Saturday, May 28, 2011

Jerusalem Week 7--Israeli "Show"

Relatively speaking, this was an uneventful week.  We went to our Ulpans, I walked my usual 2 K each way to do laundry at a friends, we ate well, we studied hard.  I got to see an old childhood friend.  For those who know me, that's an almost every week occurrence.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin?
Childhood friend Martin Lowenstein, who now lives in Israel.
The Show--Ballet at Safra Square
We  went to a ballet at Safra Square, which is a large outdoor area near the Old City where they have all kinds of concerts.  The ballet was Gizelle.  Karen tells me the dancing was excellent.  The atmosphere was a baala-gan (a crazy zoo).  Though entry and security was orderly, once inside, it got "Israeli crazy."  There were no assigned seats, so people rushed to the front.  After about 20 minutes, those who did not get seats near the front brought seats from the back and placed them anywhere they could find them in the front--in the aisles, on the sides, anywhere they could.  Apparently, this is the usual way it's done at Israeli concerts.
This is not the ballet, but part of the overall Jerusalem Arts Festival.
While waiting for the ballet to begin, I walked up to Ben Yehuda Street
and found a large crowd watching these dancers on gigantic stilt-like poles.
 Buying a Suitcase
Another thing I did this week was buy a suitcase.  We have had very bad luck with them, with 3 out of our 4 needing to be replaced.  We bought two in China, and they were very cheap but actually pretty good quality.  In Jerusalem, they are very expensive except in the Arab Market in the Old City, where you have to bargain heavily, and they are very poorly made.  Not surprisingly, I opted for that approach (I only need to use it once to get back to the States).  I bargained well enough, but when I brought it home (it's a 30 minute very hilly walk each way), it turned out it was actually too big for some of today's airline requirements.  So I had to walk 30 minutes each way again carrying the suitcase in the blazing heat and exchange it for a smaller one without getting any money back.  I had no bargaining chips left, so while I got a good price for the big one, it was not a great price for the smaller one.  It's not that I care about paying an extra $10 or something, but I find the bargaining process exhausting, and to have "wasted" it was a pain. Really, not a big deal, but it will be memorable enough to want to write down, and this is the closest thing I have to a diary.

Learning Hebrew--Still a Bit Frustrating
I am just not good at conversational Hebrew at all.  Often, I know the meaning of every word that is said to me, but I still have no idea what is actually being said. I'm not immersed enough in the language (I still speak English most of my day), but I also think my skills are just really poor.  I'm an extreme visual learner, which doesn't help with conversational skills.   I'm trying, and I'm at peace with the fact that I likely will never have real fluency in Hebrew, but it's still a bit sad for me.  All in all, though, any new language skills I acquire are a bonus, and I'm thankful for them.

Shul of the Week--Moreshet Avraham
This synagogue was a bit far away (a 45 minute walk) and is the main "regular" Conservative synagogue in Jerusalem.  It is mostly Anglo, but the service, sermon, and announcements are all in Hebrew.  They have great family programming--kids' services for both 4-10 year olds and 11-12 year olds.  Micah actually has a couple of friends there, so it was easy to get him excited for shul this week.  The tunes are Carelbach-ish on Friday night and fairly standard Conservative on Saturday morning.  It was very standard during Shacharit, since I actually led it.  Ruach was a bit mediocre.  We have made some friends who go there, which was nice, but the overall atmosphere was not quite as warm or cheery as at our sister Conservative synagogue in Kfar Saba, Hod v'Hadar, where we were the week before.

Wine of the Week--Recanati Reserve Shiraz
This was about an 83.  It was a little too sweet and a little too grainy for my tastes.  It actually tasted bgetter the next night after some time in the refrigerator, which is unusual.  Still, you could tell it was relatively high quality, just not quite perfect for my taste buds nor as good as the last two weeks, Psagot and Barkan Reserve.

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