Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Shalom! I'm going to try typing and see how it goes. When I got home from ulpan today, I took Emma out for a walk. It was a windy day and there were leaves swirling around and Emma is always hopeful that she can catch one, so she took off. I didn't want to let go of the leash so I jogged along with her - until I tripped and fell forward on the brick sidewalk. The breath was knocked out of me and then I heard Emma yelp as the leash tightened and stopped her dead in her tracks (and no doubt jerked her backwards pretty hard).

I just lay there for a minute or two and then managed to get to a sitting position. Emma crawled into my lap and we just sat there kind of stunned for awhile. Of course I didn't have my cell phone with me, so I finally managed to get myself up and went home. David got an ice pack for my right hand and wrist, and some frozen peas for the lump forming on the right side of my knee. What I was really worried about was my rib cage on my right front side, right over my liver. Every time I breathed in, it hurt. We were being picked up in less than an hour by the Turners to go into Yerushalayim to have a Farewell late lunch/early dinner with Avital who's leaving Israel next week to go back to the states (after studying at Neve for the past year). I called our chupat (medical clinic) and was told our doctor had left at 1:00 PM. It was 1:35 and he lives in the building right next door to us, so I called him and he told us to come right over.

Thank G-d he didn't think anything was broken so I didn't go anywhere to have any xrays. He felt that if I had a bruised or cracked rib it wouldn't hurt my liver, so I could rest easy about that. I can't laugh or cough or sneeze without pain though, and my right arm is pretty messed up; I can't even straighten it. I'll have to go down to see him tomorrow and get a referral for an orthopedist, since I had surgery in my right arm for tendonitis a couple of years ago, and I want to see what I pulled and what I should do about it.

I can't even blame this on the uneven sidewalks or the sweet gumballs that were all over the ground in St. Louis (after I fell 2 previous times there). This was just plain klutziness.

So we went to Yerushalayim, and it was so enjoyable being able to go in a car. Actually there were 9 of us so they took both their cars, and we met Avital and Rivki at Cafe Rimon and had a really nice time. It's sad that Avital is leaving, although we haven't seen her much recently. She gets to go to Leah Grunberger's wedding before she heads to New York.

I don't think I'll be able to bake challah this week. At least we're eating out Friday night, at Yosef and Joke's from ulpan (they're from Holland), who live just a little ways up the hill. They have a dog named James (as in James Bond). They said we could bring Emma but James is older and I don't think he would like a new dog in his "turf."

Last Shabbos it just rained and rained all weekend. We ate dinner in the building next door with some people we know slightly from shul (originally from South Africa). There were 12 of us, all couples, and we were the youngest, as usual. It's interesting how South Africans serve dessert, and when everyone's finished they completely clear the table - and then bring out tea and more dessert! It's their minhag (tradition) - dinner doesn't end without tea and cake.

There was an interesting gentleman sitting next to me who seemed to be a super entrepeneur. He was born in Israel but moved to the states when he was three. He's a lawyer, real estate broker, investment broker, is part owner of the NBA (that's what he said), and has made and lost and made again millions of dollars (that's what he said). When David was telling about how his job hunting was going, this guy interrupted and told David he needed to march into whatever company he wants to work for and tell them, "I'm the guy you want. I'm the best there is, I can learn anything, and you can't get along without me for another day." Pretty positive thinking!

Actually, tomorrow David is going to work with a guy we know (I play mahj once in awhile with his wife) up in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv. Aaron Dovid is going to show him around the company and introduce him to some people, and hopefully he'll get an interview. On Sunday morning he has an interview at another company in Har Hotzvim, the industrial center in Yerushalayim. Our downstairs neighbor works there, and he thinks David has a good shot at getting that job. David is ready to to back to work. But wherever he works, he's going to have to learn Ivrit pretty quickly on the job.

I also starting working again for Yad Ezra VeShulamit , the organization that provides food for a lot of hungry Israelis. But I'm not going into the office - I'm making fundraising calls from home to people who made online donations. I started last Sunday night. In the one hour (that's one single hour) that I called, I got $100, $160 and $180 donations! And these were only my "shmooze" calls to thank people who have already donated! These were very kind people who want to have some part in alleviating the hunger and suffering of so many Israelis. I make a commission on anything I bring in, so if anyone reading this wants to make a donation, please let me know or donate online at and be sure to say that you want me to get credit for the donation. Thank you!

I seem to be typing okay. It's only when I try to straighten out my arm that it hurts. But not as bad as my ribs/stomach! I may sleep with a heat pack tonight.

