Monday, May 2, 2011

School and Ulpan and Life in Jerusalem

Well, I haven't updated in a while because there really wasn't much to say.  But now the boys have had a few days of school (they call it school-pan, a play on the word ulpan), and I've had two days of ulpan.  So here's the news on that front:
Micah is in a class of beginning Hebrew middle schoolers so his placement is just right.  He is learning to become fluent in reading and writing in Hebrew cursive and has already made great strides.  His Hebrew handwriting is MUCH neater than his English print and cursive. 
Jonah is in a class of second graders who have been in the ulpan since September so he really doesn't know much about what is going on in class.  Luckily, it is a very small class and the teacher gives him some private attention when she can.  He has learned the cursive Hebrew letters already (before English cursive!) and is also making progress on the reading and writing front.  Luckily, he has a friend, Benjamin Greyber, from Camp Ramah, in his class who translates for him regularly.
Unfortunately, neither Micah's nor Jonah's classes work on conversational Hebrew.  So their "ulpan" is more of a school transition HSL (Hebrew as a Second Language - I made this up, I would think their acronym has Hebrew letters instead of English ones!) class with limited conversation.  As opposed to Mark's and my classes at Ulpan L'Inyan.
You can see what we are learning at  The creator Ami, has made a fantastic program and if we practice we should learn a lot.  With having had only two days so far, I still feel like I can't do much, but I have learned some new words, can follow some really basic conversations (would you like something to eat or drink?), and can conjugate regular present tense verbs.  We do quite a bit of conversation, as well as a little reading at the end of class.  Our homework includes the writing.  I feel very grateful for the excellent Hebrew School education I received at Congregation M'kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ back in the 70s and 80s.  I am most grateful for one of my teachers, Cara Albom, who I had in 5th and 6th or 6th and 7th grades and who taught me a ton of Hebrew (reading, writing, and conversational) and presented Hebrew plays with her students.  We did Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and then Kazablan.  It was really fun.
I still find Spanish popping into my head first when I try to think of a word or phrase in Hebrew, but I'm trying to remember it and not replace it with Hebrew the way Spanish replaced my Hebrew when I was a teenager.  I know a lot of people who speak (or know) more than two languages, so why can't I?  :-)
Anyway, life here is complicated but we are getting used to things.  I keep saying "if we lived here" followed by how things would be different.  Here are some examples.
- we would have an oven whose broiler worked
- we would be able to throw away anything that smells like smoke
- we would have at least a washer if not both a washer and dryer
- I would hope we would have a dishwasher
- I would feel free to purchase clothes
- we would have nicer bedding and pillows and towels and other household items
- we would have doctors and dentists that we would go to
- we'd have a blender and a coffee maker (for company - you know I don't drink coffee)
- we'd have better kitchen supplies for meat
- we'd have better knives
...and the list goes on and on and on.
I have to really just appreciate what we DO have, try to live a bit more simply, and keep in mind that is' only for just over three more months really.  I am doing my best to enjoy myself, learn, study, connect with others, and appreciate that we have this long break from volunteer and paid work of any kind.  I have done a lot of sudoku, reading, crossword puzzles, etc.  The boys have played a lot of computer games.  LOL
One last thing:  Jonah dared me to finish reading War and Peace by the time we leave here. I started two days ago on my Kindle and I am 10% finished.  :-)

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe I left this one off the list:
    - we would have a vacuum cleaner. Or AT LEAST a hand held one!!