Shoshana, skip this post.

Dear Israelites,

When we last left off, when the Katzs climbed into the big van outside 5 HaLamed Hey, I thought I understood what this year would be about. At countless Shabbat tables, over many cups of coffee, I said the same thing again and again, “this year is my gift to David. He’ll have time to build up his business. He’ll be in Cleveland. What could be bad?” The unspoken message was also clear — I was doing something selfless, a grand loving gesture to David — leaving my life in Israel for him. It turns out I was super wrong (David will be so happy to read this post: how often do I ever admit to being wrong?).

This week has been some kind of crazy form of torture. Classes end this week. In fact, today was my last day of teaching at Mizrachi. But along with the end of classes, came the goodbyes. On Tuesday, I taught my final shiur to a group of women who learned with me since September. They are young moms and grandmas and everything in between. As a mother of five small children and a teacher to many teenagers, there is a new appreciation I have found for people who actually listen to me talk. And as I listened to their beautiful goodbye speech, I realized this had been one of my most gratifying experiences of the year. A gift.

On Wednesday,  we went to the senior dinner. Teachers and the seniors hang out over dinner and dessert and say nice things about each other. I got to get up in front of them all to say a few things. And I talked about finding joy. And I was talking to them and about them, but the message was to relevant to me too. We have truly found joy and fulfillment here.

Thursday was High School goodbye. There were donuts (hurray) and bagels (hurray) and orange juice (hurray) and some very adorable High School students saying some very adorable goodbyes. And by this point I’m holding it together by a thread. And I walk into class to have my final individual evaluations with each student, and it isn’t getting any easier. And then I start to pack up my desk.

Last week I met a friend for coffee. She said, stop writing about goodbyes already. Too much. You’ve got two more months here. Stop leaving already. And she’s right and I’d like to promise that after this week of So Many Goodbyes, I’ll be fine. But who knows? The only reason it is so sad to say goodbye is because it has been such a joyous ride.

I am getting excited to come home. I used a brand new towel tonight (guest towel bought for Bernice!) and was suddenly transported to a world where your kids’ camp towels aren’t the norm. I’m excited for my pregnant friends to have babies when I’m around to meet them. And for my Bnei Akiva kids to get married when I’m around to dance at the weddings. I’m excited to have breakfast in Marci’s garden and run Friday errands with Jorge. I’m really just relieved that at some point I’ll get to replace these super sad goodbyes with some super happy hellos.


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