Packing

I cannot believe I’m leaving tonight.

This year has been such a whirlwind, and it comes to a close unbelievably soon. I know I’m not leaving it all behind – there’s no way I could leave and not take it with me (in clothes, especially!), but I know that I will be coming back, as soon as I can afford it. My words can’t capture how I’m feeling right now (as I’m pretty sure they couldn’t when I was readying myself to leave at this time one year ago), so instead, here’s what I’ve been up to:

After Kristin left at the end of June, my friend, and former JSC volunteer, Noah, came through Mumbai for a couple of days, which were also my last at the office.

Last Gan Katan class

Last Gan Katan class

I had a goodbye party with some friends, and then I went away for a couple of days to Lonavla, a hill station outside of the city.

Friends and food

Friends and food

Some of the girls

Some of the girls

Now, I’m taking care of a bunch of logistics (mostly, getting the cat from India to the U.S.! What a pain! More on that soon…), and I’m trying to figure out how to stuff a year’s worth of things into two suitcases. I’ve done so successfully so far, but there are still a few more things left to squeeze in, and I’m pretty sure that my bags are going to be overweight. That and the cat are leaving me anxious about going to the airport, in addition, of course, to my worries and sadness about leaving India after such an important year.

Bo tried to help me pack

Bo tried to help me pack

I need to stop now before I get ahead of myself and lose my words because my feelings are too much for language (if that makes sense)… I’ll try to update again before the flight, but otherwise, I’ll see you all in the U.S.

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On Specs and Spectacles

The past week has been relatively uneventful. I’m trying as best as I can to take care of everything I need before I move from India back to the U.S., and I’m slowly but surely checking things off of my list.

My close friend Kristin Wall also came to visit me. She’s en route from her Teach for America job in St. Louis, Missouri to a one-month volunteer teaching assistant position Chang Rai, Thailand, and she stopped through Mumbai for a week with me!

We’ve mostly been eating, walking, shopping, coffee-ing, and talking, with a minimal amount of touring, but primarily because the rains finally started up this week! It was beastly hot, and now, though it’s still incredibly humid, the heat has broken somewhat, with the beginning of the monsoon. It’s messy and wet, but it’s a relief from the heat!

School children after the rain

School children after the rain

Cow in a raincoat... only in India!

Cow in a raincoat... only in India!

I went down to the Gateway of India for probably my last time, and I did some shopping along the Causeway, to find souveniers for family and friends.

Gateway, before the rains started

Gateway, before the rains started

I also went to Crawford Market to order glasses (in India, “specs”), contact lenses, and sunglasses (in India, “glares”). For about the cost of a pair of glasses or a year’s worth of contact lenses in the U.S., I purchased two pairs of glasses (frames and lenses), a year’s worth of contact lenses, and a pair of sunglasses (non-prescription). Oh, and I had a free eye exam. It’s things like this that I will really miss when I come back to the U.S.!

New sunglasses!

New sunglasses!

I went to see the new X-Men this week, browsed at Phoenix Mills mall, and enjoyed many relaxing hours of coffee at Barista, Moshe’s, and the Bagel Shop.

Coffee!

Coffee!

It’s been a very nice week, especially being with a great friend who I really missed this year. Being with her, I also get to see India through a traveler’s eyes, and it reminds me of all of the fun things that I love doing here. I’m hit with a small dose of early nostalgia, and it’s very odd to think that I have just about a week and a half left here. I’m not sure what to do with my emotions.

I know it was a hard move, coming to India, and I know it will be just as much of a transition going back. As I was when I started, I’m both excited and nervous for whatever is next.

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Two Weeks

My days in Mumbai are dwindling. Two weeks from today (at almost exactly this time), I will be landing at JFK. What a strange thought.

With my time here waning, and a college friend visiting, I’ve been doing a little last-minute touring. I revisited the Jehangir Art Gallery, the Gateway of India, and Colaba Causeway. I stopped into a favorite store for the last time, and I did my touristy street shopping (Bombay t-shirts? Check! Mehendi cones? Check! Indian jewelry? Check! Another pair of leather sandals? Check!).

