Thursday, February 26, 2009

Settling In.

Today is a real turning point in our Klitta. We are going from getting used to our new environment to really feeling like we belong and settling into the routine that goes with our new life.

Today, I wrote the Ulpan examine. While the people who have been teaching us tried to take the pressure off the day the ministry tried to make it really proffesional. The girls in the class were busy taking pictures. Our shirut leumi girl Yael, made cards with the prayer for taking a test. Yael also gave out water during the exam. Our teacher brought in chocolates before the exam started. The examiner had a giant name tag identifying him as the Mashgiach. There were less than 15 taking the exam and it was easy to recognize who the person was that we had never seen before. He was going to enforce a rule of no pencils allowed until he called in for approval. He also didn't speak a word of English. At one point he had to ask the class the translation of a word, as the synonym and example on the white board was not helpful.

The exam was broken into 2 parts with a short break in the middle. We have spent a lot of time doing practise exams, so they were not too far off. The first section consisted of reading 3 stories and answering the questions. We are at a point where we can understand enough of the story to answer questions without knowing all of the words. I was fine on the first two but I had a lot of trouble with the 3rd. Either I completely missed the mark or I got the whole thing right. Others said they had the same problem.

After the break the exam consisted of a technical section, which I have always done well at. There was writing a letter and a story. I did OK on the letter. I feel like it needed one more sentence. The story section was close enough, to a sample question that I was able to modify from practise tests. I wrote about playing hockey which made me happy. I wonder what the marker is going to think when they read a story about playing ice hockey.

In the last couple of weeks, I have settled into my learning routine. I learn Mishnah Brurah Monday, Wednesday and Thursday before Mariv. Tuesday is the big learning night and I learn a potpourri of topics. I go to the Shabbos afternoon Shiur which covers a potpourri of topics and finishes off with halachos of Karbonos. It so much more interesting, when contemplating if you can by flour at the grocery store. There are generaly pracitical lessons that can be applied today. During the week the Rabbi gives a short Dvar Torah in Hebrew plus a short shiur after that. Channah and I learn together in the father and children learning program after Shabbos. I had them rename the program when I started bringing Channah. We have a Rabbi who knows us, cares about us and is a true role model. In Toronto it took years just to find a Rav we were comfortable with.

On Sunday, I start my new job. I will be making more money then I did in Toronto. That is before factoring in the benefits that did not come with my last job. It seems to be a great place to work. I have to be on the company bus at 8:08.

We are starting to get involved in community projects. Rachel runs the local appliances gemach. We are also getting involved in shul programming. Channah has adjusted to school and loves going. She is also taking ballet lessons. Rachel is in the process of getting all of her licensing taken care of. Business is already doing well, she needs all the paperwork in order before she can do major advertising.

In general, my overall mood is happy. That is the way a home should be.
~ ~ ~ C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S ! ! ! ~ ~ ~

Jason finished his ulpan class today :)

To celebrate we ordered Burgers Bar and are blanning to watch a Futurama movie.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I have learned so much

כשבאתי לארץ לא יכלתי לדבר עברית. אני למדדתי באלפן. השתדלתי ללמוד עברית. היום יום אחרון של אלפן. מחר אני אקח את הבחינה. ביום ראשון אני אתחיל לעבוד. אני שמח עם כל הלימודים. אני אקווה להמשיך ללמוד עברית.

תודה רבה לורד על כל הלימודים. היא מורה מצויינת. גם תודה למיכל. היא מורה של יום אחד בשבוע. תודה רבה ליעל. היא עזרנו בכיתה.

עכשיב אני יכול לחצליח בארץ ישראל

Monday, February 23, 2009

Anti-Zionism leads to more Jews in Israel

Since moving to Israel, I have met people from USA, England, France, South Africa and other countries. Many people have based their decision out of fear of the decline of tolerance for the Jewish Communities.

People often express concern about the level of danger living in Israel. With actions being taken with organizations like CUPE I can no longer comprehend how someone could feel safe living in Canada. At least when I see someone walking down the street carrying a gun, I know that person is looking out for my safety.


Jason starts Sunday :)

Internal Conversation

Hmmm, Lor offered me a ride into Jerusalem this afternoon. MAybe I should take it as I have some things to do there.

Well, I was going to make an afternoon of it with Channah, and she finishes gan today later so she will be zonked by the time we even get in.

I think I will stick to the original plan and take her in my bus tomorrow.

Yes ladies and gentlemen. I can just decide on a whim whether or not I feel like taking advantage of a free ride to Jerusalem or not. So to all you people who claim Beit Shemesh is just the other end of Toronto, lets see you try that one :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Puzzles continue to fall into place

I forgot to mention the last thing that happened on Tuesday. The Tuesday night shiur was dedicated to me because I had suggested the topic. Living in Bet Shemesh, trumah and misser are not big issues. That is not true when you travel outside of Bet Shemesh to places like Tel Aviv. He thanked me a number of times because he has found sources for ideas that are quoted all the time but the actual quotes are hard to find.

