The portion "Toledot" emphasizes the power of prayer and the relevance of the status/history of the person praying. It recounts the story of Isaac and Rebecca's conception through prayer despite the fact that both were sterile. Similarly, it tells of Cain's lesser punishment after his own prayers. A practical lesson is to take into account the position or perspective of others. Things that may seem trivial to you could be very difficult for another person due to circumstances we can be unaware of.
I learned that Hannukah starts at the same time as Christmas Eve this year! Otherwise, the app is probably not that useful for prolonged use.
I've been to the Moishe House in San Diego and I like it... so I "liked" it.
While in the Netherlands late in the summer, I visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. It was pretty surreal being at such a place finally that I'd heard stories about all my life (as well as being extremely crowded). It was interesting (and saddening) to learn about the publication of her diaries by her father and some of the unpublished things he had edited out. Seeing such a place in the midst of ordinary, everyday buildings really emphasizes how the Nazi occupation and Holocaust happened mostly in plain view of the citizens in each of the occupied countries.
The story was about the change of a Chief Resident who was originally very detached from the fates of his patients to one that not only cared about the emotional interactions with his patients but became a teacher on the subject. This author contrasts his cold disposition to a woman about to die from cancer to his eventual understanding of the sadness of patients as his own sister passes away from cancer. The story was moving. Often, we can take all the advice of friends and peers, but can't enact real change until we find the perspective to understand what our situation really means. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are about clearing the slate and granting forgiveness to those that have wronged you. Perhaps we're hesitant to give forgiveness because we don't understand the circumstances or point of view of the wrongdoers. As someone that not only has been a student but also a teacher, I have a much deeper appreciation for what it means to teach to a broad group of students. From the student's perspective, it's easy to dismiss the methods or ways of a teacher without fully understanding the audience they must be able to each.
I watched the video: Israel Apartheid Week Part 1 What To Do.
I chose this because I've been in the midst of the Israel Apartheid Week at UC San Diego and was interested in a Jewish viewpoint on it. I learned that we should try to make sure there's never a one-sided argument without the possible other viewpoints from an Israeli side (or vice versa).
The "Just 15 Kilometres North of Tel Aviv" video was a pretty great flyover of the Apollonia National Park. It's naturally beautiful and the excavations are impressive. I love outdoor reserves and would love to visit that area (I think we weren't far during Birthright).
The "Hope for Heroism" video is an interesting touch due to the nature of conscription in Israel. It's not dissimilar to Wounder Warriors in the USA, but it's touching to see that the program itself is run by previously wounded warriors. This seems incredible since only those that have been wounded can relate to the newly wounded and their rehabilitation.
Ant-Man is a film about a man seeking his redemption in an interesting manner - a superhero that is at his peak strength when the size of an ant. This perhaps relates to the fact that while the Jewish population is small, it can still have a large impact on the world.
Jurassic World was a pretty sensational film that tries to show the dangers that come with the ever-growing hubris of man. While it's incredible that we *can* create a park filled with dinosaurs for our amusement, we should really consider whether we *should*? A lot of Judaism is about instilling humility (forgiveness, lifestyle, burials) and ideally this helps guide our life decisions accordingly. Jurassic Park shows that great sadness follows unbridled power (the fall of the park not dissimilar to that of the Tower Of Babel).
Often Judaism (religiously and spirituality) tries to instill the connectedness and circular nature of lie. In the case of this video, we can take away the idea that man was made in G-d's image by mirroring to children, the same role man tries to play. The father realizes that his son's relationship with him is not unlike his own relationship with G-d. As an inspiration for Yom Kippur, this video inspires one to realize that it is man's nature to err, but also in his nature to want to be "clean" again.
I attended a Shabbat "friendsgiving" at the San Diego Moishe house (which is apparently right near me). It was great to be with Jewish people around my age for Shabbat and reminded me of JConnect from when I lived in Seattle.
Yom Kippur is considered such a High holiday as it promotes reflection on oneself. Spirituality or growth as a person only comes from such reflection and is emphasized to encourage this. Yom Kippur is the most important Jewish holiday for me so I've observed it every year of my life. I plan on fasting this year in observance.
I had a Bar Mitzvah at age 13. I enjoyed my Bar Mitzvah thoroughly... after I read my Torah portion which was the most nerve-racking part from all the prep/studying. It was a long time ago so I can't remember my speech although I believe it was centered around community service. My Torah Portion was Sh'lach about the spies sent to survey Israel.
I attended a Shabat meal after the services at the UCSD Hillel. It was great catching up with the staff (the undergraduates are a bit younger than me) who I hadn't seen in a while. The meal was outside on one of the lawns at UCSD which only made it better with the great San Diego weather.
