Welcome to the Daily Freier’s new line of Young Adult Fiction novels! Today we tell the outlandish tale of an Anglo Oleh who decides to use the current Corona Lockdown as a gift, and truly learn Hebrew! That’s right, he has some children’s books in Hebrew along with his old notebooks from Ulpan Gordon. Too Easy! So let’s take a look!
Hmm, how about we study “Eeti, Eet-ha, Eetah, Eeto”, and….
Wait a second. Is that a crow outside? Hey, and it’s carrying an empty tub of hummus in its beak! Isn’t that awesome? Also….
OK OK OK, let’s stay focused. So the notebook says that some nouns are masculine but they actually have feminine endings because…
OMG OMG OMG I think your neighbors upstairs are doing it with the windows open!
Hey! Let’s pay attention to the task at hand! ….OK maybe we can work on our future tense verbs before we…
….Wait, are you trying to say that the redneck with the handlebar mustache and the mullet …..he’s Gay? …..and he hired a Hitman? ……to kill the crazy cat lady? ……because of baby tigers?????
STOP! Turn off Netflix! ….now, let’s look at the Pay-Gronit Verb Form. It’s interesting because…
Whoah, did you see the video that Madonna just posted online? CRAYYYY-Z! I know, right?
NO! We have stuff to learn! Maybe we can just review vocabulary words…
Tel Aviv, Derech Yigal Alon 51: The city is buzzing with some exciting news. Israeli sports legend Tal Brody has recently opened his own Ulpan, a place for recent immigrants to master the Hebrew language and truly integrate into Israeli society. Mr. Brody, who has himself sometimes struggled with Hebrew, is excited to make a difference in the life of Olim. The Daily Freier visited Ulpan Tal Brody to find out more about this exciting new development.
Principal Brody greeted us in his office and explained the School’s philosophy. “Here at our Ulpan, we like to mix things up.” explained Mr. Brody as he casually crumpled a piece of paper into a ball and sunk it into a garbage can 5 meters away. “Some days a noun is masculine, and then, ‘Boom!’ It’s feminine! It helps keep our students on their toes! Welcome to Israel!”
We then accompanied Principal Brody as he gave a pep-talk to a class of Olim entering their 6th month of studying past-tense verbs. “!אנחנו בכיתה ב’ ואנחנו נשארים בכיתה ב’ – לא רק בדקדוק, בהכל” Mr. Brody explained, as the audience looked on in various states of confusion. After the speech, the Daily Freier was able to speak with some of the students about their experience at this exciting new Ulpan.
We then spoke with the Daily Freier’s very own Emily Goldstein about her time at the school. “So I wasn’t sure about which Ulpan to choose, but then I met this really cute guy from Argentina named Esteban at the open-house, so here I am!” Emily explained. “It’s really great here, I mean it doesn’t even feel like school!” Emily then looked silently into the distance for half a minute before continuing. “So, I don’t know how other Ulpans work, but yesterday we spent all morning setting picks and running Zone Defense. Is that normal?”
Tel Aviv, LaSalle: Today the Daily Freier shares a story of setbacks, the Triumph of the Human Spirit, and an inability to memorize basic verb forms. Now entering his 8th year in Kita Bet, Oleh Not-So-Hadash Jeff S. is still unable to pass the end of course exam, and is thus trapped inside of the Ulpan Gordon Language School in Tel Aviv. The Daily Freier spoke with Jeff during his 10 AM break.
Despite Jeff’s failings as a student, the dedicated faculty have not given up on him. When he finally mastered Past Tense Verbs last year, the teachers threw him a party. “It was kind of like a Bar Mitzvah.” explained Ulpan Gordon’s Principal, wiping away tears. “And when he made the Bracha on the wine, he was just as illiterate as he was back in 2009.”
Unable to graduate and thus depart the premises, Jeff survives from day-to-day on the snack bar, occasional birthday cake, and emergency rations from the U.S. Embassy Citizens’ Services Section. Various Birthright tours passing through drop off messages from his family, as well as Hebrew flashcards.
