Monday, April 30, 2007

"Anachnu Talmideem b'Ulpan!"

"Anachnu Talmideem b'Ulpan" - "We are students in Ulpan" (Ulpan = Hebrew School). Pictured left to right: Tanya (tourist from Holland), Chazan and Yasan (Arabs from Jerusalem), me, Daniella (a new immigrant from Mexico) and in front, Heni (another Jerusalem-native Arab). We're on a mid-morning break from conjugating new Hebrew verbs and sitting in the courtyard of "Ulpan Beit Ha Am" (Beit Ha Am = "The People's House" or more accurately, "Hebrew School for the Community").

Where I'm REALLY learning Hebrew is on the street, and what I'm REALLY learning is the most profound political, psychological and philosophical insights from Israeli taxi drivers, all of whom are pre-screened for depth of character, tolerance for stress and political acumen. Also they have to be prophets.
Tonight the taxi driver who picked me up was a 73 year-old native Israeli with 14 children, 53 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren (you do the math, I can't!) who didn't speak a single word of English but still managed to give me an in-depth analysis of the Winograd Report and his prediction that Ehud Olmert would be OUT of office by July and that the next Israeli Prime Minister would be our man Bibi Netanyahu. Remember when it happens: You heard it here first!

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