Deep In the Jungle

It has sure been a while since my last post. I have fully immersed myself in a super natural, complex, beautiful, mystical culture filled with life!!! I have been living in Nahloat which is a Silverlake/East Village/ Mission District type of community in Jerusalem. The people here are artists/hippies the create sort from all over the world. This is a spiritual community right across from the Shuk which is an open market similar to what you see in movies where people bargain for fresh produce, like in the Disney classic Aladin. Every day I eat fresh barakas, produce, and drink fresh juice. I am still keeping up with my daily yoga and meditation. During the week days I wake up early head to the yeshiva to study Tania. From Tania, I walk over to the Mikveh, (a spiritual bath house), where I cleanse my soul and physical body. From there I walk up stairs where I pray and wrap tefilin on my body. Every morning I pray during the entire Shachrit morning service and then I continue with Shemona Esrei. On the days they have torah service I am finally able to follow along with the hebrew text without using any vowels. I am able to understand the prayers and the intentions behind all of them. Every morning I am able to get VERY present with the universe through morning prayer and I am falling in love with this practice. For the first week or so my Rabbi, Rabbi Sholom Brodt would wrap the tefillin on me and teach me how to say the blessings. Now I am able to do this all on my own. I feel so powerful! Rabbi Sholom has taken me under his wing and been teaching me torah through teaching me rituals and Jewish lifestyle skills you can’t learn in an academic program. He teaches me the same way Jewish Summer Camp teaches the campers about Judaism. The secret is emerging yourself in the culture. This is why experiential education works! Not just works. It works the best!

Following morning prayer I head over to the Yeshiva for Gamora class where we study talmud and opinions of rabbis discussing blessings and rituals. Then I partake in a halacha class, which is a biblical law where we discuss what makes Jewish cooking kosher, and how to prepare a kosher shabbat meal. Then we study torah and rashi where we read the torah portion of the week in hebrew and translate the text. From here we read Rashi script and compare and contrast the texts. After this class we join the women for egalitarian learning and study in a class where we discuss Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach’s philosophies. Every day we sing niggunims composed by Carlbach.

Last week I performed my first show at a Tel Aviv Folk Festival joined by many artists from all over Israel. It was an incredible show and I was very well received. I have also been busking all over Jerusalem and building up a strong fan base. Last saturday I performed at post shabbat concert at my hippie commune in Jerusalem and I played for a room of 60+ people. Last night i performed at Hamelech babar for a benefit, and the shows keep on rolling in. The Israel’s are very supportive of my music and my career is growing very quickly. I am so thankful. Thank you to all my friends that I have met our here. I feel very loved and supported.

Tomorrow Night I am hosting and playing a songwriter showcase called the Nachla’ Or Songwriter Showcase starting tomorrow at 7:30pm at 18 Yosef Chaim. Make sure to come out and support local Jerusalem songwriters!!! I will update you again soon. Thank you for checking in and reading my story.