Aliyah 2.0

Tzvi in Rocky Mtn National Park

Wow! It has been awhile since I wrote a post. A lot has been going on in the past few months, but now I thought I would update the world on what I’m doing.

I finished my year in AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps in July! I can’t believe I made it to the end. It was a bit of a challenge, but I’m glad I made it through. I won’t go on about it here…there was a lot of ups and downs, but now I kinda miss my 9 crazy housemates, supervisor, and co-workers. I did have it good, DC just wasn’t the place for me. I don’t like talking about American politics or going to museums, so I moved back to Colorado.

Past three months

Yes, I moved back to Colorado in August. I came back to Boulder to work temporarily with Chabad @ CU and Rabbi Wilhelm.  I really needed to make some money and reset my life. The first day back in Boulder, I just drove all day through the mountains. It was an amazing detox from city life, something I really needed. My job at Chabad has been perfect as well. I’m currently running programs and engaging students daily. This is something that I’m very good at and enjoy. I truly feel alive again! Plus I love being back with Rabbi Wilhelm and his wonderful family for Shabbatot and Holidays. We have had major success this semester getting new and old students to events, services, and classes. Jewish Festival Night had over 400+ students, Rosh Hashana 250+ students, and Yom Kippur 150+ students. I love it! I’ve also been doing a lot of graphic design and website development, which I also love. Over the next two weeks, I have 20 programs/meals for Sukkot. Ending my short time here with a big bang. This is all gearing up for Chabad @ CU to open the new Schaeffer Chabad House at 909 14th Street. I’m sad I won’t be here for the opening and finalizations. It is going to be very big and beautiful, check out the pictures here.

Aliyah 2.0 and Grad School

Here I go again…moving back to the Holy Land. Two weeks from today, Oct 19th I will be flying back to Israel. I have been trying to figure out my return ever since I left in 2012. Finally I figured out the next step in my journey, Grad School. In three weeks, I start classes at the University of Haifa to get a MA in Israel Studies. This is a three semester program with amazing classes. My first semester I will be taking; Religion, Science and Politics in the Cartography of Israel from the Middle Ages to Our Time, The Holocaust and the Israeli Society, The Zionist Ideology and Gender, and A Social History of Palestinian Society. All very exciting, no?

I’m excited to be back in Israel. I’m having a lot of normal troubles though with the details. I don’t know if I have a dorm room, no one will get back to me. I don’t have money in my Israeli account to pay the deposit…hope they will wait until I get there to pay with dollars. I’m glad Israel is a little bit less formal than the US, so I think I will be good. I should have a full amount of grants and scholarships to cover all the costs, but no conformations yet. Gotta love Israel. The best part of going back though is to see and have lots of time with my Israeli friends. Plus I get to do some reserve duty finally. Hopefully I’ll even get a position/job in my new unit.

Well, its been real everyone. I hope you enjoyed the update. For now enjoy some pictures from the last few months, especially my great beard.

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What I’ve been up to

I’ve now been in Washington DC for three months, so what have I been doing?

Lots! I’m working three jobs, living with ten people, and in a program with 23 people. Its a bit much, but you know me…always busy. I’m kinda getting tired of people asking me how I like DC, but I’ll tell you. DC is a very nice city, lots to do and so much to see. I haven’t done any touristy things yet, but I’m sure when one of you comes and visit we will do that. I don’t want to get burned out and not tour around with friends. I’m meeting a ton of new people and having a great time. My jobs are all perfect for me.

My AVODAH job is most of what I have been doing. Its really rewarding work and I’m learning so much. The part I enjoy the most is that I help so many people each week. The largest part of my job is matching volunteer groups with places/people that need help. Just a few of my projects have been; Installing quality windows in a homeless shelter for women, fixing a furnace for a senior that hasn’t had central heating in his house for two years, painting a medical clinic for low-income families, and making food for the homeless. I have two very big days of service coming up. They are starting to take up most of my time. Next Monday and Tuesday night we are hosting EBTT (Everything but the Turkey) at the DCJCC. We will have 500+ volunteers making thousands of meals for homeless shelters for Thanksgiving. On December 25th is a service project we call D25, where we will coordinate 1,000 volunteers to help 50+ social service organizations in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Its a lot of work, but I’m very excited to be a part of this work.

