Want To Win When You Play Video Games? Read This Advice!

Video gaming is something that has quickly overtaken the world. It’s a great way to relax and unwind.There are games for everyone and so much fun to explore. This article will give you some hints on how to get more out of your video gaming experience.

If you’re getting a video game for a kid, be sure to ask for various options before you shop. You will use a lot of variables in making a decision on whether or not to purchase a game for kids of a certain age, so it’s better to start with a longer list that you can narrow down.

The small download will determine whether your system is capable of running a certain game. If you don’t want to use the extra space on your hard drive to store the program, remember that you can just delete it after you get the information that you need.

The small download will determine whether or not your computer is setup to run a game. If you don’t like downloading anything, bear in mind that you could just get the information and then delete the download.

Be careful when it comes to online gaming. There can be an annual or monthly fee for accessing online gaming. Always check out any monthly video game site that children want to visit because all their friends are interested in joining.

Make sure you set a reasonable age for kids should be before playing “M” (Mature 17+) video games. You can even set your console to not play games at this rating, doing this on personal computers is more difficult.Be on top of monitoring your child’s gaming habits.

Spend time with your kids by taking on a video games you both enjoy. Children love to learn as much as they can from video games and can actually learn a few things from these games.

Be wary of online gaming. There is sometimes a monthly fee to play. Always check out any monthly video game site that children want to visit because all their friends are playing there.

If you want to be a parent who is active and knowledgeable about your kid’s video game time, monitor his video game playing. Playing with your child is a great memories. Try asking questions and show that you are interested in their gaming adventures. Hands-on experience is always the most useful.

Be mindful of injury when playing games. A stability ball can really help in keeping your spine properly aligned. If you like active games, then remember to take breaks and stretch.

Don’t just toss out video games. Many stores allow you exchange your old games for credit or store credit. Use the cash to help you have traded in to afford brand new ones.

Be sure to minimize the chance of your body when playing games. A stability ball is a great investment if you play for a long time; it will help improve posture while gaming.If you are going to be playing games in which you must be active, be sure to take breaks and stretch since you could be sitting for long periods of time.

A quality cleaning kit can help you keep your discs in running condition. There are many kits that you can buy.

Monitor your children if they play an online video game play. While many do have an ESRB rating, some warn that certain content in the game may not fall within a given rating. You will always want to ensure your kid is safe when they’re playing these types of games.

Keep an eye on your child when they play online video games. While many do have an ESRB rating, some warn that certain content in the game may not fall within a given rating. You should ensure the safety of your kid with these games.

Avoid using cheat codes when playing games that depend on your skill as a player.Using these codes defeats the whole purpose of playing the game.

If you are a serious gamer then you probably have your favorite types of games. Make sure to see what other types of games that you usually wouldn’t play usually. You might have a more memorable experience in some genre that you had not wanted to try before.

If you are not having a good run, you aren’t going to be playing your best.

Always try beginner mode first. If it’s too easy, then play the game again on a harder difficulty level. When you have already played as a beginner, you will discover that the harder mode is that much easier, attaining all of the achievements you want to hit.

Always test a game on beginner mode first. If this mode is too easy, then you can put it on a tougher mode. Once you have played on a beginner level for awhile, going at it again on a more challenging setting and reaching all achievements will be much easier for you.

The biggest decision that modern gamers have is choosing between console gaming is: computer or console?

Try to get the most life from your game console and consoles so that they’ll last longer.

Make sure you keep your computer is updated and free from junk. If you have a few games installed on your computer, don’t install too many other programs on it. You also need to run maintenance programs like Defrag and Defrag. These practices will help you keep your computer running at its peak performance.

When you are playing those 2D games with side-scrolling, always look to your left to check for hidden items. Look on walls and high points for hidden items.

Trade video games with your friends. Trading games or borrowing from friends can help you save a new video game without the cost normally associated with new games. Talk to your friends and see if they are trading anything so you can get something that you’ve wanted for a while for no cost at all.

Neighborhood, or even national domination, could be in your future. Make good use of these tips as they will help you win more frequently. Knowledge is power, and in the world of gaming, even a little information can serve you well.