The years of isolation have taken their toll on Jeff. He currently makes cultural reference from the 2000’s Decade, to include “Friendster“, “You’re Fired“, and “The OC“. He is currently unaware of Post-First Generation iPhones. His “Arrested Development” quotes are still funny though.
Jeff has become somewhat of an institution at Ulpan Gordon. His current teacher, Shirli, is in fact the daughter of his first teacher in 2009, Nava. “B’zrat HaShem, some day my granddaughter or grandson will teach him.” mused Nava. Shirli also shared her mother’s affection for Jeff. “He gets along really well with my family. My five-year old Uri adores him. But lately, Uri’s been expanding his vocabulary and finds their conversations somewhat limited and a bit boring.”
In addition to Jeff’s friendships with the faculty, he has managed to maintain somewhat of a social life as well. In 2010, Jeff dated, married, and got divorced from a French Olah in his class. Nava explained the situation to us. “We held the reception in the auditorium. We had soda, cake, and a slide show. It was actually quite tasteful.” In order to get all sides of the story, the Daily Freier contacted Joane, Jeff’s ex. “I really enjoyed class with Jeff. But he was never there for me to help around the house.” explained Joane.
Many people wonder just how this tragedy has been allowed to go on so long. The Daily Freier contacted the Misrad HaKlitah (Ministry of Absorbtion) to find out. “Normally, recent immigrants are only granted 5 months of free Hebrew lessons.” explained Uzi, from the Front Desk. “But we really just want to see where this ends up. So every 5 months we extend his benefits. We actually have a bit of a betting pool going.” Uzi then lowered his voice to a whisper and leaned in closer to us. “By the way, just curious, but when you saw him, was he able to name all of the Hebrew Vowels yet?”
The Daily Freier then contacted Nefesh B’Nefesh to demand answers on how they allowed this situation to continue. A Dati Leumi woman from their Jerusalem Office named BatSheva or Elisheva or JustSheva answered our phone call. “Whenever an Oleh from North America stays here more than six months without moving back, we consider this a win. So he’s really good for our statistics.”
UPDATE: The IDF mounted a clandestine operation this evening to rescue Jeff from Ulpan Gordon, as they have a Squad Leader position in their Olah Hadashah Code Talker Unit that needs to be filled.
Tel Aviv, HaKirya: Responding to published reports, the IDF acknowledged the existence of a previously secret unit: an Olah Hadashah Code Talking unit. Inspired by the famed Navajo Code Talkers of World War II who confused the Japanese Army by speaking in a dialect known only to members of their tribe, there is now a unit comprised specifically of women who have recently immigrated from North America. And Operation Yeleda Lavana has so far been an amazing success, confusing and confounding Israel’s enemies. The Daily Freier was able to somehow secure press credentials and sit in on a Press Conference at the Kirya.
IDF Spokesperson Elad L. explained that despite the natural talents of the recruits, extra training was provided by experts in not being understood in Hebrew, to include Israeli Basketball legend Tal Brody. When asked why there was not a Code Talker unit of Olim Hadashim, Elad explained that there was only so many times that one can say “Bro” in a radio conversation before it loses its meaning. Finally, Elad played an excerpt of an actual radio exchange from the team.
Operator 1: Gimmel Matayim Shalosh? Zot Rachel, Wait, I mean Aleph Arbaim ve Shmonay.
Operator 2:Lo shamati. Lo shamati.
Operator 1: Eych omrim command post?
Operator 2 (whispering):OMG my mefaked is So. Hot.
Unknown Male Voice:Pardon me you Zionist She-Jackals. This is Ali. You know, from Hezbollah. I am sorry to interrupt but I must correct your use of future tense with the Peh-Gronit. You appear to be using the incorrect Binyan in your conversation. It is incredibly difficult for me to even follow this dialogue, and I respectfully ask that you stick to Standard Modern Hebrew. Again, I apologize for the interruption to your hegemonic Zionist conversation. Please continue.
