Sunday, July 02, 2006
A Much Needed Update
Until recently, I hadn't realized how many people not only read my blog, but relied upon it as their primary source for gaining information about me, my where abouts, and activities. I also hadn't realized that people would actually be upset at not having that information. So for the sake of the many who've expressed concern,wondering how I'm doing, and how things have resolved, etc., here's the update:
Internet: Check! I lucked out and, as of last week, am piggy backing my neighbors wireless. Connection is poor but sufficient. This means I'll have fairly regular Internet access until I leave for camp on July17th, at which point I will be going back to the email and business only gig. (The camp has Satellite Internet and long lines, so usage is kept to a minimum.)
This brings me to the camp thing: The salary issue was indeed a mistake, which in the context of the disorganized state everything is in for this summer makes perfect sense. Basically, I've been promoted again. I'm now the site supervisor/director for the Keshet program at the Wildrose Moshava in Wisconsin. They doubled my salary from last summer, but also dumped a lot on my lap. Apparently, the previous director accepted a position in LA as the principle of a Day School,and left the organization stranded. They turned to me, and since then I've been frantically trying to put together the program for this summer. (Doing 6 months of prep work in 1 month isn't fun or easy.) I spend most of my time these days on the phone co-ordinating with the camp, with parents, with the organization, and with camper's full time care givers trying to brainstorm individually tailored programs for each camper and work out conflicts and particulars. Anyway, I still need to hire 2 more male staff members to serve as shadows this summer. (It's an integration program for children with special needs.)So, if you think you are a good candidate, or know someone who might be a good candidate to work within the B'nai Akiva camp environment working with a child with disabilities please contact me ASAP. It pays a decent salary for the position.
The move out of my apartment was successful largely in part to the generosity of time, vehicles, and shleping of my former roommate Guppy and the key second trip by a good friend of mine from High School who made the 3.5 hour trip to Rochester just to load up his car, turnaround and drive back. Chris, your the Best! Good luck with Everything.
The move into my new apartment should happen sometime after Aug. 20 but before Aug. 27. (Of course not on Shabbat.) I'll be living with Drew Kaplan, and while I don't know who I'll be sharing a room with yet, I'm looking forward to what should be a good year. I do need to learn how to use the $2 vans to Teaneck though that he was telling me about.
Why's that you ask? Well... YCT, my Rabbinical School for next year,has decided to outsource me for the first of my two years of mechina (preparatory years prior to starting Rabbinic program). I'm the first person they've even accepted and approved a second year of mechina for.Basicly, they wanted me, but didn't really have the infrastructure in place for me to gain the foundations in language and text that I would need. Therefore, they are going to be sending me to Teaneck to learn at ITJ (Institute for Traditional Judaism) the flagship institution, so to speak, of the UTJ (Union for Traditional Judaism) as part of the Metivta program. Chovevei is still going to cover all the tuition costs and provide me with the stipend. The largest impact for me will be the commute. Of course, UTJ itself is already an interesting, if not controversial, movement/organization. It traces its history back to a break off from JTS during the 1970's after they started ordaining women Rabbis, or as Drew would call them, Rabbatis. This just compounds the seeming controversy of my path to Rabbinic ordination. Even if YCT is sometimes said to be on the fringe of Orthodoxy, ITJ is perhaps even more liberal. It should be a fun, interesting, enlightening, and educational experience. I'm looking forward to it. After all, it will be good to balance an organization seeking to open orthodoxy with one that seemingly was closed minded to change within the Conservative movement and seeks to engage things in a more classically Jewish manner.Of course, the honest truth is that I still don't really have a grasp on either organization or what they stand for as of yet. I've heard lots of speculation, but it seems for the most part inconsistent with the personal experiences I've had. For my part, I am thankful of the opportunity to be around people who are actively committed in their Judaism and seek greater understandings and connections with G-d, even when there are some things that I may not fully agree with. Needless to say, I still have a lot to learn.
Just as a side note, a tid bit of the latest Chovevei news. Rabbi Saul Berman, the head of Edah, recently announced that his organization was going to be winding down its operations and passing the torch to others. Shortly thereafter he was appointed the Director of Rabbinic Enrichment for YCT, a fantastic addition to the Yeshiva.
OK... On to the Driving thing. Wish me luck as I take my Road Test on July 5th. I only really get one crack at this and must have it for my job this summer. I should be ok. I've taken a few lessons with the local driving school here, Easy Method, and they've helped me a lot.They've also told me that I'm ready for the exam and are taking me out for it. They even helped grab me a cancellation because on my own I wouldn't have been able to schedule the road test before I had to leave for camp. So, even though it's their job and I'm paying them, I still owe them a thank you as I wouldn't have been able to even try to get my license in time without them.
As a final note, please continue to pray for my father, Baruch Matan (HaLevi) ben Miriam. As some of you may remember he had congestive heart failure right before I left Rochester. Since that time more heart related issues have surfaced and he is in need of major surgery. Now that all his test results are in, we now know that aside from having to replace 3 of his 4 heart valves, he also has a hole between his upper chambers, and another between his lower chambers. This is on top of the enlarged state of his heart from the CHF. There are only 3 hospitals in the country that have the facilities and expertise to do the surgery that he requires, Columbia Presbyterian in NYC, a hospital in Boston,and another one in Cleveland. His doctor here is currently fighting with his insurance company to cover the operation so that he can schedule him at one of these hospitals. The surgery will, B'Ezrat Hashem (With G-d's Help) be by the end of June. In the mean time,things are pretty touch and go and even with the surgery there is still the off chance that he'll need a transplant. So, please, keep him in mind with your prayers.