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…
Narrator: Welcome to Episode 3 of “Linda Sarsour, Time Traveler.” When last we saw our heroine, she had traveled back to the 20th Century in order to inform Golda Meir and Hanna Szenes that they were not really feminists. Now, our Intrepid Linda of Brooklyn has traveled back to Judea in the time of the Roman Occupation in order to inform Jesus that he’s really Palestinian. We catch up with them in Nazareth, north of the Jezreel Valley.
Linda (cheerfully): A salaam aleikum, Brother Issa!
Jesus of Nazareth: Hello my child, you appear to speak the language of Ishmael’s sons, many days journey into the desert beyond Edom. It is a language I do not understand. I speak Aramaic….. a bit of Thai I picked up when I was backpacking…..and Hebrew. You know, the language spoken by Jews like me…..who live in….. wait for it….. Judea.
Jesus: I am sorry, my child?
Linda: Palestine! You’re Palestinian! Hellooooo!
Jesus: Daughter of Ishmael, the Philistines disappeared from this land around the Year 600 Before….ummm….600 Years Before….ummm……Me.
Jesus: So, Like NOBODY uses that term anymore. Not even the Essenes of the Wilderness. And they live alone in the desert without decent wi-fi.
Linda: Hey, I love your wooly Palestinian hair!
Jesus:The apostles call it my “Jewfro”, but Bless Your Heart.
Linda: OMG and you’ve got the most amazing Palestinian copper skin tone, just like me!
Jesus: (Looks at his skin, looks at Linda. Looks at his skin, looks at Linda.) But Linda my child, your skin is whiter than National Public Radio.
Linda: Whatever. So when are you going to Al-Quds, anyway?
Jesus: My child, you are using words that make no sense…. Listen, my Father’s house has many rooms. Maybe you might want to go visit a different one? You know, explore a bit? It’s just that I’m kinda busy. There’s a wedding feast tonight up north and the caterer stinks, so everyone is going to turn to you-know-who when they run out of wine. And don’t get me started on the fish.
Linda: Hey, a wedding! Maybe we can all dance the dabka. It’s a traditional Pales….
Jesus: Farewell my child. (Jesus disappears into the ether)
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?”
Jerusalem: Hebrew Union College, the Reform Movement’s theological seminary, has acted quickly to remove an aspiring Rabbi who failed to meet their program’s standards. Adam G. is a native of Chicago who has failed his mandatory Guitar Class, and thus now faces expulsion.
Dean Melissa Levy-McIntosh explained. “Adam simply failed to acclimate to our Institution’s rigorous standards. I mean, he speaks Hebrew fluently, which is great, I guess. But his guitar work was simply atrocious.” The Daily Freier challenged Dean Levy-McIntosh but she was adamant. “We gave Adam plenty of chances. We even supplied a tutor. And when his instructor informed me that Adam had not yet advanced past “Bim Bam”, I decided to sit in on a class just to make sure. Let me tell you, that was the worst “Shalom Rav” I have ever heard. Also, during the break I saw him approach a classmate and ask who Debbie Friedman was.”
Hebrew Union College has urged Adam to re-apply for the Autumn 2018 Class provided he goes hiking in the Berkshires and maybe takes some tambourine lessons.
(TRIGGER WARNING! This article will hurt your feelings.)
By Yuval Weiss
Last Updated 12/6/2016 at 3:30 PM
Ben Gurion Airport, Israel: With the crushing news that in a nation of 300 Million people there is a chance that other people have different ideas than you, America’s progressive Jewish voices have been crying out. The Daily Freier sent its intrepid reporters to the finest Fair-Trade Food Co-Ops in Brooklyn to find out what the deal is.
“This isn’t fair! I just can’t believe how racist Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio are! ” complained Aviva C. as she sifted through gluten-free pretzels. When the Daily Freier noted that each of these states voted for Barack Obama just 4 years ago, she countered “Well maybe it’s like adult-onset racism?”
Others were more circumspect. “Like part of me wanted to stay and like Resist and stuff but I’m kinda scared.” explained Jesse T. as he set up chairs for tonight’s “#NotMyPresident” poetry slam benefit. “There’s just so much scary stuff.It’s almost as if we need an Amendment to the Constitution that would guarantee each citizen the right to self-defense or something.”