I’m also working a lot in the theatre. I have been house managing and running the box office a few times a week. Its a side of the theatre that I hadn’t had much experience, so I’m becoming more rounded in the in and out of theatre. Plus I get to see really cutting edge theatre. If you ever are in DC, come to TheaterJ at the DCJCC. My other job in the theater is sound/light technician. Its pretty simple and I don’t do much, but I get to see lots of cool events. Last week there was a Jewish Turkish band. Super cool.

My home life is crazy. Lots of together time, meetings, and dinners. I am a very independent person, so its been a challenge. Our house is almost a full blown co-op. Everything has to be consense and talked about. We share all our food and each person has a house duty. Plus we have dinners four days a week. Nice to come home to food after a long day at work. We take turns and sign up for meals and dishes. I just did almost all my duty last week. I can say that I’m getting good at cooking awesome food. Shakshuka and Baba-ganoush were big hits.

I’m looking at my future now and starting to plan my next move. I have many options and I’m really being pulled in different directions. My major focus now is getting my application for a Masters in Israel Studies at the University of Haifa. It is a perfect fit for me and I know will help me get back to starting a life in Israel. I miss Israel and my friends there so much. I think about it every day, so if this program accepts me, fingers crossed, I’ll be back in Israel in September 2014! If that doesn’t work out, I could apply to other MA programs (Israel and US), move back to Colorado, or stay in DC. Who knows?

Sweet, nice chatting with you all. Enjoy this picture of me eating the AVODAH sign. Peace and Love

Oh! How do you like the new look of my blog?

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New Chapter, New Year, New City, New Focus

This last week I begin a new chapter in life. I finished my undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado and had an amazing summer. The Colorado Shakespeare Festival ended with a bang and I made so many friends and gained a ton of experience in the Theatre. I am sad to leave my family, friends, roommates, Chabad, and Boulder. I never could have made it through this past year with out some of the most amazing and supportive people. Special Shout out to Joshua Hooper, Josh Umland, Nadav Rosen, Avi Gross, Zilla Goodman, Rabbi Yisroel and Leah Wilhelm, Yitzi, Asher, Levi, and Yocheved. 

THANKS!

I am now living in Washington DC (Columbia Heights). I have decided to kickstart my career in Jewish Non-profits with a year of service in AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. My placement for the year is at the DC Jewish Community Center and Behrend Builders as the Community Service Associate. I start working this Tuesday! I am living with 9 other Avodahnicks, with all different placements in DC. Our house is in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, just NW of downtown. The neighborhood is definitely the most diverse place I have ever lived and a whole new adventure. All these new places, work, and passion of mine are all right inline with the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShanah. I am nervous to be away from any familiar families for meals and services, but I’m sure it won’t take me long to find a home and service.

Well, I’m just about all moved in and orientation is over. My housemates and I are going to be figuring out the next few days on how to live communally. Yes, I am going to have to share…. Well, I did get my own room and bathroom. I just need to figure out food sharing. I’m the only gluten, soy, dairy, egg free housemate.  

Thats it for now. I do plan to update my blog more often now that I’m doing something new and exciting. So stay tuned for more. Next week I will be able to talk about the work I’m going to be doing. 

 

l’shana tova/Happy New Year everyone! 

 

Life’s New Chapter: I got a Job!

Wow, now its really been a long time since my last post. I have been asked a lot about my blog and if I’ll keep it going, well I guess so. I really didn’t have too many things to talk about the past year. I have almost finished my Undergraduate eduction though. I graduate from the University of Colorado, Boulder next week.

