Gefilte Fish Out of Water

The Love Class
December 19, 2009, 8:34 pm
Filed under: Friends, School | Tags: , ,

All the women in this photo were in my kita alef Ulpan class.  They’ve also either gotten hitched, knocked up, or popped a kid out while we were in class together or since.


Lee’at (left in pic) was already very pregnant when class started.  And she only got more pregnanter.  Then, Anna & Eric skipped town and hot hitched in the USA.

Then, Marta told us she was pregnant and has since pushed one out.

Michole dropped into class mid-summer…pregnant.

Girl Jerami got engaged, married, and now her baby’s due any minute.

Yoda Boy Jeremy and Samadar are engaged.

And last Sunday was Hayley and Ariel’s wedding.  Man – did we have fun there !!!  First of all, the space was gorgeous:

It was, like, very cool, New York loft-y.  All the art and signage inside were in English, and so were all the hot tunes spun.  I, like, forgot I was in Israel for an evening!  The food was succulent, the music was hot, everybody looked superSytlish out of their usual flipflops & shorts, and we tore up the floor.  Seriously, besides the one Baby Boomer Dance Animal in the red tie, our Ulpan group was the major Disco Inferno on the floor.  Who knew Sophie was such a H-O-T dancer !?!

Hayle (bride), Ariel (groom) & Beata

Beata busts a move. Red Tie Guy in the background. This must be early in the night, because by the end, his jacket was off, his tie was undone, his hair looked like Captain Caveman, and he was a schvitzy mess !!

Mood lighting, gorge centerpiece, city below us and a French dining companion.

The wedding fell on the third night of Hanukkah, so the Rabbi lit the candles and we all said the prayers at the start of the ceremony.  Check out how high tech we were – do you see that black laptop in front of the Rabbi?  Hayley’s sister was watching the ceremony LIVE from the U.K. via Skype.

beautiful Ketuba

Did I mention I almost forgot I was in Israel for the evening?  ALMOST.  This is something you probably wouldn’t see at a wedding in America.  A fully loaded machine gun on a uniformed soldier.  Active soldiers are only allowed to ever leave their guns in either their own home or their parents’ home (I think).  If they’re anywhere else, they cannot let it out of their site.

Anyway, back to the bigger theme of this post.  There were like 4-5 weddings among us (and some being planned now) and 5-6 kids popped out or still in the oven.

What the hell was Dina putting in those eee-tones anyway ???


Kiss My Alef
September 13, 2009, 3:28 pm
Filed under: Feelings, Friends, Identity, Published Columns, School


Did a whole week go by without any new posts from me?  Dang.

New column up today though at iGoogledIsrael, so chew on that.

Tomorrow’s my last day of intensive Kita Alef class at Ulpan Gordon.  I’m both happy and sad about it.

August 14, 2009, 3:35 pm
Filed under: Friends, School

During Friday’s Thursday’s morning session of Ulpan, Dina had us read a dialogue between a bank teller and a man going to withdrawl money and check on the status of the new ATM card he ordered last week.

The lesson had multiple purposes – we were practicing a real-world bank situation and learning bank verbs like “withdrawl” and “deposit,” but we were also practicing future and past tenses of new verbs.

Anyway, after reading quietly on our own or in small groups, Dina asked who would like to read the text aloud for the class.  Beata and Dov volunteered.  Beata plays the bank teller and Dov plays “David.”

I spontaneously grabbed my camera out of my bag to shoot a video snippet to post on G-Fish.  It’s in the middle of the dialogue.  Beata The bank teller has most of the lines, while Dov David, really just says one-word responses like “Thanks” and “OK.”

I asked both of them for their permission if it was OK for me to post on here for those considering Aliyah to see a little bit inside a classroom.  It was nice of them to say Yes, b/c you know, we work hard to learn to read another language, and sometimes we don’t sound super perfect.  Beata and Dov are two of the best students in our class.

August 14, 2009, 8:43 am
Filed under: School


Yay, our beloved teacher Dina came back from vacation this week!

We had two pretty good subs – Schlomit and Hayelet, but there’s only one Dina.

In Thursday’s morning session, things all of a sudden got thermonuclear, and Dina began writing infinitives on the board that come from all the binyanim (group structures of similar verbs) where we’ve learned all three tenses, and we had to conjugate the eff out of everything.

– binyan

– shoresh

– oveh (present tense)

– avar (past)

– atid (future)

– what prepositions are commonly used with verbs


– whew!

Funny Hebrew Sentence of the Week
August 11, 2009, 8:51 pm
Filed under: Funny Hebrew, School


נגע רגע

(nega rega)

It translates to “Touch me in a moment.”  It’s not grammatically 100% correct; actually נגע ברגע (inserting the ” ב” is what you’d have to do to get “in” into that sentence).

But so what.  It almost works, and “nega rega” is funnier.  Almost as funny as “tatoosie schnott.”

Chris Firo
August 4, 2009, 8:30 pm
Filed under: Cultural Differences, School


firoMy last name is Piro (pronounced PEER-oh).  It’s Italian. 

Sometimes it gets mispronounced PIE-row.  And when I was little, if someone was gonna tease me, sometimes they would call me “Pyro” or “Pyromaniac.”

But today was the first time anybody ever mispronounced it Fear-oh.  It’s because the Hebrew letter פ can either be a pay (makes the “p” sound) or fay sound (makes the “f” sound).  Heebs and Heeb-lovers will know the only difference is whether or not the letter has a little dot in the middle of it, and in modern Hebrew, people mostly don’t bother to put the dot in, and you’re expected to figure out which letter it is from the context.

So, that explains the mistake Schlomit made today in class.  Schlomit is a substitute teacher we’ve had the past two days while our teacher Dina is away.  And she is a TOTAL character!  A real hoot, and class has been so much fun with her there.

She also had some difficulty remembering all of our names (there’s 30 of us, so this is understandable), and she off-and-on took to calling me Chris (which I kinda enjoyed).  It’s fun getting to be a different person sometimes.  This is why the Beatles called themselves Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band once.

Random Google images I pulled up in "Firo" search.  Anybody know WTF this is?

Random Google images I pulled up in "Firo" search. Anybody know WTF this is?

Dropping Like Flies
August 4, 2009, 8:05 pm
Filed under: Friends, School


Everyone’s got their own path, and I shouldn’t judge.

But it brings me down when olim friends of mine decide to leave Israel and return to their home countries.  On a smaller scale, it also bums me out when friends drop out of ulpan.

Lately in my ulpan class, there seemed a momentum/exodus of students either dropping out or returning to whence they came.

Like there’s this one beautiful couple in my class.  They’re both great students, and one of them is arguably the best of all of us.  And they just announced that come September, they’re audi.  I want to get all judgemental and self-righteous.  Wusses!  You’re really gonna give up just like that?  But underneath is sadness that some new friends are leaving me.

Even my BFF Anutchka repeatedly says she’s audi once her husband’s work commitment is up at the end of 2010.

Jerami’s had health issues and comes and goes.  Mitchell left Tel Aviv and joined a kibbutz.  Dan was conscripted into the IDF.  Those three are off the hook, but I’m still sad to see them go.

I need to remember something Don Miguel Ruiz told me – Don’t Take Anything PersonallyNone of these friends’ decisions and actions have anything to do with me.

Thanks, Don.