Monday, December 21, 2009

Hanukkah Vacation (The whole country in one week)

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Click for my trip map!

I'm back at the Kibbutz now after a week or so traveling around my very "Big" country...well its pretty small, but man...I saw a lot (and Eilat). 'American Israeli Joke'

My first night of Hanukkah (חנוקה):
I went to Sam's apartment, a friend from my IsraeLinks trip in '08. Caitlin, also from IsraeLinks, was there and one of her friends too. We lit the first candle and then Sam and I went to go find a Shul (Synagogue). We walked to Hadar, a neat community in Haifa. The first Shul we found was closed, but right on the corner we found a Chabad. (My favorite chose of Shul) It was all Russian though, but still the same service I knew from Boulder. We walked back to his apartment afterwards and ready for us was a very nice Shabbat Dinner. After Dinner we had a very strange encounter with a man and his son in Sam's apartment building. The man invited us up to his apartment for drinks. It was very late and all in Hebrew, so I can't tell you much, but it was fun...
The next day we all went back to the Russian Chabad House, came back and ate lunch. After Lunch, the man from upstairs invited Sam and I to his Shul for Afternoon Prayers. It was very close. When we got in, we saw that it was a Sephardic Shul. This was a very rich experience and they treated us like royality. I got to carry the Torah to the Bima and I also got an Aliyah. (Called to the Torah for the reading, a very honorary custom.) THATS it for Shabbat and the first night of חנוקה.

My second night of חנוקה:

I had also planned to meet up with some friends from CPLV (My Summer Camp) in Tel Aviv Motzi Shabbat (After Shabbat/Saturday Night). So after we lit the second candle, I got on a bus from a very wet and rainny Haifa, to Herzalia to where I got picked up by Yogev, my camp friend, and we then drove to Ramat Gan (Just East of Tel Aviv). There we met up with Roni and Anna, more friends from camp. We sat and had coffee and snacks for hours and caught up with each other, while I had a chance to practice my Hebrew...Which I may add is getting pretty good, well...not really speaking, but Understanding.

The time flew by and I had no chance of making it to the Kibbutz that night, so I stayed with Anna in Petah Tikvah, just north a bit from Tel Aviv. The next day, I caught a bus back to the Kibbutz. *I have to add that Anna was amazing and very helpful. I got to the Kibbutz at 11am, four hours late for Class! I also missed the big mid-term test...I got yelled at by my teacher, but it was חנוקה and I got away with it. I then had to start the test on my own, while my whole class started making חנוקה decorations. This was a very hard test, as it was testing us on three levels of Hebrew. So much for day two...

My third night of חנוקה:
Sunday night, the Ulpan had its חנוקה party. We had spent the whole week before preparing. I only had to do one thing for the party, light a candle. My whole class had to light a candle in the honor of something. Mine was, Peace in the Middle East and the World. I felt like I was in the Miss America Pageant. It was very fun night and I ate even more Sufganeot (Jelly Filled Donuts). *I might post some videos of it on facebook... The next day I had to go to Work!

My candle in Hebrew: אני מדליק נר לכבוד השלום. שיהייה שלום במזרח התיכון ושלום עולמי בכל העולם
My candle in English: I light this candle in honor of peace. That there be peace in the Middle East and all around the world.

My fourth night of חנוקה:
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I had to work because the the first level class had off class and work. My class had Thursday and Friday off.

Monday night, a friend that lives on my kibbutz, Tzach, invited me and some girls, Arielle and Ellinor, to a natural hot springs in the north, just off the Jordan river. It was very relaxing and nice.

My fifth night of חנוקה:
On Tuesday Night, I went to the Kibbutz's Hanukkah Play for the Kids. It was really quite the experience for a Theatre Major. One it was all in Hebrew, but for Kids, so I got most of it and two it was a mix of children dancing and adults acting. It had nothing to do with Hanukkah, or anything Jewish, just a play about a puppy that lost his brother and he went looking for him. It was all very nice. Plus we lit a giantHanukiah.

My sixth night of חנוקה:
I left the Kibbutz right after work on Wednesday and headed off to Eilat (The southern most part of Israel on the Red Sea). My friend from College, Katie London, is there for a few months working in a hotel on a program. I packed my stuff and went out to the gate of the Kibbutz. I always Tramp (Hitchhike) to the near town, Kiryat Ata to check the bus. However when I got in the first car to stop, the driver asked what my destination was and I said Eilat, via Jerusalem. He replied with that he was also going to Jerusalem and I could go with him the whole way. WOW! Second time this had happened. I got to Jerusalem two minutes after the earlier bus to Eilat. Damn, the next bus, which I planned to take anyways was in three I decided to get some lunch and wait for the bus. After I ate, I went to the info desk in the bus station and found out that the 5pm Bus to Eilat was sold out! Awww, What! מה? So I had an hour to get to Tel Aviv to get a bus to Eilat. I didn't get to Eilat until 10:30pm! While I was on the bus, I heard the prayers for the sixth candle, on the radio. I got off to meet Katie and we went right out to get some dinner and check out the boardwalk.

The next day, we woke up and got some breakfast with Katie's Boyfriend on the boardwalk. This was the first I got to see Eilat in the light. It was pretty dusty and I couldn't even see across town, which is mostly hotels. It was warm though and I got to wear shorts.

My seventh night of חנוקה:
We went out to dinner at one of the hotel's that Katie's friend, Kara, works at. It was pretty bad, but I got another Sufganeot... After we went to get ready to go out for the night. It got kinda crazy and I met a ton of their friends. We all lit the seventh candle together in another hotel lobby where only staff live. I met two 17 year olds, one from Russia and one from Kazakhstan (Yes, it really is a country). These guys were working at a hotel, but they just got fired and are moving to Kiryat one wants to live there, by the way, its the town right by my that was cool meeting some guys from where I live in the north. 

The next day, Friday, I had to head to Jerusalem for Shabbat. A few minor problems though...The only ticket I could get to Jerusalem was at 1pm and would not arrive in J town until 5pm, 30min after Shabbat starts. (I wanted to keep the Shabbat and I was staying at a religious family). So I went to the bus station at 10am to try and get on the first bus to Jerusalem, but no I got another great idea! There was a 11am Bus to Tel Aviv. So I got on it... Well that was a mistake, as I soon realized. I thought it would be the same amount of time to Tel Aviv as Jerusalem...I don't know why, but I did. I thought I would get to Tel Aviv at 3pm and then be able to make it to J town in time...well the bus would not get to Tel Aviv until 4:25pm...No Good/לה טוב, but I was going to an amazing person's house. Rivkah, my friend/fellow guide on this summer's Birthright trip. She got on the computer and started cross refrenceing my buses stops and buses to Jerusalem. I ended up switching buses and making it to Jerusalem at 4:20pm!!!!! 10 Minutes to Shabbat, not 10 minutes to the grace period of shabbat. I ran off the bus and right to a taxi. I told them the address and to go fast! I arrived at Rivkah's house right as the sun was going behind the horizon.