I’ll be the first Jewish Studies only graduate from CU.  Everyone else has had two majors. At least I have a minor in Theatre. I successful completed my Jewish studies capstone project last weekend with my own production of A Dybbuk, adapted by Tony Kushner. I had an amazing time directing, designing, and stage managing this full length drama with a 16 member cast. It was very successful, minus that I went  $200 over budget and the fog didn’t work. I just have a few online classes now to finish up over the summer and then I’ve got a degree!

Let’s get to the main reason though I decided to write a blog post, I got a Job!

Well, I got three jobs.

1. I was hired as the Assistant production manager of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival for the summer. This is a dream job for Theatre people and I got it right out of college. I’ll be working on all this seasons shows and helping to manage most of the festival’s operations. I hope to see anyone in the area at the shows, Check them out here. This is just for the summer and I’m doing it for credits mostly.

2. I will be leading another Mayanot Taglit-Birthright Israel trip at the end of May. This will be my fourth Birthright trip from the states, this is addition to my 15 that I supervised while in Israel. I will now of interacted with 760 participants, 152 Israeli Soldiers/Students, 76 Israeli staff members, and 17 Chabad Leaders. Thats over 1,000 people, a lot of which read this blog. I am very sad to report though that I won’t be able to extend my trip due to my first summer job. :( I’ll be back soon though.

3. The biggest news to report is that I have been accepted in to the program  Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps. I will be living in a house with other young adults all with different social justice jobs around Washington DC. My placement is with the DC Jewish Community Center as their Behrend Builders and Community Service Associate. I am very excited for my big move to DC and the JCC. This program is a great jump start into my future as a social justice advocate in the Jewish community. I’ll miss Israel, a lot, but I plan to move back there after this year of service to go to Grad School.

 

Well thats it for now. I’ve got so many papers to finish to graduate. Peace and Shalom

Jewish Buff Graduates

 

Mayanot 99, The trip of a lifetime.

Mayanot 99!

Your one of the best Mayanot Birthright-Israel groups I have had the pleasure to come across. We just finished an amazing 10 trip of a lifetime. These past 10 days just seem like a wonderful dream that could never happen, but it did. This trip was an emotional roller coaster for me as you all know. I’m sure my brother, Travis, would have loved sharing this experience with you all. Your hugs, smiles, tears, and dancing just made this very hard trip a truly rewarding time. I love you all and hope to see you in the near future. 567147_10101252089734033_1347715821_o

If you would please make a small donation to Travis’s Torah Fund that would really touch me. Here is the link. Torah

I told you all that I would try my hardest to help you find programs and opportunities to come back or just support Israel. So here are just a few out of many.

I talked a lot about recruiting for Mayanot, so here is the link MAYANOT RECRUITING. Do it all over again and here is  Mayanot’s Institute of Jewish Learning, which offers many different programs.

Also I talked about the post birthright program that I did, IsraeLinks. 3 Weeks for $499

Here is a whole list of things from Israel on Campus Coalition, Israel Study/Travel. Various Prices and Durations

This is one of the biggest databases of Israel programs, MASA, Costs money but many scholarships available.

A cool program I just heard about to Volunteer in Israel, Otzma. Also like I did with Jewish National Fund, Alt Winter/Spring Break

If you want to volunteer in the IDF and be with soldiers like Miki, here is the link to Sar-El.