I went to a breaking of the fast meal at my cousin's in-law, Mal. The meal was incredible (especially coming off of a fast) and the amount of dessert served was unbelievable. I loved the meal as I was able to see my little cousins and the rest of my extended San Diego family.
I fasted on Yom Kippur this year. It never feels "great" to have no food or water but I think I'm used to it. I don't consider myself a particularly horrible person, but I do realize I often say things or take some actions that I don't realize can be hurtful to others. I thought about trying to really understand how people might perceive what I say or do. The fast, as usual, is great and I will continue to do it. My last thought before breaking the fast was "it's over!".
I had a meal on the first night of Sukkot in the Sukkah that my cousin's in-laws set up in their house. It was pretty great/cute seeing the little ones shake the lulav and etrog and sitting down for a meal with everyone. Not to mention the view from the hills of La Jolla aren't too bad either.
I had a Rosh Hashanah meal back in Dallas with my family at some close family friends. I hadn't seen my family (nor the friends) in a while so it was great seeing them over some apple and honey. They make fabulous food (and serve copious amounts of wine) so I always look forward to the occasion.
My hebrew name is Yoel (Joel). It was given to me by my parents around my birth. It means "strong willed". I think it's a great choice since my sister's Hebrew name is Yael and having such a similar name seems appropriate.
I regularly attend services at the UCSD Hillel. The service I attended on 9/23 was a "welcome back" Shabat for the first of the new school year. I would definitely go back as the rabbi (David Singer) and his staff are young and similarly minded people to me about Judaism and other aspects of life.
Birthright definitely had a positive experience on my spirituality. I don't think I'll forget the visit to tzfat to learn about the Kabbalat. My life has changed quite a bit over the past year as I returned to start my graduate studies. As I've been teaching a lot, I think it's really made me reflect on how different people communicate/learn in different manners and how hard it is to reach everyone. I've made it a point to try and understand how to better communicate with others.
I downloaded JSwipe. It's pretty great and I find the ease of which one can note their "sense" of Judaism really awesome. I'd definitely recommend it.
AboutThe 100 Point Challenge is an opportunity for returning Taglit-Birthright participants to TRY a variety of Jewish activities, find those activities that they LOVE and want to continue to LIVE. Bring Israel Home participants can choose to complete any Jewish activity that speaks to them to earn 100 points. 75% or more of the American participants in a participating Taglit-Birthright bus must earn 100 points on the Bring Israel Home website within three months after returning from their Taglit-Birthright experience to earn a Bring Israel Home weekend reunion. All those participants who earn 100 points of Jewish activity are eligible for the weekend reunion. The Bring Israel Home 100 Point Challenge is divided into two milestones. Participants must earn 50 points within the first month of returning from their Taglit-Birthright experience to qualify for the following milestone. After achieving the first milestone, participants have two months to earn their final 50 points of Jewish activity. The milestones are clearly outlines below:MilestonesMilestone 1: 75% of a Taglit-Birthright bus must complete 50 points of Jewish activity in the first month after returning from their Taglit-Birthright experience. Milestone 2: 75% of a Taglit-Birthright bus must complete 100 points of Jewish activity in the two months after achieving Milestone 1. Please Note: Israeli participants should be completing 100 points of Jewish activity with their fellow American participants to be eligible to be flown in to the United States for the Bring Israel Home weekend. However, Israeli participants are not included as part of the 75% participation needed to achieve a milestone.
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Masa Israel Journey is the leader in immersive international experiences in Israel for young adults (18-30). Masa's diverse portfolio of study abroad, internship, service learning, or Jewish studies programs help you grow—as a person, a professional, and a leader— while also developing a robust global professional network. Since its founding in 2004, over 120,000 young people from more than 60 countries have participated in Masa Israel programs.Earn 10 bonus points by completing this badge. Note: Masa Israel Journey is intended for North American participants only. Unfortunately, Israeli participants are not eligible for Masa.
At The Maimonides Fellowship, you will have the opportunity to meet with like-minded peers with a choice of over 100 locations nationwide. The program meets 1x a week for 10 weeks and includes an exciting Shabbaton Weekend Retreat. The weekly meetings include FREE food, along with dynamic discussion on HOT topics relating to Israel and Judaism. Upon completion, Fellowship participants typically receive $300-$500 CASH or a FREE/Highly subsidized trip!
Take part in interactive classes from the comfort of your own home with the JU Max online learning program. Classes are all live, online, and interactive with top notch presenters. Participants who complete the entire class will be eligible for a FREE TRIP BACK TO ISRAEL and can also receive college credit*. NOTE: JU Max is only available to students and young professionals who do not live near a local Maimonides Class option. To see the list of local options, CLICK HERE.
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