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Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach – Next year may I be in the USA

May this day be for a blessing to you and yours, it certainly is one for me.

Today I walked the streets of Tel Aviv alone as Ovik and Armen wanted to go to the beach one last time before we go back to Armenia. As I walked the history of our people wrapped me in the gentle blanket of a story as old as time and as new as today. My age and life were folded into the age and life of the world around me. It was a glorious day.

Tonight I make my new Shabbat dinner of chicken curry with rice and then I will go to services at the Great Synagogue. It is a good life and such a great adventure.

Thank you all for being part of it.

Steven

Too excited think!!

SO I am about to take a nap before Ovik, Armen and I start our journey to the Holy Land. I figured the dates wrong, we should have left yesterday then I would have been there for the first night of Passover,oh well.

Anyway Ovik is taking a nap on the porch and Armen is doing a little wedding before the taxi picks us up and takes us to the airport in Tblisi, Georgia for our 4:30 am flight to Istanbul and then on to Tel Aviv.

I will be taking lots of pictures an posting them on FaceBook as well as including some of them in next weeks email.

For those who are concerned about the security issues in Israel, rest assured I am well aware as is the Peace Corps who has restricted me from going to many areas of the country and also of riding on public buses. In addition, my travel companions are both trained in this area. Ovik does security at the German Embassy in Yerevan and Armen is Deputy Director of the Emergency Services for the town of Spitak. We will be careful!

So I wish all my Jewish friends and family a great Seder this evening and when you say next year in Israel, think of me, because I will be there this year!!!

Love and miss you all,

Steven

The pace quickens

A very busy week indeed. My friend Charles Forbus (76 years old from Texas) and I did a presentation to the new Peace Corps Volunteers on the why and how of strategic planning in the Armenian context. Then on Friday my friend Lorrie Wilkes had a presentation before 250 college students at Yeravan State University on using music and motion to teach English. Seven other PCV’s showed up to help her. I got to run the PowerPoint projector. We all had a good time, especially the students who are used to a much more formal approach to teaching and learning.

I am preparing Shabbat dinner and thinking that next week at this time I will be in Israel for Passover. It is still a little crazy that after all those years of saying next year in Jerusalem, this year I will be in Jerusalem..what a grand adventure this is, on so many levels..

So know that I will miss you all this Passover but I am with you in spirit.

Shabbat Shalom.

Steven

PS I have an article in the upcoming Shalom Magazine – Passover Edition.

A difficult week here in Armenia

Thank G-d not for me personally, but as I am sure many of you saw there was a major flair up between Aremenia and its neighbor Azerbaijain over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh. Young lives were lost on both sides and tensions are still high as now the funerals start. My friend Marine was closely effected when a school mate of her daughter Qnar was one of the casualities. So sad, especially since there really is no good solution to the problem and so it will once again fester until it erupts again at some terrible time in the future.

Other than that Spring is in the air, and it is getting warmer everyday.

But Shabbat is almost here and I am having some of my Armenian friends over for dinner. So back to cooking and being thankful for the blessing of so many good friends.

Shabbat Shalom

Steven

Shabbat Shalom

All good here. In Aygepat my original host village with my host mother Raya and friend Ovick.

Shabbat Shalom

Steven