There are many other programs and trips, here is some ways to pay for them…

  • Your local Jewish Federation sponsors participants in Israel Programs, it should be noted that there are often additional funding sources through the Federation.
  • Your local synagogue: Many synagogues provide funding for Jewish youth to visit Israel. Even if there isn’t a specific fund, many synagogues have a “Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund” where your Rabbi may choose to spend a portion of his/her donated funds. Even if you have not been an active member of the synagogue, it is a good idea to speak with your Rabbi.
  • Hillel: Asking your local campus Hillel is another option when it comes to finding money to get to Israel. On most campuses, Hillel is a place where Jewish students are able to express and develop their Jewish identity. Inquiring through the Hillel Director, Program Director, or JCSC Fellow may help you.
  • The Bureau of Jewish Education: If it is an educational program or Jewish learning experience,  the BJE may be willing to fund your participation on the program.  Most cities have a local BJE.
  • Jewish organizations and agencies in your hometown: Hadassah, B’nai B’rith lodges, Jewish Women International (formerly B’nai B’rith Women), Temple/Synagogue men’s clubs/sisterhoods — all of them care about the Jewish community! They are often able and willing to cover a portion of your costs! Take advantage of their hospitality. Especially look towards agencies where your family or family friends belong. If no one you know belongs, they may still want to help — that’s the beauty of the community.
  • Your Fraternity/Sorority: If you are involved in the Greek system and your Fraternity/Sorority happens to be traditionally Jewish on a national scale, your national offices may be interested in sponsoring you on your trip to Israel.
  • University Study Abroad Office: Study Abroad offices often have information on scholarships that are available through a wide variety of agencies, academic departments, and businesses. It would be in your best interest to set up a meeting with a counselor in the Study Abroad Office to find out what scholarships are available to students traveling to Israel.
  • University Academic Departments: It doesn’t hurt to ask specific academic departments on campus (i.e. Judaic studies, political science, history, religion, business) about potential scholarships for experiential learning programs in Israel. While it depends on the university, many academic departments have money set aside for faculty or students to attend programs.
  • Hebrew Free Loan Society: For interest free loans. You must apply in person while in the U.S. but can often receive significant funds which can be paid back free of interest.
  • Also you all met Jeff Sidel that gave you the free Torah Books and Sidders. Check out his scholarship site.
 I also promised a reading list. So here you are. 

(Take each word of advice from your perspective. I do not necessarily believe/agree with everything I read.)

Jewish Books:: Why Marry Jewish?,  Dear Rabbi, Why Can’t I marry her?How to raise a dog JewishJewish Meditation,  Towards a Meaningful LifeComing Back to Earth,

IDF Books: Brotherhood of WarriorsLonely Soldier.

Israel Books: Son of Hamas, Start-up Nation, Arab-Israel Conflict.

Donate to the Travis Darling Torah Fund

Donate to the Travis Darling Torah Fund

I’m starting to raise money to have a Torah written in Memory of my brother, Travis Darling.

Travis was 16 months younger than me. We grew up together and were the best of childhood friends. We didn’t have the easiest childhood, but we are always there for each other. As we grew older, we sadly grew apart. Travis went on to be a cowboy in the rodeo, and I went the Jewish path and served in the Israel Army.
We were slated to travel to Israel this December on Mayanot Birthright-Israel. This was going to be the trip of a lifetime. Both Travis and I were beyond excited to take an extended trip together; more importantly, I could show my brother why I love Israel and Judaism. Unfortunately we were not able to go on this trip.
On 12, Heshvan 5773, October 28th, 2012. Travis had just moved to Texas for a job training horses. That night he was on his way home and wrecked his truck and died on impact.
To honor his name and soul, I am trying to raise money to write a Torah Scroll. This will be for the students at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where I attend college.
Thank you for your time and money.
Tzvi/Jeremy Darling

Mayanot Peeps! Come back to Israel!

Hey everyone that I had the pleasure to cross paths with this summer. I hope your all having an amazing time back at home remembering all the crazy things and places from Mayanot Birthright-Israel.

I told you all that I would try my hardest to help you find programs and opportinues to come back or just support Israel. So here are just a few out of many.

I talked alot about recruiting for Mayanot, so here is the link MAYANOT RECRUITING, 10 days for Free

and Mayanot’s Institute of Jewish Learning, many different programs.

Also I talked about the post birthright program that I did, IsraeLinks. 3 Weeks for $499

Here is a whole list of things from Israel on Campus Coalition, Israel Study/Travel. Various Prices and Durations

This is one of the biggest databases of Israel programs, MASA, Costs money but many scholoarships avivable.