The flight almost did not take off after several Olim set off the metal detectors at JFK Airport because of all the safety pins they were wearing to show “that they were allies”. But the flight took off, and once they celiac/vegan/gluten issues with the meals got sorted out, the flight actually went quite smoothly.
But once everyone arrived at Ben Gurion, things really got good. As the newest Israelis worked their way through their in-processing, the lady from the Jewish Agency who prints ‘Teudat Zeut’ National ID Cards reported that her computer had crashed from trying to process all of the hyphenated names and “Native American Spirit Animals” that the Olim insisted be added to their Cards. Additionally, the demand that the ID Cards list preferred pronouns and peanut allergies bogged down the process for several hours. Meanwhile, as the American Olim were being in-processed, a flight of Olim from the Ukraine arrived. Ben K., an actor and artisan beekeeper took the time to explain to a Ukrainian named Sasha that he was also fleeing violence and oppression. Sasha stared at him for a minute without speaking and then wandered off.
The Daily Freier decided to let our newest Israelis get situated, then checked back with the group a few days later. The Madrichim (Counselors) assigned to the team admitted that it was slow-going, but that they had made some progress in explaining that the public bomb shelters and fortified rooms in each building could actually be referred to as “Safe Spaces”. Then we reunited with Jesse from the Food Co-Op, who vented some of his feelings. “So things are alright I guess. But like what’s with all the military stuff? I mean, all these guns everywhere left me feeling… triggered.”
Ulpan Hebrew language classes started yesterday as well. And Danielle from the Food Co-Op is totally not having it. “So what’s with the masculine and feminine nouns? I mean, would you like some hummus with your misogyny? Can’t we changed the Hebrew language?” (EDITOR’S NOTE: We wrote this as a joke…. then we read the Washington Post yesterday.) “And Don’t get me started on the Hebrew word for husband. This is NOT. OK.” When asked if she had a message for her new country, Danielle replied “I just want people here to know that I’m offended by everything.”
On the bright side, things are looking up for Haaretz.
Tel Aviv, Azrieli: “I wanna show the nation my appreciation”: these inspiring words from the famous song by Shaggy will become the slogan of a new community, uniting and bonding grateful clients of Cellcom and Pelephone for slowly turning them into tough Sabras through contracts that are slightly harder to understand than the Gamara, but slightly easier to escape than an Iranian prison.
American Oleh Josh explained to The Daily Freier the unique mandate behind this initiative. “When you come to Israel, young and naive, one of the first errands you have to do is to buy a SIM Card”. Josh took a second to scroll through multiple notifications from WhatsApp and Tinder on his screen. “And then along came our… I would say sages……Israeli mobile operators. I mean the old-school ones – Cellcom and Pelephone”.
Josh showed us his first contract with Cellcom. “I didn’t even know where my name was, so I just signed it. After a month, it turned out that I had to pay 40 shekels more for direct transactions from my bank account and not my credit card (like, what?) and extra money for the SIM-card and stuff. I was livid. I thought they were scamming me for money! But now I understand that all those ostensibly fraudulent schemes are designed to mentor and guide us in the Land of our Forefathers. I really appreciate all the fights at their office that have made me a real (tough!) Israeli”.
Recent British Olah Sarah joined our conversation. “So true! I speak Hebrew, my dad’s Israeli; yet it took me almost a month to cancel my second Pelephone SIM-card for my iPad. Each time I called them, they tried to convince me to ponder my decision and promptly hung up on me, until I finally managed to overcome my Britishness and shout at them. Such a wonderful relief! I still have to pay 300 shekels for the SIM-card, but what an experience that was. Like the time I found out that Hebrew vowels were totally made up just to screw with Olim.”
Cellcom and Pelephone spokespersons have not given their official comments, but in a private conversation, Shlomi from the Cellcom kiosk in Azrieli Center agreed. “Finally our efforts in helping Olim are appreciated. Some Israeli banks are trying to do this job, but they are not as dedicated and consistent as we are. But, gotta say, Kol Kvod for all of Hot Cable’s efforts.”
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.
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.
Live from Tel Aviv. This is like Satire and Stuff.