Posted in Australia, Daily Prompt

Silence in the Noise

The past three days I have spent in Sydney. My main purpose of being here was to teach classes, but I was only teaching for one hour a day, so the rest of the day I got to explore.

On the first day I was taken to Bondi, and was told that I must take the Bondi-Brodie walk. 20160920_131501.jpgI have to say that it was breathtakingly beautiful. I forget how much I love the water. Even though for a lot of it there were people around (it is a very popular walk for tourists and p20160920_132353.jpglace for locals to jog), there were moments that I could just stare out into the water and find a moment of silence.

There was one moment at these rocks, where the water came crashing in, and all I wanted to do was burst out into tears.  I am not sure why- but that was what I wanted to do (I didn’t though some seeped out.)

20160921_093132.jpgOn my second day I stayed in the city and went to the Opera House. It is amazing that a building can also take my breath away. I know that it is quite simple, that it is just a white building made of concrete and tile – but still, there is something actually magnificent about it, I can’t really say what though.

A friend told me that I must take the ferry to Manly, and so I did. Once again I was in the middle of the water. Hearing the waves around me. At times seeing buildings. At times seeing mountains and trees. And at times all I saw was water, as if there was no end. 20160921_101800.jpg

Following the Opera House, I took a stroll through the Royal Botanical Gardens. It was pouring rain, which I felt made it even more romantic and beautiful. There are giant trees and gorgeous flowers. It is so vast that there was on overwhelming silence of people, and all I could really hear was the 20160921_131304.jpgbirds, the wind, and the rain falling on my umbrella.

Something about traveling to places alone is that there is a lot of time for silence (which at times is great, and at times less so). I was able to stop when I wanted on my walk in Bondi to just sit in the quietful noise and think. I was able to just sit on the boat listening to the waves and the birds and the motor. I didn’t have to talk to anyone (most would think it strange if I really think about it). I could let the crash of the waves silence everything else, giving me an opportunity either to focus on my thoughts or to silence those as well.

 

via Daily Prompt: Silence

Posted in Australia, Life, Rabbinical School

Hello from Down Under

I have now been in Australia for about a week (I guess around this time last week I landed in Sydney). It is crazy to think about how much time flies.

I feel both very far away from things that I know and people who I love, but also bizarrely at home. I have a brother living in Seattle, which is now a 17 hour time difference. When I called him on Friday morning to say Shabbat Shalom, it was only 2pm on Thursday- so crazy. I am learning some new words (or really just figuring out what words people use for things). I am remembering to look in the other direction when crossing the street. Slowly I am learning how to get to places. So far I can walk to the shul, the shops and the rabbis house without any problems.

But at the same time as feeling this distance, there is something homey to here. Even though I’ve only been here a week, I don’t really feel so out-of-place. I actually feel more comfortable here than I did when I was in NYC for the first week.

The community is one of the nicest I have ever met. The rabbi and the president both came to pick me up at the airport. The biggest surprise of that was, they met me at the gate! Apparently here it is still allowed to go through security without a ticket (I did it a few days later to pick up the shlichim…) Someone has taken me around to make sure I filled out all my paperwork, got a library card (yes, I have a library card here), a bus pass, a bank account, do buy all the things I need for my apartment. They even found me my apartment, which is really beautiful. Tomorrow someone is taking me and the shlichim around the city, and on Thursday outside of the city so we can see kangaroos and the such. 🙂

I jumped into my role basically the day after I got here. My first event was a showing of the film “Of Love and Darkness”, which was hosted by the Israeli Embassy. Before the showing there was a meet-and-greet, where I met someone who works for the Philippians Embassy, the Israeli Embassador, and some other members of the community. On Friday I gave the sermon. Saturday night I helped with the Tisha B’Av class. On Sunday I taught a class. On Monday I started the first of my two weekly classes (18 people showed up, in the early afternoon I was told 5…) I already have to write an article, set up a meeting to talk on an interfaith panel, meet with a school, have plans to have dinner with a former Israeli MP and go to Sydney to teach for two days….I am amazed that I was offered this job. Already, the congregants are calling me the “assistant rabbi” (The other day I got there early and someone told the rabbi that the assistant rabbi was already in).

It is a lot, but I think I can do it. Slowly I think I will get settled (although I hope not too slowly, as I am only here for 4 months). It is really and exciting time and a really exciting opportunity. I get to teach, learn about running a shul, act as the assistant rabbi, meet with influential people- and who knows what else.

Even though this is not at all what I expected this year to turn out to be, it is a surprise but on the positive side.

So here is to living in the Land Down Under and doing my dream job.