Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bat Yam 9...

Hello Everyone,

I just got back from a run with Jessica and Katie and I have a little bit of time while I am waiting for Jessica to shower so that I can. On the way home from the run and into our apartment building I ran into three of my students and they all said "hi" to me. They were carrying two rabbits so we talked for a little bit. They live next door.

A few things that I forgot to mention last week: two Thursdays ago I went to Jerusalem to visit Becky from home. She is doing a highschool semester here on a kibbutz. She is crazy busy and I was only able to see her for about 1.5 hrs. I then took a taxi from the Kibbutz to the Central Bus Station to take a bus to Beit Ar-El where I got to sleep in my old room--in Jessica's former bed. The girl who is currently sleeping in my bed is named Rachel and she is volunteering at Yad LaKashish. Friday morning I got up relatively early and walked to Emek Refaim to get coffee at my favorite place--The Coffee Mill. The guy who worked there last time who thought that I was a counselor with him at Ramah wasn't there but it was still a good Chai Latte. I then sat and read in a park and called to plan times with Jessica. This sketchy guy came to talk to me so I got up, left and went to the bus station. I got off at the shook. (almost hit by a bus). and made my way to the other end to buy ruggula from marsipan. I then walked to the Central Bus Station, and I made it to Jessica and the awaiting bus just in the nick of time. I was one of the people.....shower bye.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bat Yam 8

Wow it has been a very crazy two weeks and I have so much to tell, so I'll try to keep it short and only talk about the big stuff.

jessica and katie are watching the lion king next to me. it is such a sweet movie.

Okay so volunteering and classes has been going as usaual, nothing really too new. I got a 100 on my David Project multiple choice test that was beyond easy.

Two tuesdays ago, the 9th, my siyyur was looking at architecture around Tel Aviv and the Bau House. We met up with an architect student from Jerusalem who gave us a tour around Rothschild St. We had all been to these buildings before and heard the history of Tel Aviv and how it was developed but every tour we take adds a little something more. Eventually we walked down to where Joseph Bau used to have his studio and took a tour with his two daughters. Bau studied art in Poland. Bau was a Holocaust survivor. In fact, the wedding that took place in Speilberg's Schindler's List was the wedding between Joseph and Rivka Bau. However, due to Hollywood the entire wedding occurred quite differently--Joseph dressed up as a woman and was smuggled into the woman's quarter in Plashov (I visited there during the March of the Living, it was completely demolished and has a simple rock and plaque with yizcor candles as a monument). Joseph and Rivka were married amongst all the woman and since there are about 9 woman per a bunk, the woman hid away to try to give the newlyweds some lonely time. The bell rang informing everyone that a male role call would be happening (the Nazis expected men to be missing). So Joseph had to dress back up as a woman to sneak out. However, the gate between the sides of the camps had been closed, which was an electric fence. Some people had ended their lives by throwing themselves upon the fence. The only way to get to the men's side was over the fence. It was a catch 22--either the Nazis would catch him and shoot him for being on the women's side or the fence would kill him. He decided that it would be better to take his own life. He jumped on the fence and somehow he wasn't electrocuted. He made his way over to the men's quarters as the bell was ringing informing everyone that the counting was being canceled. Bau worked for the Nazis creating propaganda. He also forged documents and passports for Jewish inmates. He helped save 400 people. He is quoted as answering why he didn't smuggle himself out, that if he left who would save the others. He and Rivka survived the war at two different locations--Joseph in Schindler's factory making posters with Gothic letters and Rivka still in a camp--and found each other after. Bau finished his arts degree. Ironically his former professors couldn't understand why he took a five year hiatus.

Joseph and Rivka made his way to Israel with their three year old daughter in 1950. Joseph worked for the Mossad, forging papers. Which is why he was never allowed to sign his art work. Joseph is the writer of "Dear G-d, Have You Ever Gone Hungry?" amongst others. In his studio he also created a projection room to show his animated movies that he made on a machine that he had created. He had a hysterical sense of humor that was passed on to his daughters who are also artists. You should really check out his art work. You will surely recognize it.

Afterwards Jessica and I walked back along Rothchild to the Japanika kiosk on the corner with Allenby. It was delicious sushi.

This weeks siyyur, the 16th, we went on a hike in the Judaean hills to the Bar Kockba caves. It was a really cool hike and we ended up at the caves and were able to climb through tiny tunnels that were used during the revolt. We discussed the story of Bar Kockba and the Revolt and how Israelis and Judaism is reevaluating the way we look at these revolts where we get stuck and instead of giving in we commit suicide, another example is Massada. I'm a small person and I was crawling on my hands and knees. My knees were killing me that day and the next. When walking down stairs I had to do my little hop thingy. At different locations between the tunnels were larger caves. At one we shut off all the lights and tried to just sit in the dark. A group of youngsters came in--they were on a field trip with their school. We begin to leave that cave through a whole and as we are waiting for everyone to pass through we begin to sing songs with kids. It was really cool. After the hike we had lunch and then got back on the bus to drive for a little bit to some caves where we repelled down. I being the only one who brought a roll of toilet paper was very popular amongst all the girls. It was a really cool day.

