27 July 2008

What will be, will be; what was was, was was.

There's a lot to tell about and my connection to the internet is tenuous. So I'll skip right past Zichron, Tzfat, Beit Yanai, the babies toddling underfoot, the waves that knocked us over, the explanations and translations and pronunciations and the stories -- sad, romantic, old and new -- and say just this: the family is on its way home to the US, and I'm staying here. Which means that ma shehaya haya ve'ma shehiyeh hiyeh (traslated brilliantly by my father in the title of this post.)

Also, it takes FOREVER to type on an iPod....

22 July 2008

Today, we climbed Masada went down to the Dead Sea by way of Jericho. (Pictures soon, really!)

We only heard about today's terrorist attack when we got back. More talk of punishing the family on the news.

I have to run, but there's much more to tell. I'll update as soon as I can....

20 July 2008


Here I am! (can you see the jetlag in my eyes?)

The flight was sleepless, but my neighbor was a nice Israeli man who said that my Hebrew is fantastic (but that I should say anatzel et hahisdamnut — "take advantage of this opportunity" — instead of ecach et hahisdamnut — "take this opportunity," as in English.)

Anyway — we just had dinner at my grandmother's house, with almost everyone. Kisses, rejoicing, hora NTBG-im,* hora jetlagim, etc.

*see WWZ's explanation & commentary on "NTBG" as an abbreviation for Ben Gurion Airport, here.

The Israel Museum
The Kotel
The Old City
Mt. Scopus
Armon haNatziv in Ramat Rachel
Jerusalem downtown
for dinner, Steikiat Chatzot (Midnight Steakhouse?) for me'orav (cat meat??)


18 July 2008

desert island books, reprise

For those still wondering, here's my final selection of five books to bring to Israel:

Sorry, uh, eight. Not five. Isn't that what I said?

Yeah, I failed in my mission to narrow down my books. But hey, I'm leaving the giant game theory textbook at home, so at least there's that. Next mission: to pack fewer pairs of shoes than books.

(1 day & 7 hours left.)

16 July 2008

desert island books

The suitcases are filling up, and I still haven't touched my bookshelves. Since I'll have internet access and borrowing privileges at HUJI, I have every reason to minimize my book-transporting. My goal is to bring no more than five books. But which five?

One book that's coming with me is שבע מידות רעות by מאיה ערד (Sheva Midot Ra'ot, or Seven Sins, by Maya Arad). This is the Israeli novel I've been trying to slog through this summer. (The slogging has been so slow that I've put it down to read two other books before even getting as far as page 15. Especially unimpressive given that the book starts on page 11. But I'm trying!)

A second book I'm probably bringing is Contractarianism/Contractualism, a collection of essays edited by Stephen Darwall. I just need to check whether those articles are available online.

And I also want to bring my bilingual book of poems by Yehuda Amichai, if I can squeeze it in.

So that leaves me with two or three more book-shaped slots in my luggage. Some candidates:
  • Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • The Sources of Normativity, Christine Korsgaard
  • Emotional Reason, Bennett Helm
  • The Rationality of Emotion, Ronald de Sousa
  • Practical Reason and Norms, Joseph Raz
  • The Morality of Freedom, Joseph Raz
  • Human Agency and Language, Charles Taylor
  • Games of Strategy, eds. Dixit and Skeath (so huge, it should count as two books)
Before you go judging me for my selection of desert island books, I should mention that this list has already been pared down. I've eliminated all the books that I would have brought purely as comfort-objects: books that aren't related to Israel or to my research in any way, but that I just want to have around.

What I need to do next is find my way to the HUJI library and the Library of the Knesset websites, to check which of these books will be available to me in Israel. There is reason to be pessimistic: Judy tells me that HUJI's library system lost some funding battles, leaving it unable to stack its shelves adequately. Furthermore, for some of these books, library copies won't do me much good, since what I really need is the notes in the margins of my well-loved copies.

(3 days and 5 hours left.)

ETA: Fellow fellowshipper Steve's response at Blog For No One.

13 July 2008


Home again in Pittsburgh. I am pleased to say that I am now fully oriented toward the Middle East and North Africa. I got to spend a couple of days hanging out with Lisa and wandering through lovely Bethesda, followed by three days of intense bonding with ʇɥbıɹq1nɟ-ers whose awesomeness reaches a level that can be matched only by their astounding brilliance and physical attractiveness. (Or maybe I'm just saying that because they could be reading? Judge for yourself:)
More pictures will hopefully surface soon. Meanwhile, visit their blogs!

At the orientation, we bloggers were asked to post a disclaimer:
This blog is not an official Department of State website. The views and information presented here are my own and do not represent the ʇɥbıɹq1nɟ program or the Department of State.
So, there's my disclaimer. (Consider it used and not just mentioned.)

We were also given the option to register our blogs with the official ʇɥbıɹq1nɟ website. I still haven't decided whether I want to do that yet. In the meantime, I'm using upside-down letters to make my keywords a little less google-able.

And now? I have lots more to do and no time at all! If you've got any good advice (or just good wishes), send them my way.

(6 days left.)

ETA: Fellow fellowshippers Steve and Nate steal my awesome photo collage! I hereby retaliate by stealing Nate's adorable turn of phrase, "fellow fellowshippers."

10 July 2008

ʇɥbıɹq1nɟ Orientation

Finished out the first day of orientation with a glass of beer in a DC bar; having a blast with the other Israeli ʇɥbıɹq1nɟ-ers, more excited than ever.

(10 days left.)

05 July 2008


Just arrived at Lisa's house in בית חסדא (Beit Chesda, sometimes called Bethesda, Maryland). This is the third leg of my three-legged trip. I spent this weekend in Vermont at Dan and Lucy's wedding, and spent the week before visiting Swarthmore/Philadelphia and crashing with Micaya. 12,000 words ≈

(More wedding pics will be coming soon, but for now...)

(15 days left.)

02 July 2008

Bulldozer attack in Jerusalem

A Palestinian construction worker rammed a bulldozer into cars and a bus on Jaffa Road today. (Read about it here.) People are saying that he probably wasn't affiliated with any terrorist organization. (Some organizations are taking credit for his attack, but that always happens.)

The attacker, Hossam Dawiath, was a 31-year-old Arab East-Jerusalemite with two kids. He was killed by police. According to the article,
Mr Olmert has begun efforts to raze Dawaith’s home, and stop social security benefits to his family.
Why are they destroying his house? Did his family have those social security benefits in virtue of him, or in their own right?
This whole situation is very scary. And of course it's extremely bad news for everyone.
“We are trying to convince the people that we need a ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza and that we need to strengthen Fatah in the West Bank... each attack furthers the public perception that no peace can be established with the Arabs,” said an official from Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

(17 days left.)