Posted by: RaeAn | 14 December 2010

Holidays, Weddings, and Finals, Oh My!

Have I mentioned that my life is kinda crazy here? Wow. Talk about whirlwind of activity, between school and Hanukkah and life and my brain being all funny on the new meds. But overall, things are good. The meds are supposed to help me with the PTSD at least long enough to get through finals… we’ll see if they continue after that. They’re definitely helping, though they make the lack of concentration worse, which isn’t always so helpful in school. But I think I’m still surviving on that end. As they say here, yih’yeh b’seder (it’ll be okay).

But, last I wrote was the beginning of Hanukkah… now Hanukkah is over, but I have pictures! The full album is here (including pictures of my Chanukiah all 8 nights):

I’ll be going in reverse chronological order. Starting with the 8th night of Hanukkah and going backwards. I’m sure you’ll forgive me. I’m a writer, so I can futz around with time like that when I write, so there.


My new Chanukiah (menorah for Hanukkah)! I saw it at a shop on Ben Yehuda Street a while ago, but it was a tad pricey so I put it off... but I kept thinking about it, so I decided to get it anyway. It's a set of Jewish stars that are chained together like a necklace, so it's flexible and easy to travel with and absolutely gorgeous in my opinion. This picture is obviously from the 8th night.

On the eighth night, some friends from school and I got together and had latkes… but none of us brought a Chanukiah, so we improvised one.


Yay for creativity! We took 10 tea lights, stacked two for the Shamas, and lit the other 8 as the regular candles. It was pretty. I lit my own when I got home, but we wanted to light as a group, so we threw this little baby together. Also, the latkes were delicious. Mandy and Dave made garlic ones and Cajun ones, too. Yummmmm.

My friend Deb, who made aliyah a little while ago and lives in Jerusalem too, had a Hanukkah party on the 5th night, and we had a little bit of a Maryland reunion: Deb and I went to UMD together and met through Hillel and LGBT stuff; Sarah and I met in Israel on Birthright, also went to UMD together, and she made aliyah even less time ago and lives in Tel Aviv; and Oren apparently lived in Maryland at some point but I didn’t know him at the time but he belongs in the picture anyway.


Sarah, Oren, me, and Deb having a lovely fifth night of Hanukkah! By the way, my shirt says "Bachura L'heivee L'ima" -- which basically means "girl to bring home to mom." I thought it was cute. It's also super-comfy. Hooray for cheap Tel Aviv printed tees!

There were Menorahs and Chanukiot everywhere in Jerusalem. Like in Kikar Paris, by the fountain three blocks away from my apartment.


Thank you, Chabad, for donating this Chanukiah to my neighborhood. And yes, that’s my bank behind it.

Also on lamp posts.


Every lamp post had one of these babies.

But before all of this, on December 2, I had the opportunity to go to an Ethiopian Israeli wedding with Gal, which was a lovely experience! He’s very close to the groom, and it was a beautiful ceremony and reception. (Full album: )


The setup for the wedding -- such a beautiful chuppah!

Here come the bride and groom (and their lovely flower girl, of course).

The groom holds the tallit over his bride as they say the Sheva Brachot, the seven blessings traditionally recited at a wedding.

The rabbi presents the couple with the Ketubah, the traditional Jewish wedding contract, and places the glass (wrapped up in shiny paper) in front of the groom for him to break as the ceremony comes to a close.

The couple has their first dance as husband and wife... with some beautiful sparklers and fog around them.

I love this picture of them, even though it's a little blurry.

And of course, what would an Israeli wedding be without some fireworks? Every wedding here has fireworks. Israelis have some odd obsession with the things. I hear them going off in Jerusalem all the time. But hey, they're pretty, so why not?

And that was that. It was lovely.

In other news, my sister arrives in Israel in less than a week! She starts Birthright on the 19th, is with them for 10 days, comes to me after, and we fly to Amsterdam on the 30th with Mandy and her friend Abby for New Years and a few extra days. It will be tons of fun. And my mom is coming on January 6, so I’ll finally get to see most of my family again! (I’m sorry my dad can’t come, too… 😦 But I’ll see him when I get back to the US at the end of May.) Other non-family people will also be in town sporadically over the next few weeks, so I have plenty to look forward to.

Of course, it’s getting close to the end of the year, so finals are also looming… I best be off to work on outlining one of the bajillion papers I have to write and studying for at least that many exams I have to take. (Okay, okay, it’s actually 5 papers and 5 exams, but still… it’s a lot. Who decided that 10 classes in a semester is a good idea? I’m lookin’ at you, HUC Year-In-Israel registrar. Hmph.)

I hope all is well with you all, too! Keep me posted, especially if you’ll be here at some point. I hope everyone enjoyed their Hanukkah as much as I did, and Shavua Tov!

Until next time, L’hitraot,

~ Rae



  1. Oh, also, I went to a Shabbaton at Kibbutz Hannaton this past weekend… but I’ll write about that another time, I suppose, since it’s late now!

  2. Update on Jewland please! Man, my comments are pushy.

    • It’s finals times — give me a break! 😛

      But yeah, yeah, okay, I’ll make time to update, even if it’s a short one. 🙂 Thanks for being pushy!

      • I heart you too 😉 And your blog.

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