Thursday, June 18, 2015

One of Those Life Moments....

There are many times in our lives when we stop and realize, "OK, this is significant, this is one of those times you'll always remember."

One of those moments happened in the spring of 2009 when our eldest grandchild, Ariella, sang and danced with about 40 other Israeli kids in a groundbreaking event for their neighborhood shul. Knowing that she was now part of normative Israeli life, and that she and all of the other kids singing and dancing, most pretty badly, were going to be the future of the country, was enough to choke me up big time.

Another moment, among many we've had since our daughters made aliyah in 2008 and we made
aliyah in 2012, came this past week when that same little girl graduated from 6th grade.

The graduation event took place at Migdal David in Jerusalem - a historic and dramatic setting for sure, but the site itself was kind of overshadowed by the meaning of the event itself.

All of the kids, and there sere several hundred I believe, were involved in the presentation, which took 2 hours (beware, pre-aliyah'ers - every single school event takes at least two hours, even gan graduations).  There were dances, songs, poems, and instrument playing.

At one point each kid had an Israeli flag in his/her hand and marched around the paths of Migdal David - waving and singing.

Just think about it - each and every child in this graduating class will some day finish high school and go on to the Army to protect our country and our people.  Just knowing that gave me shivers - each of them has such an important stake in my own personal future and in the future of the Jews.

Knowing what is ahead of them, I can't help but believe that these kids have a much different view of their future than their peers in other countries - they know what's coming, they have such a strong, deep sense of purpose - and this is something they grew up with.

Another end of year event was my grandson Amichai being "interviewed" for first grade - when the principal asked him what he wanted to be, he said, "B'ezrat Hashem, a chayal [soldier], then an engineer."

B'ezrat Hashem.

Monday, June 15, 2015

I Have No Idea What You Just Said, Pt. 2

So Hebrew continues to be my greatest struggle here, although I have had people tell me my Hebrew is pretty good.  I mean, I can navigate important websites like online supermarkets, the bank, and the Kupat Cholim, and it's all good when I work on the shul emails for my shul, which have to be in English and Hebrew.

But it's the conversations that do me in.  I. Can. Not. Speak. Hebrew. To. An. Israeli.

Take, for instance, the past few days:

1. Less humiliating:
We went to talk to a car dealer.  In Israel, car buying is actually pretty easy because there is no haggling (surprised, aren't you?).  Seriously, the price is the price. And the inventory is low (I mean it's a small country where would they store the cars, after all? ), so you get what you can get, and don't worry about this trim package and that trim package, etc. etc. At least that is our experience.

The car salesman did not speak English.  His Hebrew was pretty clear, though.  But here I am listening to him and wondering how much of what I THINK he said, he actually said.  And how much did I get wrong.  I usually end up asking this question:  What is it that I HAVE TO DO RIGHT NOW?" - that usually gets me a clear answer.

2. A bit more humiliating:
Went today to get our old car inspected before it is sold.  Inspector guy comes to get me and we sit down and he goes over the details of the inspection certificate.  I have no idea what he is saying, so I keep asking, "But is it OK to sell right now?"  I don't know what he said in response to that.  It could have been yes, it could have been no, it could have been maybe.  

Then the inspector guy keeps talking and he TEARS UP THE INSPECTION CERTIFICATE.  I'm totally horrified - oh my gosh, what did I just agree to???  I say, now what should I do, thinking I've just authorized him to make thousands of shekel in repairs without realizing it.  I figured he's going to say, "Well, sit yourself down,honey, 'cause we are going to do thousands of shekel in repairs on your car!  Hahahaha!!!!Sucka!"  

Instead he says, "Well, what do you WANT to do?"  By this time I'm getting a headache.  I say, "I want to go."  He says, "So go."  I still have no idea what happened but I walked out with a new certificate (at least that's what I think it is).

3. Extremely humiliating:
While I'm waiting for the car to be inspected, I get a call from the mailman.  Yes, the mailman himself.  He has a package for me, and wants to come between.....and, for the life of me I think he is saying between "1:30 and 1:00."  So I'm pretty sure I got that wrong, so I say, "well, I"m not home now."  He hesitated, probably thinking, what the heck do I care if she's home now or not?"  

He said, again, "I'll come between...." and again I'm sure it was between 1:30 and 1:00.  I give up and say OK. The worst that can happen is that I won't be home and he'll leave a note.

I get off the phone and all of the other people in the waiting room are kinda looking at me (maybe that was my imagination).  And slowly I realize that the time he gave me was between 11 and 1, not 1:30 and 1:00.  When he said "achad esrei" I kept thinking "achad v'chetzi."

BTW, the package was delivered.  I think the mailman was snickering when he dropped it off.