If you thought we did a lot before, just imagine how jam-packed this past month was.
We had a month of rapidly improving Hebrew, an onslaught of new favorite songs, and meeting new lifelong friends. Between Ulpan and what I like to call “schoolpan,” necessity has been the driving force behind my increased mastery of the language.
Nothing can quite prepare you for complete immersion and the reverse of which lending more-and-more importance to the influence this program can have. The kids tell me I am improving. They also tell me this while they giggle at my accent, but I still chalk it up as a victory. As they say in Israel לאט לאט: slowly, slowly.
Playing the Drums
On Mondays after school, I have started working in the neighborhood youth center; playing the drums with high schoolers coming to work on their music. In addition, Jasmine and I had the opportunity to participate in a local festival and even host our own program where we spoke about our individual backgrounds in the states and facilitated a great discussion on the differences and similarities between American Jews and Israelis.
It is amazing how much we in the states don’t realize how much doesn’t make it over (to Israelis) regarding our experiences as American Jews. Consequently, this to be the first of many opportunities to approach this conversation and many other topics within a similar vein.
Outside of school, I have gotten the opportunity to attend two מזרחי weddings, a professional basketball game in the “all Israeli league” (extra exciting because the MVP is one of my new teacher friend’s younger brother), and have a classic Israeli Shabbat in the north: enjoying קידוש Friday night and hiking all day Saturday.
Incredible Host Families
We have two incredible host families whom we feel so at home with and are still receiving countless offers for Shabbat dinners. This is so much so that when my Ulpan teacher asked in class what I usually prepare for Shabbat, I had to explain to her that it depends where I eat that week.
Needless to say, she was quite jealous, and I told her what Mel Brooks told us all so long ago “It’s good to be the king.” This is how Israeli hospitality makes you feel, even when you’re almost a local!