My eight night of חנוקה:
I was to late to light candles, as they had to be lit before Shabbat. They had eight hanukiahiot lit. Which was very spectacular. I went to a Shul across the street with Rivkah's Brother for Shabbat. Dinner was great for Shabbat. Rivkah has one older brother and six younger sisters. Plus three other guest where at dinner. I love a large Shabbat dinner with a bunch of loud Israelis! Really, it was a lot of fun.

Shabbat Day was amazing, as I went to Shul once, ate another large meal for lunch and took a walk with Rivkah. I really had one of my best and rememberable shabbats. Her family was amazing and I felt very welcome. I really got to practice my hebrew too!!!

That night I met up with a friend from the Ulpan and caught a bus back to the Kibbutz. I wanted to get back and get some rest, because Sunday and Monday the whole Ulpan was taking a trip to the Negev (Israeli Desert).

Ulpan Trip to the Negev:
The Ulpan I'm in takes a few trips durning the program and this week's trip is of the Negev, for two days. We left at 7am and took a bus to our first destination of Maresha (Click for Link). It was a very old site of city with a ton of underground tunnels and rooms. We spent a few hours on our hands and knees and see massive rooms under the ground.

Next we went to a "Hot spring" at the edge of the desert, just north of Ber Sheba. It wasn't really so much as a hot spring, but a full on Spa, with some hot pools. Very nice and relaxing, but not like the one I went to in the north the week before. Here is a great pic of the sunset.

Then it was getting late so we headed to the famous, Bedouin Tents , at Kfar Hanokdim. I was at the same place with my Birthright group this summer. So about the same...Food, Music, Fire, Desert walk/prayer. I really had a good time, even though, my group drives me crazy at most times.

On Monday, we woke up and ate, and went Camel riding. My third or forth time... It was just the same as all the times before, but a bit longer. Not a good thing...My eggs were in my pun intended.
Then we set out for a three hour hike in the desert near the Dead Sea (ים המלך). It was a very easy hike, with amazing views! I really enjoyed it, more than any other part of the trip.

After the Hike, we went to Dead Sea to Float! Been there done that, but in the Summer. The water was very cold, well pool temp. We floated for awhile and then headed back to the Kibbutz.

The End!

Now back to class and work!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Picture Update

Sufganiot (Jewish Jelly Filled Donut)
I got to fry them for Class...really good.

Jerusalem after a rain storm

Horses on the Kibbutz

Kibbutz FieldsBlurry, but thats some very famous people. I was sitting in an Audience for an Israeli TV Show. אור ישראלי More about this in a post...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I'm going to the Army May 4th, 2010

Hag Samach Everyone! Happy Thanksgiving/Turkey Day.

First off, My Thanksgiving... Well because I'm with a bunch of American's we held our own dinner for the Ulpan. A few of the girls decorated and cooked all the food. Chicken, Sweet potato pie, stuffing, salad, and spiked apple cider. Not quiet like my families great cooking, but it worked. They did make Pumpkin Pie, but it was with Coconut kosher...not lactose free...and I hate coconuts. Oh Well. The best part of the day was that in class we made turkeys with our was just like 4th grade.

I got my second Yom Gius Letter from the IDF. Its my draft date. The first letter said, September 5th, 2010...a day before my 23rd Birthday. Well that night I got a call from the army, my friend, saying that she changed my draft date to the 4th of May. I also got the official letter this week.

When I go on May 4th, I will get all setup for Mikve Alon, Army Ulpan. Depending on how good my hebrew is, will determine how long I will be in the program. After a few weeks of training, I will start hebrew classes. Sometime durning Mikve Alon, I will get to figure out where I will be serving the rest of my two years.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm so glad Static Electricity doesn't Kill

To start off this post I want to recommend a book to all those that are interested in serving in the IDF. Brotherhood of Warriors by Aaron Cohen.
It is a great book about a kid that grew up in Califoria, got tired of his home, went to Military school in Canada and then make Aliyah, joined the IDF in a special forces unit.
***I read it in a day*** Its a really good read.

Army Update:
I haven't gotten my draft letter yet from the Army this week. I'm starting to get to know the Israeli way and decided that I might need to start making some calls to see where my file was. I called Nefesh B'Nefesh...they couldn't do anything, so I called a friend of mine that works in לשכת גיוס, she is the girlfriend of a guy in my Ulpan. This turned out to be a great idea. I called her up and she looked into my file. Turns out my file had not be finished yet, but there was no explanation she could give. She emailed the head of the board in Haifa. I also wanted to get into the Army Ulpan starting in December, but it is a bit close and everyone kept telling me that it was full and I would have to wait until May. She emailed the officer about both issues. So he gets back to her, that my file can't be closed, because I am in my first year in Israel and Olim don't get drafted their first year. I had sent in a letter forgiving that right a few months ago, but I guess it got lost. So I sent in another yesterday. Well so that pretty much pushed me right out of being drafted in December.

Problem... I now have to figure out what to do from Feb 2nd to May... I have no clue what to do now, but I do have a few options.
1. Stay at the same Kibbutz and do another ulpan for three months or stay on the kibbutz if there is room and work...
2. Find another Kibbutz Ulpan that will start in December and go until May.
3. Find something to do until August and then join Garin Sabar. This is a really good program which is another kibbutz ulpan, but it is a group of Olim all going to the army together. They provide ulpan and pre army training. A really good option, but far away.

Work Update:
So for the title of this post...  On Monday I got moved temporary inside the factory to work at the end of the assembly line. This was one of my hardest days of work in the factory. It wasn't hard physically really, but the stuff never stops and if you take too long of a break it all gets backed up and everyone is screwed. I was on my feet almost 7 hours in my shitty work boots, in a very loud factory...and it was raining outside. We made huge piles of PVC sheets and let me tell you... this builds up a lot of static electricity that came to a surprise to me. I should have seen it coming though, I would get two-four feet away from the pile and all my arm hair was on the rise. I had to straighten out the last sheet my partner just put on the pile and I leaned over the pile to do so. As soon as I touched the sheet, I jumped a foot up in the air and let out a scream...HOLY Shit, that hurt, but mostly surprised me. I have been electrocuted a few too many times in my life, even by a wall socket and this had to be one of the biggest shocks I've I'm so glad Static Electricity doesn't KILL, or leave any damage.

Well, I've got a oral presentation on Thursday, so I've got to go practice now. Its 20 mins of me speaking in Hebrew about how I became so attached to Israel. Maybe I'll post it...for the Hebrew readers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rain Rain Rain Geshem

I am now finally better this week! I feels very different and I forgot how good it feels to fell good. Funny how that works right?

Well I went back to work last Friday and it had to be the coldest morning I have had in Israel. I worked for about an hour, decided that I would get sick again if I stayed outside, so I went back to bed... and then got ready to travel to Jerusalem for the weekend. I was going just to hang out and get off the kibbutz and to see my friend Lisa from College. My ulpan was doing a tour of Jerusalem on Sunday, so I would be able to spend all weekend in Jerusalem and meet up with them on Sunday.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

One month of being Sick...Israeli Style

The most spoken Hebrew Line for me this past four weeks has been: אני הולה. אני מרגש לא טוב. (I'm Sick, I feel not good.) *I might of spelled the hebrew wrong...

