We’re back to work at The Quindecim and we’ve already published a comprehensive first issue of the semester. It was impressive to see all of our staff from last semester come back to our first meetings and contribute such great content on a shortened deadline.
Once we received everything, it was the usual grind.
Three straight nights of layout, tough decision making, and early-morning coffee breaks made for a pretty tough week. Sometimes it makes me wonder why I do this in the first place.
Then I’m reminded when the paper hits campus on Fridays.
There’s nothing more refreshing then walking through our buildings and seeing students, faculty, and staff alike flipping through our pages. It’s quite a rush.
Here I sit a week later writing about a State of the Union speech that I can barely recall any details about. President Obama chose his words wisely, safely appealing to both Republicans and Democrats while largely avoiding clear and specific policy proposals.
I have to say, it was pretty boring.
But the young, soon-to-graduate-from-college-and-not-exactly-sure-what-he’s-going-to-do-next-yet-strangely-not-worried-at-all kid inside of me resonated with one talking point in an otherwise very long hour of watching.
“Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we’d beat them to the moon,” said President Obama, calling for job-creation throughout various fields of science. “The science wasn’t there yet. NASA didn’t even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.”
“This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” he added.
Hey people who are finishing up college this year, this is our “Sputnik moment.” Let’s get excited about going into the world. We’re young. We’re smart. We’re energetic. We’re hip.
A rough job market? No worries. Let’s change it.
We visited the Kotel in Jerusalem two times in one day, once for a tour and some moments of reflection and again for Shabbat later that evening.
It really is one of the most special places on Earth. When we arrived for Shabbat, it was raining, so over one hundred of us huddled under a bridge and held a Kabbalat Shabbat service. As soon as we finished, the rain cleared and we all took to the Kotel. For obvious reasons, I don’t have photographs of the atmosphere during Shabbat itself, so I posted these from earlier in the day.
I mentioned in an earlier post how being Jewish felt right in Israel. This was where I felt it the most.
Originally, I applied for the Birthright trip associated with Goucher Hillel, but was ultimately placed on the Greater Baltimore trip with students and young professionals from around the Baltimore area.
I’ve made it pretty clear over the past several years that there’s no bigger proponent of Goucher College than myself. I love everything about the institution, and in all honesty, I was a bit disappointed to originally learn that I wouldn’t be going with my school. But I consider it a blessing that I was placed on Bus 84, the group I was with.
There’s no way the trip would have been so special if it weren’t for the leadership we had. Our tour guide and educator, Elad, was masterful in his thoroughness, humor, transitions from stop to stop, and interactive style.
We couldn’t have asked for better group leaders than Renée Goldfarb and Sarah Langert. Looking after 52 people is a huge responsibility, and the way they handled us crazy people was admirable. I’m also grateful that they always designated time for us to sit and reflect on all that we had done.
Even our bus driver, Adel, greeted us every morning with a smile and air conditioning at our request.
I like to think that this photograph represents all their hard work.
For me, people make Israel such a special place, not the land. That’s saying something about the people, because the landscapes throughout the country are epic and inspiring.
The country is the size of New Jersey, yet one can travel from sea to desert to mountains in hours.
The two hour drive to this Bedouin tent had infinite opportunities for photographs, yet I didn’t take a single one. I just wanted to take it all in, and it remains a bus ride I’ll never forget.
Thanks to my new friend Matt for scouting the location for the night shot. The late night and early morning light in the middle of the desert was perfect, so I had to document it. In between these two moments was a night of singing, laughing, and lots of food.
*The Associated Blog cited this post and linked to my blog on January 18, 2011. Click here to see that blog post!*
I went to Israel for twelve days as part of the Taglit-Birthright program to start off my 2011 year.
I had heard so much about the country and about this trip itself, but having never been, I didn’t know what to expect. Now I’m back, and I can honestly say that it was the most meaningful trip I’ve ever been on. I want to preface all these posts by saying that no photographs, videos, or words can begin to illustrate how incredible this experience was. It’s something that one can only understand by doing them self.
There are three main things I’ll take from this trip.
The first is more pride in being Jewish. I was always one of the very few Jews growing up in school. There was never a time I didn’t feel normal, and I never had any shame in telling people I was Jewish, but at times it was hard to relate to people in that regard. Seeing a society where Judaism is the norm was truly inspiring. It felt like home.
Secondly, I realized just how easy my life is. In Israel, everyone must serve in the army. We were blessed to have eight Israeli soldiers with us. They’re all performing the ultimate service to their country with no complaints, yet they’re still kids who laugh, think, cry, love, and party just like us. I visited a school on the border of the Gaza Strip that regularly gets hit by incoming rocket propelled missiles. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to focus in an environment like that, yet the students I met there are some of the happiest, brightest people I’ve ever met. What do I have to be unhappy about? Being too busy? Having too much schoolwork? Losing a tennis match?
Finally, I’ve gained 52 new friends, both American and Israeli. It was unbelievable to see how quickly we all became so close to each other. It brought me to tears when it was time to say goodbye.
This was my favorite photograph from the trip. The upcoming posts will be highlighting some scattered but memorable moments from my time in Israel.
Here’s a slideshow of my photographs from Israel! I got this up quickly but check back for lots more to come!
My external hard drive fell off a table in the middle of this past semester, causing me to temporarily be without some 49,000 photographs that I had taken over the years. Luckily, a genius at a tiny computer store was able to recover all of them.
Getting all those images back right before the new year, I thought this would be a great opportunity to look back on what I’ve done this past year.
It’s been an amazing year and I’m thankful for everyone who has made it so special.
This slideshow isn’t meant to be a portfolio. Rather, it’s a collection of my favorite images from my most memorable and enjoyable moments this year.
Happy New Year!
The Quindecim published its seventh issue of the year last Friday, completing an unprecedented semester for this publication.
Last week also happened to be the week before finals, so we were all swamped with essays, presentations, projects, and exams to prepare for. I’m not quire sure how we pulled this together by deadline time on top of all that, but we did. What’s more, the content is just as strong as any other issue we’ve put out this semester.
In fact, thinking back, it’s amazing that we got these newspapers out so regularly, given our busy schedules.
Hitting these deadlines cost me lots of lost sleep and added stress, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. The lessons I’ve learned have been incredibly valuable, and it’s exciting to think about continuing next semester.
I took a Video Production class this semester. In light of the huge number of vandalisms and alcohol or drug related incidents on campus this semester, our final project for the class was to create a video public service announcement addressing one issue of the problem.
We decided to shoot a 30 second spot advising people to abstain from drinking Four Loko, the popular alcoholic energy beverage that has recently been banned in several states including Maryland.
We had four people in our group, so we decided to dress as “The Four Lokos” ourselves. We also wanted to mimic the style of John Landis’ 1986 film, “The Three Amigos.”
I think we did a fine job, considering our tight budget which was strictly dedicated to those ridiculous sombreros and mustaches.