Monthly Archives: July 2012


My timing is good. As I begin there, Bircas HaTorah will be starting a new masechta (tractate, or volume, of Talmud). We’ll be learning Kesuvos (in modern Hebrew, Ketubot). A kesuva is the Jewish marriage contract, which spells out the husband’s obligations to the wife, particularly if she becomes widowed or divorced. Maseches Kesuvos is ostensibly about the laws of the kesuva but, like the rest of the Talmud, its discussion tends to wander into many areas of Jewish law and history. In fact, I’m told that Kesuvos is sometimes referred to as “mini-Shas“¹ because it includes discussion of so many diverse topics.

¹Shas is a Hebrew acronym for “Shisha Sedarim,” referring to the Six Orders into which the Mishna (and therefore the Gemara) are divided.



Haven’t posted in a while, because the progress we’re making in preparations has been steady, but uneventful.

  • We have lined up friends to take our cars, and figured out how to handle the insurance.
  • Magazine & WSJ subscriptions are canceled (WSJ converted to web access).
  • We signed up for a remote mail service ( to deal with mail that comes while we’re away.
  • I got my iPhone unlocked, so I can get Israeli cell phone service, and confirmed that we are eligible for Orange’s package deal (~$35/mo. for unlimited minutes/texts in Israel, unlimited incoming calls from abroad, unlimited minutes to U.S. landlines, 1G data) even without being citizens. We will need to get Debbie an unlocked phone, though.
  • We have our new laptop to take with us, and I’m in the process of transferring our files from the desktop.
  • I stocked up on non-iron white dress shirts, and other clothing needs.
  • I’m getting final tasks at the office finished up.
  • Our visa applications are all in — including Mordechai’s, as we got his passport in time.
  • I renewed my driver’s license, which would otherwise expire while we’re there.

and, critically:

  • We have a foster home for Shpilkes, and a trial run for Nemo this Sunday.

What’s left? Lots of packing, which is underway (at this point, that means packing up stuff that’s staying; soon we’ll start packing stuff that’s going), and a few other odds-and-ends, like getting broadband internet without a landline or cable. And figuring out how we’re going to get from the airport to the Old City and how we’re going to get the key when we probably won’t make it to the Old City until about 1:00 a.m.