Monday, September 26, 2011

Shana Tova!!!

Well blog followers, this is the last blog post for this Hebrew year and what a year it has been. At this time last year another Ulpan in Tel Aviv was just a dream and now, when I come in to work in the morning, I can’t help smiling to myself and being amazed at what a difference year can make. As you will probably all have heard, the vote on the Palestinian state was put off and is supposed to take place sometime this week. Benjamin Netanyahu, (the Israeli Prime Minister), gave a moving speech to the UN reminding them of the reason that the UN was created in the first place and to fulfill the mandate for which they were created, to protect lives and to stand against injustice. He brought to their attention the day to day lives of normal Israelis and the number of rockets that arrive in Israeli civilian neighborhoods on a daily basis. We are all waiting to see what the outcome will be. In the meantime life carries on…. I think I’ve already mentioned that we are in the process of upgrading our web-site and so I have already been on the phone for quite a while this morning making decisions as to what navigation tools to use, (drop down boxes etc.), to make sure that the site is as user friendly and easy to use as possible. Watch this space… Yesterday I was up in the North of Israel to visit the Kibbutz Sdeh Eliyahu where the autumn project will be taking place. I went with Sarai and Efrat, the teachers on the project and we were warmly welcomed and shown around before discussing the final practical details and logistics of the course. The students arrive from Australia in only a week or two’s time and it looks like everyone is very much looking forward to the experience. The next blog post will be at the beginning of the New Year and I just wanted to wish everyone Chag Sameach and Shana Tovah. May this next year be the best one yet, filled with happiness and fulfillment. Don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up for Hebrew lessons and get working on accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions straight away!!!!! SHANA TOVA VECHAG SAMECH, Gil Pentzak Ulpan Aviv- Director

Friday, September 16, 2011

Shalom le kulam!

Can you believe that this is our 30th blog post? I can’t. Time flies. Those of you who have been following the International news these last few weeks will know that we are reaching a critical time here in Israel. In 6 days’ time the UN will be debating and voting on the declaration of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. There are numerous European countries that have indicated that they will abstain from voting which means that the vote could go either way. In the mean-time all we can do is to wait and pray. The situation doesn’t look much better in Turkey either, with the Israeli Embassy being broken in to in Egypt prior to the Turkish Prime Minister’s visit. Many Israeli’s have travelled to Turkey in recent times for a holiday, although in the current climate Israeli tourism to Turkey has plummeted. Here in Ulpan thankfully things are looking much brighter, with Efrat our new teacher arriving at the end of her training before moving up north for the autumn to teach children on one of our projects, (more about that in Saray’s blog). We are pleased to have her on our staff team and wish her every success. In the count-down to Rosh HaShana, I am currently working on a new advertising campaign that will run for 6 weeks in the Jerusalem post among other places. Don’t forget to watch out for it (and to sign up for Hebrew lessons here at Ulpan Aviv to learn or improve your Hebrew as part of your New Year’s resolutions!!) On a personal note; my little daughter is feeling much better and is back to normal again after her 2nd bout of dehydration. Thanks to those who have been asking about her. Well I wish you all Shabbat Shalom. Until next week….. Gil Pentzak Ulpan Aviv- Director

Monday, September 12, 2011

Shavua tov to you all!

I am sorry that this blog has been posted late, but it is only now that I am catching up with all the things from last week. First and foremost, the Ulpan Aviv team would like to offer their condolences to the family, friends and children of the victims of the Twin Tower attack in New York 10 years ago. Our thoughts also go out to those who survived and are having to live daily with the consequences. Last week was a great week. It saw the start of one of our groups for young people and preparation for the second which starts tomorrow. Last week’s group started in Jerusalem and there was all the bustle and excitement of meeting the new students, doing all the evaluations, assigning groups, ordering materials and putting the finishing touches to the curriculum in order that the courses would better suit each group of students. After that group was launched at the beginning of the week, the rest of the week was spent deciding on the last few details of the course that starts tomorrow in the North of the country. As most of you who have been following my blog know, we launched our new Ulpan Aviv web site a few months ago. Over the next month or two we will be updating our website in order to make it more “user friendly”. Please feel free to send me any comments or ideas that you may have that you feel would improve the site. Along with all the preparations for the new groups, as my course comes to an end, last week I had to give my final presentation. I chose to speak about building an infrastructure for an Ulpan from scratch and then the subsequent P.R. and marketing of that Ulpan. I was really pleased at the positive reception and feed-back that I received from the presentation. PHEW…. On a personal level things too are far from boring. After buying some land to build a house on last year, we are now in the stages of meeting with architects and builders in order to start making decisions about the structure etc., of the house. Well enough from me for now. I wish you all an excellent week and look forward to my next blog.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Shalom! Ma Shlomchem?

I trust this blog post finds you all safe and sound.
What a week! I have already told you in my previous post about the groups from the youth movements and organizations that we will be teaching starting in September. This involved recruiting staff members, (lots of) training, writing curriculums, deciding schedules and heaven knows what else. A lot to do indeed. As I am in based in Tel Aviv and the courses will be taught in Jerusalem, I found myself driving to Jerusalem every day this week. After writing these lines (Thursday 12:23, ) I am off there again today. In addition to that, this week was the last week of the school summer break in Israel, meaning the children, (all 3 of them), are home. Although, my wife stays with the children most of the day, when I come back from work they all expect some sort of an outing; the swimming pool, the beach, ice-cream, the park… you name it. So that's with the family (oh, and by the way my daughter was again dehydrated this week for the second time. I really think she is beginning to like being me being up with her at the hospital all night…)
In addition to that (sorry if it sounds like I am whining, I am not. Writing is my therapy), tonight I have to present my final project in my PR class tonight. The PR plan is a year-long PR plan based on a chosen business. Any guesses about which business I will be writing my project? I know it's a hard one…
This week in Israel, things have become slightly less tense with regards to security, (not counting the terror attack in TA on Sunday night. 8 people were injured, some badly and I send my prayers to the wounded.
The school year has started today, FINALLY. My 3 toddlers will be learning in 3 different pre-school programs, according to their age. Wishing them and all students wherever you happen to be, all the very best!
Have a lovely weekend and Shabbat Shalom,
Gil Pentzak, Ulpan Aviv- director