Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Please Take My Blood"

I've learned that in this country it generally takes three tries before you can actually get anything done, and giving blood is no exception.
Attempt #1: Yeshiva had a blood drive, but we run out of time and I'm am forced to walk away without being able to do this great mitzvah.
Attempt #2: Last Sunday I go to the Blood Bank and and am told that I can't give because I had an upset stomach that morning (the price one pays for eating all of that Shabbos food)
Attempt #3: Success!
For those of you who have never had the privilege of giving blood, I'll tall you a little about my experience.
When you walk into the blood bank you are asked to fill out a form consisting of questions like "Did you live in England between the years of 1985 and 1998?" and other's that are too inappropriate for this blog.
They then take you into a room where they repeat every single question to you-all while completely ignoring the answers that you are are giving them.
Then you sit in a bed for the actual procedure. I happened to be feeling a little queasy at this point (I'm not the biggest fan of needles) and without really any warning the woman there grabbed my are strapped a rubber band around my bicep and JAM, stuck the needle straight in (I'm assuming that these people are professionals-at least the blood started coming out right away and they didn't have to "dig" for it).
Then I'm basically sitting there for about 10 minutes waiting for this machine to fill up the little bag that contains enough room for one "unit" of blood (not sure exactly how much a unit is...). Then the Jamming Lady comes back and yanks the needle out of my arm and tells me to eat cookies (who am I to argue with that...), and press the cotton on the whole that the needle made.
Then I walked out and actually felt completely fine. I had been expecting to feel a little queasy but the only symptom was that I felt a little more tired later in the day. Got a good night's sleep and was back to normal the next morning.
Now for the request: If you are in Israel, whether you live here or are only visiting, it is a tremendous mitzvah to give blood. I can personally vouch for the (relativly) painless process, in which you're in and out in under an hour. Think about it, the more blood they get in the bank the better.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Joke and...Duh!

Well I finally reached a milestone I understood my first joke in Hebrew (more of a funny comment then a joke, but hey I'll take anything).
We were driving this past Friday from Ramat Beit Shemesh to Yerushalyim and as we enter the center of RBS on our way out one of the other madrichim (who actually KNOWS how to speak Hebrew) had the following conversation witht he bus driver (translation will be at the bottom-pardon the Hebrew words with English letters):

Madrich: Aifoh ata l'Shabbat?
Bus Driver: Ani Po
Madrich: Ahhh...BaAuotobus?

Madrich: Where are you for Shabbat?
BD: I'm here (in RBS)
M: the bus?

All right I know, not that funny, but this one had me rolling...(my eyes at least).

A few week's ago I was at the train station and as I approached the entrance there was a metal detector (which is not uncommon in this country).
Now being a veteran at these I immedietly reached into my pockets and started emptying it. The security guard said: "Ahh I see you have done this before."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Day (sorta)

For all of the fans out there who are wondering why I've stopped posting, don't worry, here comes another one.
The reason I haven't been posting as often as I did during the summer is mostly to do without a solid internet connection for two months, added on top of that a lot more responsibilities as well as a lot of repetition in my day. But I will do my best to bring you a taste of what life is like in the part of that world. (and by "this part of the world" I mean Ramat Beit Shemesh.)
So the day is basically like this, wake up, wake the guys up and get everyone to davening on time at 7:45. As soon as davening is over grab my backpack and run out the door for my 20 minute hike up the hill that is Ramat Beit Shemesh (we're all the way at the bottom and the place where we have our ulpan is all the way at the top). Show up to Upan 20 minutes late, have the teacher say something to me in Hebrew along the lines of "why are you late," stare at her blankly because I have no idea what she just asked me then have her smile because she knows exactly why I'm late (because I told her.)
Sit throught a lot of Shamaru, Shamarti, Shamrtah, Shamartem Shamar-"which one are we on again?" Until 12:45 when I then walk back down the hill (otherwise known as Ramat Beit Shemesh) to get back to the yeshiva in time for lunch.
Enjoy your not-so-typical yeshiva lunch, ususally consisting of Lasanga, Fetuchini, Spaghetti (darn Italian words-I'm learning Hebrew!), bagels, fish, salad, (and now that it's winter here) soup.
Then I have a few options, I can go back to my room for a short nap, but usually I do one of two things. 1. Learn or 2. Get my computer and, seeing that we actually have internet now, check my mail and the news.
I then have a chavrusa at 3 and learn until 3:45 Mincha. After I mincha I take care of any administration stuff that I have to do for the yeshiva, and then when I'm done with that, I learn until 6:00 when Rav Machlis's shiur starts.
Go to his shiur, go to dinner, come back to the Beis, learn some more, have my daf yomi chavrusa, daven maariv, take care of any other thngs that have popped up since 4:00 when I was supposed to be working, and then eventually go to bed.
Of course sprinkle through our my day, talking with guys, cleaning EVERYTHING, and other commitments I've made with people in the community, my day can be quite full and exhasting. But all in all it quite good to go to bed at the end of the day and feel that you've accomplished something.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Back from Hiatus (Hopefully this time for good...)

Yay, the internet is finally up in the yeshiva! I’ll be trying to post a few times a week from now on (depending how busy I am).
So what’s happened in the last few week’s since I last posted? Well one thing was Succos, and the first time I ever kept one day of Chag.
It was a very interesting experience, and a little different then I expected. You’d think that making such a drastic change from what you’ve been doing your entire life would feel like it had more of an impact, but the next day just felt like any other day of Chol Hamoed. The interesting part came during the second days on Simchas Torah. The way it works in Israel is that everyone has Hakafos on Smini Atzeres and then 2nd night they bring a band into the Beis Medrash for the dancing. The weird part was the next morning, as I was putting my Tifillin away and getting ready to leave to Yerushalayim, the 2nd day guys started their hakafos by themselves. THAT felt weird.