Shalom! Shavua Tov!
Today something crazy happened: It rained! (But, more on that later.)
Last night I went to a professor's home and met him with another student and we went to services at the same synagogue I had been to in Be'er Sheva before (Beit Knesset Rambam). We went back to his house after services and had dinner with his family along with three other students who joined us. He had invited us over as he wants to meet his students and give us the opportunity to get to know him and his family. He is very nice as is his family - they have 5 girls and 1 boy from age 7 to age 20.
This morning I went back to the same synagogue and then went to lunch with a family there with whom I had had Shabbat dinner on a previous week, the Green's. When I left for the 45 minute walk to the other side of Be'er Sheva, there were a lot of clouds in the sky. It started misting/drizzling shortly after I left the dorms. I was amazed. Rain! I haven't seen a lot of clouds here, let alone rain since before I left the U.S. The drizzling stopped until I was about 15 minutes away from the synagogue and then it actually started raining. It was really nice until I realized that I was getting really wet. It also seemed that as the water fell from the sky, so did the dirt and I have a lot of little dirt spots that somehow need to come out of my nice white shirt. The rain was unusual as it doesn't usually rain in Israel until after Sukkot, the harvest festival/holiday, and that isn't for another few weeks (although it is later this year do to a leap month in the Hebrew calendar). Anyways, Shabbat services and lunch were very enjoyable. I also got several potential invitations to other families.
I really like listening to prayers and different songs, especially for Shabbat. I found a great site today that you should check out: http://www.sidduraudio.com/.
Lately, I have been trying to do a better job of staying in touch with friends from home. I have talked to a number of people on AIM and Skype. It has been good. If I haven't talked to you recently, let's make it happen.
I have also been doing some thinking and reflecting in preparation for Rosh Hoshanah and Yom Kippur - the New Year 5769. I will soon post some of my New Year's Resolutions.