This past Shabbat we spent with the Derovan family in Ramat Beit Shemesh. This was just what the doctor had ordered. It was so restful, so family oriented, and so full of beautiful singing and enjoyments of Shabbat. We have been very much enjoying hosting guests, but for the past 5 weekends in a row Nate and I have had at least 2 people staying in our home. As enjoyable as that is, and as much as we hope to see many more guests in the near future, it has been very exhausting. Further, since we arrived to Israel we have not had the opportunity to go away for a single Shabbat or Chag. Basically we were very much in need of this little get-away.
We have to say Ramat Beit Shemesh is a very beautiful place. It has landscapes you could never imagine to see anywhere but in a National Geographic's magazine (unfortunately because it was Shabbat and when it was not it was dark we could not take pictures) and a community that seems so pleasant. The community appeared to be primarily anglo- we did not hear as much Hebrew speaking as we are used to, but you do not necessarily feel like you are back in America (except the part were I saw many boys who just graduated from the Hebrew Academy that were in my brothers class). We davened at Lev Hatorah- a yeshiva for boys after high school, and I have to say the ruach (spirit/ excitement) in the room for both the evening services and the morning were beyond amazing. It was actually shocking how much excitement there was because most of the boys were finishing up their third three day holiday (Rosh Hashana, first days of Sukkot, and now last days which all ran into Shabbat) and most would assume by then they were "Yom Toved out." But this was definitely not the case, these boys sang with full voices and danced as if it was still Simchat Torah. Further from sitting with the Derovan daughters- Orit and Nechama, and their Cousin Chava one could feel the holiness of the women's section as well. Following services we attended two very large meals, one of 10 people and another of 18 people, where Nate, for the first time since we arrived in Israel was displayed with home made brisket. We were both in heaven because the food was amazing, but I think Nate may have been on cloud nine (or whatever the phrase is).
The Derovan family is a very close family, two of their married sons live near by with the grandchildren and you can tell the daughters do not stay far from home that often (we did not meet their middle son). Despite the closeness of their family Nate and I felt so comfortable, and felt like we were right at home in one of our families homes. Listening to the conversations about Torah that take place in their home was also a very exciting point of the weekend, especially when trying to get one of the Derovan grandsons (who is 6 I believe) to give a bit of a Dvar Torah on Parshat Lech-Lecha (he had skipped Breishit and Noach in school so that was the first one he knew). And then there was the singing. The beauty of the words and the harmony of the voices just absolutely amazed us.
Basically we really had an amazing weekend, and we are so thankful to the Derovan family for that. We hope to spend many more Shabbatot and times with them. Thank you so much!
I go back to school Tuesday (Nate goes back on the 14th), and do not have a break until Chanukkah (in two months) so now it will be time to really get a real feel for what it is to sit and learn day in and day out. I am very excited! Further I am now in the process of applying to grad school. I am definitely applying to the Pardes Institute educators program and most likely applying to Wurzweiler's School of Social Work's block program and to Hebrew University. We will see what happens. I am trying to figure out what is the best path for me, since I know I want to work in schools, but I want to work in guidance counseling/ administration. Anyway, until next time!