Great Auto Transportation and Best Car Shipping Quotes Tips

auto transportationAuto transport estimates represent one angle with which to see car insurance companies offering the very best auto delivery services. Nevertheless, they’re not everything. Greatest Auto Transport Quotes. Certainly we need more from a company than a low-cost auto shipping service. Whenever we believe in the value we’re becoming in a service or product, we’re actually carefully assessing the connection involving the money it’s going to cost us as well as the quality we understand it to have. Example: When a customer or company man looks at auto transport rates, in addition they need to think about their auto transport reviews so that they do not underpay and get frustrated with horrible service. Get the best Car Transportation and move to Israel with ease!

However, cost is frequently the very first thing which comes to mind whenever we make a purchasing decision. Even though it’s not everything, the direct cost is a straightforward and fast filter to pare down a big array of choices. Example: When someone tests auto transport estimates and rates, they might gravitate toward lower prices, but it is only safe to take a bargain insurance company whenever you know an agent has confirmed that it’s licensed, bonded, insured, and compliant – as with any provider obtained via the speed calculator at page left. Auto Transport Costs: Multiple Variables. Vehicle Transportation Quotes Car transportation costs designate the quantity of cash changing hands, plus they change based on several variables.

The most immediately obvious one is mpg: the typical cost to ship an automobile is more in the event that you would like to get it from Florida to California than in the event that you wish to get it to Texas from Florida. Another variable is time-of year. The season of the year will affect auto transport costs, particularly to from important markets like California and Florida. A third variable is the sort of vehicle that you need to ship. Ultimately, the number of other automobiles being sent on a certain course influences vehicle transportation costs. Based on demand, your cost will rise or drop, by reviewing a lot more than one quote, but you can safeguard yourself from price gouging.

Tips To Find A Dallas TX Locksmith That Can Help You

469locksmith dallas TX

469locksmith dallas TX

When you need to hire a locksmith for any reason, you will want to ensure you hire one that is trustworthy and that works quickly. It doesn’t matter if you have locked your keys in your car or you need to have an extra set of keys made, this article is for you. Here you will learn some tips to help you find a Colorado Springs locksmith.

Ask around. See what your friends and family can tell you about locksmiths in the area. If you have time to do your research, you should. This is a great way to learn about a company before you hire them.

Search the Internet for Dallas Texas locksmith. This will give you listings for all the locksmiths in the area. Give them a call if you are in a hurry and ask them how long it will take for them to unlock your keys. If you aren’t in a hurry, call around and ask prices for whatever you need done. You can then compare prices to see which locksmith has the best ones.

Ask on social media. Websites like Facebook are a great place to learn where to find locksmiths in the area. Your friends will give you advice and suggestions on which locksmith would be the best to hire. You can then make phone calls and compare prices with these locksmiths if they are different ones.

These are just a few tips to help you select the best locksmith in the area. Use this advice and start searching for a locksmith that can help you unlock your keys from your car or make a set of keys for you. You will be able to hire the best locksmith when you use this advice.

Studying in Israel in English: Meet Alessandro Di Maio from Italy

Like any other international institution, the Rothberg International School is filled with people from all over the world. On the school grounds, hallways, and corridors, you’ll find faces bearing distinct features of their country of origin and hear voices speaking over other voices in various languages. Encounters of such are expected in the everyday life at Rothberg. Yet, these encounters never become any less interesting. There’s always someone you’ll feel fortunate to have met, and with him or her always comes stories of a world that you never knew.

Alessandro Di Maio’s coming to Israel is, in itself, an extraordinary story. He was a young, budding journalist at the time, but he was nonetheless ready to take on the only travelling style journalists embark on: adventure-infused. Forgoing a long but otherwise simple plane ride from one of Sicily’s many airports, Alessandro boarded a ship to Tunisia and then went on for the long haul until he finally reached Israel. The country, he says, was nothing he ever expected. He experienced such an awakening that he decided to further his knowledge of the many facets that make up Israel by pursuing a graduate program at Rothberg International School.

Read the rest of my conversation with Alessandro and find out about the fascinating process on how his perspective of Israel changed, his experiences at Rothberg, and his advice to prospective students.

