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Wow, this week was a full one. I started with faculty meetings at The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance…6 hours worth in one day, almost entirely in Hebrew. Ooof. What is amazing to learn again and again is how much communication is body language. So even though I could not understand most of what was being said in the meetings, I did leave with a better understanding of who I am working with at JAMD this semester. I felt welcomed and challenged at the same time. The challenge comes in the length of process; one small task that you would think could be accomplished in minutes quickly turns into many more tasks and days related to the original small thing. For example, the equipment I brought with me (that many of you contributed to acquiring), needs to live in a safe locked place. A locker closet had been identified by JAMD Dean of Dance Neta Pulvemacher. We were handed a set of keys, not one…well after trying a series of five keys in five different locker closets, only one fit. Okay, great, done right? No. We need copies. I was quoted a week turn-around for the key copies. Smile. Lom sha ne – never mind in Hebrew. All is coming together and I start the semester tomorrow!

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Tuesday/Wednesday of this week I was in Tel Aviv for the Fulbright orientation. There were many meetings kicked-off by Ambassador Daniel Shapiro (man pictured on the right above).  After the many meetings we toured around Jaffa Рwhich was really yofi РHebrew for beautiful.

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Jaffa is one of the most charming places I’ve been in Israel so far (pictured above). I was there in June this summer and slept on the roof of the Old Jaffa Hostel with my gypsy brother Andrew Chapman. Magic. The group Fulbright trip to Jaffa included a tour of Ilana Goor’s museum – a huge home filled with art and oddities. Go there! I saw a series of Canaanite jugs from 3,000 B.C. and they were not behind glass.

Only downside this week came Wednesday. The cough I’ve been fighting since the multi-plane ride here finally won. As I write this, its Saturday and I’m still coughing. I’m trying all sorts of things to get rid of it – ginger, lemon, tea, honey, apple cider vinegar, fluids, meds…what else is there? Yuck, it is more annoying than anything.

Well this cough didn’t stop me from attending a Christian-Arab wedding in Bethlehem last night!

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Wow, it was so fun. They really know how to party – all 300 of them – yeah, it was a small wedding. The live band was killing it and so everyone danced till 2am. I shot some video of the bride and groom dancing and you can see the dance is communal, everyone dances together circling the bride and groom.

 

The food was amazing and the whiskey was flowing. Yalla!!!

On the way home at 2am, from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, we had to pass through a check point. We had no trouble and it was quick, but I was clutching my passport, ready to flash it if called-upon. Just as we rounded the corner in the car, cheeks rosy from drinking and dancing, I glimpsed the Banksy piece below – a poetic reminder of where I am… It is all a balance right? The necessary merry distractions and the poignant moments of reality.

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