They announced today that they want to start up a class two nights a week. This would be a perfect solution for continuing to learn Hebrew once I start my job. I have already registered. Our class request to continue learning with the same teacher has been submitted to the ministry. Although I am moving on, I think it would be a great thing for the rest of my class.

This amuses me

I am amused by the things that get our blog as an answer on google. I wonder if Beth Tzedek knows how many people are looking for them... maybe we can strike a deal or something.

beth tzedek toronto10
beth tzedek rally9
beth tzedek6
rally at beth tzedek4
rally beth tzedek4
investing in the current market4
israel rally beth tzedek3
israel rally toronto beth tzedek3
pro-israel rally toronto3
one fish two fish red fish blue fish quotes3
ordinary day-emilie mover3
kosher internet filter3
beth zedek rally2
beth tzedek rally toronto2
shanah tova2
kia scam2
the dodos2
rabbi machlis1
beth tzedek food1
learning menorat hameor1
beth zedek bathurst st1
metulah dining1
am frnds of lema1
israel biggest blowout in history ice hockey1
kibbutz k'far giladi1
ezrat achim beit shemesh1
ezeh chamud1
eretz yisroel museum1
magen boys1
shacaris yeshiva pictures1
price of 5 room apt in ramat beit shemesh1
magen boys toronto1
minyan factory1
largest minyan1
grace period for sal klita?1

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Perfect Day

I was talking to my Chavrusa from Toronto on Monday for the first time in ages. One of the things we talked about was the job prospect situation. I told him that since moving here everything as just seemed to fall into place. I had trust that the job hunt would be the same. I should have gone on Sunday to file for unemployment benefits. I already knew of 3 people who have found work in the past 2 weeks.

Tuesday, morning I went to Ulpan. It was nice to start getting back into the routine. We are busy preparing for the written exam which takes place next Thursday. I seemed to have had another breakthrough in the last two weeks. I am no longer taking the stutter step when I am trying conjugate words I am most familiar with.

I received a phone call, asking me if I wanted to take the job I had interviewed for in November. At the interview I told them finishing Ulpan was very important to me. It just happened to work out that I start the middle of March. This is the job where I met the guy who runs the office two hours after submitting my resume. He was on city council last time and I did vote for him, even though he lost out be something like 43 votes. He told a friend of mine that he liked me and would try to find me a place in the company.

The company is located in Har Tuv which is just outside of Bet Shemesh. They even have a private bus, since it is not a stop on the regular bus route from the Rama. I know at least 3 people who work there, so I know it is a good place to work. If things go well and we do buy a car it will be a 10 minute commute.

As I was bouncing of the walls I had to return the car that we rented to take my mother-in-law to the airport. We decided to switch companies after they screwed up rentals twice in the same week. The first time they accidentally gave away the car I requested and I had to pay for the upgrade. The second time they only had the car, I explicitly told them I did not like. They eventually switched the car to my favourite car (Nissan Tida) when I threatened to return the car early. The new rental company paid me for returning the car with more fuel then it came with.

Then we had Channah's party which has already been posted. It is amazing that in 6 months I have gone from knowing everything would go wrong to have real hasgacha practise. Yesterday was one of those days that just underscores that we are where we should be.

6 month check in

Believe it or not this week is six months since we got here.

When I look back on the last six months, I can not figure out if they seem like forever or if they have raced by. I can not believe that half a year has flown by so quickly- but at the same time last August seems so long ago that it might as well be another lifetime.

From the other side of the Atlantic this seemed like the biggest and scariest decision I ever had to make. I was terrified that it was going to be the biggest mistake of my life- and that I would end up stuck in a terrible situation form which there would be no escape. I heard all of my friends who had already jumped over this cliff telling me that it would be okay, that I would not fall off the cliff but would instead soar through the skies in ways I could not imagine. I was not sure I believed them, but they were finally convincing enough that I could try.

From up here the world is a much different place. It is more beautiful and free that I could have ever dreamed while standing on the rocks.

Channah is blossoming in school. She loves her teachers. She is making lots of friends and has a social calendar busier than either of her parents. She loves her ballet class which is something we could never have afforded to give her in Toronto. She has open invites to half a dozen places on this street alone! She loves the kids programs at the shul and begs to go. She is as much at home wandering ruins and ancient holy places as she is playing a computer game. She is growing up where she can see and feel her history and her tradition all around her and it is astounding to watch how it is becoming a part of who she is in a way I doubt it will ever be for Jason and I. She has grown roots attaching her to the land far faster than we would have expected.

