Jewish Joie De Vivre

Dear Readers, 

After trying for a year to enter Israel to study Judaism, I got in during a tiny open window in November. The borders closed again less than one week after I arrived due to a new covid outbreak. B”H. I made it in. I’ve just completed day nine at a Jewish Learning Institution in Jerusalem.

Before I describe these first days, please travel back in time with me to the 1980’s for a synopsis of my first year in college, my first college assignment, my first college grade…

Our homework was to walk along South Street in Philadelphia and write about our impressions. I felt one with the universe as I took in the colors, the people, the vibrant street art, and the music and aromas pouring forth from the eclectic restaurants and shops. My communications Professor reported that he was extremely impressed with our classes’ excellent work. I was so excited to see his feedback as he handed back our papers praising our skills and high grades. I did very well in  high school and this University had actually courted me to choose their school offering me several scholarships and even calling me at home to urge me to come. (This still seems strange to me.) 🤔
Anyhow I accepted their scholarship and began my college experience.
On this first college appraisal of my skills and talents…
I got an “F” 😳
Why do I repeat this story? Well… that unsatisfactory paper (a microcosm of my unsatisfactory year at this University) was written in free association style. It seemed the best way to capture my awe at this vibrant city teaming with life. It was not a well written essay, though it would have been lovely if my Communications Professor was a bit more sensitive. 😳
All this to ask the question…

Have you ever had an amazing experience you were not yet ready to put it into words? 

I am in awe once again… this time with an internal experience. Crazy, wonderful and grounding Jewish learnings are flooding in. Lessons on Torah, Chassidus, Halacha, day to day living, Hebrew, Chumash… They’re just an awesome blob of ideas right now swirling in my head.  I won’t attempt to bog you down with details until these learnings coalesce a bit. In the meantime, below is a bit of free association …. kind of a spiritual placeholder. I’m so excited to share more with you as this starts to takes form.

Quick Share For Now   

Relationships: Gushing… the young women who are my classmates, the Rabbis and teachers are heartwarming, inspiring, brilliant lights. It is a pleasure to learn with these people who are striving to be and do good.

Content: We are diving deep intoTorah, mitzvahs, and Jewish texts which have been studied and performed for thousands of years.
AND we are learning Chassidus… a  handbook for living that takes mystical concepts and brings them down to a practical livable experience of Joie de vivre.  

Hashem:  … love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your might. (from Deutoronomy 6-5). AND … love your neighbor as yourself (from Leviticus 19:18)

But How??!! 

Coming to trust G-d was a hard earned road for me. Now to love G-d and my fellow as myself…  truly, deeply, really?

So many questions… It’s beyond my GPS.

Yet I’m confident it will be found…

on this inner map that leads to Joie de vivre and Simcha שִׂמְחָה.  All in due course,

Love Vivi 💖   

To be continued…. ©

I’d love you to join us! SUBSCRIBE HERE to join our mailing list. 💞

B”H – Blessed is G-d   
TORAH: The written and oral Jewish Law includes  the Five Books of Moses, the Prophets and the Writings. Moses was also given the Oral Law, which explains and clarifies the Written Law. Here is a link to a broader definition
CHASSIDUS:  Sourced from “Chassidism” : ” (a) The movement within Judaism founded by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), stressing service of G-d through the mystical in addition to the legalistic dimension of Judaism, the power of joy, love of G-d and one’s fellow, emotional involvement in prayer, finding G-dliness in every aspect of one’s existence, and the elevation of the material universe; (b) the teachings and philosophy of this movement; see also Chabad
HALACHA: Jewish law. Guides the day to day life of a Jewish person
CHUMUSH: The Five Books of Moses 

Clouds Photo by Kaushik Panchal, Other Photos from

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