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Coming Home – All is well

How does the old saying go, the more things change the more they remain the same? Well it is true. On July 5, I will once again have the title of Executive Director for a synagogue in the Greater Boston area. (Sorry I can not tell you which one yet) This time it will be TED – Temporary Executive Director. I used to use IED – interim – but that acronym has gotten some bad connotations.

Anyway, I was approached several weeks ago about filling a position on a temporary basis, while a broader search could be conducted for a permanent ED. Well, you see this is the exact position I had hoped would be in my future when I came back from the Peace Corps. A temporary job helping a community in a period of transition. It also dealt with my never ending issue of being bored with positions. It seems I like change – and not same.

Th only issue was the timing. My Peace Corps service did not officially end until November 15 and they needed me sooner. Dilemma! Perfect job and next chapter – or finish my two years of service. NOTE: I left in August of 201, but the first three months were PreService Training. Obviously, I decided to take the position and so on Monday I will leave Vanadzor and all the friends I have made here, travel to Yerevan to spend a few days with Marine (more on that at another time) and then be back in the good old USA around July 1.

I will be moving back to T Street and am looking forward to being at the first Shabbat dinner at Temple Israel of Nantasket on July 1 and at the Fourth of July parade in Natick. AND SEEING YOU ALL – as the next chapter begins – coming home again.

Love you and most of all thank you. Your friendship has given me the support I have needed to do this great Peace Corps Adventure.

I look forward to catching up in person.

Shabbat Shalom


Summer is here but

I still rains almost everyday. Oh well.

Other than the weather things are going along very well. Programs are moving along although attendance has dropped off in my English Clubs a little, but they are still coming.

My site mate Bryan Jacobs has created another English Club that watches movies in English and discusses them, good fun and great discussions. Speaking of discussions, it is such a rewarding experience to hear my students actively participate in our club discussions. Just the other day we were discussing prejudice, discrimination and diversity and they not only got the concepts but were able to relate them to their own experiences here in Armenia. Good stuff.

More good stuff is that Richard Mills, US Ambassador to Armenia, will be coming to Vanadzor to meet up with the Peace Corps Volunteers here as well as having a meeting with Edgar the Director of Peace Dialogue, the NGO I work at. The topic will be our work on Human Rights. A nice honor.

So Shabbat dinner to night with friends Charlie Forbus and Boris Brooke, two other senior volunteers.

Shabbat Shalom


The sun is shining – finally

So there is a little story that goes like this. The mommy cloud and a little cloud are floating in the sky high above Armenia, and the little clouds says -mommy I need to wee wee – and the mommy cloud says – not now dear wait until we get to Vanadzor.

I think it has been about thirty days since the chance of rain was alt least 80%. But this morning so far no rain. The sun is shining and summer is in the air.

Life continues to get better and better here with new English Clubs and others going strong. I went to another marvelous event at the Vanadzor Orphanage and the new volunteer Oleg had to go back to the states so his expected arrival date has been put off for at least a week. This is too bad as I am really looking forward to working with him.

The exciting news is that one of my friends Heghine, has started reading Torah. I got her a Chumash while in Israel and she has invited me to Shabbat dinner at her house to continue our discussion of what she is learning about Judaism. Some of you may remember her, she started an English program for disadvantaged children which many of you supported online.So, during recent staff level discussions at her job at 911 (Emergency Services) someone said, well, Heghine is the President of an NGO. Well, the bosses knew a little about what she was doing but it got into a report and the National Minister in charge of the program heard about it and is honoring her in September for her work. To remind you she invites students, who can not afford what is a necessity here tutoring, to her home where along with her sister and mother they teach them English and life skills. The children are driven to and from the classes in a taxi and are given snacks, notebooks and pens. She does classes year round for about 16 kids for the grand total of $1,000, which pays for the taxi, snacks and school supplies..- she does not get paid. It is certainly a very rewarding part of my service. And now she wants to understand how to incorporate her new found understanding of Judaism and its values into what and how she teaches. – Wow what an adventure

I thank G-d for this opportunity to serve.

Shabbat Shalom .