It is also nice to be back at the Hartman Institute – surrounded by good friends who have become very close friends over the course of this three year experience. By now we have spent several summers together, several winter trips together and shared our videoconferences on Mondays for three years. We know each others joys and challenges and the hugs and kisses are much more than gestures they are signs of real caring and concern.
It is great to be learning once again. The program at Hartman is indeed a strenuous one. One of the reasons it has taken me so long to get to my blog is that they keep us going from early morning to late at night. It is hard in the midst of all the hustle and bustle just to find a moment to sit and reflect.
Minyan begins at 6:30 AM – (and I used to grumble about our 6:45 start at TBS!) I have been experimenting with a few synagogues in the neighborhood and I think I have settled on a minyan that is conducted at the Yehudah HaLevi school that is literally outside the front door of our apartment. It is not only convenient but known for its speed – not always the most appealing of prayer attributes but at 6:30 AM not an unwelcome feature of the davening.
By 8:30 we are in our seats and ready to begin our morning shiur – the professor for the day preps us with leading questions and then we spend the morning in hevruta – studying the prepared texts from the Bible, Talmud, Medieval commentators etc. in small groups. My group usually consists of Rabbi Neil Zuckerman who is a rabbi in Potomac, MD (formally a TBS rabbinic intern), Rabbi Vernon Kurtz a rabbi in Highland Park, IL, Rabbi Sam Kieffer a rabbi in Miami, FL. (his father was a long time rabbi at Old Westbury Hebrew Cong.) With a break for lunch our studies and lectures continue throughout the day. We break at around 4 and resume with dinner at 6 and this is usually followed by an evening program that concludes around 9 PM. This leaves us time for a walk to Emek Refaim – the main restaurant drag – for ice cream, a walk back to our apartment and some welcome sleep before we repeat it all the next day.
I promise to try and keep you informed on what is happening – but as I said – my schedule does not allow for a lot of down time and I will do my best. I am writing this on Thursday morning after Services and before I leave for classes. I will post this and I hope to update it a little later. At that time I will try and fill you in on the topic for this summer and the subject of our studies.
Until then – all our love from eretz yisrael.
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