Israel Museum and the Negev
Language school week-1 is completed. The first day was like the start-up of a new job, and brought back my last “new job” with fond memories. Nervous, excited, hopeful, afraid of—failure, I guess. Isn’t that always it??
Walking the mile to my class, my mind and heart flitted from one reflection to the next.
- I rehearsed Hebrew words I know from the past year of studies.
- I thought about my last new job, my boss and coworkers – the highs and lows, disappointments and successes, and how much I learned in the experience and value that employment through a crucial 5 years of my life. Hmmmm, were any 5 years of my life NOT crucial?
- I prayed for calm-headedness to think, remember, stay focused, not be intimidated by those who might know so much more, to make friends (I’m always looking for forever-friends), and network to build effective study groups.
- Wondering how I’ll do this 5 mornings /week for 5 months!!!!
So, you ask, “How was it?” Everything! It was hard, and easy, and fun, and hard, and repetitive, and too fast and too slow, and as are all things, extra challenging because of the people in the room. We have multiple teachers each day because, they explained, they’ve learned that otherwise students complete the course able to understand Hebrew spoken by only one person!!
Photos are posted of the writing on the board by the end of this first week, and the student’s morning which begins with an assignment to write 15 sentences in Hebrew. We’re learning words, grammar, spelling, reading, talking, mostly under rapid-fire, think-quick pressure because effective communication warrants all of that. Holding up a line with, “ummmmmm” while mentally composing a sentence won’t work with shopkeepers or bus drivers or government offices…
Investment advise: this is not a sales picth, but if you hear that Jack LaLanne juicers will become available in 220V, I suggest you invest in the stock!
The Jack LaLanne juicer wins my award for easiest to clean, price, and respectable juice production. My 6-year-old JLL doesn’t extract quite as much juice as my new Braun juicer, but cleaning the Braun product is much more cumbersome. Lest you think the Braun has become like the proverbial stationary bike that too often becomes a clothes rack, I do still juice daily! The extra effort is worth it to me, but if I had a do-over, I’d use the Jack LaLanne with a transformer to convert 110 to 220.
Confession In my neighborhood, and many in Jerusalem, the 25-26 hours of Shabbat closes the streets from vehicles. I’ve posted a photo of the kids playing in the street, behind the barrier placed at sundown Friday evening. One Saturday I walked through the lovely park surrounding the Knesset and museums and found sweethearts of all ages, families, teen/young adult clusters of boys or girls or mixed, runners, family soccer with little ones chasing and tripping over the ball, and some that looked more like competitive leagues. Occasionally a wave saddens me on these excursions, that no other person sees what I see. Pictures, even words, are so 2-dimentional, but as I walk, I talk about it all with God, pray for them, and appreciate the beauty of my moment enjoying their moment.
Confronting cultural and religious differences sometimes challenges my dark side, I admit. Occasional ugly thoughts whisper, judging something as “silly”, but just as quickly the thought is gone because I don’t roll out the red carpet and serve it tea. Over the years, I’ve learned to not entertain those judgments and other thoughts, but rather take the opinion to my own practices, traditions, beliefs… life.
One Shabbat (Saturday) afternoon, I wandered through a special exhibit in the gardens of the Israel Museum and have included some photos. Grateful yet again that fear of heights is not an issue, I climbed the bamboo structure with the children and a few young couples. Read the description http://www.dmstarn.com/big_bambu_israel.html
It’s not Israel related, per se, but was interesting, and very high! I caught a few views of Knesset, and beyond that my new neighborhood. There are several outdoor sculptures – I especially liked Adam by Rodin. And one picture captured construction equipment, giant limestone “wheels”, and modern art sculpture. It’s Israel! We have it all!
Shabbat visitations: On Friday, I caught the last bus out of Jerusalem to a small town, 40 minutes away, to visit the family of my darling Yedidya (“yeh-deed-ya” or Jedidiah in English, means loved by God). Because of Shabbat practices throughout the nation, I left Jerusalem Friday afternoon to arrive before sunset, enjoy candle lighting and dinner with the family, spend the night there, and all day Saturday until the first bus after Saturday’s sunset, finally returning to Jerusalem, about 8pm Saturday evening. The tradition mandates keeping me for more than Friday night dinner, which is so very very different from my experience. My comfort zone is stretched to consider a 27 hour visit…accepting that kind of hospitality from budding friendships. It’s a challenging way to get acquainted.
- I’ve been graciously invited to several other friends’ Shabbat evening dinners in Jerusalem, and the 30 minute, late Friday night walk home is lovely. Never a moment of fear for my safety, except that I might trip on the sidewalk!
- On one occasion, a young woman working customer service for Jerusalem Water Dept thought her mother and I would hit it off, so the mother called to invited me to Shabbat dinner (imagine that!!!). Sadly, we couldn’t work it out because without busses, I’d have 1 ½ hour walk home, and that family had no place for me to stay. We’re hoping to meet for a weekday lunch when schedules allow.
First Time Experience: Last week’s visit to the Negev included pulling a carrot from the ground, rubbing off the worst of the dirt and splashing water over it from a water bottle in the car, and then biting into sweet, freshness! A first for this city-gal. We also made a visit to processing plants washing and bagging potatoes, and carrots. Yedidya knows the owner and I was returned home with what feels like 25 pound bags of each. It’s always nice to have something to give away to neighbors.
Another big step: My condo in Denver sold quickly, and well. I considered 3 different brokers and am happy with the choice, the buyer I chose comes with cash (no appraisals, inspections, loans to navigate), competitively above my asking price, and the decision is good. While preparing for the move last fall, I had no plan to sell the condo. In hindsight, I see I didn’t have the emotional bandwidth or focus to even consider selling. It was all I could do to empty the unit, selling or giving away what wasn’t coming with me; besides, selling before the holidays would have hit a different market, perhaps less successfully. Letting go of the Denver home that held so many memories, growth, friends, tears, gains and losses, years of ballroom dancing and amazing singing groups… well, letting go is only partially true because those experiences and the precious friends entwined within will always be part of who I am. They/you have contributed towards these ventures, my current challenges and this fulfillment of dreams. I can only hope I’ve done the same in your lives.