Friday, May 28, 2004

One more for fun. Sister Josie, brother Avi, sister Micha about 1 week ago after Avi's choir performance. The boy is a singing fool! Posted by Hello

Just posting photos because I can now. This is me in Washington, DC with my Bolivian friend Grover and his family's dog, Adonnis. Posted by Hello

Pearly-whites! I tried posting this to my profile but couldn't get it to work, so here you go. Posted by Hello

Mama's Boy

I told my mom and step-dad about the trip last night. I had been waiting until after Mother's Day and my mom's birthday...I just wasn't sure how they would react. Of course they realize I'm an adult and they almost always support my decisions regardless of their personal feelings, which I'm sure isn't easy (thanks, folks.) But given the current situation in Israel and worldwide, it's understandable that they would be worried for my safety. Heck, I'm worried for my own safety. But, at least on the surface, they were very excited for me, although I think caught off-guard. Mom and Ron, if you would like to voice your opinions on the matter, I invite you to post to the comments. And don't worry - I'll be fine!

I am going to be making at least one more post on the issue of safety, but we can start with this.

Trial and Error. And phlegm.

Been trying to tweak the ol' blog a bit. Finally figured out how to add some links to the side bar (observe --->).

I tried to add a little window showing the weather in Israel, but I when I posted it, it messed up my whole configuration. What the deally yo? I guess that's above my paygrade.

I've been pounding echinacea tea like nobody's business. My whole household has been going through some major illness for the last few weeks. If any of you have seen Shrek 2, think of the scene where Puss 'n' Boots hacks up the furball (rolling on the ground laughing, btw), and you'll have an idea of what's been going on around here.

Thus far I have miraculously escaped The Cough, but yesterday I started getting that hot nasal feeling. I know you know what I'm talking about. And also I've been fatigued and irritable. Oh wait, I guess that's normal. Anyway, I'm hoping to stave it off, if not it could peak right in the middle of the trip.

Keep practicing your Hebrew.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


A word about preparations for the trip...

What would you do to prepare for a visit to the Holy Land? That may seem like an inane question, but think about it. It's not like going on a trip to Phoenix, Cancun, or even Disney World.

Maybe I'm making a bigger deal of this then some of you would, but it just seems like there has to be some level of inner peace, harmony, respect, awe, or whatever that precedes a trip like this. It's almost required: "Passport - check. Reverance and self-reflection - check."

It sounds wierd, but it's actually something that I've thought about for a long time. It's always seemed to me that it would be proper to live some kind of ascetic existence in a convent or a commune or something for like a month before a trip to Israel. No R-rated movies, no Saturday nights at the bar, and no gluttony. Is anyone else feeling me on this one?

Anyway, I've always known that I would visit Israel one day, and I always imagined myself preparing in some way like that. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it hasn't turned out the way I planned, because nothing ever does.

You shouldn't interpret that to mean that I'm out there being a degenerate. It just means that I'm still wrapping my mind around this hasn't really sunk in yet, and things still seem just a little too normal.

Anyway, about the preparations that we actually are making. The group has been taking a class every Saturday, basically just a historical review of the country and specifically of the sites that we're going to visit, and their biblical significance. We also are going over all of the logistical aspects.

Dad has been handing out plenty of materials for reading, and in addition has e-mailed several good websites for our review. Everyone keeps saying how important it is to know something about the sites before we visit them, for maximum knowledge absorption. I'm not sure I'm with that program.

We have also been recommended a book for spiritual preparation, and we are to read a chapter a day for the 18 days preceding the trip. It is written from and for a Jewish - Pilgrim perspective and is to maybe help achieve that state of mind that I was babbling about before. It also has proper prayers to be said at different sites such as the Wailing Wall. Which is good.

Tomorrow I will try to post the itinerary because all of my faithful readers are clamoring for it.

Good night.

Still figuring this out...

My blog looks so ghetto.

The title is small and plain (and unoriginal), there are no links posted's not like those other nice big shiny fancy blogs that I've seen! I'm still trying to figure out how to post all of the links on the sidebar, that show people how cool and connected and net-savvy I am.

I will be constantly trying to tweak and twist the format of everything in the coming days. But time is short, and in the end too much effort just may not be worth it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

No, this is not me in Israel

This is me in Washington DC last year. I'm just testing the photo-publishing software used by Blogger. Brrr! Posted by Hello


Okay this whole thing is being hastily thrown together, so I'll try to give you a little bit of background information - the rest you may have to piece together with future posts.

I'm going on a tour to Israel, June 13-25 (I hope to post an itinerary somewhere on this blog.)

I'll be going with some of my family - my dad Ira, my step-mother Gloria, and my sister Micha. My little brother Avi won't be going this year - he's spending 6 weeks in Colorado with my older sister Sammi. Oh, and my other sister Josie will be with us in Israel, but with different purposes (more on that later.) Confused yet? Don't worry, all will become clear with time!

In addition to the Brawers, there will be 15 other people going on the tour, for a total of 19. All are members of my dad's synagogue in Boca Raton. It looks like it will be a great group - a good mix of young and, ahem, seasoned, and of couples and singles. I'm sure you will be getting to know almost everyone to some extent.

They have all been planning this trip for almost a year - some of them since they came back from 3 weeks in Israel last summer.

I, however, never planned to go. Of course I have always wanted to visit Israel - anyone who knows me knows I love to travel, and how much more so to the Holy Land. But logistically and financially it never was an option for me to accompany the group this year - until one phone call changed everything.

Out of the clear, blue sky my dear beloved Grandmother Lilly (my Oma) called my dad and offered to pay for my trip. I was shocked!! Not because Oma is incapable of such loving and generous gestures, but because of the suddenness of it all. Imagine - one day going about your merry way, looking for full time employment and wondering who is going to make the NBA finals and from around the corner - wham!! - it hits you. In a matter of weeks, YOU will be on the mother of all journeys - a pilgrimage to Israel.

Okay, maybe a little over-dramatic, but you get the idea. With only three weeks left to our departure, I still am having trouble wrapping my mind around the idea that I am actually going.

There is a little bit left to the story. My Oma felt led to pay for my trip because she and I had originally planned to travel to Israel in 2002, when I got out of the Peace Corps in Bolivia. Unfortunately, her health took a (temporary) turn for the worse and we had to give up our plans.

It is now her selfless and remarkable gift that has made my trip possible, and Oma, you will be with me every step of the way.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Yes, I'm really going

Welcome to my blog! This will be an online journal of sorts that I will keep on my upcoming trip to the Holy Land...yes, Israel! It may be sparse (my blog, not Israel), and it may not happen at all (depends on internet access once I'm there) but if all goes as planned YOU will be following ME as I walk the land...swim the seas...taste the the people. It's going to be incredible!

Along the way we both might just learn a thing or two. Stay tuned...