I love Wednesday nights. No more class until Sunday. But our morah (teacher) gave us a LOT of homework; I should be working on it now probably. This week we've progressed an unbelievable amount. The funny thing is, I'm looking forward to going and am looking at it as a challenge that I'm going be successful in. Sarah is trying to prepare us for the test at the end, which we can decide to take or not take. The only reason for taking it is to go to the next level of ulpan, which would be Bet or perhaps only Aleph ploos. A lot of people say to take Aleph twice so it really sinks in, but I don't think I'd have the patience for that. Another 6 weeks of classes? No way, Jose!

David is really enjoying his nighttime learning classes. I hope he has the energy to keep going after he starts working; he doesn't get home until after 10 or even 11 some nights.

I'm listening to country music and crying. Sappy, huh? There's some really sad and some really beautiful stories in country songs. I still haven't found good Jewish music stations. David is going to re-build my computer and take all the extra stuff off so it will run better and faster, and then I can try to find some good internet stations.

All right - time for some dik duk (Hebrew grammar).

Monday, January 01, 2007

David just read my last blog and pointed out to me that it was Saddam Hussein and NOT Nebechudnezzer who spent $600 million to re-create Babylon in Iraq. Guess I don't proofread my blogs so well. I didn't mean to confuse anyone who might be easily confused (like me, if I were reading it in someone else's blog...).

Oh, well, while I'm here I may as well write a few words. I still have some homework to do but it can wait a little while. It looks like I'll have to look up quite a few words to answer the questions about the 3 paragraphs we read about Anne Frank's life. The Holocaust is actually commemorated here on the 10th of Tevet as opposed to celebrating it on Yom Hashoa out there in chutz l'aretz sometime in April or May. Shelley in our ulpan class described the production yesterday that her son's school put on, and how proud she was to be living in Israel and to be such an integral part of the Jewish people. All the children held hands and sang about the million children who were murdered during World War II, and Shelley said it was very moving and all the parents were crying.

I spent a lot of time doing that myself today. Without going into detail, someone I care very much about back in the states is having a really rough time and there's nothing I can do or say to help. David actually called me before the hefseka (break) in ulpan and told me to head out to a bus stop. We took the bus into Yerushalayim and spent some time at the kotel, davening. I haven't been there in awhile and I really poured my heart out to Hashem. For some reason, there were thousands of tourists (more or less) there today, and several very loud Sephardi bar mitzvahs - the place was packed. It was actually nice to see so many people there. We walked through the Old City and out the Jaffa Gate up Yaffo Street when we were finished. There's so much construction going on - as we stood outside the gate I counted at least 10 cranes where new buildings were going up. David and I had a nice lunch together before heading home.

Poor Emma. When I came in the door, the first thing I noticed was the phone by the kitchen on the floor. And Emma wasn't waiting at the door, shaking with happiness and wagging her tail a hundred miles an hour to greet me. I called her but she didn't come. David had closed two of the bedroom doors and the bathroom doors, so I went into our bedroom (the only open room outside of the kitchen and salon, and after a minute, Emma crept out from under the bed with her tail between her legs. I suspect she had pulled on the phone cord and the phone had fallen on her, or else when she pulled it down it made a loud noise and scared her. As soon as I got her outside, she was so happy, she went spastic - running so fast in circles and all around the park I could barely follow her with my eyes. She keeps things lively.

David went to a shul this evening that we've only davened at a time or two to try it out. They have a new evening learning program and he came home really happy and excited about it. You would think with all the many shuls around here that it would be easy finding a place for yourself, but many people have trouble finding exactly the atmosphere they're looking for, whether it's davening or learning. I've been wanting David to get back into some Torah learning, and I know he wanted the same thing. Now he feels like he's finally found what he's looking for. There are lots of learning opportunities available, even a class on How To Learn Gemara, which David has been asking Hashem for for a long time. The rabbi who organized the program (who just made aliyah from LA in September), sat and spoke with him for 45 minutes about an individualized program for him. What a difference it makes when someone takes an interest in what you need!

David also ran into someone this morning in shul who works for a company he'd really like to work for. This guy was very positive about helping him find something, and even suggested that David ride the train with him one day soon to the company in Ramat Gan (outside Tel Aviv) and he could introduce him to some people. It might be just the way to get a foot in the door. The learning and the parnassah are two major things that David's been davening for lately, and it seems to be finally coming together.

Why is it that for some of us, good things just keep happening, and for others - it seems just the opposite? I spoke with another good friend this evening from St. Louis, and she's another person having a hard time. It hurts so much to hear about the challenges in other peoples' lives: the loneliness, the unhappiness, the fears. I guess we just have to keep turning to the Ribbono Shel Olam. If only we knew when we were younger that in later years we'd want to turn the clock back and do things so differently - maybe we'd live our lives differently when we're younger. Then it wouldn't take everything we've got when we're older trying to fix what we messed up in the first place. But, then again; that's what life is all about. Learning and fixing and changing and hopefully growing from it all. He sure likes to test us, doesn't He?