are we there yet?

We finished our Ulpan last night. Well, we took the final exam. We thought the final session would be a party this Thursday night after the Fast of Esther is over. But the teacher said it would be next week when we have a wedding to go to.

I’m learning to leave my house to get to a meeting when it’s actually supposed to start. I’m still too early.

We bought a milk pitcher this week. It’s made to hold bags of milk. I’ve heard that they also have milk bags in Canada, but I never saw it there. Until now, we’ve been using cartons, but the bags are cheaper. We’re here for the long run.

I’m finding myself extraordinarily moved by the two wins as of today of Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic, and certainly hoping for more wins in the future.

We went to see the anemones in bloom. We wanted to find the place we had gone to years before on a tour, when the bus driver took an unplanned detour off the road somewhere to go see the anemones. This is a sport that I can follow with all seriousness. Seeing the various flowerings seems to be a sport here for everybody. And I mean everybody.



See the big stick the little one is holding? The father asked him to stop wielding it so wildly as we passed by.

This is in Megiddo, a small turnoff from the road from Afula towards the coast. Since we weren’t driving, and since this was in the time before smartphones and Waze, we weren’t sure exactly if this was the place, but it clearly was the same, except not. We didn’t remember an army base there, nor an airport behind it. But we definitely remember there were no strings keeping people off the flowers. This is not surprising that Israelis have to be cordoned off. They have a hard time with limits.

Are we Israeli yet?

I still let a woman with only two items go in front of me in line in the supermarket the other day, and then I had to let the soldier with only a few things go as well. I wasn’t in any particular hurry, so why not?

Am I irrational to think that maybe some of the things that we do are not necessarily bad, and that Israel could benefit from a little more of what we have done?

Oh, silly me. Of course, it’s almost Purim, so it’s all good. The learning curve certainly continues to be steep, both ways.

the need to remember the need to remember

Some things don’t get forgotten, as much as you wish you could. No false memories; maybe a few blanks in the timeframe, but no loss of emotions.

Tonight in our Ulpan class, our teacher took the last 15 minutes of our class to do a history lesson. Most of the people in our class are Russian. Our teacher, who had told us that he was 30 years old, was a kid in high school. Yet, he deemed it important enough to teach us some key vocabulary words to mark the occasion.

We learned how to say twin towers in Hebrew; בנייני התאומים (our teacher used the word for “buildings”, rather than “towers”, so that was what was new to me.)

how to say collapsed; קרסו or התמוטטו (You need two words, apparently; I didn’t know either one.)

(Someone from the class mentioned that this is what happened in Tel Aviv last week, with the collapse of the parking lot. Yes, tragedies keep occurring.)

terrorist attack; killed; wounded; missing. I knew these…

I remember my first Ulpan class, back in 1972 (!) at Hebrew University. The first words we learned were: suspicious object; bomb; explosion. I remember them very very well. That was life on a daily basis back then here.

We here in Israel learn to be sensitive to pain of others, despite world opinion. Not only are we not immune to the pain of others here in Israel, but we are taught the words to help us be sensitive.

A new Never Forget.

This article at the Week states that there are multiple ghosts from September 11 that keep haunting us.

On a more somber level, people are still dying from cancer and other ailments tied to the heroic search for survivors and human remains at Ground Zero. There were 2,996 people killed in the attack itself, including 411 firefighters and police officers, but at least 653 rescue workers have also died since, Newsweek reports, many or most of them sickened by the “massive plume of carcinogens” released with the dust and smoke from the crumbling towers that transformed lower Manhattan into “a cesspool of cancer and deadly disease.”

In all, as many as 400,000 people have been directly adversely affected by 9/11, including disease and mental illness, Newsweek estimates, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The psychological afflictions include post-traumatic stress, addiction, behavioral issues, and anxiety. The number of people still hurting surely exceeds that half-million estimate.

I wrote about my personal experiences on this date here. And the question that I asked, “What are we going to do about it?”

Still remains a hole, except now it’s worldwide.

Today, the most insidious residue from 9/11 is probably fear.

New Jersey Memorial 9/11