Week of November 4th
Monday was our big Ulpan trip to Jerusalem. First we walked through “Gan Vrodim,” the rose garden across from the Knesset building. Being a rainy November day, the park was not in its full glory, but there were roses and they smelled good.
We went on to tour the Knesset, which seems like they walked us up and the down the stairs several times, but we got to see the Knesset in session and Chaim ate shashouka in the cafeteria.
After lunch, we toured the Supreme Court building. The architecture has great symbolism with pyramids, circles and different windows and lighting. We sat in a court room and heard about the different cases that are brought to the Israeli Supreme Court, then we went home.
I got my green form back from the driving school and I am looking for a new driving teacher, so far with no luck.
Week of November 11th
Wow! A week of going to Ulpan, then coming home and doing homework. Yehuda is coming home for Shabbat and asked to have taco salad. In the meantime, our neighbor is participating in a bike-a-thon, so we are having them over for lunch on Shabbat.
It is a big challenge staying motivated for Ulpan. We really don’t practice conversations in class, and the grammar can be a little boring. It is extremely hard to realize how illiterate I am in Hebrew. I am still trying to figure out how I can practice speaking more often.
Week of November 18th
Although quite a few American have a “Thanksgiving Shabbat” where they serve the traditional turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry, etc., we are definitely not doing that in Israel.
We had a meeting with Moshe’s teacher, at which we needed an interpreter. Moshe needs to apply himself a little more, so I will be sitting and doing math with him after school. We also have to get him a tutor for this Hebrew subjects.
Dina was supposed to go to Ir David, next to the old city, but the trip was cancelled due to “the matsav.” It is a little scary that things are going on in Gaza and as close as Kiryat Malachi. We hear planes overhead at all hours of the day and night, but there is a certain comfort in being here and hearing these things than being in the United States and wondering what is really going on, especially with the distorted and bias news.
When Hurricane Sandy hit the New York Metropolitan Area, we were very happy that we moved to Israel. We felt for our old neighbors and the people who lost their homes and possessions, but the hurricane and flooding confirmed that aliyah was a good decision.
People called and emailed about Operation Cloud of Defense. For us, thank God, it has been relatively quiet and it is quite amazing that the whole country bands together to pray and to support those who are directly affected by the bombing.
Week of November 25th
Finally, we visited the Israel Museum on Tuesday night. We thought, “Who goes to a museum on a Tuesday night?” Well, a whole bunch of people. Since there was such a large crowd, we decided to see the two things we most wanted to see: the exhibit about Hassidim and the Aleppo Codex.
“A World Apart Next Door – Glimpses into the Lives of Hasidic Jews “highlights facets of Hasidic culture that may not be known to the wider public.” I think every Orthodox women’s group went to tour the exhibit. It was absolutely packed. For us, it was really strange. Some of the items on exhibit, like the Besht’s tallis, Rabbi Nachman’s chair, and some original books, were very interesting. But most of the exhibit was a little bizarre. They had streimels and beckeshes and display as well as women’s head coverings. They had pictures of different rabbis and some videos of different events, such as weddings and Purim, in the Hassidic community. We felt, l’havdil, like it was something the Nazis would do to document the culture they hoped to obliterate. I could see mounting this exhibition somewhere else in the world, but you could take a bus across town and see everything live for yourself.
It was nice to see the pages of the Aleppo Codex after reading the book and hearing so much about it. It’s rather small, but the calligraphy is beautiful and clear, and it’s amazing to be able to read and understand something written so long ago. While we were there, there was a Nigerian group touring, and I wondered what they thought of it.
After our visit, we stopped in the gift shop. I astounded Chaim by not finding anything to buy. I was hoping for a postcard of the Codex, but there was not one to be had.
The other big event of this week was teacher conferences at Yehuda’s school. He is under a lot of pressure to learn Hebrew. He seems to be treading water, but we can’t help him as far as studying and organizing himself. He seems to like it there in terms of social life and saying he goes to a prestigious school, so we keep praying he will do the hard work to stay there.