A collection of tiny experiences, "Israel moments", from the past week or so.
Like many English-speaking olim, I have often thought that I could make a living here editing Hebrew to English translations. This sign on a door in the building where my ulpan meets cracked me up. Then I realized that it's probably better English than what I sound like in Hebrew.
I continue to be fascinated by what bus drivers use to decorate their buses. Last Saturday night, I was on a bus that was all done up in the distinctive yellow and black colors of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team. I didn't get a photo of that, but I did get this curious decoration recently. I thought it was clever Israeli security that keeps us all safe on the buses, but apparently, it's been Spiderman all along.
The Israeli buses are also a place where one can learn proper Jewish values. We may shove our way onto the bus in a most disorderly manner, but once on the bus, we are reminded to get up and offer our seats to passengers who are elderly. The words "mipnei sayvah takum" come from the Torah (Vayikra 19:32) and are translate as, "Show honor to the elder."
The other Israel moment I wanted to mention is a weekly occurrence. Let me say that, in general, I have a long history of not feeling comfortable or happy in shul. But since moving here, I have found that the Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday night has become a major spiritual highlight of my week. To my ear, the communal singing of Carlebach melodies is pure, sincere praise to Hashem who sustains us every moment of life. I enter the shul when it is still light out. I get there early and watch my neighbors and friends trickle in. By the time the Kabbalat Shabbat service is over, night has descended. I feel uplifted as I walk up the hill to our home. Invariably, the shul across the street from us is letting out just as I get home, so I see some more of my neighbors on the street. It's a wholesome, holy feeling and, on those rare occasions when I'm not in shul Friday night, I genuinely miss it.
This place seems to be changing me.