Friday, January 18, 2013

Swings and Roundabouts

Shalom, chaverim! It's lovely to be back, hacking away at the old blogface, so to speak, after a week "off." It wasn't really a week off, but just a matter of poor time management on my part. Last weekend Elul and I went off to our second annual Go North Shabbaton on Friday afternoon, and instead of rising early, I slept in and spent the morning packing and preparing, rather than posting here.

A Shabbaton, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a kind of Jewish weekend retreat that is filled with study, prayer and fellowship. It was beautifully organized by the great people of Nefesh B'Nefesh's Go North Program, of which we are a part. This year, it was held in a fascinating Druze village called Peki'in, which is about 15 miles east-ish of Nahariya. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived at the beautiful youth hostel where it was held, I only got a few shots of the village from our window before sundown. Since it was a religious retreat, it wasn't appropriate to take photographs on Saturday until Shabbat was over--at sundown!

From our room, with a view of picturesque Peki'in.

The weather was extremely windy and quite cold, and, being somewhat exhausted after a trying week, I elected not to go on the walking tour of the village that nearly all the other attendees went on and, of course, raved about. "My wife, the world champion party pooper," Elul referred to me when others wailed in dismay at my admission that I hadn't gone on the tour. Cravenly, I muttered something about planning to return in the summer when conditions were better.

This is one way to keep your roof from blowing off on a windy day.

Still, the food was absolutely delicious and in great supply, the accommodations were very comfortable, warm and spacious, and the presentations were varied and informative. A lovely time was had a great time resting and visiting with our dear friends, as well as catching up with other people we know but rarely see these days. We will definitely go next year.

The previous week had been quite difficult, as I mentioned previously. Elul finally got completely laid off from his job, as his employer downsized the company dramatically. Within one day, however, I got a call for an interview to teach in a Druze school in Yarka (or Yirka, or Yrka, or however you want to spell it). To make a long story short, I showed up for the interview and got hired on the spot. What makes it even nicer is that a good friend of mine also got a job there, so I have someone to collaborate with. This brings my teaching hours up to a total of 14 hours a week, which is considered just over part-time.

A Druze flag waves proudly in Peki'in
It's a busy life, as I'm still doing my part-time jobs for two other companies, attend Shaanan College one day a week, tutor two private students, and perform in various singing engagements, but it's exciting and a challenge. And fortunately, just yesterday Elul was interviewed for another part-time job, which we hope he'll get and can pick up the slack from losing his primary source of income. The employment instability we've faced since we've arrived has taken some getting used to, but I know we are not at all alone in this experience, as many other olim seem to be going through the same types of things. Fingers crossed we'll get it to settle down sooner or later.

As a very wise woman in my choir recently said to me, "You've got to get up pretty early in the morning if you're ever going to make anything happen for yourself in Israel." She was so right!

Shabbat shalom, everyone!

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