The freedoms within (ask me about what I mean)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My real soul

You want to know how you know you have a soul? You have an intuition, you have feelings, you have that pulling of emotions that make you smile, cry, laugh, scream. So lately, my soul has been screaming to me pulling me directions I've never been before and it's really opening up my eyes. I guess eyes really are the window to the soul, but for now instead of someone looking into mine right now, my soul is bursting out.

I have felt so many emotions that have made me tear up lately. To name one, one of our Av Bayit (father of the homes-basically lives on campus and is there for us), just had a baby girl. I was lucky enough to attend the naming of his daughter. Seeing something so real, something that is coming straight from the desires of his and his wife Ayelet's hearts was seriously heart warming. They names her Tehilah Yakira or Rosi. I forgot the whole definition of the name but what I got was that our singing praises to G-d should be held close and be precious to us especially in this time of Channukah. Real lives, real emotions, real joy. Another time was when I met with a financial aid adviser from Stern. I was explaining to her how I got to where I was, and then came up with this thing that I said 'I've found this happiness, this inner happiness, that wasn't in me before and that's why I'm siting here now, trying to enrich my Jewish mind, and my future's Jewish minds'. I almost lost it, but kept my cool since it was my first time meeting her.

All these things, are bringing out the person I never thought in a million years I could be. I saw her; Chana Leah (myself)in a distance in happiness, I just didn't know how to reach her. I called to my soul, it has finally answered; I'm beginning this life in clarity, reality, and truth.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanks and welcome

One of the most precious gifts I have ever received was the ability to attend a private Jewish school for the beginning of my life. I have an amazing foundation of Judaism that has me set very well here in Israel. Not only did my feelings of wanting to come to Israel come from that school, but also it gave me such a foundation to work off of! I'm sure it cost my parents tons of money, but my Jewish life was probably the best investment they have ever made. So I couldn't be more thankful for them for giving me that backbone that many people in the world are not lucky enough to have.

I just learned what Chabad meant in one of my classes last week. It is decoded into Chochma, Bina, and Da'at. Ultimately, all these words mean knowledge. However each definition of knowledge is differnt. Chcohma is actually wisdom, Bina is understanding/intuition, and Da'at is the ability to tell between right and wrong. That could not have been more appropriate for the high words I speak about Chabad; especially Chabad UCF. The inspiration they brought upon me was very high. They took these Jewish kids, that may or may not have known ANYTHING about Jewish religon, served them meals twice or three times a week, held classes and sessions for them, was patient with them, inspired them to go on birthright, and basically dropped living in any sort of Jewish community just to do all those things. They really pulled strings on my heart with memories and definitely were part of my deciding to go to Israel.

Anyways, I'm going to one of my teachers house for shabbat in Ma'ale Adumim. Welcome new experiences.C

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Just want to jot down a quick dream:

I was in school in Israel and decided it was time to switch schools. I went to Germany to try and find happiness and i couldn't. Somehow I ended up back at UCF..where I really wasn't feeling it. All in all I ended up back in Israel and was walking through the streets of the old city in Jerusalem saluting soldiers and started to cry of happiness. I was asking myself how I could ever think of leaving this place?

Home is where is where the heart is.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Trips and in-shabbats

I feel like this week passed really quickly! Which is amazing because I LOVE Shabbat and chilling and eating and singing and conversing, etc. But anyways, we went to neot Kedumim today which is a nature reserve where we did a few activities. First they showed us some caves, and cisterns and told us how they used them and some history. Then, we went goat and sheep herding! A new experience that was pretty fun. After that we made Zatar, basically the go-to spice in Israel and ended off the day making olive oil.

This shabbat we are staying in Ramat Ef-al for what we call an in-shabbat. I could have left campus to go somewhere else, but I actually like hanging out with all the people here and having the comfort of my own room. Next week I'm going to Ma'ale Adumim to my Jewish literacy/halacha teacher's house and then the week after that begins our Negev trip where we will be exploring southern Israel!

Shabbat Shalom.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The outcome of change..?

I'm definitely in shock at how quickly my attitude has altered. I am more inclined to study, learn, grown, and do productive things with much so that I'm thinking about majoring in Biology?? I can tell you 3 months ago I would have laughed at that statement. I'm starting to realize though I always had it in be the person I am now.

