Tu B’Av

Tu B’Av (טו באב) is a minor holiday(חג) in the Jewish Calendar. It is the holiday of Love(חג האהבה), which is becoming similar to Valentine’s Day in other countries. In the Mishneh(משנה), it is mentioned as the day that single women would borrow white dresses(שמלות לבנות) and dance in the vineyards and orchards (פרדסים וכרמים) around Jerusalem. Single men would then come and choose their brides(כלות).

As there are many tragedies (טרגדיות) that happened on Tisha B’Av, there are many good events that happened on Tu B’Av.

“Said Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel: There were no greater festivals for
Israel than the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur” (Mishneh Ta’anit Chapter 4 Mishneh 8)

A few more of these events are:

The generation (דור) of the Exodus passed away.

Tu B’Av was the date that the last man died who left Egypt. God had said to Moshe, that the generation of the Exodus would not enter the Promised Land. (הארץ המובטחת) So on this date the last person passed away, and the people were ready (מוכנים) to go up to Israel.

The tribes of Israel were permitted to marry each other.
This is important because after the entrance of the people to Israel, each tribe had to marry only within each other. But now, on this date, they were permitted to be one people and not separate tribes.(שבטים)

The roadblocks were opened to Jerusalem.
After the reign of King Solomon, The kingdom of Israel split into two different kingdoms, King Jeroboam, who had the Northern Kingdom, set up roadblocks (מחסומי כביש) to prevent pilgrims wanting to visit Jerusalem during the three Festivals (ימים טובים), from going there. On this date, Tu B’Av the
roadblocks were taken down about 200 years later.

How do we celebrate Tu B’Av now?

There are many singing and dancing events (אירועים) all over Israel that are held on this date. (תאריך) Since weddings (חתונות) are allowed right after Tisha B’Av, many weddings are held on Tu B’Av six days later.

What will you be doing on Tu B’Av? I will be dancing, listening to music, and playing music!

Sources: www.chabad.org ; wikipedia

Vocabulary of Tu B’Av

טו באב
חג
חג האהבה
משנה
שמלות לבנות
פרדסים וכרמים
כלות
טרגדיות
דור
הארץ המובטחת
מוכנים
שבטים
מחסומי כביש
ימים טובים
אירועים
תאריך
חתונות

Renting an apartment in Israel

Congratulations on deciding to take the big step and live in Israel. Whether you have made Aliyah (עלייה), becoming a citizen of Israel, or are a university student ( אונברסיטת סטודנט ), now you have to find a place to live.
First decide which city and neighborhood (שכונה) you would like to live in. It is a good idea to go visiting friends in that neighborhood and stay overnight. Walk around on Shabbat, to see if you like the general feeling, and of course the climate (מזג אוויר). The climate in Beit Shemesh most of the year is very hot, whereas in Jerusalem, the weather varies quite a bit summer and winter.

Finding an apartment to rent in Israel

Finding an apartment (דירה) to rent (להשכרה) can be very time consuming. Most of the rental apartments in Israel are owned privately, not by large corporations. This means that the condition of apartments varies quite a bit. Most apartments do not have built-in closets (ארונות) like in other countries. If you rent an unfurnished apartment, then remember that you are getting an empty apartment. Buy closets and have them put together by a carpenter (נגר).
You can go to a real estate agent to find an apartment to rent. You will have to pay the equivalent (שווה) of a month’s rent to the Realtor (מתווך). This is good if you don’t speak Hebrew, and the Realtor is bilingual. Then he/she can do all the negotiating for you. Another way to find an apartment is to go to a website with apartment listings. There are a few in Hebrew and some in English. Go see the apartment. One big difference between Israel and the United States is how they number the floors of an apartment building. The ground floor (קרקע) is not included in the numbering. If the ad says 1st floor, then it is one floor up. This is not too bad, but if the ad is for a 4th floor apartment and no elevator (מעלית), then it means that you will have to walk up four flights of stairs!

