Thursday, July 21, 2011

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun

It is hard for me to believe that three weeks of Conservative Yeshiva ulpan have passed already.  It has been quite an experience.  I made some friends in my class:  teacher Ouzi, Alex/Yehuda, Samuel/Shmuel, Yohannes, Mary, Henri, Elliot, Miki/Michal, Bonnie, Corinna and outside of my class: Kate, Marjie, Abbey, teacher Edna, Kath, Sarah, Annie, Cornelia, and I'm sure others I have not remembered.  There were many young people studying there - two sisters, some recent college grads, some current college students.  I have learned quite a bit of Hebrew -   new vocabulary, some grammar, and more.  It is less scary to try to do things on my own.  I know what my friend Brad calls "restaurant" Hebrew.

The connections between people here in Jerusalem are just amazing.  The first day of ulpan I met a man named Mark Goodman who used to teach at JCHS and is now moving to Denver, whose wife is also a dancer.  The second day in my class I met a boy named Alex Howie from Cincinnati who just happens to be very good friends with Aliza's friend Jodi AND Aliza and Jodi stayed with Alex for two nights in his apartment near the Yeshiva. Alex knows Glen and Andrea Bochner also!  Such a small Jewish world.
Last Shabbat was pretty special.  Sarah Levine joined us for lunch.  Then Barry came over after his trip to the Israel Museum.  Later, Melissa Werthen stopped by.  And finally, 5 of the 6 Schackers plus Adi's aba David came over.  It was wonderful to see all of them and so special to spend time together here in Jerusalem.  The Schackers went on to Ben Yehuda Street to see Ellie Rosenthal.

The Conservative Yeshiva works hard to provide a sense of community.  There are all kinds of classes, evening lectures, lunch and learns, opening Shabbat dinners, closing lunches provided.  The people are warm and friendly.  We also had a song session to close out the first session of learning.  It was fun.  Some of the students played guitar and keyboard and Mary from my class joined in and played her flute.  Mary is a health food store owner from Virginia.  Shmuel is from Sweden.  Alex, as you saw earlier, is from Cincinnati.  Corinna has made aliyah and is from both Allentown, PA and Nashville.  Bonnie has made aliyah and works at the Conservative Yeshiva, both in NY and Jerusalem.  Yohannes is a Christian from Korea, has lived in Japan, and speaks Korean, Japanese, German, and English.  Hebrew is his fifth language.  Very smart.  Miki grew up in New Jersey (I think) and went to Rutgers.  Ouzi lives in Tel Aviv but commutes to Jerusalem to teach at this ulpan.  Elliot came to class two or three times to try it out and Henri joined us for the last three classes.  I didn't get to know Elliot at all but Henri is from Paris and like many of his generation has quite a story to tell.  Abbey is from Florida and is good friends with Rabbi Linda Joseph who Mark went to school with in Cincinnati.  Marjie is from New York and is a math teacher.  Kate is a Hebrew teacher.  Edna is a fourth generation Israeli.  Pretty amazing!  :-)

One of the really fun projects we did in ulpan was recipes.  For Aliza's birthday, I baked Dawn's banana bread recipe.  Well, Alex told the class about it, so I made some for our last day today.  Yum.  :-)  Everyone had to write a recipe in Hebrew, Ouzi corrected them and we rewrote them, then he copied them for all for each of us.  We also made techina together in Hebrew earlier this week.  That was fun.  We learned the words for put, bowl, stir, cut. 

Here's another funny story:  we were talking about what we eat for breakfast and I said "baboker, ani ochelet ofanayim" which means "in the morning, I eat bicycles."  LOL  Ouzi said "ofanayim?" and made the bicycle riding motion with his hands. I said "lo, lo, lo, ani ochelet melafafonim" which means "no, no, no, I eat cucumbers."  But here you just say "melafafon" for cucumber or cucumbers.

There is another story about me telling my ulpan class about Micah and Jonah.  You see, the word for "now" is "achshav," but it is spelled with a yud like "achshiv."  So the boys are always laughing and saying achshiv instead of achshav.  So, when Ouzi taught us the word and the class asked why there was a yud in it,I said to my ulpan class, "hayeladim sheli midabreem 'achshiv' He He He, 'achshiv He He He" which means "my children speak 'achshiv' He He He..." I should have said "omreem" which means they "say" instead of "midabreem" which means they "speak."  Oh well!  At least I'm learning and trying to get my thoughts to come out of my mouth in Hebrew.  :-)

We have quite a few family private jokes right now, other than "I eat bicycles for breakfast" and "achshiv."  Jonah goes around saying "sprechen sie deutsch?" "atah ohev chemah?" and "atah ohev gevinah chocolad?"  Micah has quotes from a Russian boy David "You play hookey? footbowl?  America footbowl? basebowl?"  "Ata hongary?  Ata pig?" and  "Ata meshugah?"

I am looking forward to another great session at Conservative Yeshiva ulpan.  Three more weeks of Hebrew - hooray!

No comments:

Post a Comment