1. Where are you from and how old are you?
I am from the island of Sicily, the biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea, “a continent by itself”, as I like to say. I will soon be 29 years old.

2. What are you studying?
I took up political science and journalism in Europe. Here in Jerusalem, I currently enrolled in full time  master’s program in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies. I will be graduating soon!

3. What made you decide to come to the Hebrew University? How did you hear about us?
I was already living in Israel for a while, trying to build a journalism career as a correspondent from the Near East. I wanted to know more about the region – about its people, cultures, religions, and languages. So, I looked around for a program that could supply me some knowledge. As I was searching through the Internet, I came across Rothberg International School of Hebrew University’s website and found the MA in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies that I could complete in two years. I decided to apply and got accepted. I actually was fortunate enough to have received the Rothberg Family Fund Scholarship. It was too great an opportunity to pass up, so I pushed through with the program.

4. What was your first impression of Israel? Did you think it was like it is?
My expectations of Israel were that of what the Italian media has presented: a country in turmoil where people’s day-to-day life involves shooting others in the streets who have different beliefs. When I came to the country for the first time, two years prior to pursuing my MA, I quickly found out that Israel is not exactly what news channels around the world has portrayed it to be. Israel is a beautiful country. It shows a great potential for economic growth as thousands of new start-ups spring about here and there. It is already culturally rich to begin with, but the advancement of underground culture indicates that the Israeli culture is only getting richer. It is important to acknowledge, however, that there exists a concrete Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It has shaped the character of both peoples over the years. Like many people around the world, I wish the situation would change.

5. What do you like the most about living in Israel? And Jerusalem?
What I like most about living in Israel is that I am so in touch with history, as well as that I am in daily contact with people of different faiths, cultures, and languages. It is absolutely amazing how many little worlds exist here. It makes me feel like I am living in the center of the world. The many opportunities to learn new things and to challenge myself at all times make me feel so alive. Additionally, Israel has taught me to take everything as relative and not in absolute terms.

6. What is your favorite part of studying at RIS?
Aside from the beautiful campus and the competitive curriculum that covers history, politics, international relations, and social science related to the Middle East, I really appreciate the attention and accommodation the administrative officers give the RIS students. They are flexible and are always ready to help. They really try to make international students like me feel at home. I also enjoyed meeting, learning, and exchanging ideas with my contemporaries from all around the world.

7. What is the best thing you have done or experienced so far?
Living in Israel has given me countless amazing experiences to share. Coming here to begin with was already an incredible trip: taking a ship from Sicily to Tunisia, initially, and then driving through Libya, Egypt, Sinai, and finally, Israel. I was so fortunate to have had experiences to travel the way I did due to my job. At school, on the other hand, one of the best things I have done was to spend three weeks in an archaeological site in Tiberias, where we excavated a portion of the ancient Friday mosque of the city.

8. Do you have tips for incoming students? Tips before coming and tips for living in Israel?
The approach to this region should be personal. I have two tips to share: one, is allowing yourself to get immersed with the locals – live with them, not apart from them; two, is to set aside all the prejudices whether of people, religions, the locals’ history, or their current way of life.

9. What have you learned so far that changed your view on things?
I learned to look around me and listen to people’s stories. I learned to try, at all times, to understand who is in front of me and to avoid judging him. I realized that life is not made only in black and white – that in every aspect of life, in every event, in every situation, there are always intermediate colors.

10. What advice would you give to those who might be afraid to come here?
Being afraid to move into another country is normal, and fear is always a factor to take in consideration before travelling to a country. Although it is true that there is some atmosphere of instability due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is important to keep in mind two elements: that everyone in Israel respects international students because they are considered neutral; and that security standards in the country are really high. Plus, it is important for me to say that Jerusalem will make you feel alive – what it offers is more than enough to face, if not overcome, the fear.

A new environment can make a person experience a myriad of overwhelming emotions – fear, grief, excitement, happiness, and so on. No matter what one’s lingering sentiment of his or her new environment is, that person is never the same. As author Miriam Beard has put it, Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

Israel is the 2nd most educated country in the world: Why and how did we get there?