When dealing with apartment owners, usually they will want first and last month’s rent, and a security check. Some will also want checks written out for the whole year in advance (מראש). You will have to read the rental contract, which is in Hebrew, so bring along a bilingual friend to translate for you. The apartment should have been painted, check that the water works, if there is a solar water heater ( דוד שמש), and if there is a water hookup for a clothes washer. You will also have to pay the yearly property tax (ארנונה) the amount depends upon how many square meters the apartment is. Ask also is there is a monthly charge (ועד בית) for cleaning the stairs and electricity for the elevator if there is one. You will also be responsible for changing the water and electricity service. Also there are a few ways to get Internet service, so shop around for the best deal for Internet, and home telephone service.

If all is to your satisfaction, then make another meeting with the apartment owner, and sign the contract (חוזה); get the key and move in! You are now a proud apartment renter!

Vocabulary about renting in Israel

עלייה
אונברסיטת סטודנט
שכונה
מזג אוויר
דירה
להשכרה
ארונות
נגר
שווה
מתווך
קרקע
מעלית
מראש
דוד שמש
ארנונה
ועד בית
חוזה

Going to the Airport

You are going on vacation?(נופש) You have your plane tickets? (כרטסי טיסה) Your passport (דרכון) is up to date? Your suitcases(מזודות) are packed with your name, address, phone numbers, and I’d put your e-mail address on them as well, and everything is ready for your trip. Nowadays, you have to get to the airport (שדה התעופה) two hours early. I find that the best way to get to the airport is to go by airport taxi.(מונית) In Israel, it is called Nesher Taxi Company. You can take a regular taxi to the airport, but it is very expensive. The Nesher costs (עולה) about $15 or so. Reserving space in the taxi is easy, just call them the day before your flight (טיסה), and they tell you when you have to be waiting outside. If your flight is scheduled to leave at 6:00pm from Ben Gurion Airport (נמל התעופה בן גוריון), they will pick you up at 3:00pm in front of your Jerusalem home. If you live in Tel Aviv, it is much closer and they will pick you up at 3:30pm. It is usually a 40 minute drive from Jerusalem to the Ben Gurion Airport. You will be dropped off right in front of the International Terminal. (הטרימנל הבינלאומי)

Inside the Airport

When you go inside, you will have to wait in line, to show your passport and get your ticket validated. You need a printout of your E-ticket and your passport. A security agent (מאבטח) will come up to you while you are waiting in line to ask questions(שאלות) about who packed your suitcase, and whether you know about everything that is in the suitcases. The security agents are very polite (נימוס), and I have never had any trouble with this part of the check-in process.

When you get to the front of the line, the ticket agent checks your ticket and passport, weighs your luggage, puts the correct tags, for your flight on the suitcase, and sends them off to the baggage handlers. The ticket agents gives you a boarding pass.

Passport control

Once (פעם אחת) I went on a flight at the last minute to the United States. I didn’t know that my Israeli passport had expired! (עבר זמנו) Actually, there is an Israeli Passport office at the airport! I went there, and they are open 24 hours for cases like this! They issued me a temporary (זמני) Israeli Passport on a piece of A4 paper. I had to go into the gate (שער) within two hours or it would expire. I don’t recommend relying upon this method to travel, but it worked once!

The Gate

So now you go up to the gate. You might have more time to wait depending upon (תלוי על) how long it took to do the security measures. (אמצעי בטיחות) There are Duty Free shops and restaurants (מסעדות) if you get hungry or need a book to read on the flight.

On the Plane

I usually go right to the gate and sit down to wait (לחכות) there. I don’t want to be eating and have to get up in the middle of my meal to run (לרוץ) to the plane! When the flight is called, I show my boarding pass and get on the plane. Wow, I did it! I’m in my seat (מושב), and I’m off on my long awaited vacation! See you when I get back!

