Ladies and Gentlemen, the finest 6 minutes of cinema in the history of …. cinema: “American Oleh trapped in Ulpan Gordon for 7 years.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, the finest 6 minutes of cinema in the history of …. cinema: “American Oleh trapped in Ulpan Gordon for 7 years.”
Last Updated 4/28/2017 at 3:30 PM
Bucks County, Pennsylvania: With Yom Haatzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) right around the corner, Israelis are celebrating another milestone: the 6th Anniversary of Philadelphia-area resident Jeremy S. being “just about to make Aliyah“. Jeremy, a 29-year-old technical writer and musician, has been “like almost ready” to make the return to Zion since attending a Matisyahu concert in April of 2011 “that like really changed the way I look at life“. The Daily Freier spoke with Jeremy about his on-again/off-again longing for Eretz Yisrael.
“So I’m still like super-stoked to do this.” Jeremy explained, as he ate lunch at a hummus place near Cherry Hill. “But at first it was like, Wait. The Army??? I don’t want to peel potatoes for three years. Maybe if I was promised Intelligence or something. But then there’s my Hebrew. And Ulpan just seems super hard and not really like focused on my needs, you know? Like my friend says it’s full of the French and Ukrainians. So maybe when a lot of Americans start to make Aliyah it will be better for me? I would even do a class with some Canadians.”
Jeremy is already on his 3rd Aliyah Counselor, with his first Aliyah counselor rapidly approaching mandatory retirement age. Additionally, half of the people in his original planned Aliyah group have already integrated into society and become so Israeli that in the Spring of 2015 they moved to Berlin for economic reasons.
Jeremy’s Rabbi in suburban Philly has so far written six letters to the Israeli Government attesting to Jeremy’s membership in the Covenant of Abraham. Rabbi Stanley Green, of Congregation Agudath Israel, has become so exasperated with the process that for the latest request he simply took a sheet of Synagogue letterhead and scrawled with a pen “Not again! He’s still Jewish!”
Jeremy’s gutsy almost-decision has affected his family as well. His mom Linda joined us via Skype after we helped explain “what all of the buttons on the computer do” and shared her concerns. “As a parent, you never stop worrying about your kids.” Linda explained. “So with the crazy situation over there in the Middle East, and Jeremy almost sort of moving there, well you can imagine my almost sort of anxiety. I’m just concerned that if Matisyahu’s band or those nice girls in A-WA tour the East Coast again this Summer, that Jeremy might take the next step and schedule another Aliyah appointment in Manhattan with Nefesh B’Nefesh. But I’m pretty sure Nefesh started screening his calls some time in 2014.”
Reaction to Jeremy’s slow-motion-Aliyah within the Greater Tel Aviv Community have been rather mixed. North Tel Aviv resident Mark S. explained. “So he subletted my apartment in July 2015 because he was ‘this close‘ to moving here for good. And at the end he asked if he could leave a bag in my apartment because he was ‘like definitely making Aliyah after the High Holidays.‘ I guess the joke is on me because he didn’t specify the exact year of the High Holidays after which he would make Aliyah. Also I checked the bag last week and it contains parts of a tent, a tea set, a pair of drawstring linen trousers, some old vitamins, and spices from the Shuk.”
While Jeremy remains on the fence in terms of Aliyah, he has not allowed his cold feet to limit his social activism on behalf of the Almost Maybe Possible Future Olim Community. He started a Facebook group called “Keep Almost Olim Almost in Israel” dedicated to the unique needs and issues facing Almost Olim, to include the lack of support provided by Nefesh B’Nefesh for those who have been about to make Aliyah since Obama’s first term. Jeremy is also contemplating going onto Secret Tel Aviv and asking for future free stuff for when he becomes a Lone Soldier.
By Yekutiel Bornstein and Aaron Pomerantz
Last Updated 9/27/2016 at 5:45 PM
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.
“I don’t know what I’m doing wrong” wondered Jeff. “It just feels like I’m in some sort of rut. I mean, my Hebrew hasn’t really improved since Obama’s first Term, but then again my conversational Russian and French are really getting good!”
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.
(Photo Credit: backtotheroots.weebly.com)
By Mia Deych
Last Updated 7/19/2016 at 12:30 PM
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.
(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
By Lee Saunders
Last Updated 6/8/2016 at 4:10 PM
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.
By Yekutiel Bornstein
Last Updated 5/16/2016 at 4:30 PM
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.
UPDATE: People Of Tel Aviv! This is satire! We made it all up! Please stop hassling the guy in the photo. He did not say or do the things in this article!
But FOREX still sucks.
The Daily Freier
By Mark Levy and Aaron Pomerantz
Last Updated 4/6/2016 at 7:50 AM
Tel Aviv, Kerem HaTeimanim: Local guy Tzion likes women. A lot. We mean, like a lot a lot. In fact, on a trip to Rome, a man in the piazza once admonished Tzion to be more subtle and nuanced in his pickup attempts….. But there are things that even he won’t do when it comes to the pursuit of women. Like hook up with a girl who works in FOREX or Binary Options. Tzion sat down with the Daily Freier to explain the moral stand he is taking.
“So everything started fine. We were listening to Johnny Cash songs, and I was explaining to her how each song was really about sex. You might call this crazy, but I call this ‘Tuesdays’ …… And then it gets even better……. She says she wants to meet up later that night but she that she didn’t want a relationship because she was headed to South America tomorrow for 3 months. And her housemates are out-of-town. Oh yeah and she’s a twin.”
“So anyway, after a half hour she told me to meet at her apartment on Balfour but that she had to get up early for work. I asked her where she worked and she said “FOREX” …….. So I told her that I had to take care of a sick friend and then wash my hair. Then I walked home.”
The Daily Freier challenged Tzion on how he could turn down such an opportunity, but he was adamant. “There have to be standards of conduct in society. I mean, if I went home with her, I couldn’t live with myself. FOREX is like selling your soul. And you’re talking to a guy who has changed his IP address 3 times to get around the Administrators of J-Date and their stupid rules about fake profiles.”
Tzion continued to explain his code of conduct. “Look, everyone has issues. I mean, I’ve been banned from Secret Tel Aviv six times. And last year I got busted by the Misrad HaPnim for impersonating an Oleh from Argentina so that I could hook up with French girls in Ulpan. But FOREX and Binary options? That just goes beyond the limits of good taste.”