I have two weeks left in India and 7 days left of work (until I’m unemployed! Yikes!). I’ve done so much, and yet, as I clean through my papers and finish my last projects, I realize that there’s so much left for me to do. As Rabbi Tarfon said, “the day is short and the task is great.” I see the true greatness of his wisdom when he added, “it is not your task to finish the work… but neither can you desist from it.” Rabbi Tarfon recognized that there are so many things that need our help, and I am proud to say that I didn’t avoid it just because the immensity of the work is beyond words. Then again, I’m glad it’s not my job to fix it all, either! It should be enough to say I’ve contributed, but I wish there were more I could have accomplished through this year.

On another note, take a couple minutes to read this article from my friend Melissa Weiss, who wrote for her college newspaper, The Diamondback. She beautifully states the feeling of moving to a new country (for her, South Korea), adapting, facing challenges, and thinking about moving on.

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Nepal!

Wow. What a week away!

My vacation with Sarah to Nepal was exactly what I was hoping for. I needed a break from the usual hectic travel I’ve been doing around India, and I found it on this vacation.

We landed in Kathmandu around 1:45 p.m. on June 7.

Nepal!

Nepal!

We glided through a health check for swine flu (people in masks asking us if we’d been in infected countries in the past 10 days), bypassing a wall covered in names of plagued countries (basically, every country in the world was named on the wall). Then, we tried to figure out a way to get the Nepali rupees or American dollars we would need to pay for our 15-day tourist visa (about $25/person). The tourist visa counter wouldn’t accept Indian rupees, and the foreign exchange counter wouldn’t exchange Indian rupees… and there was no ATM to be found. In the end, I finally cashed in two ancient travelers’ checks (purchased when I moved to Thessaloniki, Greece for the summer after freshman year of college), for American dollars, and we made it through immigration, picked up our bags, and met Sarah’s friend Emilie.

Emilie and Sarah, reunited

Emilie and Sarah, reunited

Sunset over Kathmandu

Sunset over Kathmandu

Emilie is working for a few months for an Israeli NGO called Tevel B’Tzedek. She is based in a big house on the outskirts of Kathmandu, though other 20-somethings (majority Israeli, with a handful of Americans thrown in for good measure) work in the villages. After relaxing on our first afternoon/evening in Kathmandu, we spent the next morning at Emilie’s big project in Kathmandu, a day care center for 0-3 year olds, whose mothers are day laborers. Without this day care, the mothers would have to carry their children on their backs as they do backbreaking work, like brick-making and construction work.

Nepali children

Nepali children

Naptime

Naptime

After we visited the day care and played with the kids for a while, we went out for Nepali chaat (street snacks) at a little hole-in-the-wall place in the day care neighborhood.

Chaat

Chaat

It was pretty tasty, though I have to say that I’m ultimately a devotee of Mumbai chaat. Now and forever.

We headed down to the touristy area, Thamel, for some touring, shopping, and a fantastic pizza dinner. The streets are not nearly as congested as Mumbai, though the roads can be a lot worse in terms of potholes, narrow lanes, and garbage. Overall, Kathmandu feels like a very big village, complete with long power outages and limited access to phones and Internet. The air, though, felt a lot cleaner than Mumbai (even though it probably wasn’t!), and it was cooler. We didn’t need air conditioning at all through the week, and we didn’t even use a fan at night (…not that we had one…). It was a nice break from the balmy, clogged, toxic air of my home base this year.

Temple in Durbar Square

Temple in Durbar Square

Street scene

Street scene

Temple and prayer flags

Temple and prayer flags

In awe of the shopping opportunity...

In awe of the shopping opportunity...

The next day, we hiked up a lofty hill to go to Swayambunath Temple.

Quite the hike

Quite the hike

Turning the prayer wheels

Turning the prayer wheels

Buddies and Buddhas

Buddies and Buddhas

We then went back to Thamel for an Israeli feast, at the popular Israeli backpacker hangout, OR2K.

Emilie and our falafel feast

Emilie and our falafel feast

On our third full day in Nepal, Sarah and I got on a 6 a.m. bus from Thamel out to an unknown destination in the hills and valleys of Nepal. After a four-hour bus ride, we finally arrived at The Last Resort, a hill station resort located across a long steel cable bridge, 160 meters above a rushing river.

