The week started off ok, though I find Shabbat the hardest day of the week. Though we did have a guest, Chavi, who was wonderful and loads of fun, Shabbat is traditionally a family day and having grown up in West Hempstead and raising my own family there and having my mother live near me, I’d become accustomed to that familiarity.. Of walking to my mother’s house Shabbat afternoon, or walking and talking with friends, or simply sitting on my porch and wishing all who passed by a Shabbat shalom. Or, having Michal and Chezky visit whenever they wanted for Shabbat; all of these things I miss. All of my family and friends do I miss.
The community had a welcome seudah shlishit for all the new olim/residents of the community and the people seem very nice. We have two invitations for Rosh Hashanah which is great since our lift is coming erev erev Rosh Hashanah and with unpacking, who will have time to cook? We will be moving into the house we rented on Wednesday and lift coming either Wednesday or Thursday. We really like the apartment we’re in, but we will make the house our home for the year. Hopefully we’ll be able to buy something by year’s end.
Well I am happy to say that as of Wednesday, our bituach leumi problems are resolved, at least for Yechezkel and Eitan. I was so aggravated and finally called Nefesh B’nefesh and with their intervention, one ‘crisis’ has been resolved.
Meyer worked this week part time for the Optometrist who is visiting the states. He has some other possible leads and next week will be interviewing with and spending some time with some other potential employers. Hopefully a full time job opportunity will present itself soon. Meyer is an extremely positive person who continues to focus on all the good here and doesn’t allow the negative aspects of living here get in his way. He is a calming influence to my occasional (nee frequent) bouts of crying, anger or discontentment with the Israeli system, her way of conducting business, or sometimes my emotional outburst for unknown reasons. Please note that I don’t cry all day every day, but certain things do set me off. Here is an ‘only in Israel’ anecdote for you. Meyer was working on Monday, I believe, in Ramat Eshkol, when frantically in came an Israeli Yeshiva boy on his wedding day with his friend, his shomer. The young man’s glasses broke, he had to be at the wedding hall in one hour, what to do? Meyer calmly fitted him with a temporary set of contact lenses that would enable him to see for his wedding and the day after, and told him to discard those lenses after that and come in for a proper exam and lens fitting. The friend then asked Meyer if he knew how to make a tie!! Yes, Meyer and a tie!! So he made the ties for the chatan, and then said to him, ‘achsav ata chatich, hakol yihiyeh bseder’. Now you are handsome. Everything will be ok.’ And now you’ll be able to see your bride. ‘The guys laughed and raced out to the wedding hall. All was well. Only in Israel.
Eitan continues to adjust with his studies in school. He has made a lot of friends, hangs out and plays ball (football) with some in the evening in the park after school and is overall doing well. His Hebrew improves daily, but understanding everything in class is still difficult. We are setting up appointments this week to arrange the tutoring for which he is entitled at no cost. He will also be learning gemarrah with a hesder boy (the MA hesder is right next to his school) to help him with gemarrah. He has decided to take physics and enjoyed it yesterday. The teacher is Russian and speaks Hebrew at a slower pace than most Israelis and other teachers which is great for Eitan in that he has an easier time understanding him. Math is still a little unsettled… hopefully this week things will be better. Open school night here is nothing like the states, suffice to say, but we are learning to understand the ropes here. From what I understand, that’s the way it is here and we all have to develop ‘savlanut.’ I’m trying. Not my forte. In any event, the school is a good school with strong academics and there are good kids for the most part. Eitan will have to develop a thicker skin; boys here can be tough especially the Sephardim, some of whom are ok, but most of whom are really not his type.
We had our first medical semi crisis this week: Yechezkel had a very bad toe infection and we had to find a podiatrist urgently. It had been bothering him for a while and we were waiting for medical insurance to be established. Well, not to be. The podiatrist recommended by my cousin would not see him without a referral to the specialist. Such a pain. So Meyer searched online and found a private podiatrist who was excellent and took care of his toe immediately. So now we know where to go when in need of podiatric care. After filling the prescription for antibiotic and nearly losing my cell phone, Yechezkel and I had ice cream and he went back to Hakotel, and I home.
Ulpan started off the same this week and by Tuesday I had had enough. The directors were unwilling and unable to accommodate a higher level, so I took off on Wednesday and researched other ulpanim. I found one, yesterday, and absolutely love it!! The director is a wonderful person and so happy to accommodate. There are multiple levels at this ulpan and I tried out Rama (level) daled and will try out level ‘hay’ on Monday and decide which one is better. The classes meet three times per week and the ulpan is located on Rechov Sokolov, near the Inbal and Dan Panorama hotels. I finally felt yesterday that I was really learning something.
We are moving next week before Rosh Hashanah to the house we rented but I believe we will be coming back to this area to buy something. This area is the most affordable it seems though it is still very expensive so we’re not sure what to do. But Eitan likes it here, and there is more of a sense of community here than in other areas. Also there are areas here which are not for us either due to the fact of the communities having too few Anglo families, communities with predominantly Russian or Ethiopian families, or non dati communities. There is one area which might have been nice but we are priced out of that probably. So we look, we search and wait until a good opportunity presents itself.
On another note, a new chapter of our lives began this week. Yechezkel had his tzav rishon on Wednesday. The tzav rishon is literally, the first call up to the army. He didn’t exactly get called up, but he was advised to do it now so that he will be able to go into the army with his hesder chevra. He had a physical exam, psychometric exam, personal interviews, etc. His profile is now entered into the army computer system and the countdown begins. It’s hard to believe that he will be going into the army in five and a half months and that at the end of March 2010; I will be an Israeli soldier’s mother. This gives one cause to pause for reflection. I was recalling the words to the movie Exodus when reading the literature we received regarding the army, and though the score was written by Pat Boone for the movie, it really conjured up how I feel being here, and knowing that Yechezkel will soon be entering this very different stage in his life. As the song goes,
‘This land is mine; God gave it this land to me. This brave and ancient land to me. And when the morning sun Reveals her hills and plains Then I see a land Where children can run free To make this land our home, If I must fight, I’ll fight, to make this land our own’.
These are words Yechezkel lives by. Meyer and I now must start to embody this feeling, this belief. We see so many chayalim and chayalot daily. You really do have a sense of ownership here and pride… that this is our land, with our sons and daughters defending her.
I close this email with prayers before Rosh Hashanah for the speedy return of Gilad Shalit and the other missing soldiers. May my son and all future chayalim stand tall and brave for our country and never see war anymore.
Missing you all more than you know. Please keep up the emails and phone calls. Shabbat Shalom from Israel.