This is quiet the story, I'm going to start at the beginning, for you to experience it from my point of view, please forget everything you know about the end result for a minute...btw, I'm not too sure about the time/dates so it might be fuzzy...

So just before Rosh Hashanan, I started to get a bit sick. A lot of the other people in the ulpan were sick in the few weeks before me, so I was just the next victim. It was a sore throat and running nose. It wasn't very bad and I just had some throat numbing pills. After a few days of not getting better I went to the kibbutz clinic to get it checked, make sure it wasn't some bad. They said it looks like its viral and should be fine in a few days.
Diagnosis: Sore Throat
Treatment: Stronger numbing pills

The next week it was a bit worse and I started to get headaches, not too bad and no fevers. I didn't work and it was the holidays in Israel so there was a bunch of days off anyways. I still went to class and did my homework. GI #2 (Code name for the "house mother" she is number 2 in the Ulpan Staff). She tells me that I need to get my throat tested it I want to miss work. I am not feeling well enough to go work in my shitty job, mostly because of the very loud noise that would not be the best for my headaches. I go to the clinic for a second time.*BTW, the clinic on the kibbutz is very informal but ran by my heath fund. Its free for me to see the doctors and nurses and get simple tests. The good side of universal health care. They swab my throat for a test and tell me it I just have a cold, should be a few more days.
Diagnosis: Sore Throat/ Cold
Treatment: Nothing
Result of test: Nothing

So a few days later I'm not better, I have a cough, very runny/stuffed up nose, and more headaches. I go back to the clinic. I walk in and sit for half an hour and the nurses tell me there is nothing they can do, its just a cold, no tests, no meds...

Diagnosis: Cold
Treatment: Nothing

I go back a few days later, I have a pretty bad cough and head really hurts, this is about the end of the 2nd week of being sick. I go in, they say, you need to see the doctor, and they type me in for that afternoon.

Diagnosis: Severe coughing
Treatment: See the Doctor

That afternoon, I go to my doctor's appt. He is a nice man that speaks english very well. He listens to all my symptoms  and listens to my heart and lungs, takes my blood pressure and temp. He says its just a cold. I should be better in a few days. I get Israel meds this time...very strong...

Diagnosis: Cold
Treatment: Cold Medication (Day and Night)

The next week, I still can't work and the headaches are getting worse and the pain meds and cold meds are not doing anything. So I am dragged to the clinic by GI#2, who has yelled at me almost every morning about going to work and just getting over my cold. I get called into a meeting with the Ulpan Director about being "sick" and not working. I can't keep going on like this...I need to go to work. They don't think I'm really sick and maybe I'm just depressed about my job. This is in the 3rd week.
Well, I get dragged to the clinic, she tells the nurses that I still am not better and that she wants to see me talk to the doctor. I talk to the doctor about my headaches and my cough. He listens to my lungs again, and finds that he kinda hears wheezing in my left lung. Finally they find something wrong, so much for a three week cold...a few more days I should be fine the doctor says and stop taking the cold meds.

Diagnosis: Bronchitis
Treatment: Antibiotics 150mg and cough syrup

The next day, I still don't feel any different. I feel worse, well the headaches are bad...nothing is helping. Friday, I wake up early to to tell GI#2 that I can't go to work, I am feeling really bad today. She doesn't think anything is wrong with me. I tell her my forehead is hot, she takes my temp, no fever. She wants me to go to work. She yells at me for five minutes in front of two ulpan girls about how she can't put up with me and I have to go to work. I get mad and say FINE I will go to work... I go get dressed and go to work, felling like shit. I work for a about two hours, its loud and hot. I take some breaks and can't really handle being at work, so I leave a few hours early for the day. There is no boss really on friday, and I really feel like shit. I hid out in my room for the rest of the day and weekend. Trying to feel better.

Week 4
Sunday I go to class... teacher yells at me for not doing my homework...I tell her i have really bad headaches and I can't focus very well. She also thinks I'm faking, but she is a bit nicer.

Monday same thing, I get yelled at again by GI #2... whatever... I sleep all day.

Tuesday, Class, same thing as sunday.

Wednesday, I decided not even to tell GI #2 I'm not going to work, I'll just avoid her... I go to breakfast late. I decided to go to the clinic to one, avoid GI #2 and two, to get more cough syrup.
Well Well Well, who do I run into on the way...GI #2, riding her golf cart. She stops, and gives me the yelling I have been trying to avoid. I tell her, I'll go to work and do nothing and let me headaches get worse. She tells me, this is not what the program is about. We will talk to the Ulpan Director. I can't be here if this is what I'm going to be doing. I yell, I'm Sick! She drives away, I almost start to cry, but don't , for real. I get my syrup and go back to my room and sleep all day.
Just more Cough syrup....

Thursday, Dooms Day.
I wake up with a killer headache, very congested, and coughing like crazy...I must be faking...  I sit though one and half hours of class feeling very very sick. The teacher calls on me a few times and I say I can't. She tells me I really need to do my work and participate. I say I am not feeling very well. After watching my clock until the break, I go right to the Director's office. I'm thinking I'm about to be kicked out of the ulpan, this might be a good Idea. She right away asks what has been going on with I'm in trouble. I start to cry, for real, tears and everything mostly from the pain of my headache. She says, well I think we should go to the hospital, not very willingly, but I'm crying. She gets an Ulpan car and takes me right away. We arrive about twenty minutes later at the hospital, well the main Clinic for the area, just like a hospital. I get seen pretty quick by a nurse, go over the basics, all fine. She sends me to the doctor's office. We wait a bit and see him, he listens to my lungs and my symptoms. He then orders for me to have X-rays of my nose and lungs. I go to another floor and get my X-rays, and wait for the results. They are in Hebrew, and in Doctor. We can't read what they found, but they found something. We go back to the Doctor, he says, just as I thought. You have a Sinus Infection and Pneumonia in your left lung. Take this two meds, you'll start to feel better in a few days and come back in a month to have X-rays again to make sure your fine.

Diagnosis: Pneumonia and Sinus Infection
Treatment: Antibiotics 650m


On the way back to the kibbutz, I say thank you to the director for taking me. She says, well to tell you the truth, I feel guilty about this. You really are sick. Next time to feel really bad, make sure to cry...

I go back to my room to rest, she has someone bring me lunch. GI #2, come to my room in the mean time. She says, she owes me an apology for yesterday morning and she is sorry, but you have been sick for a month...
Great, thanks...I say, very sleepily.

Well after a few days and no one yelling at me, I feel much better. My headaches have gone away, I only blow my nose a few times a day and my coughs are decreasing...well not after walking. I still have trouble breathing after walking...but its getting much better. I am starting to feel like myself again...lets see how I feel in a few more days.

Oh man, I love Israel! I really am going to like this in a few years...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

לשכת גיוס (IDF Recruiting Office)

I'm on my way to being a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, צבא הגנה לישראל, IDF.

My first step in joining the IDF is to:
1. Get a draft letter, a year after my Aliyah
2. Go and sign up before a year.

So I went with Option number 2. לשכת גיוס

I left early in the morning and reported to the office in Haifa, my local branch. I was with another Ulpan member and we went together. We got to the front, a line to get into the building. We gave the guard our Tudet Zahut, ID Card, and they entered it into the computer and gave us a temp army card.

