Small world for us (Flatbush) Jews.

My high school was big on its alumni culture. For four years I endured being laid on thick with Israel, Zionism, Hebrew, and… the amazing alumni culture of the Yeshiva of Flatbush.

I guess people always had stories about meeting fellow alumni halfway across the world or neat twists on finding each other after all those years. The cheer and enthusiasm for the Flatbush culture lives on waaay past your graduation day.

Personally, I never really felt that way. Even today, in a lecture by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks at Bar Ilan, sitting two seats down from a man who seemed to look exactly like my high school principal.

I confirmed the identity after my brother sent me an online profile of the guy and after the lecture my old principal and I chatted. I think it was a nice, calm moment of recognition for both of us.

And it turns out, he made aliyah and lives in Jerusalem, a few minutes away from me. So here we both are, calmly living the Flatbush alumni dream – meeting halfway across the world, with a neat twist.

Download – and learn – Jewish prayers.

Even though it’s been a while since I’ve (really) prayed, I haven’t forgotten the power of prayer or what it can do for a person – believer or not.

This site got me all nostalgic, warm and fuzzy: Siddur Audio. I can’t believe someone was cool enough to post audio recordings of davening along with visuals including נקודות (vowels). Actually, that someone seems to have been Rabbi Mark Zimmerman, who did it because:

“Unfamiliarity with the Hebrew liturgy is an obstacle which keeps many from experiencing the joy and ruach of participating fully in their synagogue services. This website’s aim is to help people acquire the skills to overcome that hurdle.”

Way to go, man. That’s a great use of the internet, tape recorders and… well, rabbis.