Sunday, October 18, 2009

Orienteering (says dad) and shabbat

I've gotten to the point where there are now certain things I know how to do--how to explain, how to think about--in Hebrew but not in English. Orienteering (at least that's how Dad translated it) is one of them.

The other day we had a "Yom Nivutim" (Navigation Day/Orienteering). Basically we split into groups, went to Emek Ayala (near Beit Shemesh) and had to get from Point A to Point B by way of certain other points in between. During the day we had a "chonech" who went with us, explaining what he was doing, how he was using his knowledge of topography etc to translate the map to the land. During our (extended) lunch break, we had time to break the remaining terrain into a planned path. That meant memorizing the map--valleys and hills and etc. (this is hard... I know all the words in Hebrew, and I know what they look like in reality, but I don't know the most appropriate translations for them into English) and the coordinates and how to find them on the compass (it's preferred not to walk around with a flashlight on at night, which means memorizing the map and landmarks, etc.)

In pitch black, with turning on a flahslight maybe 3 or 4 times, we managed to get from Point A to Point B (and all the check-points in between) without getting lost! It was a really excellent, satisfying, and gratifying experience...and to tell the truth I found it easier to do the navigation during the night because then we weren't trying to match trails that we saw with trails on the map (which are not exactly exact, and we weren't necessarily sticking to trails.)

On Tuesday we leave for our first Tiyul Noded ("wanering trip". ie: carry everything on your back) for three days in the Judean Desert. I'm not exactly sure what the plan is, but I'm VERY very excited.

We were here for Shabbat this week (once a month) and once again I was in "Chulyat Shabbat" (the group that plans Shabbat and all the activities). We planned Shabbat with a theme of humor, which was great. It was basically like 24 hours of solid hilarity and laughter. I was responsible for giving the "Dvar Hagut" (which is LIKE a dvar Torah, except not necessarily related to the week's Parsha) at dinner. I basically talked about Isaac (in hebrew "Yitzchak" which comes from the word "laughter") and the appearance of laughter in the Torah and its connotations.

I ALSO was reponsible for leading Kiddush on Friday night, which ended up turning into a big fuss and someone storming out of the room. You see, religion here is very black-and-white; at least, the aspects of religion that are talked about. You're either Dati (religious) or Chiloni (secular) and there's no (widely recognized) in between. And the idea--the very idea of trying out some sort of egalitarianism is unfathomable to so many people here, even chilonim. I didn't choose to do Kiddush, per se; I agreed. Our (chiloni) counseor Dani went to our (religious) counselor Dan and said "I need to find a guy to do kiddush." and Dan said "why a guy?" so Dani said "Sababa, I'll ask Abby." More than just the one who left the room were upset that I (okay, that a girl) led kiddush, but it did open conversation. It opened a conversation that I've had so many times since I've been here, and to many an interesting discovery about the religious beliefs of both Dati'im and chilonim (yes, they do have religious beliefs. It's very interesting).

This is a conversation that I then repeated nearly word-for-word to Gideon when I talked to him for 35 minutes (!) (for the first time in two montsh!) the other day, and then also with Deborah. And it's a conversation that I'm sure I'll have many many more times throughout the duration of the year, and maybe by the end of the year some of the people here will think differently about gender and religion than they do now. Maybe.

1 comment:

  1. "You see, religion here is very black-and-white; at least, the aspects of religion that are talked about. You're either Dati (religious) or Chiloni (secular) and there's no (widely recognized) in between."

    I thought your whole last blog post was about your discovery that Israel is made up of more than just 'chilonim' and 'dosim'-- that there really IS a much broader imbetween in Israel than we, growing up, had thought existed in Israel.