Jason too is coming into his own in ways very different from when we were in Toronto. Sure he can still make me crazy, but that spark that was inside him when we got married before "reality" trampled it is back. It has been years since I have seen him this happy. He looks forward to getting up in the morning! He has done exceedingly well in his ulpan time, and now is excited for the new job. He is making friends at shul, loves the Rabbi, and getting involved in the community.

As for me, well I never remember feeling this much a part of my community. I rarely feel anymore like I am an outside watching the world around me through glass walls. I feel to some extent that I have fallen into a jigsaw puzzle where I am a perfect fit. I have friends and committments and a business that is growing each day. I have a home I am proud of and that we are building literally from the ground up in the image we want it to take.

We made a list a while back of things that we learned after being here 6 weeks. At 6 months this list has grown into something much more elaborate. It has gone from being a list of things we have come to accept to being a way of life we have come to love.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Dear Aunty Brenda,

I have put up more pictures in the last three days then I think anyone will actually look at. Hope this keeps you busy for a while because we have nothing really camera worthy coming up until Purim!


Birthday Party

The Birthday girl
The Cake

The Table

The "centrepiece" and the birthday girl making her crown.

Princess making bracelets

After this there was princess bingo, and pin the crown on the princess. No pictures as I was a little busy! Then

Snack time!


8 little princesses

Gratuitous cute pics :)

Alphabet Soup

Channah is having some trouble with the language differences, but not in the way you might think. she knows, or thought she knew, both alphabets. Well, sort of anyway. Now she is back to getting a little mixed up.

Last week in the car she was desperatly trying to figure out why Uncle Moishy has an extra letter in his Aleph Bet that they do not sing about in school (Saf).

-Eema, I want to start using the letter we did not have in Toronto
--um, what are you talking about
-You know, the one they have different here- at the end
--Taf? you want to start saying taf instead of saf? No problem with me.
-No, not the end of the aleph bet! The one in English.
--You mean Zed?
-No, that is what we said in Toronto. I want to say the other one like they do here.
--Abba and I need to think about it.

Big News :)

Jason just got a call from a job he interviewed for 4 months ago that he is being offered a 6 month position.


At the very least it means we stop eating our savings for 6 months while he is there, and who knows if it could turn in to more. Good company to work for (or so we have heard).

More updates as we get them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

More mom

With Abba's rabbi's wife from when he was growing up in Windsor

Watching TV. Normally the computer goes on the table and we are all on the couch. This was just a 3 minute video from a friend we all watched together.
Channah with her playmobile

Good bye mom. It was a lot of fun having you here and I am really going to miss you.

Beit Lechem and Chevron

Mom had not been to Chevron since she was 19 years old so we decided to change that fact. the tour we signed on to (with an armoured bus) took us to Kever Rachel then to various communities in Chevron before finishing the day at Maarat Hamachpeila.

Inside Kever Rachel. It is not exactly what mom rembered.

The sign is still there- just not exactly as mom rembers it.

View from in front of Kever Rachel. Not the same shops and houses that you used to see. Even 8 years ago when we came on vacation there was still a marketplace.
Channah and I trying to keep warm!

Mom outside the Avraham Avinu Shul in Chevron. The shul was originally built in the 1400 (I think) and was remodeled recently (you can still see a lot of the original stonework inside). In any case, it is called the Avraham Avinu shul becuase there was a time when there was no minyan and an old man (who said he was Avraham Avinu) came to make the minyan. Believe what you want. The whole neighbourhood is called the Avraham Avinu neighbourhood. Our tourguide lived almost right above the sul but he went to the breakaway minyan.

inside the shul

neat building near by

part of a memorial to those who fell in the chevron massacre

Maarat Hamachpela - did I mention that my pencil was confiscated by security?

shul inside at the centre of our half of the building

Spot to light candles. Yes that is over an inch of wax built up. Bubbie, I tihnk they need your services.

Mom out for an afternoon with another man ;)

random unmarked "tomb" that might be eisav's head, or Ishmael, or who the heck knows. We have taken to calling it the tomb of the unknown patriarch.

on the steps outside

on the "7th step" (as high as Jews were allowed to go up until 1967)

On the bus on the way back to Yerushalayim


Random fun with mom

Drowning in Jerusalem (The rain is a great thing, we need it really, really badly, but we were SOAKED through and through.)

Visiting with Kushner relatives in B'nai Brak and getting a tour of the Visnitz areas

At the Diaspora museum in Tel Aviv. Awesome museum. No I have no idea what my mom is doing in the next few pictures.

Old Yaffo- Seriously, give the visitor centre a miss, but try to get to Adina Plastalinas