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.