Friday, October 27, 2006

Back To School

Israel is all about the small things. Everyone has so much to complain about, the government, the territories, the presidents alleged behavior, etc., but no one ever focuses on the good small things. I started school this week. The school schedule is based on the Jewish calender, and we always start after Sukkot. We get off on fast days, and school ends at 4PM on chanuka so everyone can get home in time to light their menora.
I have to take two general studies classes this year, one of the ones I chose was called "We are sick of corruption-political and social criticism" (my translations never sound like the actual thing). This sounded like a really interesting course, with such practical application, that I immediately signed up. I went to the class this morning, the room was full, about 70% students and 30% old people that take classes for fun. The teacher walked in and said he was surprised so many people signed up to his course, he usually has much smaller groups. Then he passed around a paper for everyone to write their names down, and told us to write yes or no if we spoke yiddish or not. This threw me off a bit, but I wrote down no and let it pass. Then the teacher went on for a while about how the grading works, the test, all the side issues. Then he asked who already knows about Mendele the book seller. All the old people said yes, the students said no. He started explaining about how Mendel lived around 150 years ago, and wrote criticim on the politics pf hs time. He went on for a few more minutes about Mendele, and then a girl got up and started leaving. The teacher asked her how she could have given up already, and she said she had thought the class was on todays politics, not from 150 years ago. He looked at her really confused and asked, "why would a class on Mendele Mocher Sefarim be on todays issues?" Then he looked around and asked who else thought this was a class on politics. Every studets hand went up. He told us to take a few minutes and discuss if we want to stay or not. I had no interest in learning about Mendele, so I left. How could they call a class "we are sick of corruption", right when half the Knesset is being tried for every charge possible, and have the class be about MENDELE MOYCHER SEFARIM!!!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Initial Baseball

Tiger fever is in the air. Maybe not so much in Jerusalem, but I was invited to watch the game at around 1AM, and people I call for work in detroit mention it, so I am feeling it a bit. For about a minute I thought it was cool that my used-to-be home team was going all the way. Then I realized I dont care. I was trying to think if I ever cared, or why I dont care when everyone else I know does, and I think it all goes back to initial baseball...
I dont know if initial baseball is a real thing, or someone in my shul made it up, but it went like this. Two people played, one a "batter" and one a "pitcher". The pitcher would say the initials of the player he's thinking of, and the batter had to guess who it was. If he guessed it right away, it was a home run. If he need one hint (which team?) it was a triple, two hints a double three a single, four, you're out. Generally, brother Shu played it with a guy who wore brown loafers(I used to think it was weird he would wear brown shoes on shabbat when I was wearing a suit and black dress shoes-wow, things have certainly chanegd since then!). I used to try and join in, but in order to play you actually had to know players names, team, position, and answer to whatever other question they asked. I could usually only come up with C.F., Cecil Fielder, who was the most famous player at the time, so not a very good player for me to "pitch" with. I dont know if I disliked baseball before then, but I do remember studying the backs of cards so I could play, and hating it. I've passed the hating stage, now I'm at total indifference. Maybe if I knew more people on St Louis, I would at least gain bragging rights, but I don't.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What Goes Around

We went to the Bet Shemesh concert tonight. It was fun, although definitely a different feeling then when I went there drunk as a single guy. I called a friend of mine who lives in Bet Shemesh and he met me there. He lives opposite the field where the concert was, and I laughed as he told me how every year all the Americans pile into their area and blast music until late. All the neighbors are Israeli, and he only came to the concert to meet me. I laughed at him some more and reminded him that not only does he have to deal with the noise, but his tax dollars help pay for it. Then I went home, and Mercaz HaRav is having a simchat Bet Hashuava, with music blaring into our house from across the street. It's around 12:30 AM, and they have cut to quieter songs, but we still feel it.

Some Sukkot memories:
going to the Bet Shemesh concert, slightly drunk, dancing the night away with dust flying everwhere, then finding out the stands had sold out of water. Luckily, we found a girl who gave us a bottle of water.
Telling a girl at least fifty times that I had a girlfriend, then mentioning that I liked vodka, and her buying me a big bottle of Absolut Vodka from the Sheraton Plaza. When I asked her why she would buy from the most expensive place, and for a guy she can't get, she answered "it's only shkalim anyway".
My masa kumta was on Sukkot. We were supposed to hike 75 kilometers. We were also supposed to sleep 8 hours the night before. We slept 3 hours, due to a heightened alert on the Lebanese border, and then we started walking. I made it 65 kilometers, from 4PM til 8AM of walking with all my gear, when I fell over. I had a heat stroke and got rushed to the hospital. My girlfriend at the time came to the hospital with candy, and so I married her. I left the hspital later that day to attend my tekes. The nurse made me sign a release form that I was leaving against the doctors wishes for the tekes. Then my Mem mem (officer) gave me his kumta (beret) at the tekes.

(The time had nothing to do with the song. Now theyve switched to a loud one. "Vivaser lanu, bsorot tovotm yishuot vnechamot")

Our engagement party in Israel was on Sukkot in my in laws sukka.

Moadim l'simcha!