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development conducted research to determine the most educated countries in the world. Their list was determined by the percentage of each country’s population that had received college degrees. Israel was the second on the list with 46% of the population completing tertiary education. The number one country on the list was Canada, who was the only country with over 50% of their population obtaining college degrees. This is a clear reflection of the importance Israel puts on education.

Israel makes it a point to actively participate in the education of its citizens. According to the research from OECD, Israel’s high school graduation rate was an astonishing 92%, which is well above the worldwide average of 84%.

Part of the success in Israel’s education system is attributed to the Ofek Hadash (New Horizon) education reform implemented in 2008. This reform brought:

  • Increased wages for teachers
  • A higher quality education for students
  • Changes to educational employment conditions
  • Improved education curriculum and better structured of studies

Thanks to the reform, Israel has seen an increase in the salaries of elementary school teachers. Between the years 2005-2010, teachers’ wages increased by 32%. This is more than six times the OECD average of 5%. They have also increased the wages for high school teachers as well by 8%, which is two times the OECD average. Even with these improvements to wages, teachers in Israel still earn significantly less than other countries in the OECD. Israel also has the 13th lowest GDP per capita of the countries in the OECD. However, that only makes the number 2 spot more impressive and solidifies how much we care about education.

It didn’t happen overnight

The increased university graduation rate has been an ongoing process. Improvements to salaries have subsequently resulted in improved education standards and more pressure on students to complete their education. The high school graduation rate has increased from 89% in 2003 to 92% 2010 which is another area in which Israel is near the top of the list of OECD members.

Not only does Israel have high graduation rates, but the quality of the education received also helps set us apart. Every level of education (elementary, middle school, high school, and college) is expected to perform highly throughout the entire school year. Students receive the same level of teaching in summer courses as they do in full semesters, and are provided with a diverse curriculum as well. Even with lower wages, Israel still has some of the top teachers and universities in the entire world.

Another contributing factor to Israel’s educational success is the investment put into the education system. As the OECD list demonstrates, the most educated countries are those that allocate more of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to education. In 2009, Israel spent 7.2% of their GDP on educational institutions. This was the 6th most of the OECD members. Needless to say, this has been a wise investment.

There may also be a correlation between the amount of time students in Israel spend in classrooms and their high graduation rate. OECD’s report found that students in Israeli elementary schools spend 18% more hours than the OECD average. Similarly, Israeli high school students spend 16% more hours in class than the OECD average.

The cost of education in Israel makes it easier for students to afford a higher education as well. Many students in the U.S for example do not attend college due to financial reasons. In Israel, the cost to attend universities is not so high that it discourages students from attaining their diploma.

Studying in Israel in English

Israel’s outstanding education is available for everyone who wants to spend a summer, a semester or a year studying abroad. Many Israeli universities offer study abroad programs for undergraduate students or graduate students completely taught in English.

Finding my Way Home: A Guest Post by RISs own MA student

At the Jerusalem wine festival

The night before I left New York, my friend came over to see me off. Casually leaning against his car, he looked at me and asked “Are you scared?” “Yes,” I replied. “But if I wasn’t scared, then it wouldn’t be worth it.”

Fear can paralyze us. It can leave us tottering on the edge of a cliff, with pebbles plummeting into uncharted territories, and ominous winds pushing us this way, and that. Some remain, forever swaying between what is, and what could be. They are afraid to take that final step, to take that leap of faith. That jump, which will force them to abandon all sense of security as they topple into the unknown. Taking that leap, and throwing ourselves into the wind is vital for our survival, and growth.

I finally made the decision to come to Israel, after two very long years of ignoring my instincts. I had been in limbo, balanced on the edge of my metaphorical cliff, trying to build a life for myself in Manhattan. That’s what twenty-somethings do, right? Live fast in the big city? Internships turned into dead ends. Dead ends turned into dreaded mornings, and long days. Yet all the while, I still felt as if I was being pulled in another direction. I resisted, determined to continue on the path that I had decided upon years ago. But the romantic notion of travel was alive in my soul, and it flowed through my veins. Israel kept coming back to me. It was what got me out of bed every morning, and through my long days as a telemarketer, sales rep, and server. I dreamed of walking among the ancient stones of Jerusalem, and of watching the sun set over The Old City. I longed to learn hebrew, eat schwarma, and hike the winding trails of the north.

