Having received so many emails, phone calls and notes with questions about my upcoming sabbatical, I thought I would take this space to elucidate a little further what I will be doing during my time away. If you read the letter (see below), you know that I will be away from just after Purim until just after Pesach and then again over the summer. I wrote to you all that in the spring portion of my sabbatical, I would be running several marathons, starting with the Jerusalem Marathon on March 17th! With the exception of Jerusalem, all of the races are on Sundays. Knowing this, a few of our community members who are runners have asked what I will be doing the rest of the week, in between races, and I thought you’d all like to know the answer! Since I expect to be sore from my running endeavors, and since I’d like not to be, I will be spending each week in Woodstock, NY, at a special massage therapy center. While there, I will spend four hours each day learning to become a therapist, so that I can treat myself (plus, you know, having a backup plan if the rabbinate doesn’t work out is always a good idea). The rest of the day will be spent lying totally still in a full body seaweed wrap for up to six hours! Sounds relaxing, right?
Then, for the summer portion of my sabbatical, in addition to my usual volunteering at Jewish camp, I had written to the community that I will be spending much of my time off in Israel. Limor and I have enrolled the girls in a pre-IDF summer “camp” program there, where they will, as Israeli citizens (thanks to Limor being born in Israel), learn how to shoot, march, navigate by maps, speak basic Arabic and even have the opportunity to jump from a real military airplane! They are very excited for the opportunity, especially the skydiving, camping in tents and the food. We are, of course, a little nervous, particularly about Carmel’s use of a gun, since she can barely get the toothpaste on the brush without half the tube winding up in the sink. We’re also worried about Jordan, but at ten years old, she should be ok, right?
Limor will be using her time in Israel to visit her family there, mostly on Shabbat. During the week, however, she will be fulfilling her life-long dream – to attend Israel’s top culinary school: Bishulim – The Israeli Institute of Culinary Arts. Of course, I will be the main beneficiary of her time there! Especially when one considers that, not once, but twice, Limor has burned a pot because she forgot to put water in it before putting it on the stove. The school recommends bringing your own knives, as do all good culinary schools, so we are allowing extra time to be interrogated both by TSA at the airport here and by the Mosad, when we arrive in Israel.
Originally, I had been planning to use my time in Israel to just relax – spending time on the beach, riding my bicycle and reading books. But, with the girls all being busy all day long, I thought I would find something else to fill my time and take advantage of my skills and interests and this opportunity. As many of you have pointed out, time and time again, I spend too much time caring and thinking about Israel. So, I reached out to the Trump administration to offer my services to help work on the President’s new Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan. Apparently, the administration is, indeed, looking for more people who have no diplomatic experience to join the team. They did inform me, however, that since I speak Hebrew fluently, have lived in Israel (twice) for long stretches, have an advanced degree in Hebrew Literature and know and have friends in the non-Jewish community in Israel, that I would be relegated to a minor role. Since I’m supposed to be taking it easy on sabbatical, anyway, I accepted! I cannot wait to make peace!
I will be sure to document all of these wonderful activities through daily emails to the entire congregation, detailing every step: each place visited, each meal eaten, person met and the hilarity that will ensue! I know you look forward to reading them, each and every day! See you when I return!
Click for the Rabbi's letter