Friday, September 05, 2003

Formally Super Religous...now in Berkeley

I really don't know how else to title the story I want to share with you. I went down to campus today just to see my Rabbi. I have been trying all week to talk to him and he hadn't been there any time when I went by. Today I was in luck! There he was with 2 of his adorable children. He seems to know all the Jews on campus. A boy walks by, he points and yells "that man is a Jew". Of course, he doesn't just say this without knowing the person. The boy approached him, shook his hand and wished the Rabbi a good Shabbos. I was intrigued by this man. Why? The first thing that the Rabbi tells me is that the man is fluent in Yiddish. Why would anyone his age be fluent in a *virtually* dead language? I mean, I realize in some small communities it is the preferred language but on a whole, there aren't that many people in the world that speak it. I suppose there never were that many people but there were a lot more before the state of Israel was formed and Hebrew was chosen as the official language. It turns out, this man was from one of these secluded, super-religious communities where Yiddish is the official language. I spoke with him for a while and discovered the following:

1) For the first 18 years of his life, he spoke basically just Yiddish and learned Hebrew in the army
2) He was extremely religious while in this community, infact, he didn't learn basic math, history, science that the rest of us learn
3) When he decided to leave this world for the secular one, he was disowned by his family and has not spoken or heard from his parents in 10 years.

He also told me that as much as he hates the secular world, he does not think there is a place for him to go back. He believes he is damned to go to hell. I hope I see him again because I am fascinated by his experiences. He told me the only person that he knew that left the community for the secular world ended up committing suicide. Oh and, because he never learned basic math, he had to start from basic arithmetic and is now struggling in Calculus.

Thursday, September 04, 2003


As I sat outside this evening reading over my biochemistry notes, I suddenly felt the table move and the chair too... In fact, the ground was moving! It lasted about 3-5 seconds and according to a friend was a magnitude of 5 located in Piedmont (which isn't far from Berkeley). Pretty crazy...

Tuesday, September 02, 2003


As I worked out this morning, the TV in the gym had CNN on and the headline was something that almost made me fall off the elliptical. It read something along the lines of Asteroid to hit Earth on March 21st 2014. That would make anyone's heart skip a beat and I was no exception. I thought to myself, "is this the end of the world? Have I been fretting over stupid things all this time when my death is set. The death of the earth is set for 11 years in the future..." I didn't listen to the broadcast because I was busy listening to Jewish music but I did go online to read about this asteroid.
As I suspected, the media is trying to play on our fears. From the AP, "- An asteroid about two-thirds of a mile wide could hit the Earth on March 21, 2014, but don't lose any sleep between now and then — the chances of a collision are just 1 in 909,000, British astronomers said Tuesday. "

OK, so if it does come anywhere near us, we just have to call up Bruce Willis and was it Ben Affleck to go up there and deal with this sucker.

Keeping a Promise
I will post more stories from my vacation very soon. I am still trying to get my apartment/life in order.

In other news...I am waiting patiently and eagerly for my parents to get back from Israel. I haven't seen them in a month and while that doesn't seem like a long time to some people, it really is a long time for my family. I miss them!

Monday, September 01, 2003


only 12 pictures are up right now. more to come later.


In the Eastern Europe folder

I will upload more pictures in the coming weeks.

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