With Yom Haatzmaut just hours away, I wanted to start a meme--an Israel meme.
I thought it would be a good opportunity to share together experiences we have had in Israel or stories we have heard.
The first time I visited Israel was when I was a Junior at Columbia University. I took a year off and as part of a special third year program I attended Hebrew University.
I arrived during the summer and attended an Ulpan. I was dorming on the Givat Ram campus in Shichunai HaElef--fondly referred to as Shichunei HaKelev. I arrived late and found that the room-mate I was assigned to was a Seventh Day Adventist; I travelled half way around the world to come to Eretz Yisrael to room with a Seventh Day Adventist. We once had an argument about curse words. He claimed that the optimum word to use was "Fah" which was in itself not dirty but conveyed the same thought as actual curse words. For my part, I claimed that "Fah" would never do because any decent curse word ends in a hard consonant. Oh to be young again..
At the start of the school year, the group of college students I was with was moved to the Har HaTzofim campus. Again I was among the last, and assigned to a separate floor away from my group. As a result of a conflict with the room-mate I ended up with, I asked to be moved, and because there was no other place for me in that dorm, I was assigned to another set of dorm/apartments used by New Olim.
It was amazing to be among Jews from Spain, France, Portugal, South Africa--and Sabras--all together. There was a tremendous sense of Chevra. I was invited to a Sheva Brachas of a newly married French couple I had never met. My Hebrew was marginally bettter than my French. Someone taught me to say "Je ne comprapa l'francais" ("I don't know French"). I spent most of that evening saying "Mazal Tov...Je ne comprapa l'francais!"
We would go on tiyulim, have all kinds of discussions, and share Shabbos meals with each other.
More frum, less frum; Sephardi, Ashkenazi--and political views that ran the gamut.
It was a great Chevra.
It was a great year.
Oh to be young again.
And in Israel.
See also links to those who participated at Israel Meme Roundup
I tag SerandEz, Soccer Dad, Meryl Yourish, and Jack's Shack.