Monday, October 25, 2004

Arabic Lessons, Gypsies and Pastors

I stuck around work yesterday instead of trekking home. My Arabic class began 8:30 at night - a bit late for me but the other alternative was having it in another place on Fridays, which means screwing up my day off. So this was the lesser of two evils. The teacher was astounded at the amount of students piling into the small classroom at the bilingual school - the only one in Jerusalem. I think we needed a mini-auditorium. "This is history!" he told us rather excitedly. In all the years he has been teaching he'd never had such an enormous class of at least 40. He needed to separate us into two classes, because it was just too huge. I was thrilled for him, thrilled for Palestinians who had no idea that 40 more Jews in Jerusalem were interested in their language and thrilled for the class who were eager to learn. The teacher taught fast. Too fast for me. I'm getting on in years and won't pick it up like I would have 20 years ago. But I bought my book and I'm going to plus through it. I didn't learn too many words, just things like "my house, your house, I'm sorry, Hello, thank you, please, their office, our office, etc." But those are useful. I can't make too many sentences out of any of this yet.

Today the reporter called me and read me what she wrote. That was nice of her. Some of it sounded so rough and I had to correct her on a few things. I hope she goes along with it. Then she wanted a photo. Shit. Good thing I carry around my digital with me. I had 2 co-workers take various shots of me - outside by the garden (too sweet and kitchy), by my computer, on the phone. They took about 40 shots and I didn't like any of them except for one. The reporter also interviewed Ibrahim at his home at my request, and of course, he plied her with lots of food.

This evening I attended the Jerusalem Gypsy board meeting. yes, I'm on that board. A pastor who is also a donor, came in from the States. He wanted to see what the non-profit org of the Gypsies is all about and to know where his money is going to. He's part of the Calvary ministries. I took the Board notes, since I'm doomed to type up these things probably until my dying day. It's tough for my Gypsy Queen Amoun because with my full-time job and family and other assorted activities, I find little time left for the Gypsy community in Jerusalem. I need to find her an intern who can write grant proposals for her. Without that, it's difficult and there will be just less than a handful of donors for this tiny organization. The pastor and I engaged in religious conversation. He kept on talking about the mysterious Daniel, Chapter 9 which got him to be a Christian and the books he read and how the Messiah is coming real soon. I admired his faith. He seemed so sure of his faith. It was enviable. There was no room for any doubts in his mind. The Jews at the Board meeting were all going to a protest for Sharon to implement the Gaza disengagement plan. He looked at me and I knew he disapproved of this protest. He didn't say anything other than - if you believe the Bible is true, then you know who this land belongs to. And that there'll be alot of turmoil yet to come in this region. What a soothing thought.

Amoun invited me to break the Ramadam fast at her home tomorrow. I hope nice chocolates is a good gift for her family.


Anonymous said...

Hey...good for you learning to speak another language!

Hubby and I just began studying last week our computer program to learn Hebrew! We are still learning the letters!! Oh these old brains...aged almost 55 and 52 are slow indeed! We try to spend at least 15 minutes each night, or more...studying.

2 jobs available...Tel Aviv and Beer Sheva...may not have spelled that one right. For electrical engineer which hubby is. He is praying over whether to apply. I feel certain he will for a job over there at some point. so we wait and see...

I am torn as my son's family need help for awhile yet...#3 baby due soon with a SUPER active 2 yr. old and 4 yr. old...and the 4 yr. old has a very restricted diet and health problems. Plus my 21 yr. old college child still at home says NO WAY. But things could change here in such a way, that she might find living there to be a good thing too. This election destroys hope for most of us here...the lesser of 2 evils, frankly...and we do worry about how either man will do with regards to Israel. "I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you" is firm in our minds.

Shira said...

Wow that's great you're learning Arabic, I'm taking an introductory Hebrew course myself in university. So far all we've learned is the alphabet and some vocabulary words, but it's fascinating stuff.

Last week the teacher got a student who knows the Arabic alphabet to recite it to our class, and phonetically there were a lot of similarities with the Hebrew ... although in script they look nothing alike. Found that very interesting - I wonder how much else about Hebrew and Arabic is similar? Anyway, good luck with the course, you'll do fine. :) Just keep practicing with your Palestinian friends!

timx said...

So many Jews learning Arabic - you see, the word is spreading! Good luck with it. Are there any Arabs learning Hebrew?
btw I wish you would get rid of that bravenet thing - it is the only thing which beats my pop-up stopper!

sherijberi said...

Nu, so, let's see the picture!!!!!!

apple said...

Both Arabic and Hebrew are Semitic languages - they share quite a bit in common. I am always a little bit amused (not in the sick sense) when people speak of anti-Semtism meaning racism against Jews, when the term's definition includes Arabs (as well as other Middle Eastern and North African people). I really think that if people just stopped to learn and think they'd discover how much more we have in common than in conflict. If only.

Leah - thanks for your email, I appreciated it.