Bridge I jumped from

Bridge I jumped from

A debriefing, and about two hours later, I found myself back on the bridge, roped into a harness, ready to hop off of the bridge for the canyon swing (the highest in the world!). I bunny-hopped off of the bridge and swung into the canyon, launched back and forth for about five minutes before I slowed enough to grasp a rope extended to me. I reeled myself in, climbed a steep ladder, and unhooked, began to ascend the hill I’d just jumped off of. The trek back up was steep and slippery, rocky and unsteady, and long – the return trek was almost scarier than stepping off of the bridge!

About half an hour later, I was back on the bridge and ready to jump off again! This time, I did what I never thought I’d be crazy enough to do: I stepped off of a bridge essentially attached by my ankles only to a rubber band (albeit a strong one!); I bungee-jumped. Here’s the view down 160 meters – the third-highest bungee in the world:

View down

View down

I scootched forward on the platform, dragging the heavy bungee cord tethering my ankles together, and like a (very terrified) penguin, waddled along until my last step was into the air. I fell face first and plummeted with arms spread wide, screaming until there was no breath left. The bounce back up was intense, and as I sped toward the ground again, I jerked and spun, and with no way to stop the spinning, the ground spiraled beneath me as I hung from my ankles. Losing feeling in my face and hands, still suspended upside down, I prayed that my ankles would continue to hold up and that the cord wouldn’t let go. After a few minutes of turning red in the face, the bungee master slowly lowered me toward the ground as I reached out for a long bamboo stick reaching up into the air for me. About 10 feet from the ground, the Last Resort people flipped me onto a table and freed my (now bruised) ankles. Then there was just the hike back up the mountain and the suspended feeling of success…

Here’s the brief but entertaining video taken by Sarah as I leapt off the bridge the second time:

What a day. I’ve never felit so scared or victorious!

Victory!

Victory!

The next few days were pretty mellow, following my leaps off of a bridge. We spent a lot of time shopping and eating, relaxing and reading, and we spent some time outside of Kathmandu, relaxing by (what in rainy season is) a river.

Rocks at the river

Rocks at the river

Nepali countryside

Nepali countryside

Kathmandu Valley

Kathmandu Valley

All in all, the week was relaxing and enjoyable, a chance to see a different country and take a break from India, and a wonderful time to meet new friends and spend time with Sarah before she left for Hungary for the international JDC camp in Szarvas. Returning from Nepal, Sarah and I took a couple of days to do some special things, including an all-you-can-eat lunch at a great sushi restaurant, a little shopping (what else?), and a manicure-pedicure treat. She left on Thursday night, and the apartment (and India) feels lonely without her. She returns from Hungary on July 12, just under a week after I leave India to return to the U.S.

By the way, my flight is confirmed, and I’ll be coming home on Air India flight 141 from Mumbai to JFK, on June 7, arriving in New York at 7 a.m. Just about two weeks from now…

Bizarre how the year is coming to a close… but more on that later.

For now, I’m going to make some dinner and enjoy a movie with my very close college friend Kristin (a Teach for America teacher based in St. Louis, Missouri), who is visiting en route to a month of teaching in Chang Rai, Thailand.

Me and Kristin at last year's Columbia University commencement

Me and Kristin at last year's Columbia University commencement

Hard to believe how quickly time/life flies by, hm?

Until next time…

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Come and Gone

My second day camp has come and gone. This week was an incredibly busy one, what with 10 youth and 30 children in and out of the office every day.

Sunday was full of children for Gan Katan and youth for a leadership series session, led by a popular local lecturer. By the end of his program, the Szarvas youth were ready to finish their preparations for the week. By Sunday night at 7:30 p.m., I was finally able to head home, for an early wakeup the next day.

Day 1 of day camp focused on the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry, the Ashkenaz shtetl, and the differences between the Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews. The kids spent their morning rotating in stations between madrichim, playing games, having discussions, and doing art projects. That afternoon, we played the Game of Life, in which the teams, “families,” answered questions about what they learned in the mornings, to advance themselves around a life-sized game board. Correct answers allowed them to keep their spaces and to earn Life cards, which gave them more spaces, help on questions, or the ability to pass on a question. Wrong answers pushed the teams backward on the board.