A cool program I just heard about to Volenteer in Isarel, Otzma. Also like I did with Jewish National Fund, Alt Winter/Spring Break

 

There are many other programs and trips, here is some ways to pay for them…

  • Your local Jewish Federation sponsorsparticipants in Israel Programs, it should be noted that there are often additional funding sources through the Federation.
  • Your local synagogue: Many synagogues provide funding for Jewish youth to visit Israel. Even if there isn’t a specific fund, many synagogues have a “Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund” where your Rabbi may choose to spend a portion of his/her donated funds. Even if you have not been an active member of the synagogue, it is a good idea to speak with your Rabbi.
  • Hillel: Asking your local campus Hillel is another option when it comes to finding money to get to Israel. On most campuses, Hillel is a place where Jewish students are able to express and develop their Jewish identity. Inquiring through the Hillel Director, Program Director, or JCSC Fellow may help you.
  • The Bureau of Jewish Education: If it is an educational program or Jewish learning experience,  the BJE may be willing to fund your participation on the program.  Most cities have a local BJE.
  • Jewish organizations and agencies in your hometown: Hadassah, B’nai B’rith lodges, Jewish Women International (formally B’nai B’rith Women), Temple/Synagogue men’s clubs/sisterhoods — all of them care about the Jewish community! They are often able and willing to cover a portion of your costs! Take advantage of their hospitality. Especially look towards agencies where your family or family friends belong. If no one you know belongs, they may still want to help — that’s the beauty of the community.
  • Your Fraternity/Sorority: If you are involved in the Greek system and your Fraternity/Sorority happens to be traditionally Jewish on a national scale, your national offices may be interested in sponsoring you on your trip to Israel.
  • University Study Abroad Office: Study Abroad offices often have information on scholarships that are available through a wide variety of agencies, academic departments, and businesses. It would be in your best interest to set up a meeting with a counselor in the Study Abroad Office to find out what scholarships are available to students traveling to Israel.
  • University Academic Departments: It doesn’t hurt to ask specific academic departments on campus (i.e. Judaic studies, political science, history, religion, business) about potential scholarships for experiential learning programs in Israel. While it depends on the university, many academic departments have money set aside for faculty or students to attend programs.
  • Hebrew Free Loan Society: For interest free loans. You must apply in person while in the U.S. but can often receive significant funds which can be paid back free of interest.
  • Also you all met Jeff Sidel that gave you the free Torah Books and Sidders. Chech out his scoloarship site.

Closing times

Hey all,

So a very sad moment is approaching quickly. In just six days, I will be leaving Israel for an extended period of time. Yes, its true.

What are my plans exactly, you may ask?

Well on Saturday night I’m going to be flying to Chicago with a bunch of Israeli kids. We are traveling to Camp Chi in Wisconsin for three weeks. It is kinda like what I did last summer with Camp Kimama in New York. This camp however is fully American and we are just a few Israelis that will join them for their second session. I’m super excited to go to a new camp!

I then will fly back to Israel with the campers and the next day flying to Washington DC! Yes, I am crazy. I will be attending a training session for an Internship I have been chosen for this coming school year. I will be a  MZ-Grinspoon Intern with the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC). I hope to use this position to help change the University of Colorado’s campus Israel environment to something more positive and productive.

I then will fly to Colorado and move into my new apartment, with some awesome friends. My classes then start August 27th. I’m off to finish a degree in Theatre and Jewish Studies, with a minor in Hebrew. Its going to take me about a year and half with summer classes. I’m going to be working very hard to finish my degree and get back to Israel. Most likely I’ll be back to visit Israel during this period and I do plan on returning as soon as I finish.

That’s it for now! I’ll let you know how it all goes as it comes.

Peace and Love!

“If I forget Jerusalem, I will forget my right hand”

Mayanot! Bus 72, 425, 426

Shalom and Welcome to all my new friends from Mayanot-Birthright!

