get it? root! double meaning strikes again!) of G-Z-R / גזר, then it should have to do with carrots.
Ami, Rafi's California classmate explained that Sephardic (Spanish) Jews eat carrots on Rosh HaShanah to reverse any evil decrees. I'm going to start doing that! Ami is awesome. I love these Rab students....
Today, my Hebrew tutor told me that the Z / ז is actually adapted from a very ancient language that was folded into Hebrew, almost seamlessly. Funny how my "fun" learning and my "sooooo unfun" academic Hebrew learning lined up this week.
After learning, the CY funds cabs to take us back to town, which is nicer than taking the hour-long bus. Rafi and I piled in with his neighbor, the inimitable Gideon. Our driver this week, by chance, was driving a Benz (not so unusual), and I happened to perk up my ears to hear the music he was playing on the stereo. Usually, the cabs in Jerusalem play Galgalatz or some other popular music station. This guy was listening to the world's most offensive music, on his own, burned CD, so naturally I was in heaven, and started singing along and dancing around the backseat as much as the seatbelt allowed. The driver noticed, and turned up the music really loudly.
Not the cab I was in, but a cab nevertheless. This one was in Tel Aviv on 25 Dec 2007.
That's how I ended up driving by the Old City, just by the Western Wall, with the wind blowing through my hair, as Rafi, Gideon and I all boogied in the cab to classics such as "Smack Dat" by Akon (featuring an Eminem rap that includes the terrificly rapped "puddy-cat-dawls.") and "Fantasy" by Ludacris ([insert an inappropriate "lick" quote here]). It was ridiculous. But it certainly exposed one of the many polarities of Israel, which is currently my proposed thesis topic. I don't think I'd use those lyrics with campers. Or adults. Or anybody that may think it disgusting that I (a) know these songs and (b) find them, instead of offensive, highly entertaining. (HA! I JUST COMBINED OFFENSIVE MUSIC AND MY THESIS IN ONE PARAGRAPH.)
It reminded me of Larry, the Hebrew School driver from last year, who loved to show us his latest rap videos on the Escalade DVD player. He also often threatened to report to Rafi on Wednesdays (I worked on Tuesdays) how I knew all the dirty words, and that my dance moves were too good for a Hebrew school teacher.
This driver's name is Jeki. Let me know if you want his card. He's TONS of fun! But don't expect to be able to hear when you reach your destination.
Time for me to do something else I love, because it's my birthday. It's time for BED!