Operator 1: Aval like Lo hevanti?
Elad admitted that Operation Yeleda Lavana experienced a work stoppage this week after the sushi place on Ibn Gavriol stopped delivering.
Tel Aviv, LaSalle: Taking part in an innovative program of the Misrad HaKlitah aimed at welcoming new Olim and helping them adapt to Israeli culture, famous singer Eyal Golan opens his class in Ulpan Gordon next month. The class will take place once a week and will help students to learn Hebrew in a fun way by translating and singing songs of the popular singer (a Mizrachi style hand clapping tutorial will also be provided).
On behalf of Mr. Golan, his spokesperson Roy told us a bit about the education program, which is rumoured to be quite hands-on. “The program is based on Eyal’s albums and divided into several levels:
1. Look at me (הסתכלי אלי) – Levels Alef and Alef Plus
2. You touched my heart (נגעת לי בלב) – Alef Plus-Plus students, who have learned past tense
3. Soldier of Love (חייל של אהבה) – Level Bet
4. Whisper in the Night (לחישה בלילה) – for Advanced Students, personally selected by Eyal
“This class is more suitable for single women, but other students are also (sort of) welcome.” added Roy. Mr. Golan’s Insurance Provider still has not signed off on his participation, due to certain totally unfounded rumors in the past. However, many female students at Ulpan Gordon are already thrilled and getting ready to hold a protest in Kikar Rabin to support the program.
Are there going to be any tests to join the class? “Eyal looks forward to seeing all students at his classes, but French and South American accents seem to be more inspiring for him. You know, he has already gotten tired of Russian accents.” said Roy after a few free shots (chasers we mean!) of Arak.
However, the most captivating (and promising) word for new Canadian Olah Emily S. was “Alan”. In fact, Emily thought that Alan was a mysterious, powerful (and hopefully single!) Jew who owns all the bars and falafel kiosks in Tel Aviv.
“No matter where you go, everyone’s greeting is ‘Alan’ which sounds more like ‘Ahla’, but maybe that’s just the accent. Who is that guy? Where can I find him?” wondered Emily, as she kept on wandering from one bar on Dizengoff street to another, until she decided to finally “ask for a friend” on Secret Tel Aviv.
After receiving 27 unrelated questions about a bus schedule on Shabbat, 56 friend requests and 116 messages offering to “Netflix and Chill” in Kfar Saba, she found out that “Ahalan” is just a greeting, meaning “Ugh, another customer is going to eat my brains, what the heck do you want from me?” (Mandatory Spoiler Alert: It actually derives from the word for “Welcome” in Arabic. So entries in the comments section explaining our ignorance are unnecessary…..but still welcome!)
This newfound knowledge definitely didn’t make Emily’s Aliyah struggles any better and she has even started thinking of moving back to Canada. Keep Olim, Nefesh B’Neshesh and some random strangers from Allenby street have decided to help Emily, but they don’t know how. Therefore, we count on your wisdom, dear readers, to help Emily solve her dilemma.
Tel Aviv: Battle-scarred and cash-strapped Olim have found an unusual ally in their challenge to master the Hebrew language – budget coffee retailer Cofix. The ‘Starbucks for the Poor’ chain has this week unveiled a new product – HASH – or Hot Alphabet Soup in Hebrew, so that Olim can eat and learn at the same time.
Early signs are promising and threatening to the more traditional routes of learning at one of the city’s many Ulpan language courses.
For a cool five shekels, the hoards of new arrivals can get ahold of a menu designed to help them get past level Aleph before their 60th birthday. The menu boasts the delightful:
1. Mem-estroni, filled with croutons showing the difference between Final Mem and Samech
2. Chicken soup for the Shin
3. C-Lamed Chowder
4. A noodle soup with different noodle lengths to help novices understand Yud (Baby Final Nun), Vav (the middle brother) and Final Nun himself.
