I’m sitting at home recuperating from a three-day Tiyul in the Negev organized by Pardes. Israel’s desert is beautiful and stark and I didn’t want to leave. It’s only a few hours from Jerusalem, but I was really in culture shock when I got back. It was especially jarring to drive up to Tel-Aviv on Friday because Tel-Aviv looks more like a city in the U.S. than a small settlement in the Negev. The visit itself was really fun–we went up to meet with Schelley Dardashti, a genealogist and journalist that Eric had been corresponding with, and we partook in a delicious Persian barbeque.
Before I write about the Negev and Schelley, I should mention more about our visit to Eric’s cousins in Rechovot–2 weekends ago my how time flies! Muncie is the first cousion of Eric’s grandfather, and she has a daughter named Hannah and grandson Yeftah. We stayed with Hannah, who cooked a lovely Friday night dinner for us. Yeftah was there along with Muncie and Hannah’s boyfriend Amiram. Hannah is a radiologist and Amiram is a professional actor and mime who studied in France for several years. Continue reading
After writing an entry about spiritual issues, I’ll now provide a look into our more mundane dealings in Israel.
Last week our car engine died and Eric has been giving his Hebrew a workout in trying to speak with the towing company and the mechanic at the garage. It all happened during a drive we took to Beit She’an and the Gilboa region on Thursday. We had a swell time checking out the ancient ruins at Beit She’an and admiring the beauty of the Gilboa (it’s more of a ridge than a mountain). But there was one hill in the Gilboa that we went a tad too fast on, and we went too quickly over these stupid grates that are supposed to slow your car down, but are also potential sources of damage to the car. And damage the car they did. Yeah you gotta love those grates. Continue reading
So go figure, it’s taken me a week to write an entry about last weekend. Perhaps I was holding off because there was just so much that happened. Oh well, here’s a condensed version of our trek North:
The adventure began when we tried to leave our driveway on Thursday afternoon. Some delivery guy had decided to park his van right up against ours, leaving us no room whatsoever to maneuver out of our parking spot. We didn’t even know where he was and couldn’t find a way to contact him. What do to? We ended up enlisting the help of the guy that ran the bike shop across the street as well as an English speaking rabbi who used to be head of Hebrew University. At first they went into the driver’s van to see if there was a way to contact him. Then they started shouting out his name to see if he was in the neighborhood. Finally they figured out how to release the parking brake so that the van moved further away from our car. The guy that ran the shop also happened to be a driving instructor, and he managed to back our car out of our tight parking spot and onto the street! Complete strangers had come to our rescue. That’s what happens here. Continue reading
So I haven’t written to you for so long e-gads! I guess I just got caught up in the living and didn’t get around to writing about it. Since it’s too hard to remember and write about everything that has been going on here, I’ll single out three happenings: The Ulpan field trip to Tel-Aviv and Jaffo, the trip to the Carmel region, and the fact that I dreamt in Hebrew last night.
The Ulpan organizes field trips for students every so often, and last week, we went to Tel-Aviv. I hadn’t been on a group trip since I was in college, so I almost felt like I was going back to another period in my life. The bus wasn’t rowdy or noisy-since most of the passengers slept the whole way. The noisiest aspect about the bus ride was the irritating Israeli techno music that the bus driver blared. It was during that moment that I craved some music by the Decemberists–my latest fave. Continue reading
I’m back online and ready to write a few more entries. Many updates to fill you in on. This is my first time commemorating Tisha B’Av (which started tonight) in Jerusalem. Almost everything here is closed tomorrow, and there is no Ulpan. The day takes on an altogether new meaning when you’re in the same city where the two Temples were destroyed (to say the least!). Fewer secular Israelis, on the other hand, commemorate the holiday. Here’s a poll that talks more about that.
Tomorrow I will be going to Pardes’ day of learning. Topics of lectures include “When G-d is Unjust” “Why Was the Land Destroyed” “Why Learn Job” “Kinot with Explanations” and “Torah Yoga.” I’ll let you know which ones I end up attending. And then I have to study Hebrew like mad, since I was just bumped up to level 3 and have lots more work than before. (More about that soon). Can someone give me an explanation about “smichot” in Hebrew grammar?
Here’s more about our trip to last week’s wedding:
Eric and I made our way to the Binyamina train station on Thursday afternoon where good ol’ Etamar was waiting to pick us up. We first took a cab to the train station at Beit Shemesh, a city outside of Jerusalem. The driver decided to take the quicker ‘back way,’ which entailed our going through a section of the West Bank. It was a brief but memorable excursion. It is a hauntingly beautiful landscape–rolling hills dotted with green bushes and stone walls and barriers and fences. Continue reading