One year ago today, I was heading to the Hampshire House in Boston for an event called Get Back to Israel! I was unemployed at the time, barely able to pay my bills with babysitting and I hoped the event would cheer me up. It was free and I could walk there. Two of my Birthrighters, Ben and Laurence, were going to be there, along with my Birthright guide, Matt. Once I got to the place, I headed upstairs and bumped into Laurence. I said, “Hi, Laurence. How are you?” Laurence put his hand on my shoulder and said, “It’s open bar.” After he said that, it was off to drink.
Laurence has great taste in alcohol and so he picked my cocktails for me. The only money I had to spend all night was on tips. Whatever I was drinking made me absolutely smashed and so I stumbled around to the various tables in the room while munching on the fruit platters.
At one point in the night, I headed to the table that had a banner for Israel Teaching Fellows. Drinking causes me to have a lost look in my eyes and when I noticed the guy, Jared, staring at me, I told him that I didn’t drink often (which is true) and that I wasn’t exactly going to pass up open bar. He said it was fine and that the only thing he cared about was if I could teach. I somehow managed to fill out an information card and then it was off to drink again. The rest of the night proceeded splendidly–the caterers allowed me to take home the remaining fruit platters and Laurence then took me to Mija Cantina & Tequila Bar in Faneuil Hall where one of his friends bought me a drink. I went to bed happy for the first time in a while.
I don’t remember how long it was after I had drunkenly signed up for Israel Teaching Fellows that I had received a phone call about the program. It took me a while to remember what the guy on the phone was talking about. It then dawned on me that I had signed up for this program while trashed beyond belief and I was apologizing to the guy for being drunk when I filled out the information card. He said that his colleague had not mentioned that I was drunk but instead was praising my “nice handwriting.” I found that odd, seeing as my penmanship is awful. I told the guy that I would look into the program while sober as it sounded intriguing. And intriguing it was.
As I finish doing my hair before heading out to Shabbat dinner at one of my students’ house, I think of how drunkenly filling out an information card has changed so much in my life. I have been in Israel for two months (this Sunday!) and apart from some bureaucratic and personal setbacks, I am greatly enjoying my time here. I never thought I’d be living in Israel, teaching precious, little lives my mother tongue, but I love it. Drunkenly filling out that information card one year ago has turned into something big and something beautiful.
I love my students.