*OK, so I am thinking this is just a trip to talk to a guy in a office for 20min, tell him we want to go sooner than we get our draft papers, he takes our info and we leave.

They told us to go to a room on the 3rd floor. Not too much info... Well we get up there and see about 15 people waiting outside the room with about 20 desks, all already full. We find out that we have to scan our temp card onto the computer just outside the door. I pop as number 18 in line. Great, seems like it should go fast... Well after about of an 1:30min, I get called into the room and sent to one of the 20 desks. I wait about another 20 mins for a soldier to show up. She first speaks to me only in Hebrew and refuses to speak English. I have no clue what is going on now. I could speak enough Hebrew to get through all the personal questions about my ID and general family info. I think this is it, but I wanted to speak english to make sure I said everything right, because she was giving me a funny look. She says she can't speak English to me, but I don't understand. She goes and gets her boss and then the women over comes over and speaks to me in Hebrew, almost quizzing me on my understanding of Hebrew and leaves after a 5min conversation. Then I wait about 20min for my soldier that was interviewing me. She comes back and says we can talk in English now. We go over my family info and I guess she was looking at me funny because I guess I said that my brother was dead. This is a big deal because, if you have a dead sibling and are then the only child, your choices in the Army are greatly reduced, no front line units. Well we finish the info about me and I think I'm done.

My soldier leaves for about 10 mins and then comes back and starts asking me Hebrew questions. I have no clue why at this point, but it turns out that this is now my Hebrew Test to enter the IDF. So much for just a visit to tell a guy that I want to join early... I begin to think that this is going to take a lot longer that I expect. I see a female soldier I know, she is the girlfriend of a guy in my ulpan and her sister lives on my kibbutz. She tells me not to worry, that all of this is standard of English speakers in Ulpan. Good.

Then another soldier comes and asks me more hebrew test stuff. Then the other soldier comes back to finish the test. It went really bad, I hardly understood what I was reading and writing, but I could read well and I could speak very basically. After the test, she asks me if I have ever learned another language. I said I learned German for four years of High School credit and two years worth of college credit. I said that I could read it and know very little of what it was saying and that my speaking was very basic. I hope this will not become a mistake later on in my service....???

We finish everything, as I think, she tells me that I need to go to room downstairs and go my pee test. I walk down the stairs, then she comes running after me and takes me about to her desk. She forgot to have me sign a paper and fill out a psycho questionnaire...This was the weirdest thing I had to do the whole day. Questions like to you feel different that others? Do you ever experience a gay mood, feel Happy for more than a day or two? Not Gay, Happy, very old questionnaire. The thing was that most of the questions seemed negative and you could answer, Never, Rarely, Sometimes, or often. I signed the office draft agreements. I can be called up now anytime, I can't leave Israel for more than 3 months, I will take an IQ test...ect.

Then I leave and go and take my pee test. 5 min quick and I was giving a medical sheet with an OK for the pee test and sent to another room. I go in the room they do blood pressure, height, and weight. They asked about my eyes, I told them I have glasses and contacts... well the eye doctor is not there. I have to come back another time or get an official eye exam at my own expense and fax it to them. Then they send me to the medical doctor. Guess what? A big line, all the same people in front of me in the first line. While waiting I find out that we get a free sandwich. Yay, the first thing I get to eat all day. I wait another hour and get called into the doc's office. They do a quick physical and ask about my past medical history and anything that could limit my service. It took about 20 mins. Now this is where I should have got my profile for duty. *Profile is how the IDF sees what you are fit to do in service. 97 being the highest number and what I hope to get. Well I don't get a profile because I still need to do my eye exam. My eye sight should not hurt my score, but I am disqualified from being a pilot, which I can't go anyways.

Then they send me to another room to have my IQ test. I wait for 45 mins and then get called into to do the test on a computer. They explain it to me. Time limit and shapes... It was really crazy, a bunch of patterns with shapes and I had to pick which shape I thought would be next. It was very hard and I didn't get to the last two questions...yikes... Well they don't tell you how you did, because as they said to my friend they want to be nice and not tell you if your dumb. After this they tell me I'm done with all the processes and that in a few weeks or months I will be contacted by the IDF to get what jobs I'm qualified for and what I would like to do in the IDF. btw, I don't know yet, what I want to do...

*Point of Info: Most soldiers in the IDF are 18-21. Most of the soldiers working at לשכת גיוס are female about about 20.

Well I wait for another hour for the other guys from my Ulpan I'm with. It is now six hours later. I only had a shitty sandwich and nothing to drink and I only slept four hours the night before, because of the Broncos game. I am still sick btw, so this day hasn't been very nice to my body. I have a killer headache and want to get some sleep. Now I'm not the biggest fan of the other guy I'm with and now I have to travel back to the kibbutz with him. Not my idea of fun.

Well it takes about 1:45 mins to get back, bad traffic.

I went to bed at 8pm til midnight, woke up for a few hours, and then slept until I was very ruedly awoken at 7:30am. Oh NO! I and my two roommates totally slept though three alarm clocks and we forgot that we had to be at the dining room at 7am because the whole ulpan was leaving on a bus to Tel Aviv at 7:30 for a tour of a museum.

Well more later, hope you enjoyed my first army experience.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hag Sukkot

This week has been a great break/holiday. I haven't had to go to class or work from Friday until Wednesday.

I spent the weekend with a friend from Camp, Barak, from 2007. He had a really nice place in Even Yahuda. When I got there I got to help them finish their sukkah and put up the decorations. His family greeted me very nicely and made me feel at home. I arrived just in time to see the video of Gilad Shalit released on national television. I think I will remember this moment for a life time, as it was a real Israeli experience that I was a part of. If you don't know about Gilad, please go to this link and find out more. He has been in Hamas captivity for three years now, lets all pray that he be released soon.

That night we had a great dinner in the sukkah and the food was great. I am really starting to like all these home cooked meals for the holidays. They set me up in the basement, which was like its own apartment. It was very nice. We went out that night and met up with a friend of Barak. We found a chill place near by.

The next day we woke up and went to the beach at Kibbutz Shefayim, where Idan lives, my roommate from this summer. We met Idan, Asaf, and Tal...all camp friends from 2007. It was the most beautiful beach I had been to in Israel, and not a lot of people there. I played Matcot for the first time...its like the most popular sport in Israel, Beach Pingpong, with no table. I sucked. Right after we went to the beach, Barak and I had to go to some family of his for another Holiday meal. It was also a very nice meal, with some of the best wine I have ever had. Very nice and again the food was amazing...I even ate the liver...

The rest of the day we just hung out and watched the office.

On sunday, we had no plans so Barak, a friend and I all went to the Herzlia beach, also empty and nice. That night I went back to the kibbutz and just relaxed and slept. Now I have two more days without work to study and get some sleep. On Tuesday night the whole ulpan is going to Akko for a big festival...I'm not sure what it is for, but it should be fun.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A random outing

Today I woke up with the same stupid sore throat and headache. I decided to get up and get some food though and its laundry day, so I had to drop off my clothes. I eat and still don't feel good, so I decide not to go to work, the only day I would have work this week. I waited around for the director to tell her how I was doing and that I couldn't go to work. Well she wanted me to go to the Kibbutz Clinic to get checked up.

