Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Swirling Thoughts #47 – ulpan, bureaucracy, and the Klausenberger Rebbe

Tomorrow is the first day of ulpan (for me – seems I missed the official first day of ulpan last week ). The car is ready and sechach can be delivered so things are looking up up up.

Sometime later…

Really cheesy ulpan humor
Michigan in Hebrew is spelled like meshugena. Leave it to my ulpan teacher to catch that and have a good laugh. The only Jordan Israeli’s recognize is Michael Jordan. (The river and neighbor are Yardan).

So I spent my first day in Keeta Aleph. We learned “first, second and third body” pronouns, conjugated verbs, and sang B’shanah Haba’ah. There was a lot of in-class talking (on purpose – in Hebrew), a little written class work, and some homework (which I did in my car while waiting for Becky to finish her English kug). We memorized a conversation between Ronny and Donny and then changed Ronny and Donny to Ronit and Daniella and rehashed the conversation in the feminine. My notebook is filled with stick figures of individuals and groups of boys with kippaot and girls with dresses and long hair. It’s not random doodling – this is how I’m keeping it all straight. Ani lomedet. Ata lomed. Hem lomdeem. Hen lomdot. We’re all learning. Slowly.

While I spent the day learning, singing and recapturing the euphoria of first grade (I even brought my own baggie of snacks), Bob tackled the day’s laundry list of hurdles: first the car (fixed – we hope!), then city hall – there were some phantom bills (in Israel, once someone has your credit card number they just bill the card when they feel they should without notifying you OR sending you any type of invoice. They also take the liberty of billing you in installments – this is for your benefit! – but it’s rare someone can tell you what the total bill is and how many installments they have decided to give you). Bob comes home exhausted from these visits to city hall but I think he partially enjoys the drama of fighting with them in Hebrew. There were pre-Sukkot errands (read: lots of time spent in stores practicing savlanut) and a tremping opportunity to further explore the reaches of savlanut (read: waited 20 minutes for a tremp). His fish pond and filter (a success!) provided him some solace from the day’s grind.

Enter the Twilight Zone…
My first experience with mindboggling bureaucracy was probably dealing with the Board of Ed in New York. But that was long ago and long forgotten. And then today, I got a call from the Board of Ed in New York. They wanted to confirm Asher will continue his OT services. I apologized for not reaching them (I had tried!) and explained we had moved to Israel. The woman said, “OK, so I will authorize Asher to continue his services.” No, I said, thinking she didn’t realize what I meant. Asher moved to Israel with me. Again, “So I will authorize Asher to continue his services.” There was no language barrier here and the connection was crystal clear. I explained slowly and firmly: Asher lives in Israel now. He’s in a different country. He will not be there to receive the services you are authorizing. Silence. “OK, so I will discontinue Asher’s services?” Woah.

An aliyah tale for the ages…
I attended an amazing shiur by Rabbi Riskin – welcoming the new olim to Efrat. He told his well-known story about his first lesson in Zionism – based on his experience with the Klausenberger Rebbe. I can’t tell it as well as him so here’s a link if you have 8 or 9 minutes:

1 comment:

  1. unfortunatly, the audio did not work for me...but the ??? is now , who signs your report card??????