Vocabulary of the airport

נופש
כרטסי טיסה
דרכון
שדה התעופה
מונית
עולה
טיסה
נמל התעופה בן גוריון
הטרימנל הבינלאומי
מאבטח
שאלות
פעם אחת
עבר זמנו
זמני
שער
תלוי על
אמצעי בטיחות
מסעדות
לחכות
לרוץ
מושב

Using a computer in Hebrew

Using a computer (מחשב) is very simple (פשוט מאוד) nowadays. You turn on the computer, you get the welcome screen and then you press the “Start” (התחל) button and you choose (בוחר) the program (התוכנה) you want to work on. Most people use the computer to get their e-mails (מייל), working on documents, to play games and watch movies. Many people use Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express for their e-mail program, and many people use an on-line e-mail program such as Gmail. To use Outlook, either you have it on your start menu, or on the desktop (שולחן עבודה). Click on the icon(איקון) and the program will open up. The desktop is the first background that you get after the computer boots up. (לאתחל את המחשב)

Using Gmail

To use Gmail, you have to go into your Internet browser (דפדפן), then type in gmail.com into the address bar. Then the sign in screen (מסך) will open up. You put your username (שם משתמש) and password (סיסמה) and then the program will open (יפתח). You will see your e-mail address (כתובת מייל)on the screen with a blue status bar. When the status bar is all blue, then it will disappear and you will see the list of e-mails on your screen. Gmail recently changed its user interface,(ממשק למשתמש) the font is bigger now and it is easier to read. On the other hand, if you use Yahoomail for your e-mail program, it also changed its interface, but now the font is much smaller and harder to work with. I usually forward important e-mails from the Yahoo account to the Gmail account so I can read them!

Using Microsoft Word

If I need to work on a Microsoft Word (מיקרוסופט וורד) document, I open it up from the Start menu, choose Programs, and then Microsoft Office. I then choose Microsoft Word and the program opens. If I am in the middle of a document, and I need to look something up in another program I don’t have to close Microsoft Word, I can just minimize (למזער) the program. I do this by putting my cursor (סמן) on the top right hand of the screen, pressing on the little line that is next to the boxes. the three boxes on the right upper part of the screen is very important for you to manage your work. The x box closes the program, the boxes make the program take the whole screen and the horizontal line minimizes the program to the status bar at the bottom, so I can open it later (מאוחר יותר) if I need it.

Working on a computer is not so difficult now, and I can’t wait until Window 8! According to the advanced reviews it is supposed to be a much easier operating system!

Computer Vocabulary in Hebrew

פשוט מאוד
התחל
בוחר
התוכנה
מייל
שולחן עבודה
לאתחל את המחשב
דפדפן
מסך
שם משתמש
סיסמה
יפתח
כתובת מייל
ממשק למשתמש
מיקרוסופט וורד
למזער
סמן
מאוחר יותר

Visiting Jerusalem

Your first visit (ביקור) to Jerusalem is something that you will remember for all your life. It is a city (עיר) of the old and new, the religious and the secular and a wonderful place to visit. There are many places to see, from the Old City (העיר העתיקה), to museums and cultural institutions.

My First Visit to Jerusalem

I remember my first visit to Jerusalem. We came on the bus through Shaar Hagai, The road through the mountain was breathtaking (עוצר נשימה). Even in the middle of the summer the trees were green, the road seemed to always to wind in an upward direction. Finally, we stopped at the Central Bus Station (התחנה המרכזית). To my complete surprise, my best friend Andrea was waiting for me when I got off! She grabbed me by the hand, we stopped at a Gali Store on Ben Yehuda Street (רחוב בן יהודה), bought Israeli sandals, then ran to the Kotel (הכותל)! It was a flash of sound and color as we entered the Shuk (השוק), and around the corner at the bottom, the full glory of the Kotel hit me in the face! This is the Holiest Place for Jews in the World! Then looking up, I saw the Dome of the Rock, the third Holiest place for the Muslims. Ont he way back, we saw the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, one of the most Holy places for Christians! No wonder Jerusalem is called the Holy City(עיר הקודש)!

