Posted by: RaeAn | 1 September 2010

Ready… Set… Go!

And it begins!

Today was the first day of “real” classes. Schools in Israel apparently start on September 1 every year… regardless of what day of the week it’s on. As long as it’s not Shabbat, September 1 is, without fail, Back-To-School Day.
(Or, יום חזרה לבית ספר/yom chazarah l’veit sefer, I guess?)

And of course, to celebrate this return to school, some friends and I went Back-to-School shopping in Tel Aviv. We had a few days off between the end of Summer Ulpan last Thursday and the start of classes today. I needed some new warm-weather shirts (I tend to run out long before I get off my butt and do laundry) and some good walking sandals… and then I got some other things just for fun. I did manage to get some good Naot walking sandals:

Naots! (a.k.a. *very* good Israeli shoes, good for walking.) And no, you're not seeing things... I have tiny feet. Took three Naot stores to get one that had this kind small enough for me. Apparently, size 36 isn't very common.

Also, a pretty necklace:

New chamsa necklace! I've been looking for a necklace like this for years and finally found it. I love the chamsa design with the Star of David in the middle. And the blue opal is pretty, too.

And some movies!

Movies... in Hebrew!

I like Israeli films, so I wandered into a DVD store and picked up a few. The last two are Israeli: “Eyes Wide Open,” a gay Israeli film I didn’t particularly like becuase it’s formulaic but would be good to own considering what I want to do with my life, and “Lost Islands,” which I know nothing about but have been told it’s good. I was going to get two others but they’re too new to have English subtitles yet, and I want to be able to show these in the US, too.

The first four are my attempt at becoming the coolest Hebrew school teacher ever. (Or at least have the best sub lesson plans ever…) Shrek, Shrek 2, Fiddler on the Roof, and Avatar… in Hebrew! (With English subtitles.)

And clothing!

This one says "bachura l'heivee l'ima" <=> "Girl to take to Mom." 😉

I got two more message tees; one says אני תמיד צודקת (ani tamid tzodeket / I’m always right) and one says, in Torah script, ברוך שעשני אשה (baruch she’asani isha / blessed that You made me a woman). The last one mimics one of the traditional morning blessings, which says “Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha’Olam, she’lo asani isha” <=> “Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, for not making me a woman.” So, basically, the feminist version of this awkward prayer. 🙂

Also, did you know there’s a Hebrew word you say to someone who just made a good purchase?

תתחדש/תתחדשי (teet’chadeish to a boy; teetchad’shi to a girl)

It has the same root as “chadash,” which is “new.” So it’s basically a phrase saying, “Congrats on your new thing!” Only the Jews… Ha.

I did more than shop in Tel Aviv, though. I also went to services on the beach again!

Services on Namal (the Tel Aviv port) at sunset with Beit T'fillah Yisraeli ( ), a Progressive Jewish community. They've been doing these sunset services on Namal every week over the summer; now they'll be moving back to once a month, I think. I loved the service; they have so many instruments, so much music, and it's all in Hebrew so I get to practice understanding things when they talk between the prayers and songs.

And I went out and did some hanging out with friends.

Out at an English Pub with my friend Emily!

It was a great little break between Ulpan and the fall semester!

But just in case you thought it was all fun and games here… wait until you see my fall schedule:

(Click for a version big enough to read.)

Yeeeeeahhhh.... *now* try telling me this year's going to be easy. Just try it. I'll laugh at you. (Mom, did you do this much when you were here? I'm curious.)

If you pay close attention, you’ll notice I have 10.5 classes:

  1. Liturgy (lecture + discussion/shiur)
  2. Biblical History
  3. Education Seminar
  4. Grammar (Biblical Hebrew grammar, that is, which is different from modern, which is #10)
  5. Second Temple History and Literature
  6. Rabbinic Texts
  7. From Zionist Idea to Israeli State
  8. Israel Seminar
  9. Bible
  10. Hebrew – 5 lessons a week, one of which is:
    10.5. Jewish Thought, taught entirely in Hebrew. It’s technically part of the Hebrew class, but with a different teacher and on a slightly different subject… so it’s a half.

With some T’fillah (services) and Mincha (super-short afternoon service) thrown in there too.

Just add in my volunteering at Jerusalem Open House, any field trips, being on a committee, probably teaching a Latin dance class on campus, possibly working at the library one night a week, and the mandatory little things like leading a service here and there… and you get my life for the next semester. Oh, goody.

On a possibly positive note, I was moved up a level in Hebrew… after finishing the summer in Kitah Dalet (level 4), my teacher recommended that I move up to Kitah Hey (level 5, the highest one). I’m not sure I’ll be okay in that one, but I’ll give it a shot for a week and see how it goes.

Today we started with the Israel Seminar (basically, we talk about Israel, living in Israel, Israeli politics, Israeli history, things like that). Tomorrow, my first day of Kitah Hey and Bible class… and then another weekend.

Next week is Rosh Hashanah, so we start getting days off just after we’ve started. Love the Jewish calendar.

I’m going to finish color-coding my planner and then get some sleep. We’ll have a chat before Rosh Hashanah, I hope, so I’ll hold my Shanah Tovah in a little bit longer.

Laila tov!

~ Rae



  1. Rae – you are amazing!! It is fabulous hearing about your exploits. By the way, there is a great hole in the wall shoe place across from and a bit down the street from Dr. Shakshuky in Jafo. Good prices and you might find something. If you haven’t tried Dr. Shakshuky it is my all time favorite in Israel.

    School begins on the 12th here and I miss summer terribly. I will miss our conversations about the CHAI school as well. Talya didn’t come back either and Michael is who knows where at the moment so I hope to have a program together by the 12th. If you have good ideas, send them along, ha, ha!!

    I hope you have a fabulous year. Will you be around in December. At this point we are planning on being in Jerusalem from Dec. 21 to 26 then off to cousins in Hertzliya. Great to read your blog!!

  2. Where did you get the “Baruch
    sh’asani isha” shirt? I would love one!

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