Thursday, November 24, 2011


Other than the enormous amount of rain that has fallen this week, which is unusual for November; this week has just been one of those ordinary weeks. At home things are getting back to normal and the children, (all 4 of them…) are settling back in to some sort of routine. We are just about to sign the final papers for us to buy the land that we applied for and in a in the next few months we hope to start building. It is all very exciting, a bit stressful too, but none the less exciting. This week too, my closest friend, Uri, was doing his national army reserve service in the yeshuv where I live, just near my house. One evening I got a pizza and went over to see him where he was on-duty at the check-point between my yeshuv and the Palestinian village next door. While we were talking, I suddenly got the urge to see things from the ‘other side’. It is true, in life that we tend to see things only from our own point of view and just once, I wanted to be able to see things from the other point of view; to see my house the way that the inhabitants of the Palestinian village see it and to see their life how they see it. As I said there is a check-point just next to where I live and people come from as far as Bethlehem to work in Israel. They do a 240km round trip every day and spend as much as 2 hours, twice a day crossing the check-point in order to come in to Israel to work. Four hours a day that I am sure they would rather be spending in their homes with their families; I know I would. Of course, Uri refused to take me over the check-point for security reasons, but I hope that one day that it will be possible. Maybe I should explain that whilst all of my friends and class mates where doing their national service in the army, I was given a medical discharge due to my Chron’s disease, and so as Uri was showing me around the dormitories and the barracks, it was as if I was walking around somewhere totally unknown. Whereas the vast majority of the people that I know would feel completely at home in this environment it was so outside of my own experience and brought home the feeling once more, that I had missed out on something that is such a fundamental part of our daily, national life here in Israel. It was like being a complete stranger in my own yeshuv, only a few meters from my own home. Very bizarre!
Anyway, on that philosophical note I must get back to preparing for my Ulpan students, but wish you a pleasant end to the week and Shabbat shalom!
Gil Pentzak
Ulpan Aviv- Director

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