“Admittedly, I felt a little sensitive about ordering ‘HASH’ at a coffee shop. This is a liberal city but it ain’t Amsterdam.” said Luton-born Oleh Roy Freeman. “Still, it is a good start. I also bought some falafel in the shape of vowels. This was all really welcome because just last week I asked for a glass of water (Cos Mayim) but instead demanded a Cus Mayim. [This is a family newspaper so the non Hebrew speakers will need to look this one up themselves- the Editors] ….. The waitress was not too horrified.”
Canadian Morty Caplan added: “What a great idea. Easily beats a book for learning. I haven’t learned the letters since my Bar Mitzvah, some 50 years ago, and it showed when I wandered into AM:PM to ask for a punnet of strawberries. While grapes – anavim – is only one letter away from what I asked for – aravim – it was a little embarrassing as apparently Arabs don’t come in punnets. I forgot my receipt in a hurry.”
In response, Ulpan Gordon pushed the boat out and bought a packet of biscuits and some Fuze Tea for their Class Bet.
Ramat Gan Eden: Have you ever wondered why Israelis honk all the time? You might have though they were impatient, pushy or even rude, but a new discovery made at the Linguistics Faculty of Bar Ilan University explains everything.
“The sound of honking is an absolute copy of an archaic meaning for ‘sorry‘ in ancient Hebrew.” explained Professor Yael K. over the phone as we wandered lost around Ramat Gan trying to find the Campus. “Moreover, it actually means ‘I am sorry for all that I have done wrong within past 24 hours.‘ so it can actually be addressed to a lady they cut in line earlier this morning or a guy they elbowed trying to get on the bus. The word was spelled as בייב, which can be mistakenly confused with the word ‘beep’ due to the overwhelming influence of modern English.”
Professor Yael then provided the historical background of this remarkable theory. “If you look at the history of the Jewish people, we’ve always been reflexive. We tend to gather the information, analyze it, and only then do we make conclusions. Therefore, we don’t say sorry straightway, but we wait until we can fully understand what happened and apologize”.
However, how do Israelis acquire this knowledge? “There are a few hypotheses, but very likely, it’s Tnuva milk that enables the transfer of this information from one generation to another. That’s how we learn this ancient word, and thus it becomes a part of our vocabulary. Some linguists even suspect that 1% milk has a bit worse transferability rate, and that Soy milk is completely worthless, but further peer-reviewed research is required.”
Jerusalem, Givat Ram: Government and Academic sources, speaking at a Conference held at the Academy of the Hebrew Language, made an astonishing admission today: that the use of Vowels in Hebrew is just one giant punk on Olim.
“Honestly, we never thought it would go on this long.” chuckled Professor Binyamin M. “After the Six Day War, a lot of Western Olim started showing up to volunteer, and some of the Kibbutzniks thought it would be funny to tell them that there were special invisible dots and lines underneath the letters that they can’t see but that they must say. And they went along with it! I guess the Emperor really wears no clothes.”
President Rivlin, who was on site to present an award for the best new Hebrew playwright, couldn’t contain his laughter. “It’s all a joke! Kamatz, Patach, Segol. We even wondered if we could force Olim to draw a Tic-Tac-Toe Board, so we made up the Shuruk! Good times!”
The Academy explained that when an Oleh does something particularly Israeli, they hold a secret ceremony and read them into the joke. Jessica, a Canadian Olah Hadashah who recently screamed at a man on an electric bicycle for 5 minutes without letting go of the 11 dogs she was walking, while eating a sandwich and keeping up with 2 Whats-App Group conversations before finally ending the argument and discreetly giving the man her phone number, explained. “So yeah, after my little “incident”, the head of Misrad HaKlita brought me to Hebrew University for the ceremony.” When the Daily Freier asked Jessica if she could describe the ceremony, she insisted that she had been sworn to secrecy. When the Daily Freier asked her if the ceremony involved hummus, she changed the subject.
Live from Tel Aviv. This is like Satire and Stuff.