Now I was thinking I would have to sign in, fill out some forms in Hebrew, wait forever and then see a doctor that would tell me that it was just viral and to drink water and get rest. Well I walked in and went to the office. She said go sit down and wait for a nurse, there is no doctor today. Well the nurses take the other two people already there first. I wait about 7 minutes and then I get called in. I sit in a chair, explain about my pain, she looks in my throat, says its to late in the morning for a test, but it looks viral. She gets me some lozenges for the pain, I pay, and leave. Very short, good, but just more lozenges. Well now I was awake and bored. I decide that I should go to Haifa and pick up my Teudat Oleh (ID of Aliyah) that I dropped off to get my name changed in it to match my Teudat Zahut. I take the buses to Haifa, get into the building with minutes before it closes at noon. I find the office, get my ID, and leave. Another quick stop, *This is rare in Israel* well I am in Haifa and nothing to do all day, so I start walking around. There are a bunch of small shops of shoes, electronics, and food. btw, I didn't know but I guess porn goes great with a shoe purchase. All of the shoe stores had porn...weird.

Well I end up near the train station. I don't know what to do, and then I got a random urge to go to the beach. So I get on the train for 5 sheckles and go to Hof HaCaramel. It was a short ride and then off right at the beach. It was a very nice beach, and empty today. I walked around in the sand and the sidewalk. There were a few people in the water, sand, restaurants, and then a bunch of random old over sunned men playing board games. I decide to get some food. I had a great meal of Shinziel, French Fries, and Salad with a margarita. It was great and then I walked some more, and chilled in the sun.

It was a good day at the beach.

So coming up this weekend I'm free from Friday until Tuesday, then I have three days of work and then off only for Shabbat. So we will see what goes on. I might go visit my family and I think all the 2007 Israel Staff guys are getting together. Should be fun!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yom Kippur יום ביפור

So I was feeling a bit better on Sunday afternoon and was just hanging out on my computer...and then I got the weirdest urge...

I thought to myself, I'm going to Tzfat for Yom Kippur.

Now this was at about noon, Yom Kippur started at 5pm. The last bus would be at 1pm
*Day Light savings time was in-between Shabbat and Yom Kippur.

Well I knew of the place I had been to three times in Tzfat and I looked them up on the internet. Ascent of Tzfat  They have a Yom Kippur Special.

I ran to my room, packed, and ran to get to the bus. To get a bus I have to go to Kiryat Ata about 4min drive. 25min Walk. Its safe to hitchhike with Kibbutz owned cars and I have always been picked when I try. I waited and waited and no one was coming. So I called a cab. Well right after I called a cab...a Kibbutz was approaching so I waved it down. I was with two other guys that wanted to go to town. We all got in. The driver said that the town is closing down and there is noting to do. So the other two guys got out and stayed. I asked if he could take me to the bus stop. I had 10 mins to make the bus. We started talking and he asked where I was taking the Bus to. I said Tzfat for Yom Kippur. He said, Oh I am going to a town just near Tzfat. I will take you to Tzfat. Wow. Perfect. *Things happen for a reason and know I knew that going to Tzfat was the right thing to do.

I got to Ascent and got my room. I had not much time before the pre-fast meal and I wanted to go take a spirutual dip in the Ari Mikvah. A custom of men before Yom Kippur.

I walk down hundreds of steps, take my dips, and head back up the hill to get dressed. If you have never been in Tzfat, let me tell better be ready for the large amount of steps.

So I go back to Ascent for Dinner, but just before dinner there is a short service for the day. I sit next to an American looking girl about my age. We start talking and it turns out that she graduated from CU my Freshman year. She didn't like CU much so we didn't talk about it much. Well then the table starts to fill up with a bunch of older Israelis. I got very squashed and couldn't really talk to the CU girl. I got up after my chicken and went to the library to find a book to read. I found some good books and made a small pile. I started to read a very good book called The Thinking Jewish Teenager's Guide to Life
by Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz. I recommend this book to anyone.

After reading a few chapters I went to start the Prayers for Yom Kippur. They went until about 7:30pm

After the service at 8:30pm there was a class on Kabbalah and Yom Kippur. It was a great class and I really enjoyed it. In short it was about how to "Return to G-d." The question asked was, How do you return to g-d if g-d is always there? If you can't get away from G-d then How can you return to G-d? Well it turns out that G-d has a front and a back, in this metaphor for G-d. If you are standing back to back with G-d then you are away from G-d. This is the furtherest away from G-d as you can get, and yes G-d is still right next to you. So in short, To return, you come face to face with G-d.
*I can go more in depth to make more sense and apply it to Yom Kippur, but not in the blog post*

Well I then head back to my room and get some sleep.

Then next day I wake up at about 7:30am and walk down to start the next service for Yom Kippur. I was early so I picked up another one of the books I had in my pile and began to read. Now this book is a book about a man that I met in the old city last year on IsraeLinks with Chabad. The book is below. I highly recommend this to EVERYONE, it is a MUST read!!! I got so into the book right away, which is very rare for me and books, but I was. I really want to talk about the book because it is what I did from 8am until 4pm...and I finished it, but it is really in-depth and I don't have it with me know. The thing I liked about it the most was that Gil and I have the same outlook/belief in what G-d is.

Coming Back to Earth: The Central Park Guru Becomes an Old City Jew by Gil Locks

Well I finished the book and went to the final three services of Yom Kippur. I davened (prayed) for about three more hours. It was very fulfilling especially after all the insight I had learned reading the book. We finished and did havdallah and ate some cake and drank some water. I was surprised about how easy the fast was this year, esp after being sick. I went to my room and packed up and went to eat dinner. I ate quickly and talked to no one. Come to mind, I only talked to the one girl and say a few one words to a few people...but the only words that came out of my mouth were prayers. Very special.

I went to the bus station. I didn't even think about going to the bathroom before my two hour journey, but while waiting for the bus...I found out very quickly that was a bad thing. There was a near by gas station and risking missing the bus I ran to go to the bathroom. I made it and everything was good. I didn't miss the bus either. The bus was very packed headed back down to Haifa, but I had a seat. I was pretty tired, but I didn't want to fall asleep so that I wouldn't miss my stop in Kiryat Ata. Well in the last 45min of the trip I fell asleep. I woke up past where I was supposed to get off and ended up at the end of the route in Haifa. Oh well, I got on another 5 sheckel bus and it took me right back to Kiryat Ata. I then walked back to the Kibbutz in the dark and went right to bed.

Well a good day and night. I hope everyone else also had an easy fast and was sealed in the book of life.

Got Sick...blah.

Last week was quiet routine and boring. Except I tried to change was a maybe and now its still a maybe...