Sarah and our Time Machine
Sarah and our Time Machine
Token madrichim photo
Token madrichim photo
Making challah covers at the shtetl
Making challah covers at the shtetl
Acting during the Game of Life
Acting during the Game of Life

Day 2, while the kids were learning about the Inquisition and Expulsion, I was down at the FRRO, applying for my visa extension. I was able to make it back to the office for a couple of hours of the morning programs, but I had to return in the early afternoon to be granted my actual extension. The officer wouldn’t give me the full extension that I wanted (through August), but he gave me until the end of my contract with the JDC. So, I’ll be in India until July 7 or so, since my visa now expires on July 8. The extra two weeks were hardly what I wanted, but it’s better than nothing. I was really upset at first, but in the end, I will have to leave, whether in a couple of weeks (original expiration date), a month (current expiration date) or a month and a half (desired expiration date). Sooner or later, I’ll return to the U.S. and move on to the next stage of my life. I guess, now that the date is set (even though I’ve been wanting it to be settled for a while!), leaving feels real.

Anyway, having missed the second day of camp, I headed into the third day with excitement, particularly because I like the subject matter for the day. The kids were learning about the creation of Hasidic and Reform Judaism, pogroms, and immigration to America, and we had them watch “An American Tale” in the afternoon.

Day 4 was dedicated to Israel: Anti-Semitism and Zionism, the establishment of the state, and the wars. The kids had a lot of fun playing monkey-in-the-middle to learn about anti-Semitism and having a water balloon fight to simulate war strategy. In the afternoon, we watched “The Star-bellied Sneetches” and played Israeli team tag: each member of each team receives a ribbon, and the kids have to capture each others’ ribbons (but not those of their team members). The team with the most ribbons at the end of the game wins. The kids had a lot of fun, even though the play got pretty brutal at times! Apparently, there is a similar game in India, in which the players are supposed to jump on members of the other teams and drag them back to their safety zones. There was a lot of confusion when Sarah and I had to interrupt play to pull kids off of each other to tell them that that is not a part of our game!

The last day of day camp, we talked about the future of the Indian Jewish community. We reviewed our history, by watching a slideshow of the week, and we talked about how we need to learn our history so that we can prepare for the future. Then, each “family” made a time capsule of Jewish items they might need for the future. The kids were really creative, excited, and motivated, and the madrichim did an incredible job overseeing and working with the kids. When our programs were done, we finished with awards and ice cream treats before saying goodbye. Then, the madrichim, Sarah and I debriefed and rewarded ourselves with M&M cookies Sarah and I made the night before.

It was a very busy and tiring week, but it was much less chaotic than the last day camp. The days went by pretty smoothly, the madrichim were really on top of everything, and the kids were attentive and enthused (for the most part!). I am so proud of the work the youth put into this camp, and I am incredibly satisfied with the end product.

This week, we also celebrated Sarah’s 24th birthday! We went out for Thai food last weekend and shared a nice bottle of wine, and then on Tuesday, at the JCC, Sarah brought the staff ice cream, and the kids sang to her and wiped cake on her face; that night, a bunch of our friends came to our apartment with cake and snacks to hang out and celebrate. Sarah ate lots of cake, fed to her by friends, as per Indian custom, and she wiped lots of cake off her face, also per Indian custom.

Tomorrow, we leave for Nepal! We’ll be there for about a week, June 7-14, and when I return, I’ll have such a couple more weeks left before it will be time to come!

For now, I’ll have to sign off (my deep regrets for the lack of photos – the Internet has been uncooperative today!), but I’ll write when I return from my last vacation on this side of the world.

Until then…

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A Study of Shavuot

Also, just in case any of you are interested in some of the Jewish learning/teaching I’ve been doing this year, here is a taste of it, in a piece I wrote for Kol India (our JCC community publication):

Giving and Receiving: The Time of Our Torah
By Ariel Schwartz, JSC Volunteer

Each year, with the end of Passover, we begin to count the Omer. We record the time between the festivals, marking each day with a blessing, as we track the passing of a season and the start of a new time of year. Like Sukkot and Passover, Shavuot – “the festival of weeks” – is a festival of agricultural origins. Since Shavuot commemorates the time of the harvest of the first fruits of the year, one of its names is Chag Ha-Bikkurim, the “festival of the first fruits.” Our counting the Omer checks off the days on the calendar, starting from when we plant our grains and ending when we can harvest them. As Leviticus 21:15-16 states: “You shall count for yourselves — from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving — seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh Shabbat, you shall count, fifty days…”

Though the Torah dictates that we should number the increasing weeks, counting up to seven Shabbatot, or fifty days, perhaps we should instead think of the passing days as a countdown, bringing us nearer and nearer to the anniversary of our receiving the Torah. Beyond its agricultural bases, Shavuot retains its renown for being the celebration of God’s gift of the Torah to the Jewish people. For commemorating this historical event, the festival is also called Chag Matan Torateinu, or “the festival of the giving of our Torah.”

