After two weeks of shopping classes, I finally decided on the ones I am taking this semester and officially registered. I am taking Leadership and Organizations, Biblical Theology, and Terrorism and Response. I am also enrolled in Hebrew level 6, but still attending level 7 every day as well, just not for credit. That leads to a whopping total of 4 hours of Hebrew instruction each day. It is a bit overwhelming at times, but I am really happy to have the opportunity to improve quickly from all of this work. We actually just had our first Hebrew test, and I felt really confident after hours of studying!
Leadership and Organizations has a fairly laid back atmosphere, and the class is not always as talkative as I would like, but the readings are fascinating. They are a combination of psychology, political science, and international relations. We just read a study on George Bush's speeches before and after September 11th and the way the incident affected his use of language, and subsequently his measures of charisma. Biblical Theology forces me to read the Tanach closely, so closely in fact, that we have spent three-hour-long classes studying only the second chapter of Genesis. Still, I have never interacted with text like this and I come out of each class feeling enlightened...and a bit dizzy! Finally, Terrorism and Response is taught by one of the most accomplished and impressive professors I have had to date. He approaches the subject with very specific and strict definitions and, while he welcomes argument, he rarely wavers on his approach or opinion. The topic is fascinating and looking at its overall effectiveness leads to some unexpected conclusions. This professor is very high up in the Israeli military, and he agreed to meet with me and help with my independent study project about women in the Israeli army. I am looking forward to that meeting!
In terms of cultural events, I went with the university to the Masa opening event in Jerusalem, which was an Idan Raichel concert. It's "world" music, with a lot of unusual instruments and singing in Hebrew, Spanish, and Amharic. Joey has played his music for me before, but seeing the group perform in concert showed how even their great recordings did not do justice to how unique and talented they are. Interestingly, before the concert there was a long opening ceremony for the Masa program. The first 10 minutes or so were typical Zionist advertisements and calls for unity and such, but as the ceremony progressed, it became more exclusive and offensive. I know a lot of my friends, both Jewish and not, religious and secular, left with a bad feeling from the ceremony, as enjoyable as the concert itself was. It certainly gave me a lot to reflect on when I got back to the university.
I am off to write my second Hebrew presentation, which I am delivering on Tuesday. I will post the content later...wish me luck!