Wed I got sick, but I went to work...It was a very hard day at work in the sun, which didn't help much. At the end of the day I just went to sleep until Dinner. On Thursday I went to half a day of class because I was getting a killer headache and sore throat. Friday, I woke up and could hardly move. It keep getting worse. I sleep until about 1pm and then decited that I was going to meet up with a friend from camp for Friday night. I hadn't talked to her all day and was kinda nervous about going with out talking to her first, but it was getting close to the time of the last train to Tel Aviv. I decided to go and keep calling and texting her. I got about 30min away to the train stop. I had about 20 min for the train, so I bought a round trip ticket and went to go wait for the train. About 2min before the train was supposed to come, she finally calls me back. She says don't get on the train, I can't have you over and the party was cancelled. .... ... well it was just in time, but now I had traveled away from the Kibbutz with a headache and now I had to go back...maybe a good thing. *Everything must happen for a reason.

I got to buy pain killers and throat drops so that was good. I ended up spending the shabbat on the Kibbutz trying to recover...just lots of sleep.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The New Year

This past weekend was Rosh HaShanah, The First day of the Jewish New Year. I decided to leave my Kibbutz for the weekend and I was also kindly offered a place to stay. My friend Chen, a counselor from camp, and her family invited me over. They live in Holon, just outside of Tel Aviv. I took the train from Haifa to Tel Aviv and she picked me up. We got to her place and got ready for Shul/ Synagogue/Beit Kenesset and Dinner at her Aunt's house in Ramat HaSharon. I went with her Brother, Ron, to the Shul and we did the Kabbalat Shabbat/Rosh Hashanah service. It was very nice with a wide range of different looking Jews. The walk was a bit long, so I talked to Ron a bit. He is 20 years old and in the Navy, he has a very beautiful girlfriend, and very soon he will have his own ship to lead...

Then we sat down for dinner, which was to say the least, the fanciest dinner I have been for a Jewish Holiday. Real candle sticks in big silver holders, and very nice decorations and platters, a table set for almost 20. Rosh shel Dag (Head of Fish), Rimon (Pomegranate), and Apples and Honey...All things that have to do with different traditions of the holiday. We had amazing food, including Sushi (A great substitute to Gilfelta Fish) and Soup Bowls. Oh and really good wine.

The next day we woke up and had to get ready for the next holiday meal. This time we went to another family member of Chen's. It was also a very big meal, but about the most Israeli meal I have been to. There was a ton of food, lots of meat, including steak...what was Israeli about it was that everyone was yelling and eating fast and it was a Balagan (Arabic for mess). It was really fun, plus we had nice Champaign and Beer. After filling up we went outside to relax. The one thing that Israelis have been waiting for this year began to fall from the sky...Yes, it was Geshem (Rain) and a lot but only for a short time. Its now rained almost three days in a row, but its very short each time. I hope we can get more...Israel has a huge water problem now and all the fresh water is running out.

We then went back to Chen's house to take a nap and get ready for dinner that night. A few days before was Chen's Birthday, so she wanted to have a family dinner for it. We waited until late, so that it was no longer a holiday (Hag). We went to a place near Tel Aviv called Rak Basar (Just Meat). It was really cool place where they greeted us at the door with a friendly Shanah Tovah and a glass of wine. I also got to eat a steak for dinner! After dinner Chen, her boyfriend, and I headed up to Herzalah to meet up with Idan, my roommate from this summer. We meet at Max Brainer, a very nice Chocolate Restaurant. It was great and it was really good to see Idan. Idan's Girl friend also showed up and was very beautiful as well. It really was a great night, but a long one, so we headed back to get some sleep.

The next day we woke up late and just relaxed. Chen helped me with my hebrew homework. Then we traveled to her boyfriend's house in Modin for Lunch. It was a more laid back lunch, but the best food of the weekend. There is nothing like fresh homemade shinchel (breaded Chicken). We went back again so I could get ready to head back to the kibbutz. Before going to the train station we stopped at a Nagelia (Hookah) Bar in Jafo (Arab part of Tel Aviv). It was very authentic and a good end to my weekend.

Now I'm back on the kibbutz and had to work on Monday and back to class today. Work is still the same, but now I have some music I bring with me. I am changing rooms!!!! Living with Casey (Minnesota) and Adi (Australia) It should be a great room and I am getting my hopes back up for the rest of the Ulpan.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shana Tovah! שנה טובה!

A happy new year to you all. The Jewish people this weekend will celebrate the beginning of year 5770. This year I'm in Israel and its feels like the week before Christmas in America. There is gifts, sweets, dinners, parties, and lot of love...but more importantly time for refection on the last year. I have been doing a lot of soul searching this week and reevaluating my current position in my life. How do I see myself? What am I doing? What do I care about? How do I care about? How do I fit into a certain persona?

On the kibbutz this has been a time to see where I fit a very basic sence there are three "groupings of people"
1. The Group: Try to be friendly with everyone, talk about everyone, get drunk and party, no one has a private life, your problem is everyones problem
2. The Pairs: Always together/ sometimes in the bubble/ always someone to go to.
3. The Singles: At events, but mostly in their own world. Needs to have their time/place. A few people to go to, but not all the time...serious about studying, and more mature.

I know these are just the way I see things, I'm not trying to offend anyone.

I see myself caught up in the group, trying to be a single, but longing for a pair. Back at CU, I had many groups, many friends and I was always busy. Now I'm not busy and have time for myself, if I don't get caught up in all the drama and partying. So in short, maybe this is the time for me to really look back on the past year, and say "Sweet" and then start this next year off on a different foot. Now just to figure that out.

So to update you on my last post... I think currently I'm going to stay on this Kibbutz. #1 reason...$$ but really I need some more time to figure things out. I'm looking into getting another job at the factory and maybe even another room. Its not that I don't like my roommates, but that I would just rather be with guys that I can connect to better. *Just for an example of the group think...Someone over heard me in the dinning hall talking about switching rooms, so they told my roommates, and now without me being able to talk to my roommates, they are going around to everyone saying that "Tzvi hates me, what did I do wrong, I thought he liked me, maybe its because i'm weird...ect." Well the group think then responds you are now he is pissed and depressed....AAHHHHHH! So much DRAMA and I'm not even a drama major now...what do I do?

Alright for the New Year, 5770. We should all ask ourselves what we can do. Personally I am starting off the year giving Tzdakah, Charity. Check out these two sites if you would like to do the same. They both have a large need in Colorado and have helped me out a lot in the past.

Jews at CU

Jews in Colorado

Shana Tova! May all of you have a very blessed year, full of love, peace, respect, and success!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Reflections (27 Days)

This past week has been quiet hecktic for me...some things have come up in my personal and Ulpan life. I'm only going to talk about the Ulpan Stuff.

While on another trip to Jerusalem...after a really fun night in Tel Aviv. btw, I got to hang out with Or, Yael, and Tali from Camp!

I ended up meeting up with James, a guy on a kibbutz near me, from my last Birthright trip. His brother was staying at the Mayanot Yishiva. James and I both had stayed there before so we decided to stay there for Shabbat. The Shabbat was great, it was good to be around good old Chabad Energy, loud singing, good food, and great stories. It was also a good time to relax and reflect on how my Aliyah was going so far.

So to lead into and/or add to this reflection of how my Kibbutz Ulpan is going...