Weds- I had to wake up early to go with Jessica to go do Laundry. We made it back the apartment with just enough time for me to pack and make it to the bus stop to meet up with Anna before heading to Jerusalem for a MASA Leadership four day workshop. It was an amazing be continued tomorrow.

Lila Tov,

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bat Yam 7

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

It has been almost two weeks since I last blogged. And as usual I have been very busy. Last week was pretty usual with classes and volunteering.

We had a midterm in my King David class, where I received an A+. I haven't taken a Neviam class since 6th grade and it was strange looking for sources to back up our opinions again, but it was nice.

Last weekend most of the section went to a kibbutz with the sofim, kibbutz Tzora. Yotam lives there. We slept in the highschool. It really felt like a shabbaton. It was really cool. We all slept on mattresses. Sleeping was interesting b/c ppl kept getting sick. Thursday night a boy drank too much and puked in the "sleepinging room" and Friday night someone was like deathly ill and the an ambulance had to come for him in the morning. So we arrived at the Kibbutz Thursday evening and we all settled in and then went to a dirt area and met some of Yotam's friends and they cooked for us. They made Poyke. It was amazing. It was like a chulent but everything in it I like. There was chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, lots of sauces and spices, and barley or rice. Everything stewed in a cast iron pot thingy on the bonfire. It was a very chill night--with Sublime music. Friday morning we woke up into different groups to go for a bike ride. I was in the earlier group-we still only woke up at 9ish. We had a leisurely breakfast of cereal and then hiked for a half hour up a mountain to get to the bikes. The area we got to was a nature reserve and it was beautiful! We start to bike and it is a dirt path and pretty hilly. It was too much for my knees so I had to stop. We had a guy following us with a truck and he had a trailer with all the bikes. So I got to drive with him. Others also quitted along the way. It was one of the most beautiful views that I have ever seen. I wish that I had my camera with me. Everyone else finished and we past the bikes on to the next group. They started at like 12 and so it was really hot for them. We returned to the high school, relaxed for a bit and then went to shower in some of the apartment/dorms of the teenagers'(11th and 12th graders live on their own) showers. It was one of the best showers that I have taken in a long time--the water pressure in Bat Yam sucks. After, Jessica, Tamar, and I returned from our showering adventure. The scouts had started to make mallawah, which is just fried dough. It was delicious and extremely unhealthy. We ate it with chopped tomatoes and hard boiled eggs and chumus. Then we relaxed, played cards, walked around and then got ready for Kabbalat Shabbat. Shir--my scout--wasn't there the whole time, so she came for services and then went back home to see her boyfriend. Services were simple and with some of the kibbutzinikim. After services Shir left and we returned to the highschool and started on a bar-b-que. I went star gazing with katie. Then music started from somewhere on the kibbutz and we started to do our crazy dancing. Julia came to find us and told us to come dance with everyone else. Katie, Jessica, Julia, Monica and I had wayyyy tooo much fun. We were some of the only ones sober and we danced the longest. Oh the looks on some of the people.... The dancing took place in the courtyard of the highschool with the other kibbutz kids our age. The music ended and we went inside to find some people playing Strip Ping Pong--no one actually got naked mom, and i did not participate--i was sober. One of the biggest issues with our section and my friends and I have discussed this with our scouts and each other. Is that some ppl just cant have fun or be together at night without drinking. The scouts had taken the previous section on a similar weekend and it was very different. Anyways...Saturday we went to go see the biggest Dairy in all of Israel. The pictures of the cows are adorable. On Kibbutz starting I believe in 4th grade the kids have to work on the kibbutz one day a week. Yotam worked in the refet--dairy. Shir had returned that morning with her boyfriend--first time we got to meet Noam. Noam was a scout on YC 2 yrs ago and he worked at TY so a lot of the young judaeans know him. Some of the scouts prepared a few different exercises (color wars) for us where we had to build the chedar ochel (dining room) out of biscuits and chocolate spread, making a line of our clothing that we are wearing from one side of the room to the other and then making different shapes with said clothing, and trying to have the least amount of shoes in our corner. They were fun and reminded everyone of camp which led to even more camp stories. Which made me feel like i wished that i had wanted to go to camp. But I am not that kind of person. We finally made our way back to Bat Yam.

On Sunday we got our new bus passes--the Rav Kav--which is just like a Metro Card where you load money on to it. I was blinking when they took the pic so my eyes are half shut--not a good picture. We had classes and then I went to volunteering with Daniel for Garin Tsedek. It is more like hanging out with Fariz and Hussein more than anything else. OH and trying to explain in HEBREW math concepts is very difficult. When I watched Fariz figure out how to carry the one when subtracting was one of the coolest feelings that I have ever felt.

