Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Long, Long Week It's Been

This week has been long, very long. I haven't really updated too much.

Ulpan is almost finished. This week is our last week of the Hebrew only section of our school year. To finish up, I get to work with a partner to create a game to play with our class to help study for the Ulpan final. The final is next Wednesday and I'm pretty nervous about how well I will be able to do on it. At this point, I can just study and hope for the best.

Another part of the finishing of Ulpan is that on Wednesday we will have a chance to perform again for the rest of the HUC Year in Israel class. As a class, we are rewriting the words to David Broza's, Mitachat HaShamayim including jokes that have come up in the last six weeks.

We weren't sure if we would have the same teacher for the Hebrew we will continue to study throughout the year. As a class we were lobbying for her to stay because she is fantastic! Luckily, we get to keep Zohara for the rest of the year and our class is very excited. We learned this for sure during our Academic Orientation last Thursday.

We got to look at our schedule, which this year we have no choice in what the classes are. I knew this was graduate school, but this course load is intense. I am really excited to get started on studying though. We get to have classes on Bible, Biblical History, Liturgy, Modern Hebrew, Biblical Grammar, Modern Israeli History, Rabbinic Texts and one more that I can't really figure out from looking at the grid. Yep, that's eight classes and an optional course with Rabbi Zweibeck that I want to take over lunch on Tuesdays. This is a lot more than the four or five from High School and University of Minnesota. I guess that's why this is grad school and not a vacation, right?

What else has been going on? Rabbi David Ellenson, the President of the College-Institute, was in town and gave a lecture during the week. It was great getting a chance to meet him again. The lecture was good and it was a good introduction to the college. Some of what he mention caused some controversy with some of my friends here. It prompted some good discussion that distracted from studying for the exam we had Wednesday. But maybe that was the point, to get us to start thinking on a different level.

I went for a bike ride on Friday morning. Let me put it this way. Jerusalem is not the best place for a biker. It was a little bit crazy. I really enjoyed the ride with the other people who will be going on the Ride for Reform. One little anecdote though.

I was riding and didn't realize that one of the medians was raised. I noticed that it was up as I was coming up to it and immediately reverted to the last few years of riding a road bike. I braced myself for going over the top of my bike. Here's some great news though, mountain bikes have front-fork suspension for a reason. I barely felt the little bump as I rode over it. No biggie, it's a mountain bike.

Now it's time to get to some homework and studying.

Shabbat Shalom,


  1. "Liturgy" and "Biblical Grammar" sound like a real party to me.

    I'm working on figuring out Skype because Lindsey demands it as well and I've made it to age 22 without having to Will work on getting this in order so that you can admire my smeared eye makeup from the chosen land whilst we catch-up with me drinking good coffee and you drinking extremely mediocre coffee...

    ...Do you want me to mail you some Starbucks via or something of that ilk?

  2. I'm curious about what happens if a person (I'm sure it won't be you!) does poorly on the exam at the end of Ulpan? If someone does poorly on a certain number of exams are they dropped from school?

    I'm particularly curious because according to an earlier post it sounded like they placed you in an Ulpan class according to an exam, and it sounded like they put you in a higher level class than you expected.

    So, it seems a little unfair to be penalized for doing poorly if a person is placed in a level too high for them at the beginning.

  3. tenaciously - thanks for the offer, but you would also need to send a coffee maker. Unfortunately I'm getting used to this instant coffee stuff anyway.

    Susan - I'm not completely clear on what happens if one were to fail Ulpan. From my understanding, if you're in one of the higher classes, I think you just move down a level. They might also ask them to work with a tutor.

  4. Brian -

    Thanks for the response. I hope your exams all go well, no matter what would happen otherwise.