The Omer in the historical context reminds us about the important religious connection between Passover and Shavuot. On Passover, we celebrate our physical release from bondage, but when we received the Torah on Shavuot, we were redeemed spiritually. God gave us the laws and precepts that govern our lives and give them meaning. With the exodus from Egypt, we solidified our unity as a people. With the gift of the Torah, we became bonded together as the chosen people, in our unique relationship with Hashem. It is for this reason that Shavuot is often celebrated as the marriage of the Jewish people with our God.

Every year on Shavuot, we stay up all night, reading and discussing the Torah. We mark the anniversary of our symbolic marriage with God, through the study of God’s text, and we use the night to connect with other members of our community even as we enhance our connection to God. We also eat a dairy meal at least once during Shavuot. The reasons for this custom vary from one community to the next. According to Talmud Bechorot 6b, we eat dairy to remember the time before we received the Torah, a time when we did not have the laws of kashrut, in which we did not eat meat at all, in order to avoid eating the forbidden. Another popular reason for eating dairy on Shavuot is derived from the quote from Song of Songs 4:11, which states, “Like honey and milk [the Torah] lies under your tongue.” Just as milk can wholly nourish the body physically, the Torah fully feeds our spiritual needs.

A final tradition on Shavuot requires us to read the Book of Ruth. This story tells of a Jewish woman, Naomi, whose husband and two sons die, leaving her alone in the world. However, her daughter-in-law Ruth elects to remain by her side, famously saying, “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). With this decisive action, Ruth earns the title of the book, and she eventually becomes the great grandmother of King David.

From this excerpt, we can see the critical link between the Book of Ruth and Shavuot. Ruth chooses to stay with Naomi, following her path and adopting her God. Similarly, Shavuot is Chag Matan Torateinu, “the festival of the giving of our Torah,” and implicit in that name is that God chose to give us the Torah, at the time that we chose to receive it. We acted of our own free will to enter into our reciprocal relationship with God, by accepting God’s Torah. Moreover, because the festival is known as “the time of the giving of our Torah,” we note that God’s gift of the Torah at Mount Sinai was not a single, isolated event. Though God gave the Torah to us only once, the Jewish people have studied it constantly throughout time, and we study it consistently throughout our lives. Then, every year on Shavuot, we reenact our history, and we remind ourselves that the process of receiving the Torah happens every day, as we learn and live the text that connects us to God.

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Happy Shavuot

Well, clearly I’m not quite celebrating Shavuot as they would at, say, Chabad, but I’m enjoying my free time in my own way: with (surprise surprise) a bagel and coffee at Bagel Shop! Hey, at least my bagel has cream cheese… and my coffee has a little milk. So I’m following the tradition of consuming dairy on Shavuot. And I might go make blintzes at a friend’s apartment tomorrow…

Life has a nice mellow feel to it today. It helps that I have just done whatever feels right today, which we all so rarely do. I slept in until about 11, relaxed in bed for a bit, went to the gym for a good 1.5 hours (complete with 15 minutes of running, which I’m trying to do a little more of…), showered, and came to Bagel Shop. What a beautiful way to spend a day.

I spent the past week readying myself (and the Szarvas youth) for next week’s day camp. I reviewed their peulot (plans for activities), made supply and task lists, and made lots of decorations, along with Sarah and Natasha.

Rooting through the costume box

Rooting through the costume box

I made sailor hats out of newspaper, so Sarah willingly tried one on...

I made sailor hats out of newspaper, so Sarah willingly tried one on...

So much preparation! I really hope that we get a good turn-out. Right now, we’re only scheduled to have about 25 kids at this camp, but I’m crossing my fingers that the numbers continue to grow. It’ll be more work for everyone involved, but so much energy and thought has already been put into this… I just want the maximum possible impact.

At any rate, it seems like we’re in a very good place for camp. I’m looking forward to seeing the kids experience Jewish history!