I guess I never had to courage to actually show it though..I was so good at dressing up in hot outfits, going out, getting attention, etc. I actually became really good at it and thought it was one of my skills. I was using my confidence and strength for the wrong reasons and I'm really really thankful I'm realizing that that was wrong.

To be honest though, I am actually kind of afraid of the outcomes of all these differences. I'm wondering if there are withdrawals to lifestyles and if I should be expecting a crash..I'm not trying to set up any bad expectations..but I'm just trying to be real. I am not one to go through life and act as if everything is perfect. I am perfectly aware that changing a lifestyle comes with hardships. i haven't seen to many yet..who knows maybe many more won't come and this is how my life was meant to be?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Happiness is where you're from

I can't believe I left Shabbat out of my life for SIX years! G-d is telling us to chill out for 25 ours, forget the worries of the world, eat good food, sing good songs, and just spend time with people you love, or will learn from!! It's just a better and better experience every weekend.

I went to the Carlbach Moshav in Modiin this Shabbat, and unfortunately I was kind of sick so I slept most of the time and was completely wiped. But besides was really a beautiful place to be. We stayed in a beautiful home of the Trugmans. There home basically has something that I hope one day my home will have; a window over the sink overlooking mountains, cities, and part of the Mediterranean. ALSO, their whole home was decorated with Jewish art. Literally every painting on the wall in their home had a Jewish theme. It was really beautiful. All in all, shabbat was really relaxing.

One point I just need to talk about now is how truly happy I am! It's crazy how I was so unhappy last year..and I just didn't do anything about..I sat through it..thinking that one day I'd get back on the right track one day. I'm so glad that I left my comfort zone and came here..because I just can't stop smiling here! Even though I have much to work on...I'm just loving life! :D

"If you want to make it where you're going, you got to know where you're from" -Shi 360 One Love

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I am just so amazed that there are so many things from the Jewish biblical stories that relate to life, my life in specific.

I made the decision to come here on a spiritual level. I KNEW that this was right and I was not going to let any logical sense get in the way. Regardless if it included (which it did) screwing up my car lease, canceling my apartment, loosing all the money my school would give me, having many friends talk badly about me since they don't understand, and getting into fights about finances, I was still going to go.

Tzitzit can assist in making decisions (as learned in one of my teacher's Rabbi Kahn's class World view of the Sages class today). Men wear 8 strings of tzitzit on the corners. 7 of them white, one of them the traditional blue color called t'chelet. This specific color is sued because it does not fade. Why is the t'chelet color used you ask? Because t'chelet resembles the ocean, which resembles heaven, which is ultimately the colors of G-d's throne. This reminds a person to make 1 out of 8 decisions by the rule of G-d and the other 7 logically. Not saying that that one decision is not made logically, but to ignore society for a moment and go with your inner spiritual feeling that you know as a Jew is right.

Now why was I learning about this in my World view of the Sages class you ask? Because we were covering the topic in this week's parsha Vayetzei, about Yaakov's dream. He was dreaming in the city of Lod (that he renames Beth-El-the house of G-d) but in this city is where the blue color of the t'chelet is found. Now the dream he had was G-d promising him a nation and the land of Israel. So when he had all his sons and he lived in Haran under his wives father, Lavan, he had an instinct to get up and go to the land of Israel. He didn't turn back to his comfort zone, he got up, told his family of what was going on, and they went. Regardless of the father, lavan, trying to convince them otherwise to stay. It was Yaakov's destiny to go to Israel..and even though it was probably an uncomfortable decision...he did it anyways.

Paralleling myself to one of our forefather's may seem like a bold move...but this is what my year is all about...exploration, ah ha moments, and living in the spiritual moment.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Eternal appreciation

Just got out of a class about love. Basically, what I got out of it..that love, Hebrew ahava, armanian hav, english giving-means you have to give and then you love. we spoke about loving your parents, friends, and G-d.

About loving and respecting your parents (probably one of the hardest things to do-if you are doing it the right way)...HOW? It's so hard to ignore every bad thing they've done...but at the same time be on your knees thanking them for supporting you when you were only a taker (the first years of your life). I want to be able to embellish both my parents in love and appreciation...if anyone has any ideas, please enlighten me. I know I'm not a horrible child, but I definitely know there is room to grow in this area. I really want to be able to feel that appreciation in a way I've never felt it before. Sounds a little harsh...but at least I'm woman enough to admit I have the problem!