One night, over drinks, a friend and I were discussing our career goals. She was enjoying success in her new job, and was working on developing an impressive project for them. I brought cupcakes from the bakery I worked in. When she asked me what I had been up to, besides selling cupcakes, I saw a glimpse of what could be. I could see myself sitting on a hill in Jerusalem, as I had done during my first trip here, at seventeen. I could practically taste the mountain air, and feel the wind of the crisp night embracing me. With a deep breath, I finally managed to summon the words from the depths of my soul. “I want to live in Israel…” to which I quickly added, “but I can’t just leave.” She looked at me, puzzled by what I had said. She took a sip of her wine, placed the glass carefully back on the table, looked me straight in the eyes and said “You should just do it.” It was as if someone dropped a cartoon anvil on my head. “Just do it,” she continued, “buy a ticket, and leave! Go tomorrow, next week, whenever. But do it.”

I went home that night, stunned. She made it sound so easy. Just do it, she’d said. But I wondered how easy it would be, really, to pull the rug out from under my comfortable life. I wondered how it would feel to take that enormous leap of faith, and hope for the best. I was scared. Terrified, even. The moment I made the decision to come here, I suddenly felt more free than I had ever been in my life. It was exhilarating. But in the weeks leading up to my departure, I began to grow anxious. I was plagued by thoughts of uncertainty, badgered by doubt, and constantly questioned whether I was making the right decision. I tried to justify my choices. Old fears returned, and I was scared. Today marks three weeks since my arrival in Israel, and I feel as though my life has finally clicked into place.

I’m sitting outside right now. The wind has forced me to abandon all sense of control over my hair, and I feel like I am flying. I could do cartwheels across the student village, if not for my complete lack of acrobatic skills. I feel free. I feel whole. My soul is dancing. My heart swells with love, for everyone, and everything. I am overwhelmed by it. This feeling, this wholeness, is what was missing before I came here. Turns out all I needed was to set myself free. In the twenty-one days since I’ve arrived here, I have fallen in love with life all over again.

At night, the glowing lights of the The Old City illuminate the horizon, and as I gaze out, I feel an incredible calm settling into my bones. I feel more alive here, than I have in years. My thoughts are clear, my heart is full. I laugh loud, and often. I am open to experience life as it comes to me. I feel my walls crumbling, and my determination strengthening.

I spent my first night here, sipping beer under the stars with new friends. We laughed, shared stories, and discussed the various ways in which we came to find ourselves laying on a hill beneath the Jerusalem sky. Some of us came here out of curiosity. Others, because they had no where else to turn. Some had been here for several years already, and others, well, we had Jerusalem in our bones. She was whispering our names, beckoning us from the sleepy lives we’d been living. We had been drawn here. We found answers to our souls deepest questions here. We felt connected to something greater. That morning, we had been strangers. We came from all over the globe, but in that moment, we weren’t from different lands. We didn’t speak different languages. We were just…people. A group of people brought together by Jerusalem. In that moment, all doubts melted away. I wasn’t scared anymore. I was home.

Life in Mount Scopus: All You Need to Know About Housing at RIS

Looking for a place to live in a foreign country can be a daunting task. There are many places to live off campus, but the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where the Rothberg International School is located, fortunately offers a great alternative for their students to save them the stress of finding the perfect place to stay. Located on  Mt. Scopus, the school’s housing complexes offer excellent views of Jerusalem.

On-campus living is not a requirement, but a solid option that the school hopes many of their undergraduate and graduate international students would choose. One of the main reasons for this is that students have easy access to the resident assistants (madrichim) that reside in the dorm.  They are there to give students any assistance they  may need during the semester at RIS. The madrichim are specially selected Israeli students that serve as a channel to Israeli society. They help in transitioning to life in Israel by creating a plethora of opportunities to get to know the Israeli culture, such as field trips, school events, volunteer opportunities and other social activities.