I’ve spent my evenings relaxing with good food and the past four seasons of How I Met Your Mother, as well as the second season of Veronica Mars. I sometimes take for granted the great food I have here – and how cheap it is! – but I realized I won’t have it anymore soon, so I’ve started taking some pictures, and I’ve also started enjoying the low, low cost. The meal pictured below, for example, only cost me and Sarah about 100 Rs., or $2, total. So I spent only $1 on dinner.

Indian food: cabbage chana dal, dalimbi usal, pea paneer, chappati, and onion bhaji

Indian food: cabbage chana dal, dalimbi usal, pea paneer, chappati, and onion bhaji

I finished reading T.C. Boyle’s “The Women,” and I’m starting in on Thomas Hardy’s “Far From the Madding Crowd,” though I don’t know if I’ll be able to stick with it. Since I finished the Boyle novel, I have been switching from book to book every day, not liking any of them. I tried “Three Cups of Tea,” “Son of the Circus” (John Irving), and “Made in America” (Bill Bryson), but none of them really struck me right now. Maybe it’s one of those not-in-the-mood-to-read phases, but I rarely have those, so maybe I just haven’t found the right book for my mood. I need a really great piece of fiction, with characters I can identify and empathize with. I’m trying the Hardy, but I’d really love another Boyle work or the new Philip Roth. I also have one more Erica Jong book saved up on my shelf, but I was planning to leave that for my flight home to the U.S., since I’ll need something addictive that I know I’ll love, for that long trip.

Enough about books. You’re probably all wondering how I can ramble on about books for a paragraph while I’m living abroad in India… And the reason is that, with the very hot, uncomfortable “summer” weather, that’s pretty much what there is to do.

This is one of the hard parts of living in India, I’ve found. People tend not to want to do things because the weather is so beastly most of the time. It takes lots of energy, and the conscious decision to deal with the heat and sweat and dirt, to get up and go anywhere. Often, I’ll chat online with friends who are a 15-20 minute cab ride from my apartment, or call friends who live 5-10 minutes’ walk from my apartment, and we’ll talk about how we should hang out, or go do something, but when it comes down to getting up and out, no one wants to. My friends are always saying, “You come over here!” To which Sarah and I reply, “No, you come over here!” You can see how this goes around in circles…

Another hard part of living in India is that, even if we decide to get up and do something, there are a limited number of things to do. There aren’t conventional parks in Mumbai, like there are in New York. There’s one bowling alley, a few malls, a bunch of places to go out for food or coffee or drinks. But as for activities? No public pools… Nowhere to rollerskate… Nowhere to bicycle (without fearing ending up in the emergency room, anyway)… No libraries to browse… You get the idea. And I’m sure you understand now why I spend a lot of time reading, watching tv, and hanging around Bagel Shop in my spare time.

Unfortunately, I still have no updates about the visa situation, but I did speak to the woman at the FRRO this week. I wanted to come in this week, so I wouldn’t have to miss a day of day camp next week, but she said it’s not possible to come in before the “15 days” before visa expiry (though I could come in even a day before the visa expires?? does this indicate that it’ll be no problem for me to get this extension??). So I’ll be going in this Tuesday, June 2 (otherwise known as the second day of day camp – and Sarah’s 24th birthday!). Hopefully, Sarah and I can celebrate her birthday, and my visa extension, that night!

It’s also been a strange week, in some ways, because I’ve been having to acknowledge the fact that this year is, amazingly enough, coming to an end already. Some of my Jewish Service Corps colleagues around the world have started to ready themselves to leave. One has already returned (though, due to the tenuous situation in her country of placement), another has a ticket home in hand, others are started to think about their final reports. Interviews for next year’s JSC volunteers are apparently underway.

I’ve known this would happen – obviously, it did last year, for me (since about this time last year, I had celebrated my college graduation and bid some of my family and friends adieu already). But, as Sarah and I talk about all the time, it’s pretty unbelievable that the time has come. We spent the first few months talking about how we never thought the year would end, how time felt like it was digging its heels in the dirt, how we had so much time left… And now, we’re on the brink of June, and the beginning of the end (but with that, of course, comes the beginning of the next beginning). Funny how the passing of time works, hm?

That’s all I have for now, folks, so tune back in next week for the latest adventures in the beginning of the end of my year in Bombay.

[Click here to see the kind of teaching I do, by reading an article I wrote about Shavuot for the Bene Israeli community publication.]

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