Monday was a very special day. 50 of us did not go to our normal volunteering. Instead we went into Judaean Samaria to a border patrol base and planted trees with soldiers. Now JNF's idea of planting trees is not exactly us planting trees, rather it is us holding the tree up that is already in the whole and pushing dirt back in the whole and then tying the tree to a pole. It is all just for show. We then watched four soldiers in different demonstrations on how they capture terrorists. It was very interesting and boy are dogs fast. Afterwards some of us got our faces painted in army paint. Mine was yellow with brown and black markings--for the sand--or for a bumblebee which people started to call me. Some people who had done the black/green look put on some outfit and went to pretend to be a rock. Camouflage is amazing. You really are not able to find them unless you are close enough. We were then able shoot some paintballs at targets. Afterwards was a quick movie about the border patrol and then a Q&A with some soldiers who had made Aliyah and about their experiences with the Border Patrol and everything else with Israel. There was a girl on the panel and she is actually in combat. After the Q&A we had lunch with the soldiers--it was a feast for Tu B'Shvat. It was not normal army food--it was yummy. After Jessica and I went looking for a bathroom where we met Ephrat, who is from Jerusalem. She gave us toilet papers (there is never any in the bathrooms) and she offered to give us face soap to wash our faces. And here we thought that we were going to go to Ulpan with our faces like that. We quickly washed our faces and raced back to the bus. As we got on the bus Katie was ready to kill us b/c she still had paint on her face. On the bus ride home, through a beautiful desert landscape on a winding road that I wanted to drive in my mom's BMW, some of us got a call saying that Ulpan was canceled.

So I ran home, showered, and started to clean the apartment for our apartment meeting that night, where I read the Giving Tree to everyone. Some of our apartment meetings with Noa are just comical. We always pass her meticulous inspection--we are the cleanest, healthiest, and best apartment! Boaz, Jessica's friend, came in from Jerusalem so we all went out for ice cream at the beach.

On Tuesday we had a Shevet siyyur to see old synagogues in Tel Aviv. We went to three or four different synagogues. All were beautiful and only some were still in use on a day to day basis. one was only open for the high holidays. Afterwards a bunch of us got the best falafel in Tel Aviv, and it was amazing. It melted in your mouth. We made it back to Bat Yam in time for our siyyur with the sofim--volunteering at a special needs school, playing with the kids and doing different Tu B'shvat projects. The kids were adorable and it reminded me a lot of the Friendship Circle back home for different holiday events. Afterwards the sofim invited us to join them at their volunteering placement--a community center for at risk kids. We played soccer for a bit and then I left with Jessica, Boaz, and Michal for the beach where we just relaxed on the shore.

Weds I wasn't feeling well so I didn't go to volunteering. Jessica, and the rest of the world seem to have colds so I was getting whatever they had and I just needed to rest. I did go to class though.

Thursday I went to volunteering and classes. Lunch & Learn was about the ten commandments and about honoring our parents. Noa gave us a ride to the office which is closer to our apartment. Jessica Katie and I had a very interesting walk to our place. Again for some reason I didn't have ulpan so I read, relaxed and went food shopping with Cara for shabbat. We returned to our separate apartments and planned to meet up soon to go to Tel Aviv to get my ear pierced, which was closed last time we tried to go. Katie was coming to my apartment as I was leaving so she came with. Katie and I were planning to go on a "date" later but it was okay that we didn't. Instead I got my rook pierced went into a few cute shops and got ideas about purim costumes and then went to a cafe where I had a salad and Cara got mallawah--the doughy oil thingy. We made it home and we were planning on going to go watch movies in bed but as we got off the bus we decided that we should go visit Yotam. We got to their apartment but no one was there but like a minute later David and Jason showed up. We hung out with them for a bit while Katie tortured and teased Jason. We then made our way to Tomer's apartment where we were welcomed by James--Joel's bestfriend from London. He had gotten in only a bit before and was bored so we kept him company till Joel returned from the FZY trip to Tsfat. Watching James get up when he heard the door unlocking and watching Joel jump into James' arms was the highlight of the night. They caught up for a bit and I ended up inviting them over for shabbat dinner. Katie Cara and I finally made it back to my apartment and we just hung out with everyone. Cara and Katie left. Katie went home to pack for weekend and came back. We did our stretches and sit ups together and than finally started to watch the Ugly Truth. We were falling asleep during it so we just went to bed.

I was planning on waking up this morning at 9 to go for a run and then start preparing for shabbat but it was raining so i went back to bed. Okay so tonight's shabbat dinner is going to be about 14 people. It started out as just Jessica and I, and then somehow I invited Cara when I was drunk. She has 5 yeshiva boys coming in. Stephanie had invited me over to hers so she has to come to mine with her friend. And since I invited James and Joel, and Nicola returned from Tsfat we are either 13 or 14. This always happens--starts with 5 then there is 25. It should be a very interesting and yummy dinner. We might be eating on the floor if people dont bring chairs :)

Shabbat Shalom everyone,