Here is my blog from the last two years of my life serving in the IDF. Feel free to brose around. Some posts are a lot better than others. I also have a blog that I wrote about making Aliyah. Check it out too, Tzvi’s Aliyah Blog.

You Jews were so so so much fun to hang out with, stay in touch!

 

-Tzvi

The Civilian World (Trip, Release, Work)

I’m sure that most of you heard, but I have been Honorably Discharged from the IDF. Two years and that’s it. I just flew back to Israel last week and got out a few days after. My vacation in America was great, I’ll talk about it in a minute… So, what am I going to do now with my life in the civilian world? Work! I’ll also get to this at the end.

America Trip:

I kinda gave a brief preview of the trip in my last post, so I’ll keep it short. Besides all the flights, I had the best time ever. No really. I hadn’t experienced America for three years and I hadn’t been home in four years. Crazy right? Well not too much has changed, but I did really notice a lot of differences. Example; Everything is so much bigger in America…cars, roads, open space, stores, houses, toilets, couches, cups, you name it, its bigger in the US. Plus everyone is really nice in the US (Well I think its probably fake or making up for their self-esteem)  who talks to random people on the street, stores, coffee shops… etc? Weird. Oh and what is it with Americans and lines….blah!

Enough ranting…yes? Sorry.

I did really enjoy seeing a ton of old friends and family. I even drove 2,400 miles (3860km) in five days to see friends and family. It was very long, but relaxing drive…besides the tornadoes in Oklahoma. I also met a great group of people to be friends with next year in Boulder. Speaking of which, I’m all set to go for my return to the University of Colorado (CU). I’ve got an apartment downtown, a class schedule, financial aid, and friends…now I just need a job. I also figured out to add the brand new Jewish Studies major to my degree, with a minor in Hebrew. This means that I’ll have another year, summer, and fall semester left. I hope to graduate Dec 2013.

My Release Day (יום שחרור):

This was a very exciting day. I have never felt so accomplished in my life. I took the bus to base one last time with all my Army stuff. You have to give almost everything on your last day. Boots, uniforms, bag, etc… I also brought presents for my closest friends (mostly pajama pants from Walmart). It was really great seeing all these guys and gals that I have spent almost every day with for the past year and half. Most people also have a release snack (פריסת שחרור). This is when the people getting out bring food/snacks for their unit friends/commanders. Everyone then gets to say something about the person being released and then give a speech about their time in the unit. I was the only one that got out that day so I did mine alone. I brought pop-tarts from Walmart and pop/juice. My past and current commanders and a few friends said the nicest/rewarding things about me that I have ever heard. It was most powerful moment of my life. I can’t really explain, but I was touched. I just love my Unit and all the amazing Israelis that I have made lifelong friendships with.

I left base and went home to get ready for my release party (מסיבת שחרור). I had it at Mike’s Place in Herzaliya. This was the best party. I had so many friends from all different parts of my life. A ton of people showed up and it was so much fun. (Pictures on fb).

Then on Saturday night, my company (פלוגה) had a evening honoring (ערב משתחררים) all the soldier that had discharged in the last few months. This was also a lot of fun. My present from them…A pair of boxers with a picture of me and a few friends. lol. I love them.

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My New Job:

Three days after I get out of the Army, I started to work. I have got an amazing job with Mayanot, the second largest provider on Taglit-Birthright. If you don’t know about Birthright and Mayanot, check them out. I have linked their websites. I’m now a Rakaz Shetach (Field Coordinator) for the next few weeks (or more…). I get to have the honor of supervising the trip of a lifetime for Jews ages 18-16. Most of which is their first time in Israel. Its a dream job of mine and I get my first buses this week. I’m so excited to drive (yes, drive a rental car) around Israel and make sure these Jews have the best time of their life.

Well that’s it for now, sorry of the long post. Have a great week! Don’t forget that Wednesday night is Lag B”Omer! Its Bon-fire time. (I’m excited to shave my beard off…its so long).

Shalom!