Well it's actually because I can't get the full post out in time before shabbat comes in 4:34. So I'll give a quick sneak preview before I post the whole thing tomorrow night.
I spent a year in yeshiva (a Jewish school for Biblical studies, males only) in Jerusalem, Israel. That year spanned from September 2005-June 2006. The name of the yeshiva was Ohr David, an American yeshiva (all the guys who went there are American, except us Canadians). The place was recommended to me by my rabbi @ NCSY, a Jewish youth organization I'd been involved with in high school. I also had connections through an NCSY summer camp called Camp Sports I attended in Baltimore, where a lot of the guys who went there eventually went to Ohr David. I won't call it a Baal Teshuva yeshiva - for Jews who weren't religious when born and brought up but are re-connecting) but there were some BTs there, like me. I'd say it was more for guys who had potential but failed to realize it, guys who had issues at home and needed a place to just grow and prosper. We actually had a great mix of guys from different walks of Jewish life, from different places, upbringings, and where we were holding in our Yiddishkeit. But we all had one thing in common - we were all looking to improve ourselves one way or another. There was just 55 of us at most, and soon enough as the year begun, we were family.T' was the best year of my life.
In fact the Lunar calender this year is on the exact time set it was that year - which means that all the holidays and when they will fall on the secular calendar are on the exact day of the week with exactly the same circumstances - i.e. the sixth day of Hanukkah that year fell on shabbat (Saturday), which also happens to be Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the month) = that also happened this year. I know that because its the longest Birkat Hamazon (Grace after Meals) you can say - because of the inclusions. So I'm interested to see what similarities evolve between this year and that year.
I wasn't exactly sure when I was going to do write this because the Hebrew date at the time was the 3rd of Tevet, which was just after Hannukah (which ends on the 2nd). I was also unsure about what date I was going to write about because a lot happened at that time. I figured I'd go with the english date for now, because I had another article I wanted to write on the last day of Hannukah, which was the day I wrote my previous two articles. I'll decide later whether or not to keep to English or Hebrew dates, depending on the significance of the day and happening.
The 7th night of Hannukah, happened to be New Years, and a Saturday night, therefore once Shabbat was over, technically we could party if we wanted. Even though we were technically on a break over the Hannukah holiday, there were still some optional morning classes, we went to meals at our rabbis house almost every night of the holiday, and had a big party in the yeshiva of of the nights too. So New Years Day was pretty much our only day off. I spent it pretty well, which I tell in detail in the next post. Okay. So first I'll recap. Being Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night) in Jerusalem on the night of December 31st, also the 7th night of Hanukkah. Surprisingly enough, I actually have an opportunity to do something for new years. I've never really cared about new years, it's just another day to me. All I did was meet up with friends at a place and soon after midnight we headed back to yeshiva. Aside from not being the most important thing, we called it an early evening because 6 of us wanted to go to the Dead Sea for the day the next day, and we had to leave early to catch a bus to do so. That was a fun day.
I could have purely focused on that day but a few days ago, my dad read me something he was emailed, which seemed like such a coincidence considering what I was doing in yeshiva a few days later on the 3rd, so I decided to choose that topic while including something about the days before.
Hope you enjoy it!
Shabbat Shalom/Good Shabbos/Sabbatical Salutations and Benedictions
(don't ask about the last greeting)