Last week three Laptops were stolen from the room near mine. There room was locked and must of been a break in....well last night, my room was broken into. Thank G-d, I was in another room with my laptop/money/phone, but my Ipod Touch and My roommate's laptop were stolen. This was at about 11:30pm when missing Items were noticed missing. Well after some investigative work be other people in the Ulpan.. there was a suspect, a guy in the Ulpan, and he admitted to taking my Ipod and selling it on the street. Well the Ulpan Director is called, the kibbutz security was called, and the police were called. I don't really know what is going on now, but the guy that admitted to taking my Ipod is still here and working...I'm not to happy about that and now a lot of us are feeling very unsafe because three Punk types have been see in the ulpan area and they know the guy that took my Ipod.

So after this event, having a horrible mindless job, and not enjoying the company of kids in the ulpan that party every night...I have started looking into other options for the time being. There are many other things that the Jewish Agency offers for Olim and maybe another kibbutz with different work...I have been making calls and sending emails, so we will see what I will do next. I just really need to get away from a place where I don't feel safe and where I am sold into slave labor (building pyramids) and where I feel like I'm in the freshman dorms again....

Well thats it for now....I'll keep you updated on what I do...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First week of Work

I have just completed my first work week. Well two days. It is usually three days a week I work. I am working in a plastics factory called Palram. Click on the link to see more about the company.

My job is in the Recycling department. Yes, it sounds very Boulder of me...but it is concerted one of the worst jobs for Ulpanim on the Kibbutz. I stand in the same exeact place for 7-8 hours of the day and peel a thin plastic covering off a sheet of plastic. Sometime they are double sided, sometimes they are really small and sometimes they are giant windows. All this plastic got messed up somewhere in the line or is the scraps of the cutting for customers. My supervisor then comes when we finish a pile and takes it to someone else who sticks it in the grinder.

My supervisor speaks no english, but its alright because all he says is come here, do this, and go. He is never around and we can take breaks whenever, talk on the phone, listen to music, jump in the piles of soft plastic, or just take a cat nap. Today we finished about an hour before lunch with two huge piles of window plastic. I took a nap til lunch, came back after lunch, no new work, so took another supervisor came over to get another guy to help him. I asked what about me. He pointed to the pile i was napping in and made a hand motion to sit. So I did.

Not a bad job after all...

We will see how the rest of the days go.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My Birthday, Yom Huledit Salee, יום חולדת שלי.

Sunday, the first thing to start off my birthday was....CLASS! Oh yea, more hebrew even on my birthday.

It was kinda fun for the morning though, because we added all the different ways of wishing someone/me happy birthday and all the luck and the class activity was then to make me a bday card. It was really great of my classmates and they looked great. After class, I took a nice long nap until dinner. At Dinner the girls made me a really nice chocolate cake, lactose free, which I have to have now...some how I'm lactose intolerant now...its bad...I'll skip the details.

After dinner some of my friends from the Ulpan took me out to an Ice Cream/Waffle place in nearby Kirat Ata...kinda ironic now that I just told you about my lactose problem...but sometimes I can take a few pills to help with the digestion of the dairy...most times that don't work very well, so I took one before I left and two more right before I ate. and it worked...Thank g-d because we had a 25 minute walk back to the kibbutz.

Well thats my Bday! and I got to talk to some friends back in Colorado...It really made my day! Thanks also to everyone that wrote on my wall. Your all great! I love you guys and miss you all. and I'm really sorry the Buffs lost to the freaking rams. I did see a good facebook status though..."F... the rams, well at least we don't go to CSU."

Here is a pic of the of two waffles...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Jerusalem Weekend

I just had a great and crazy weekend in Jerusalem and today is also my Birthday.

So after class on thursday I decided to head to Jerusalem to meet with some friends and spend a restful shabbat. It was pretty easy to get there by bus, just two buses. I wanted to go to this event for Lone Soldiers/ future lone soldiers. They had workshops and information and a chance to meet others in your same position. The only problem was that I got on the 5pm Bus to J-Town. I arrived in the German colony of J town, where the event was and all I had was a small note with directions written very vague. I saw two other guys speaking english looking for the same place. We walked around in a few circles for 30mins trying to find it. Once I got there it was about 8pm and most people had left and there was no more beer. But right as I walked in Becca Baskin, a great friend from CU. She happens to live in the same spot as the event in a dorm like place. It was really good welcome to J town. We decided to go and meet some of her friends up near Ben Yeduda street to have some drinks and chat. I also called some other friends to meet up. Caitlin from my IsraeLinks trip last summer and Lisa Braverman from CU. It was a really good night and we had fun. I went with lisa to stay the night and she had a very nice apartment. On Friday, Yom Sishe, Lisa and I went for brunch and a walk around the hills of J town. It was a very nice day, but we also wanted to go check out the mall. The mall was very busy and we got some coffee and window shopped. After that we went to the Skok. Now if you don't know the Skok, you would be info a surprise if you went the last few hours until Shabbat. Hundreds of people getting their last minute food and the vendors want to get rid of all their stock before lots of yelling, prices dropping, and people running over the top of you. We also met up with two of my friends from the Ulpan...Eillor from Sweden and Casey from Minnesota. We then said good bye to Lisa and went to find our Hostel.

Now this is where the story gets interesting. I was really smart and booked a hostel online a few days before for the three of Us. Not really thinking about where near the old city meant. We took a taxi because it was getting close to shabbat and we needed to get ready. The taxi driver did not know where to take us, so he dropped us off at the Jaffa gate to the old city. This is in the Armenian quarter of old city, Jewish friendly, very touristy. But our hostel was near Damascus gate, christen/arab quarter. So Its friday night of Ramadan, I don't know what this means, but I guess it was the time for all the arabs/Muslims to congerate near the Damascus gate. There were tour bus after tour bus letting off Muslims in their full dress. Mostly women. We found ourselves pushing though the crowd of thousands of them to get to the hostel. We finally make it in to the hostel, which had no security and no main locked door. Now in Israel most places have a security guard and a locked door, esp for a hostel. We get in there and everything is in Arabic and English...they told us to wait for 20 min for the manager...we sat down looked around and ran out of there as fast as we could, back in the the growing crowd of arabs. It was quiet frightful and we did not seem as if we were welcome...we did not have our Kipot on and my friend had to cover her Jewish star of David, because we were getting very unfriendly looks and stares.

Now we had about 45min until shabbat. This means we really had to find a last minute hostel close by. We went back into the old city and straight to Jeff Sidel's office. A Jewish Student hospitably organization. Which I knew of because Jeff was already setting us up for Dinner with a family. We got a guy to bring us to the Heritage House right in the old city with not much time to spare. 50 shekles for shabbat. The only problem was that the girls slept in another building then the guys and we were two guys and one girl. But we had no choice. Casey and I sit in an office with this guy David. David is arguing with his Mom on the phone about how guys see the world differently then women. Not only was this weird for us, but when he gets off the phone he continues the conversation with us. The next 15 mins or longer were about his and his mom's relationship and how guys see the world different than girls...then we had a few minutes to shower and go to the Kotel (Western Wall/Wailing Wall/the closest place to the holy of holys for the jews to pray. We have our quick Kabbat Shabbat service and then go to meet someone from the family we are going to eat at for dinner. We walk for 25mins to their house. It was us three, and four other random people doing the same thing as us with a family of four kids...half Canadian and American.