The student housing complexes are conveniently located near the university. Each suite is a one-bedroom dorm room, allowing comfort and privacy. These units are furnished with the basics of every dorm: a bed, a desk and chair, and a closet. Students need to bring their own linens, blankets and pillows and anything else to feel at home. Internet is available for a small additional cost and bathrooms and kitchens are shared. Additionally, cafeterias, snack bars and grocery stores can be found in or near each complex.

Students are normally assigned to a dorm unit, however many of those who come from the same country or speak the same language can ask  to be placed close to each other.  The university makes every effort to grant student requests.  Just be sure to make a reservation on time as part of the registration process.

Living on campus at  the Hebrew University allows students to indulge in Israeli culture, while also making connections with students hailing from all corners of the globe.

Go ahead! Have a glimpse of the on-campus dormitories as well as a feel of the life at Rothberg in this Student Village Virtual Tour!

Spending the Holidays in Israel: The Ultimate New Beginning

                      My first Sukkah spotting

Almost two months ago when I boarded my flight from New York to Tel Aviv, I knew that my life was about to change forever. It was the ultimate New Beginning. And boy, did I need it. After three years of meandering through the woods of uncertainty, it felt great to finally have a plan, even if that plan was a massive leap of faith. But I jumped, and I’ve been soaring since. Every day is invigorating, and beautiful. There are surprises around every corner in Jerusalem, and each day brings something new. August disappeared in a blur of laughter, and joy, and September came quickly upon us, ushering in a new year.

It seems appropriate that my first holiday in Israel would be Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year. Just over a month after my arrival, I was given a built in opportunity to reflect on my new life. A chance to examine the person I had been, and consider the person I’m becoming. But I felt that something was missing. I didn’t feel the heightened spiritual connection that I usually feel during the holidays. The feeling that links you to something greater was gone, as though a switch had been turned off. I couldn’t sense it. I couldn’t tap into it. I felt lost. Without it, I wandered aimlessly as I searched to infuse my heart with joy. Maybe it was because I missed home, but I suspect that I had been so focused on the external changes in my life that I neglected to acknowledge how my soul had grown. I’ve always believed in the mind-body-soul connection, and that we must take care of all in order to be our best selves. We must always challenge the mind, strengthen the body, and deepen the soul. When one falls out of balance, the rest falls right along with it.

So, on Rosh Hashanah, I found myself standing in a small, makeshift synagogue. The air was thick, and congregants fanned themselves with whatever loose papers they could find. The rustling papers were accompanied by the gentle hum of florescent lighting. Children played outside, while their embarrassed mothers ran out to quiet them. The Rabbi spoke in Hebrew, and my cousin quietly translated. Frustrated that I couldn’t understand the service without assistance, I began to feel disconnected. “Maybe if I listen a little more closely to the Rabbi, I’ll be able to understand”. “If I follow along in the book, then it feels like I know what’s going on.” My mind wandered, and I struggled as I slipped away, desperate to hold on. I dug into the prayer book, brow furrowed, my finger moving quickly across the page as the service continued. It only took a few minutes before I found myself wishing for an English translation. I longed to be home. I wanted to be with my parents, in our usual seats at the synagogue I grew up in. I learned the Aleph-Bet there, and I can still picture my Grandpa standing in the doorway to welcome the congregants every Saturday morning. We have seats with our names on them back home, and you always need a sweater because in America, we love our air conditioning. Next to our seats, a stained glass window is dedicated to the memory of my Great-Grandparents. I have roots there. Among the familiarities of home, I knew I would feel safe. I would feel fulfilled. The void in my heart grew, as I felt myself falling into a state of uncertainty. But then I heard a prayer break through the silence of the crowd.

Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha’olam shecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higyanu lazman hazeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

My favorite blessing. My eyes welled with tears, and as I caught my breath, the shofar sounded. Its thunderous call moved through my body, and shook me into consciousness.