About loving your friends. I realized who my friends were when I got here. The ones that still talked to me, and asked and cared. Anyways besides that...a person will eternally be depressed if they don't have legitimate close friends. I'm really glad I have a few of those back at home (IE: Evelyn, Brandon, my brother <3 )..and made a few here.

I'm pretty good at the whole loving G-d thing. At least I think so...obviously I have a lot of work to do..but I really do love what he's done for me..and what he's doing for me now..and I know I'll love what's in store.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Love > $

So we're sitting in the forest. Separately. This is our time to meditate. This is our time to reflect and to connect with G-d or ourselves in any way we want. I'm sitting in the darkness, and I'm mouthing the words to Jewish songs. Jewish songs that remind me of happiness. A few tears fall, and then...a cow moos. I snap out of my meditation immediately because at first I thought it was one of my friends screaming. I'm proud of myself though that I was actually able to pause life, and reflect without my thoughts flying back and forth. So besides the cow interrupting my serenity, this was one of the highlights of our trip to Tzfat.

(My friend Elisheva and I on the hike)
It started at 7:30 on Thursday morning where we were first headed to the city of Meron to pray at the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. I didn't really know much about I wasn't completely moved. I know that I need to work on knowing some leaders in Jewish history. Anyways, after that we went to this beautiful hike that highlighted the various scenic pictures of the North. After that, we went to the hotel in Tzfat where we settled in. I was a little disheveled when I got a text message saying that my phone was going to be shut down, because my credit card wasn't working! (it was a mishap in the end, but the added stress was certainly not needed). Consequently, I was upset the rest of the night, and ended up ditching the kabbalistic concert to run into the streets of tzfat and just cry to the mountains. To be honest, it was really comforting.

Friday day we got a tour of Tzfat where we roamed the artistic shops, heard a speech from a mystical genius, challah baked at the hotel, and then had plenty of time to prepare for shabbat.
(My roommate Rachel and I pre-Shabbat)

As shabbat rolled in, we went into the forest and then went to kabbalt shabbat at the famous Carlbach minyan. It really was an experience. Every prayer had it's own song that followed with dancing and singing to the tunes of the songs. During many of the prayers I just closed my eyes and smiled and realized what was going on around me. I am where I want to be.

Shabbat dinner followed with some night activities (including an Oneg at a seminary in Tzfat that FREAKED me out because it truly resembled a sorority. A bunch of girls clapping and singing and then introduction games, and I don't know..brought me down memory lane, so I got out of there as soon as possible!) I fell asleep around 11 and got to sleep in till 10 the next morning.

I woke up to a snack filled kiddush with a Parsha Shiur from one of the rabbis that was in attendance of the shabbaton. I think I was still I may have missed the message... Besides that, I prayed on my own since I didn't get up early enough and lunch followed right after. Shabbat afternoon consisted of a nap, a class on knowing your inner self, playing some games, praying again, getting into some deep talks, and just flat out resting.

When havdalah rolled around the energy could not be beaten. At first, we sang songs like Acheynu, and Tov Lehodot and we literally kept the songs going for a good 10 minutes. Literal havdalah followed and then a concert where I danced my heart out with my amazing new friends here in Israel. I was closing my eyes thanks to G-d for giving me this chance I thought would be impossible last year.

Overall, the connections I felt to Hashem through prayer, to my friends with dancing, and to my family with meditation meant more then any dollar sign. I can't be asking for anything more...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


It's so interesting how everything I;ve learnt so far in my Jewish classes, are truly relevant to life today. I can learn and learn and learn about stories that will give me an inside insight in life..and apply it to my everyday actions!

We learned about the story of Rachav...a woman 'innkeeper' who at first was a prostitute, then eventually ended up helping the Jewish people, and marrying the prophet Yehoshua. She was compared to the Jewish people as she wandered (as the Jew's wandered in the desert) in life, and then eventually returning to G-d.

Basically I said this because if a prostitute can return to Hashem, then so can anyone, especially me.

Were going on a three day trip to Tzfat this weekend..and I'm aiming for one of those spiritually high experiences people get when their in the cities presence..I'm especially exciting for a pre-shabbat 'hour of silence' where we are going to sit by ourselves and just think silently and then yell really loud. We'll see what happens!