Sunday, December 31, 2006

Deep Thoughts: Israel Edition

I'm in Israel for the first time in four years and it is truly amazing just to be here--to be able to daven at the Kotel on Asara b'Tevet, to learn in Michlala (and that other seminary where my sister is studying), just to see signs in Hebrew and be in a place where the buses stop an hour before Shabbos and the mall food courts are kosher.

Random thoughts before bed:

  • It's true that Israel really does close down in the snow. Two inches of snow will get you kicked off of a bus on the side of a highway desperately trying to catch a taxi for an hour in the freezing cold. Somewhere in the last four years I forgot that. (Though my year in Israel actually taught me that a foot of snow will get you three consecutive snow days.)

  • It's amazing how one person can think my sister and I look exactly alike and someone else can think we look nothing alike. (I, for the record, think we look nothing alike.)

  • If you don't sleep for a semester and then sleep for an entire week and then go to Israel, your body will be too confused to be jet lagged.

  • Israel is colder--and wetter--than New York. Remember that while packing.

  • I am insanely addicted to caffeine. How much Pepsi Max (so caffeinated it's illegal in America) do you think I can bring back with me?

  • It is so, so good to be in a place where all anyone is doing in learning Torah. It is so, so good to be learning Torah. Maybe I should do Shana Bet now. Maybe.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Leave of Absence

I'll be in Israel and blogging infrequently, if at all, for the next two weeks. Don't miss me too much.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

On Saying Yes to Mess and Other Denials

I am sitting in a room that is far from clean at the moment, avoiding the packing that will turn my room into a disaster. But this article sounds like just an easy way of letting ourselves off the hook when we don't want to deal. "I don't want to clean up my mess so I'll just say my mess is healthy." "I don't want to exercise so I'll just say dieting makes me fat." "I don't want to study because studying makes me do worse in school."

Time to clean up my room...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's Hard Being a College Student

Friend: Wanna come out for coffee?
Me: Sure!
Friend: I also can't decide if it should be a study break or a pre-study caffeineathon.
Me: Life just gets so complicated when you go to college.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Study Abroad in NYC Spring 2007

Part 3 million in my "I heart NY and should see more of it" series. But this time I'm serious about it. Really.

A year ago, I was inspired by this column to "study abroad" in New York City, i.e., do all the New York touristy things that Columbia students never get to do because they spend their time inside the campus gates at 116th Street. I ended up spending the past year studying abroad in the newspaper office instead. But now that my job there is done (tear), I have time to explore. I already went to see the tree at Rockefeller Center and went to MoMA. Next on my list: ice skating in Bryant Park, the Met, perhaps a Broadway show... The Empire State Building? The Statue of Liberty?

List of other things to do in the wake of my newspaper retirement coming soon.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happy Christmas, Merry Holidays

I really like Christmas lights. (The ones on Columbia's College Walk are pictured above and are absolutely stunning.) And much as I would like to believe that they are "holiday" lights and completely secular and that I can love them as just that, I know that they are Christmas lights and I can admire them from afar, but unless I'm going to hang them on my sukkah that's all they're ever going to be.

So this article strikes me as just a little bit ridiculous. I mean, call it secular, call it something an atheist can be comfortable with, but don't tell me, "So divorced has Christmas become from religion that I find no necessity to bother with euphemisms such as happy holiday season." For God's sake (pun intended), it's called CHRISTmas.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Parental Approval or Lack Thereof, Part II

I tend not to care very much what my parents think of my life choices. Or at least I pretend not to care. Maybe it's a defense mechanism for all the times I've made--and will continue to make--decisions my parents aren't particularly fond of. But as soon as something good happens I'm much more likely to call a friend than my parents. In fact, some of my friends' parents knew my last piece of good news before my parents did. It's not that my parents don't care so much as they have other things to worry about and they know that I'll be just fine at the end of the day either way.

But the fact that we have this mutual indifference--feigned or real--means that I have a lot more leeway in my decisions. I can make my choices without worrying what they'll say. And my parents almost never call me to nag. But then again, they almost never call. They have very little clue of what's going on in my life.

And I wonder what is better. Because though they're less likely to nag me and make me really stressed out, they're also less likely to celebrate with me when something really good happens. And no matter how much I pretend not to care and make my decisions without their input, maybe I still do want my parents' approval--nagging phone calls, overprotective annoyances, and all else it comes with. Maybe.

Parental Approval or Lack Thereof, Part I

Your folks are like God because you want to know they're out there and you want them to approve of your life, still you only call them when you're in a crisis and need something.

Day I got an internship.

My Father
: Did you get those e-mails I sent you about Jewish publishing jobs?
Me: Oh, yeah. But I don't need them because I have a summer internship.
My Father: OK, listen, I have to go. Bye

Later that night.

Me: So, I tried to tell Abba this before but he was too busy to hear me out. But I got a really great internship.
My Mother: OK, so tell me. What is it?
Me: _____ (I'm not actually going to tell you what it is. I don't want to get fired before I even get there.)
My Mother: That's nice.
Me: No, it's a really big deal. It's really hard to get.
My Mother: Then I don't understand why you're afraid of getting into law school.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


We sit
Around the office
Where we spent our lives
Where we gave our everything
Where we sold our souls
Where we lived and died
With the publication of a newspaper
Where we slept on the filthy couch
And ate greasy pizza
And inhaled caffeine

We give it our last
Drop of blood
And then we leave

The door slams shut

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Every New Beginning...

Today was my last day of classes for the semester. I'm sitting in the newspaper office--where I have spent a ridiculous amount of time over the past year--on the second-to-last night of production. It's almost over. Next semester will be my last semester at Columbia. This whole week I've lingered around the newspaper office more than I had to because I don't want to leave, don't want it to end. Next semester there will be no real place for me here. And despite the fact that I got an AMAZING (seriously, amazing) summer internship yesterday, I'm still not quite ready to enter the real world and to leave this place I've called home for so long and given so much to. The real world is scary. Nostalgia pervades.