Home > Hebrew, Israel > Rosh HaShana

Rosh HaShana

Wow. I just had the best ראש השנה (Rosh HaShana) ever. I am really beginning to love living in רעננה (Ra’anana).

I’m quite certain that this must be some form of insanity. The house that we are renting is (still) a disaster. My kids complain that they don’t understand anything in school. You never stop sweating (because of the 90 degree heat and 70% humidity). People drive cars (and shopping carts) like they are in some third-world country (or Ohio). The streets in the town are arranged seemingly according to the design of some complete lunatic. Did I mention that it never cools down. It takes forever to do anything. Parking is…, well,.. actually it isn’t — parking is basically driving around the center of town endlessly until you forget what you want or get bored and go home. The traffic lights are timed and always too short. When you speak, most people don’t have a clue what you are saying.

And yet, it is really growing on me. The people in Ra’anana have been so inconceivably friendly and helpful that it defies all explanation and reason.

We joined the Beit Knesset Ohel Ari.  This is an amazing shul — simply beautiful. We joined because it is “the American shul where we will feel more comfortable because it is run like an American shul.” Hmmm, I suppose that might be true.  It does have a lot of American members and it does have a head rabbi and it does maintain a schedule.  I’ve heard that many other local shuls work differently —  local Israelis just get together at whatever time and argue about how to run the shul. I have not yet experienced this, although I plan on experimenting with other shuls since there are about 80 within a walking distance.

Having said all that, my first few visits at the Ohel Ari were underwhelming.  Back in Maryland, my local shul was a small Chabad.  Sometimes, my family would visit friends in Baltimore and we would attend services at a larger shul. The Ohel Ari, however, is huge — maybe I just felt lost (and clueless) in the crowd. But the services for Rosh HaShana were just awesome.

I started my ulpan class today. I thought ulpan meant something like “Hebrew Language Class for Dummies”.  I was wrong. I now know that ulpan really means “Hebrew Class for a Bunch of Smart Russians and Brits Along with One Dummy from Maryland”. Since I was advanced (I can spell my name) but not quite ready for aleph+, I was placed in the advanced aleph class. We “learned” at least 16 verbs (with conjugations) along with quite a few nouns. After we went over most of the verbs, the מורה (teacher) asked if anyone thought it seemed like a lot of verbs.  I raised my hand; actually I raised it only half-way. No one else bothered to respond at all.  The teacher looked at me, alone, with my hand half raised, and said, “I thought you might think so.” Then she goes on to give us more verbs.

Later, we broke into groups to work on creating sentences with all the new verbs.  We were each suppose to take turns creating sentences that everyone in the group would write. I thought trivial sentences would be fine, but I lost that vote. So, we had to create complex sentences using words and phrases that I didn’t know or understand. The group members were kind enough to explain the sentences to me though — even the ones that they wrote for me.

But it is all in good fun and I don’t mind the challenge of muddling through the super-advanced beginners class.

Categories: Hebrew, Israel Tags: ,
  1. Michael
    2010-09-13 at 9:46 am

    We missed all of you at Ahavas Yisroel on Rosh HaShanah. I am glad to hear that your services were so good, and that you are adjusting to life ba-aretz. What is the Nusach are Ohel Ari? Your posts are great to read. G’mar chatima tova, Michael

  2. 2010-09-13 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for thinking about me. It seems to be Ashkenaz, although I’m trying to learn Sefard at the moment. BTW, the photos are still awesome.

  3. Michael
    2010-09-13 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks. Shoshi is still working on a bunch of stuff to send to Sarah.

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