I fear that this blog is going to get very boring very fast as all I have to talk about is studying all day long. That said, I plan to keep updating so long as I have at least one or two good stories to tell.
First, I want to reflect back to last night when I was walking back from Emek Refaim to the picture on the left. I saw this poster tacked to an electric pole last night. To see the image in a larger size, just click on it.
It reads: “SOS America/ Problem in Israel = Mafia KGB Russit take power! deception fraud lie USA! I have big fakt! Big play KGB! Goal America!” with a picture of Barack and Michelle Obama with the text "Boker Tov” (Good Morning) below them and a facsimile of what appears to be an identity card for one “Birshtein Efin”.
I have no idea what any of this is supposed to mean but it was just crazy enough that I had to take it home for myself. Fortunately whomever posted it was thoughtful enough to use thumbtacks instead of tape. It came off easily and now hangs on my apartment door. Plenty of crazy to go around in this country.
Now on with the day. I woke up bright and early with plenty of time to get in a run around Givat HaTzorfatit, make breakfast and lunch, and get to class on time. Today we covered a lot of ground identifying how a noun can be classified as masculine or feminine, read a story about the intelligence of great apes observed in captivity, and demonstrated to me to an even greater extent the limits of my vocabulary.
However, we did have a nice ego booster today in the form of a campus tour entirely in Hebrew. While none of the information was particularly new to me, it was very exciting that I felt that I understood the vast majority of what our guide was telling us; from the history of the laying of the first cornerstone of Hebrew University, to the status of Har Hatzofim (Mount Scopus) between the 1948 and 1967 wars, to the varieties of plants in the small arboretum in the middle of campus.
We were also taken to an ancient tomb in the middle of the garden and told the story of the wealthy benefactor buried there. A wealthy benefactor from Alexandria, he provided the golden doors for the Holy of Holies during the construction of the Second Temple, a narrative seemingly corroborated by the Talmud and this archaeological dig. Near the end of the tour, I asked our guide if she had used simplified Hebrew for our benefit. To my disappointment, she confirmed my suspicions. That said, to have understood that much, even if the tour was directed towards someone with a vocabulary at half my age, feels like an achievement.
From the end of class until late this evening, I have been hard at work reviewing the course material and preparing for our first test in the morning. Our class will be somewhat shorter tomorrow, a mere 4.5 hours rather than 5 allowing us to break early for Shabbat. At the moment, I have no particularly exciting plans other than staying here and checking out the neighborhood shul. Class starts again by 9:30 on Sunday morning, so likely no late Saturday night for me. I’ll be fun again when ulpan is over.
Thanks as always for reading.