Friday, May 27, 2011

Shalom Lekulam!

I hope this post finds you all well, happy, and starting to make your plans for this coming summer. Here in Israel, we are starting to feel the summer approaching with a heat-wave expected in the next few weeks and forecast temperatures of up to 40 degrees in Eilat this weekend! Any of you who need some sun, now is the time.
I was just saying to Yigael, co-director of the Ulpan, this week that I am feeling a bit like Noach (Noah) before the Mabul (the heavy rain). Noach was preparing himself for a reality that he had had no way of experiencing before and had no way of being totally ready, and I am feeling a bit the same way. (Indulge me if I am being a bit dramatic!)
As I told you all before, we are now working (hard!) on a quite a few big things; a new website, opening a branch in Tel Aviv, new advertising campaign, new staff members coming in, and so forth. Don’t get me wrong, I love the hard work creating and renewing, but like I said, I am feeling a bit like Noah…
Today, Thursday, we will hopefully sign contract with the new premises in Tel Aviv and starting renovating them at the beginning of next week. I promise to post some pictures once the renovations are done and we are up and running.
This week amongst other things, we also launched a short film clip about the Ulpan on YouTube. Take a look and let me know what you think at

Hope you all have a beautiful weekend and a restful Shabbat!
Shabbat Shalom le kulam!
Gil Pentzak
Ulpan Aviv- director

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Well, although we haven’t had any festivals, holidays etc., it has been an exciting week here at the Ulpan.
I’ve been out and about, giving lessons in the Wohl Rose Garden, next to the Knesset in Jerusalem, and today at the Independence Museum in Tel Aviv. It is always great fun to see the Hebrew that we have seen in the classroom setting, ‘coming to life’, when we are out and about.
Another really exciting development this week for Ulpan Aviv is that we have found permanent premises for our Tel Aviv branch. As soon as the renovations are done and the new furniture and equipment etc., is bought, I am proud to be able to announce that we will be opening the doors of the new Ulpan which will be in Beit Isra-Airl, on Ben Yehuda Street. I love the location (which is only meters from the beach) with Eliezer Ben Yehuda, being the father of Modern Hebrew!
In addition to all that, our web site is virtually ready to be launched and should be, G-d willing, sometime next week and I’ve been asked to write another article for the "" web site!
Well, that’s my news for this week. Better be off. No time to waste…
Shabbat Shalom le kulam!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shalom Lekulam!

I hope that everyone has had a good week. For us here in Israel it has been another emotionally charged week. On Tuesday it was Yom ha Zicharon (rememberance day for the soldiers lost in wa,r and the victims of terror), followed by Independence Day on Wednesday. On Tuesday there were memorial services all over the country including here in Jerusalem, where the Fogel family (the children and parents of the victims of the Itamar massacre), spoke about remembrance. Needless to say there were more than a few tears shed. At the Kotel (Western Wall) both Shimon Peres (President), and Benny Ganz (Head of the Armed Forces), spoke about the desire, not for war, but to see our children coming home every evening instead of being in army camps, at check points, etc. A special thought went to Guilad Shalit, who is still imprisoned in Gaza five years on. We look forward to the day that we will be able to celebrate his freedom. In complete contrast, with hardly a moment to take a breath in between, after the remembrance came the Independence Day celebrations, the 63rd birthday of the State of Israel. The whole of Israel was outside with their families and friends, enjoying the day. Any piece of grass bigger than the size of a pocket handkerchief had a barbecue on it and it was great to see and be a part of. The Navy sailed down the whole of Israel’s coast, and the air-force and El-Al (airline), had organized ‘fly-by’s’. All in all a wonderful day.
Things are steadily moving forward here at the Ulpan with an advertisement campaign in French on the horizon, and all the preparations for the summer rush. If you are considering studying or tempted to study with us in the coming months, do get in touch and we will be sure to arrange something for you. In the meantime,
Have a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom!
Gil Pentzak
Ulpan Aviv- Director

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hi there blog followers. Rosh Chodesh Sameach!

Today is the first day (alef) of the Hebrew month of Eyar (אייר). This is the day on which King Solomon began to build the first temple, and on which the prophet Ezra, hundreds of years later, began to rebuild the temple. The month of Iyar is commonly associated with healing, which seems fitting after the Holocaust Memorial Day this week and the Day of Remembrance for fallen soldiers in the middle of next week.
On Monday morning of this week at 10am a siren could be heard all over Israel, calling people to remember the Shoah (Holocaust). For 2 minutes everyone stood silent, where they were, on the pavements, in the shops, etc. Even the buses and the traffic stopped out of respect for those who lost their lives such a barbaric way, and for those who until this day are suffering from the effects of what they saw and experienced. It was a moment that I myself, along with the nation, was able to remember what members of my own family had been through during this time.
Monday of this week brings the Day of Remembrance for the fallen soldiers of all of Israel’s wars. Due to the nature of Israel’s army there are only a very few families that will not be at one of the numerous cemeteries, remembering their lost. Tuesday of this coming week, however, brings a great contrast to the sadness of the last week, as the country celebrates Yom ha Atzmaut (Independence Day). As it is a national holiday and most people are off work, the whole of Israel turns in to one big barbecue as it celebrates this historic, and prophetic moment.
Here at Ulpan Aviv, it’s been another busy week, with the vast majority of our students, studying with us for the first time. One of our students even did the intensive 10 day ‘Aviv’ course in just 5 days!!
See you here next week. Shavua tov le kulam and remember to take care when you are lighting your barbecues etc!!
Gil Pentzak
Ulpan Aviv- Director