Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The All Hebrew Meeting

Last night we had a Va'ad HaBayit meeting.  A Va'ad HaBayit is, literally, a committee of people living in the building. 

Just as an aside, I spent many, many years running meetings, and I think I did a darn good job - I always had an agenda, stuck to it, and got out fast.  I am used to speaking up at meetings, listening well, and giving an opinion if I think it will add to the discussion.  Then comes living in Israel.  I no longer have that feeling that I can and want to contribute - simply because the well formed ideas in my head come out sounding like pig-latin when I try to express them in Hebrew.  Even normal Hebrew words get stuck as they try to escape my mouth.  For someone who made a living in communications, it's a little frustrating. OK, I feel better now, that was a very satisfying kvetch.

Now comes my first all-Hebrew meeting in Israel.

Just to explain, for msot residents of multiple-resident dwellings in Israel, our buildings are our own - there is no management company handling the neighborhood.  The residents in each building are responsible for the elevator maintenance, outside areas, indoor common areas, electricity for the lights, etc.  So each building has to have a committee of residents, and each dwelling has to pay a fee each month to take care of all of the common needs.

Donny, as is his wont, took matters into his own hands when we  moved in and figured he'd better get moving on the Va'ad HaBayit.  He is a natural laeder and very thorough (those of you who know him will be making cracks about 'understatement of the year' now).

So Donny did due diligence and figured out a fair fee for the VH, considering all of the recurring costs.  This also means that he and Gila take responsiiblity for the financial management, and Gila is handling this with Lisa, another resident/friend.

So about a week ago Donny sent out an email (yes, in Hebrew) informing everyone about the monthly fee and inviting us to our first meeting which was held last night.

I knew that the meeting would be in Hebrew, and was interested to see how much I'd be able to follow.  Here's what I think happened:

1. There was a discussion about why the lights in the parking lot had to be on ALL night.  Wasn't that a waste of money?  Finally one resident convinced another that, um, if the lights are off the cars will be stolen.  End of discussion.

2. There was some discussion about the cleaning of the building.  If I got it right, someone is either going to have their children do it or we are hiring a company or we're going to let the dirt build up, or something else.  I got lost on that one.

3. We are not going to do anything about the garden areas of the building - maybe we'll wait until later in the year.  OR  we are going to do something right now and not wait.  Either one.  Not sure.

4.  Donny and Gila served wine and cheese.  Some people liked OR did not like the wine and / or the cheese.  Not sure there either.  There was smiling and laughter but maybe that's just because a lot of wine was being consumed.  (Those of you who know Donny will now be nodding your heads).

5. The monthly fee is either just right or too high.  One person started out thinking it was too high but in the end convinced everyone else it was not too high.  OR he is moving out tomorrow because the fee is too high..  Not sure there.

6.  The kablan (builder) has cheated all of us in one way or another.  Got that perfectly clearly, no mistakes on that one, and we all agreed.

So, I may or may not have understood, but the important thing is that I did not have to speak very much.

1 comment:

  1. I predict that within the next year, you will be president (no offense, Donny) and running very short meetings where everyone will be laughing and agreeing to whatever you want - all in Hebrew....