Round two of our experiences thus far in Israel. I have an hour to go before Shabbat so I’ll write what I can about this past week. Last Shabbat was lovely. We ate dinner with friends of my cousin who live near where we will be moving shortly. The dinner was great, food and drink marvelous. We have now made our first friends in Israel. Shabbat was relaxing, but I missed West Hempstead a lot.
Our problems with Bituach Leumi persist which made for a very frustrating and somewhat unenjoyable week for me. Meyer keeps telling me to hang in there, things will improve, but I think I just let it get to me and I was feeling dejected. The Israeli way of doing things takes a lot=2 0of getting used to. But we are making progress.
So I started ulpan this week in Jerusalem to which I commute either by my chauffer (Meyer) or by bus. The ulpan is ok, but unfortunately for me, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, it is too easy for me. The others in the class don’t have the speed of speaking or the vocabulary, and I am not even that fluent. It’s a mixed level class and this is the highest level there, so I think I will have to make other arrangements, though I will see how it goes for the next week. It’s a long day, but it’s ok. There’s an interesting mix of people: Both genders, dati, lo dati, non Jewish students, other students, young, older, old, Ethiopian, African (real African), American, and French. A whole potpourri of humanity. What bothers me though is how young people from the states and Canada, who have gone through day school education, speak little or no Hebrew. But that’s a discussion for another time.
Eitan continues to do well. He is making friends, his Hebrew improves daily, and he is happy. He is joining the Israel association of baseball for the fall, and is very excited about it. (Here we go with carpooling). Yesterday the 10th and 11th grades went on a tiyul to the Herodian palace. They hiked and hiked, crawled through tunnels. It was a great experience. This is the kind of trips the school takes. He has a way to go before he will understand his studies well, but with time and tutors and Meyer, he should adjust well.
Yechezkel is now a full Israeli, in that he already had shomer duty. Yesterday morning from 5 am to 8am, he had to guard Yeshivat Hakotel. All the Israeli boys have rotation and have this responsibility during the hours the hired guard is not there (9pm to 5am). No gun yet, but he will be trained. (Yes, I worry). This Shabbat he is in Chevron for a shabbaton with his rabbi. He loves Chevron and won’t miss an opportunity to spend Shabbat there.
Meyer started working this week. He is filling in for an American optometrist who is spending 10 days or so in the states. He will be working in Ramat Eshkol and in town. He enjoys it and enjoys taking notes in Hebrew and speaking in Hebrew. Some people are difficult, but overall, so far, it’s a good thing. He continues to look for permanent work.
This Shabbat we have our first guest, our fellow olah chadasha and west hempsteader, chavi skolnick. She is a breath of fresh air. She is so happy here in Israel and everything is ‘amazing’ in her words. She too started ulpan this week and we’ve been comparing words and speaking somewhat together. We look forward to having some relaxing time with her.
Ok, me. I am happy in Israel, but it’s still hard and missing all of you especially my family, my daughter, is so difficult. I struggle everyday with this. That’s all I can say.
Time to sign off. Wishing all a Shabbat shalom, and reminder to all that we miss you and can’t wait to see you. Thank you to those who have emailed and called. It means so much to us to keep the connection with our friends, family and community, ongoing. Please keep it up.
With warm regards and love from the Stepners in Israel,