*The next day. Yom Shabbat

We get woken up at about 10:15am to head to the kotel to meet up with the next family that will be hosting us for lunch. We had no clue that we also had a place for a shabbat day meal. We go to the kotel, wait awhile and then go to an older couple's house in the old city. It was an amazing meal...even with a good english Cloant. They even knew Rabbi Yisroel's father from England. After the meal we went to go take a nap under a tree just west of the old city in a nice park. While hanging out, a young guy about 20 years old starts talking to us. He turns out to be this random, Christian Arab. My friend Eillnor is really friendly and starts speaking to him...all in hebrew. The next two hours we are walking around with this guy just speaking was good practice, but really really weird. He was tottaly trying to hit on her. So after we had enough we decided to make up that we need to go meet someone and that we have to leave him...he leaves after an awkward kiss he gave to her...

We then had too much time left on our hands before the buses start running for our ride back to Kibbutz.
We go to a few bars and just hang out and have a few drinks. It was a really great time and the three of us became even closer after our shabbat bonding.

So what a shabbat. I hope I get to have many more experiences like this.

Next Blog... My first day at work and my Birthday!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First day of Class

So today is the first day of hebrew class. The main reason why I'm at this kibbutz. I passed the test and got into Kita Bet, class two. There are three levels, Aleph, Bet, Gimmel. Class starts a 8am and goes until 3:30pm, with about 1 hour and 45 mins of breaks/lunch. My teacher is really nice and helpful, but doesn't speak much english. The whole class is taught 85% in Hebrew. Its really awesome, esp because I understand about 80% of what she is saying. However the first two weeks are review, to help everyone in the class to get on the same level. There is about 18 people in my class, two don't even speak english. Some have some major ADD problems, they are driving me up the wall, but I'm staying clam and just hush them every once and awhile. We started with going over common verbs, numbers, and basic sentences and dialogs. The best part, but the hardest for me, is talking to each other in the class.  I have some light homework and a day to do it, so I feel like this is going to work out.

Also today I found out my job on the Kibbutz. We have this plastic factory, Palram, on the kibbutz where most of the guys are working. We had to take a safety tour the other day and it seems like the most boring and tedious work. Well when we were on the tour he told of some of the possible jobs that would be assigned. The worst one he told us was to be a peeler. and I was like...oh there is no way I want or could end up with such a job...well guess what...I am going to be a peeler!!!! I'm so excited...NOT. I now start next week, 8 hours, three days a week, peeling a thin plastic film off recycled plastic sheets. Its outside, with no escape from the heat...well until winter. Oh well, I'll do it for awhile, work hard and hopefully transfer.

After class, a few friends and I went to go to the mall. I needed to go get another phone, sense I lost my other one. I got the same looking phone and the same number, just going to have a higher phone bill for the next year and a half...shit...oh well. Also my friend got a Hai (Life), חי, tattooed on the back of her neck. Its looks really good.

Well today is also my Hebrew B-Day so I'm going to have a bit of fun now. The real one, well real is debatable, but it is on Sunday. I can't believe I'm 22...

Feel free to call anytime this week, maybe not thursday morning, but call. 972549229224.

Friday, August 28, 2009

3rd and 4th day

Thursday was quiet the fun day. Six of us started out the morning by leaving for the beach at 9am. We have been going to Kirat Hiam's Beach, about 10-15mins away by Taxi. The beach is really nice, but the water has a lot of trash in it and little fish that nibble on you. Its always really hot, but the water is perfect. We came back for a meeting at 2pm to talk more about life at the Ulpan and rules that need to be followed. I always love when they give you the rules only after you have broke the rules...Also all the Olim Hadashim stayed behind to make sure we all had our paper work done.

After the meeting, a few of us Olim needed to go to the Bank and get our Health insurance card. We decided to walk to Kirat Atta, about 20 min walk to the town. The people I was with were really slow and we all had our own place to stop. We finally got to the bank, so I could make a deposit. btw, the banks suck and charge you all kinds of money even to make a deposit. Then we needed to go to the Kupot Holim, Health Insurance, to show that we paid the registration fee. Then the rest of the group wanted to check out a near by workout gym and see about a membership. On the way there the girls realized that they left the bags at a mini mart. So I went with them to get the bags and the other guys went to the gym. After we found the bags...thank g-d, we got Ice Cream and took a Taxi back to the kibbutz. We made it back just in time for Dinner.

After dinner it was time to get ready for our first night at the Kibbutz pub. We hung out around our dorms for a bit and then went to the pub. There was the kibbutz's band covering the Beatles. The music was really good and the singing alright. I decided that I had enough of the Ulpanim I was with and wanted to meet some of the Kibbutzim. I started talking to a guy and his girl friend. We got into a really good discussion about Israel and why I make Aliyah. Later I also got in a good discussion with some of my friends from the Ulpan about being Jewish and living in Israel.

*After this, about 3am, is when my night got really crazy. My roommate decided to go out after drinking a lot on the kibbutz and better yet, he was with the two of the craziest kids here. I was pretty worried about him, as he is young and already very drunk before leaving. So me and my other roommate headed out to the Bar in Town. We got there and picked him up and took him back. When we were leaving I noticed that I didn't have my phone, and the taxi just arrived. I searched all over looking for it in the bar and no luck. Shit. Well I needed to get my roommate back so we left. We pretty much had to carry him back to the room from the taxi. What a night.

Now Friday should have been a good day to sleep in, but we had to have a tour of the kibbutz at 9am. Wow, this should be fun. We dragged our selves around and saw the kindergarten, store, offices, heath center, horse barn, milking room, and cow pins...and then we had another meeting about the rules for about 45min...oy vay...we were dying. Then ended our meeting with a very nice and short Shabbat Welcome, because then we are allowed to leave after this for Shabbat. I did the kiddish!

Then to lunch and BED. Well Tonight is shabbat and the whole kibbutz is getting together for services and dinner. I can't wait.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2nd Day of Ramat Yochanan

Its been a good day, today. I woke up, with a bit of headache. In the morning we had a Hebrew placement test. We mostly sat around and waited to be called for the Hebrew interview and to take a written test. I just called and went to take the test. It was easy at the beginning, just filling in the blank of basic sentences. Towards the end, it got a bit hard...I think that the test started talking about future and past I missed a few. Then we interviewed with the teachers.

I did really well and I know that I'm going not to be in Level one! Thank you Zilla...I learned something.

After the test we ate and then went to the beach just north of Haifa. It was perfect, just soaking up the sun and washing the sea water out of my mouth and eyes. Getting to the beach was fun...One taxi, and two buses but 10 shekles. On the way back we just decided to take a was 12 shekles a I think we take the taxi's now. I'm really starting to get tan...believe it or not.

More people have come today and seem pretty cool. I have gotten to know most of the people better, and there are some kool kats.

Tomorrow I will find out what class i'm in and the level...and tomorrow night the kibbutz pub is open and there is going to be a Beatles cover band...I have heard this is the entertainment for the Kibbutim; watching the new students get drunk and try to dance while they sit back and enjoy the show...I'm thinking that I will try to blend in with the Kibbutzim and make fun of all my classmates with them...good plan? IDK.