Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An Update and an Only in Israel List (if you like that sort of thing...)

So, and update, which will hopefully happen more often once the Yeshiva gets its internet installed, their working on drinking water right now which I think might be a little higher up on the list than internet, but it should B"H go up sometime next week.
Anyways, the yeshiva! The new building is incredible, and the amount of work that went into it is really astounding, especially considering that 9 months ago it was a basically a hole in the ground.
I walked into the Beis Midrash about a week before the yeshiva and walked out with the very high doubts that it was going to be ready on time.
Not only was it ready the place looked absolutely incredible.

Now for a short list (by "short" I mean what ever comes to my mind as I write this) of little things that I've experienced here in Israel since arriving almost two months ago:

  • The fierce protection everyone gives to children in the country
  • The unspoken rule, even from NYF Jews, that men and women not related to each other do not sit next to each other on the bus if another seat is available.
  • A disclaimer on a bag of tissues telling you that, if you use them on Shabbos, please make sure that you open the bag before Shabbos starts.
  • How everyone ignores the "Don't put your feet on the seat" sign on the busses, but are very strict about leaving handicapped spots open on the same bus.
  • How on the street you can randomly spot someone davening at the bus stop (that's usually the women, the guys have already formed a minyan)
  • How you realize the news in about Israel portayed by the world's media has absolutly no bearing on the reality of what actually goes on here.
  • The mutual respect (at least most of the time) between all different religions and people who live here
  • The trains. Enough said
  • How Israel is the only country in the world that will shut down the busiest street in it's capitol city in order to put in a subway system and then only work on it for 7 hours a day
  • How everyone (even Arabs') will with you a "Shabbat Shalom" on Friday
  • Sunsets
  • The mountains
  • Little kids speaking Hebrew
  • (This is for the techies) NO CAPS ON INTERNET BANDWITH!!
Well that's what I could come up, let me know if you want to add anything to that list. I will hopefully start posting more frequently next week.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Back from hiatus (sorta)

Whew, sorry I haven't been able to write for a while, but all of the emails that have been pouring in, I need to send something out before Shabbos (the reason for the hiatus has been because access to internet has been not easy to come by-thanks to the Kaplen's for allowing me to use it today).
So, and update on what's been happening in the last 2 week's. As most of you know I moved to Ramat Beit Shemesh last Sunday and have moved into a sub-neighborhood of RBS called Ramat Shilo (funny considering that RBS is a sub-neighborhood of Beit Shemesh).
Anyways, I moved into a brand new apartment here, so new in fact that when I arrived they had not installed the faucets in the bathrooms and kitchen yet, and there were about two rooms that were set up for habitation.
But seriously I have been having a great time, and I'm really looking forward to Yeshiva starting next week. The new guys come in on Tuesday night.

Just one quick story, I started Ulpan (Hebrew language study) on Wednesday, and didn't realize it until about 11:30 in the morning. I had been to the Matnas (where we have Ulpan) about 2 week's ago and they told me that they would call me the day before Ulpan started and I would come in and they sould test me so they knew which class to put me in the next day.
So we were busy setting up one of the apartments and I get a call that basically went something like this:

"Hi is this Gavriel?"
"Why are you not at the Matnas."
"I've been waiting for you to call me. When do you need me?"
"Right now."

All right, not a big deal, so I jumped onto my bike and did what will be one of many rides up to the Matnas. Just to tell you something about Ramat Beit Shemesh, it's on a mountain, and the Matnas is at the top of the mountain, my apartment is on the bottom. I'm going to be biking 1 and 1/2 miles everyday, first thing in the morning, straight up that hill. I'm will B"H be in very good shape by the time Ulpan is over!

So I arrive at tghe Matnas, and go to the woman behind the desk.

"Hi, I'm here for my Ulpan test."

She looked at me.

"Can you read and write in Hebrew?"


"Can you speak."

"A little bit but not really."


She then took me upstairs, I was assuming to get tested by someone, and she plopped me down right in the middle of the class. Apparently Ulpan had started that day and I was 3 hours late.

To their credit, she did put me in exactly the right class and I was not too far behind, but I think the key word in this "COMMUNICATION!"

The Yeshiva is moving into their new building (hopefully!) sometime next week, once they get the office set up I will be able to be online more and be able to start writing more.

Shabbat Shalom from Israel!