I’ve had a small handful of deeply powerful spiritual moments in my life, where I felt in synch with everything around me. In these moments I could not feel anything but pure love, and certainty that something greater stood by my side. The first occurred several years ago on the beaches of Long Island, midwinter. I walked out on the rocks, and surrounded myself by the sea. I could taste the ocean mist on my tongue, as waves crashed around me. The air was crisp, and the sun sparkled as its reflection danced across the surface of the sea. Each breath I took led the rise and fall of the tide. Ahead, I spotted two butterflies playing in the mist. I’d never seen butterflies in winter, but there they were, dancing from wave to wave. I felt great love swell through my body, and for a brief moment I was in tune with everything. I was a part of everything, and everything was connected. I felt that God had shown me how miraculously beautiful life could be, but as soon as I realized what I was experiencing the moment slipped through my fingers. Moments of pure, true joy only last as long as we are unaware of them. You can try with all your might to hold on and keep that level of euphoric love for the Universe, but the harder you try, the faster it tends to melt away. It was as though I had been given a small glimpse into what life could be.

As the call of the shofar faded to an echo, I became hyper-aware of my surroundings. My soul felt as though it were on fire. I felt alive. I felt ready to move forward into the New Year, and ready for whatever life would throw my way.

As Yom Kippur approached, I began to feel the wandering disconnect creeping up on me. I tried to run as it approached, but there was no avoiding it. It latched onto my back, and weighed me down. I reached for the joy I had felt during the sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, but could not get a hold of it. The butterflies were gone, and the void had wormed its way back into my heart.  I couldn’t pinpoint where it was coming from, or why I was feeling it. All I could feel was its presence. Shame swept through me, and I was embarrassed to admit to myself that I couldn’t summon the spiritual energy I needed to give the holiday meaning. My heart just wasn’t in it. Once again, the switch had been inexplicably turned off. There was no reason for it, and no understanding it. I went to Kol Nidre services with high hopes, only to face the same struggles of Rosh Hashanah. Once again, I left synagogue frustrated, and unfulfilled, but determined to feel the connection that I longed for.

Thousands of people were scattered across the promenade of The Kotel when I arrived the next evening. There was an unmistakable excitement in the air, as everyone anxiously awaited dusk. You could feel the depth of people’s prayers, as they poured their souls into the ancient wall. I marveled at its strength. Stuffed between the stones, were the secret prayers of every man, woman, and child who had ever stood before it. Gazing ahead, I suddenly felt lighter. The wandering disconnect that had been a weight upon my soul crept away as I realized that we had all come for the same reason. I stopped walking, and stood, stunned as if I had suddenly woken up, and realized where I was. “Wait,” I said to my friends. “Stop and look. Do you see this? Do you see where we are?” I was in awe. “Can you feel the power of this place?” I asked them, breathlessly. By the time I reached the Wall, my heart was racing. I placed a hand against the stones, made smooth by the touch of all those who had stood there before me, and began to weep. My heart split open, and all the pain and confusion I had felt over the past few weeks fell away. My soul filled itself with love, and as I whispered into the Wall an earth-shattering sound echoed through the valleys. It grabbed hold of me, and shook me into being. It jolted me to life, and I realized what had been missing. I could see the butterflies dancing in the mist. My soul became a finely tuned instrument, celebrating the beauty of the Universe. I soared home that night, enthralled by the small wonders that surrounded me. It was the most powerful New Beginning I could hope for. A re-awakening, if you will.

Several nights later, the scent of autumn floated through my window. I glanced outside, and discovered that the skies had opened. The first rain of the season fed the Earth, clearing away the dusty heat of summer as it brought life to Jerusalem. “YES!” I cried, as I grabbed a sweatshirt, and ran outside–barefoot. I like how the wet grass feels on my feet. It makes me feel alive. When life gets too cluttered, I fall into the sky and allow the rain to wash the dust from the depths of my soul. In the rain, I find answers to my deepest questions. I find comfort from my darkest fears. It has always been my safe place–where I retreat when life throws me off balance. I stood with my head thrown back, overcome with joy. I laughed, and stretched my arms out as I embraced the rain. It glistened as it fell, coating the Earth with liquid silver. My hair blew wildly, as small rivers and streams flowed down my cheeks. I closed my eyes, and inhaled. The sweet smell of autumn rain filled my lungs, my body, and my soul. It spilled from the tips of my fingers, and dripped from my pores leaving a little trail of glistening puddles in my wake. I opened my eyes, and saw butterflies dancing in the rain.