School Days, Snow Days, and Holidays

Ulpan has ended and classes have begun! However, if you thought I was actually going to blog about my classes, you’re incorrect. I would hate to bore you with those details when so many fun things have been happening!

The weekend before classes started, there was a rumor of a snowstorm. A week or so before this, there were also rumors of snow, which proved to be false, so the prospect of an actual storm seemed slim. However, my roommates and I dutifully stocked up in case we were snowed in. The grocery store looked like anywhere in Florida before a hurricane—packed with people with arms full of canned goods. The day was sunny and warm. It had to be another false alarm.

But then it started raining. And that rain turned into sleet and that sleet turned into hail. Over dinner, we watched as the hail pelted the sidewalks, the cars, and anyone unfortunate enough to be outside.

When I woke up the next morning, I suddenly remembered the forecast. I pulled open my blinds to be blinded by a sea of white—everything covered in snow. I had only even seen real snow once or twice in my life.

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My roommates (shout out to the ladies of Apartment 742!), all from cities north of my home in Florida, were less thrilled, as I danced around the apartment and ran to each window. After our first apartment attempt at making French toast (which was actually successful), I convinced Rachel and Mel to join me outside. It was fun for approximately twenty minutes, and then we headed back inside to curl up in blankets and sweatpants

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Snow much fun!

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While the snow only lasted a day (shout out to the Middle Eastern sun!), the Jewish holiday of Purim, typically lasting one day in America, was an entire week in Israel. A few days before the official start of the holiday, people started wearing costumes around the streets. Bakeries spewed out thousands of “Oznei Haman” (Hamantaschen), traditional Purim pastries. Toy stores turned into costume stores and “Happy Purim!” posters were hung up around campus.

On the night of Purim in Jerusalem, my friends and I went to hear the Story of Esther read at a feminist, Modern Orthodox synagogue called Shira Chadasha. Later that night, we braved the shuk, the marketplace, which had been completely transformed. I had never seen the shuk that crowded, even right before closing for the weekend. Thousands of people, dressed in costumes, danced down the streets, met with friends, and pushed through crowds.

By now, a post-Purim calm has set in. All costumes have been pushed to the backs of closets and the copious amount of Oznei Haman in my apartment has been slowly decreasing. However, never a dull moment here—three more weeks until Passover!

closets and the copious amount of Oznei Haman in my apartment has been slowly decreasing. However, never a dull moment here—three more weeks until Passover!

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