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Take a break

Winter break letter (EMIS, Dec 2016)

Dear students,

When facing a break or a vacation one may wonder how to use it in the best possible way. In order to give you my recommendation I would like to share with you a small sample of my personal course of thinking about the upcoming "winter break".

There are two main linguistic approaches to what we call a "break" or a "vacation". The first approach is viewing this period as a stop. It correspond with the Arabic term "Atla" or the Hebrew word "Hafsaka", both coming from the verbs "to cease". The second approach, which is also the one I wish to emphasise here, is viewing this period as a deconstruction phase. In English we call it a "break" suggesting that this is a time when we can let ourselves conceptually break down the parts and try to build up back again. In Hebrew we use the term "Hufsha" which comes from the verb "to seek", implying that in order to find something we must get a little lost along the way.

Let me suggest to you to take the "winter break" as an opportunity not only to stop, but also to deconstruct, to come apart, apart from your usual selves who work so hard and stand so firm. Break down your wishes and expectations and seek for the ones which give you the most strength and joy. Reflect, ask questions, raise doubts, share thoughts with your close family and friends, sleep well and dream.

Please know that while we expect you to function and do well, we absolutely do not desire you to be perfect and we always remember you have a journey to go through in order to find who you are. You are still learning and changing and it is more than fine, this is perfect.

So, take your time and give yourselves a break.


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