Israeli Film and Viva España

First, a quick backtrack on the weekend. Shabbat was really wonderful. I spent most of it with friends in a nearby neighborhood, at their place for dinner on Friday and again for lunch on Saturday; great food, wonderful conversation, lovely company, excellent scotch. In-between my sojourns out of HaGivat HaTzorfatit (a friend has corrected my previously flawed grammar), I slept here and went to the nearby synagogue for davening on Saturday morning.

This Shabbat we finished Sefer Bamidbar and will begin Sefer Devarim… which means that Rosh HaShanah is already just around the corner. We also begin the 9 days leading up to Tisha b’Av, a fast day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem as well as many other calamities experienced by the Jewish people in ancient and modern times. During this time, Jews traditionally abstain from celebrations, eating meat, and drinking alcohol. A little self-control never hurt anyone.

Today, in ulpan, we started off with about an hour introduction to Israeli film. We viewed several excerpts from critically acclaimed Israeli movies (as well as a clip from the Life of Brian), and discussed how they represented Israelis and social conflict in Israel. Again, I am impressed by the diverse mediums this program exposes us to to drive home the language lessons we are (theoretically) absorbing on a near-daily basis. The rest of the day was spent learning the binyan huf’al, the passive verb form of the causative verb form hif’il. This was new to me so it was exciting to learn as I creep towards improved fluency.

In the afternoon, I went through the usual battery of homework and studying. I also went to see an apartment in Baka that is available for sublet from August until early October. It’s not as ideal as a full year lease, but if that is what is available, that is what I will gladly take. Time will tell. On my way out of the neighborhood, I stopped on Emek Refaim to grab a slice of pizza from Pizza Sababa. This is a familiar neighborhood pizza place distinguished more by its odd name than by the quality of its pies. That said, I have fond memories of eating there 12 years ago when I was on a USY trip to Israel and our group was based in the neighborhood.

From there, I made my way to Nahlaot to join some friends at an apartment to watch the final game of the World Cup. On my way, I was walking past a local cafe and spied a political science colleague of mine sitting by the window! He is a professor at University of Minnesota whom I met last year at the International Studies Association conference. We had a nice brief chat about the research he is doing for the next few weeks here and what I am up to while in Israel. Chance meetings like this are great. Again, there is nowhere like Jerusalem.

The game itself was fairly unremarkable, with Spain finally scoring a goal in the second overtime. Sorry Spain and Netherlands fans, this one was a bit of a snoozer. Still, great company and great times. Now I’m back in Kfar HaStudentim writing all this up before dropping off to sleep. Tomorrow our class takes a tour of parts of Jerusalem… More details then. Laila tov.

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