A taste of long ago

Even today, you can get the taste of long ago. Going to Meah Shearm, you can see Haredim (חרדים), clothed in black as they did in the 17th Century. Over a few streets, down the hill you come to Ben Yehuda Street, which is a Pedestrian Mall. With its many restaurants, shops and money changers it is a favorite hang out for tourists and Jerusalem residents alike.

The 99 bus route

There is a special bus line, the 99 from Egged that will bring you on a tour of all the most important cultural(תרבותי) venues. It is a double decker bus, and be sure to sit on the top so that you can get the best view. You can buy a day pass and get on and off the route 99 bus as many times as you like.

the Israel Museum

The new Israel Museum (מוזיאון ישראל) which has recently been remodeled is a must for everyone to visit. All the exhibits have been updated and you can get a mobile tour phone for a fee that will give you all the details about all the exhibits. Outside, there is the Sculpture garden (גן הפסלים), and the model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple times. It was moved from the Holy Land Hotel and it fits perfectly next to the sunken round building that houses the Dead Sea Scrolls also know as the Scrolls from Kumran (מגילות קומרן).

the Biblical Zoo

Over behind the mall, is the The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem ( גן החיות התנכי) It is famous for its collection of animals that were living in Israel during Biblical times. The zoo features animal exhibits (תצוגת החיות) that are open, and a few like the Lemur, Australian Bat, and Kangaroos, allow visitors to enter the animals’ exhibit. The zoo keepers are in the exhibit to feed the animals and answer questions about the animals. One time the Lemurs got out of their enclosure and were seen at different areas of the park. We happened to be visiting the zoo on that day.

Many places to visit in Jerusalem!

Vocabulary about Jerusalem

ביקור
עיר
העיר העתיקה
עוצר נשימה
התחנה המרכזית
רחוב בן יהודה
הכותל
השוק
עיר הקודש
חרדים
תרבותי
מוזיאון ישראל
גן הפסלים
מגילות קומרן
גן החיות התנכי
תצוגת החיות

Talking about the Weather in Hebrew

One topic that everyone can talk about is the weather (מזג אוויר). We all have an opinion (דעה) if it is too hot (חם) or cold (קר) for this time of year.
Many people only listen to the radio to find out what the weather will be! If I know that the weather will be hot today, then I pick out different clothes to wear.

General Weather in Israel

Israel is located in the Mediterranean Sea (הים התיכון), and it has varied weather throughout the year. Most people think that Israel is hot all the time, but this is not so.
When I first came to Israel, I didn’t even bring a pair of boots for the winter! As it happened, that year there was a three day snowstorm (סופת שלג) in Jerusalem! All the kids went out to play with the snow (שלג), having snowball fights. As it only snows about once every 8-10 years this was a real treat!

The Seasons in Israel

The summers (קיץ) in Israel are hot, the temperature in August reaching from 35 to 38 degrees( מעלות) Celsius. The summer is an excellent time to go visit the beach (חוף הים) .

In the Autumn (סתיו) Israel has a rainy (גשום) season from November to the middle of March. This means that there might be a total of 30 rainy days. When it rains in Israel there is also a lot of wind (רוח), so unless you have a very sturdy umbrella (מטריה חזקה מאוד), just wear a coat with a hood.

In the Winter(חורף), as I mentioned before, once every 8-10 years it can snow, but usually the weather is cold, 8-10 degrees Celsius. It overlaps the rainy season.

Spring (אביב) in Israel has very comfortable temperatures, from 15 degrees at night to 25 degrees Celsius during the day.

When you come to Israel, remember that it is not just a desert, there are normal seasonal (עונתי) variations too!

Vocabulary about the weather

הים התיכון
מזג אוויר
דעה
חם
קר
שלג
סופת שלג
מעלות
קיץ
חוף הים
סתיו
גשום
רוח
חזקה
מטריה
מאוד
חורף
אביב
עונתי