Jun 12, 2009

To blog or not to blog

This weekend marks my last Shabbos in Connecticut until mid-August. In two weeks, I'll be in a car heading to Vermont for the Middlebury Hebrew Immersion program, and I don't think the reality of it has fully set in yet. I've been loading my computer full of Hebrew tunes, buying summer-friendly skirts, books to work on the b'rachot, and have been working my tuches off to get unemployment so I can pay for my Hebrew books at the program. Seven weeks away from my community here in Connecticut, however, will be bittersweet. Sure, I'll be away learning and growing confidently in my Hebrew usage. At the same time, however, I'll be missing my weekly classes with the rabbi, Shabbos meals with community members, vital moments in my growth within the Orthodox community.

Up at school there are Kabbalat Shabbat services catered to the student body present, so it is set up a lot like Hillel in a way. There are no morning services, unfortunately, and there might be a Tisha B'av service. I foresee a lot of Saturdays being slept in, and a lot of very long Shabbats spent reading books and attempting to pass the time with ease. It won't compare, in any way, to what I have here. It's got me a bit bummed out.

I'm also trying to figure out what to do about this blog, my Twitter account, and my other social networking obligations during my weeks in Middlebury. In truth, my entire seven weeks are to be in Hebrew and only Hebrew, with the exception of religious services (funny that I'll be speaking Hebrew anyway, hah). I can blog and such in Hebrew, or I can risk it and do it in English. I can do it half and half, or I can write in Hebrew and send it to someone to translate and have Tuvia post it to the blog. Or, of course, I can just do nothing for seven weeks and see what happens.

Oh decisions decisions. There are many things I want to do before I go -- figure out which PhD programs I want to apply to, edit my Golden Calf paper again, etc. I have had more than a month now to do things, but the time I've had free has flown, and I'm entirely unsure where it's gone. I have a dozen books I want to plow through to work on my conversion, and I want to get a date pegged for my actual conversion. I've been watching conversion chaos, racism, hatred toward the Jewish people (U.S. Holocaust Museum shooting incident), doubt about RCA vs. independent conversions ... there's a lot floating out there. I've been avoiding writing about a lot of these things because I just can't let myself get wrapped up in the negativity and despair therein.

At any rate. Let me know what you all think I should handle myself while away for seven weeks -- to blog, or not to blog!


Ofir Hauptmann said...

Since Middlebury's language intensives are world renown, I would follow their instruction to a T and immerse myself in the Hebrew; take a blog and twitter break. Vermont is an absolutely gorgeous place, so your shabbats can be spent walking in the beautiful countryside around Middlebury. Take a vacation from the chaotic world of conversion debates, racism, and hatred. Use a pen and paper to write your thoughts down in Hebrew if you have to. Then come back with great insight and relate your Middlebury story to us.

Tuvia said...

I agree that you should try and stick to the Hebrew only requirement as much as possible. If you can type the blog post in Hebrew I can ensure it gets translated and posted! I can even post the Hebrew and English version of it so people can see both if they want.

Plus I am sure people will want to read about your experiences there, and if you try and just remember it all afterwards it will be nuts!

Hebrew Student said...

Hope you get on well during the seven weeks that you speak Hebrew and nothing but Hebrew! I did an intensive Ulpan in Israel (5 or 6 months) and it is absolutely better if you forget English and try to immerse yourself in Hebrew. Read only Hebrew, write only Hebrew, try to think only in Hebrew. Forget English. Hebrew is the language of the kingdom. You will make much faster progress in Hebrew if you totally immerse yourself in the language. It's worth it.

Shimshonit said...

Wow, are YOU ever gutsy! I think taking a break from blogging but keeping a (Hebrew) journal is a good compromise. After your stint there is over, you could catch us up with highlights of the program.

Incidentally, my grandmother did the program--in German--when she was a high school German teacher to keep it up. It's been around for a while, and is said to be an incredible experience.

(I'll be in Bennington, VT, for a couple of weeks in August. It is so beautiful there with the green mountains, rollings hills, and beautiful woods--if I weren't a frum Jew, I'd live there.)

B'hatzlacha, v'kaitz metzuyan!

TMC said...

I think you should go the all-Hebrew route. We'll all be here when you get back. :)

Chaviva said...

You've all made a great case for me making my adventure Hebrew only. And I think I agree.

But, I might falter. I might come on once a week or a few times during my trip, but it will be ONLY in Hebrew!

@Shimshonit I wonder if you'll be around when I'm around? I'll be in VT until August 14!

Maybe I'll keep a Hebrew journal and then scan the pages in every now and again. I wonder if I'll be able to manage only in Hebrew in a journal.


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