Israel news

The Days of Distress

We are now going through the 21 days of what is called in Hebrew “Yamey Bein HaMetzarim” – Days of Distress. These 21 days refer to the period of time that passed between the breaking through the wall of Jerusalem on the 17th of Tamuz and the destruction of both Temples on the 9th of Av, which occurs this year next Tuesday. 


The verse in Lamentations 1:3 states:Judah has gone into exile because of suffering and harsh toil. She dwelled among the nations but found no rest; all her pursuers overtook her in the narrow straits[in Hebrew, ‘bein hametzarim‘].Rashi points out that the term “bein hametzarim” can be also translated as “between the days of distress”.Last week we read the weekly Torah portion “Mas’ey” which tells about 42 journeys and their stops (camping places) of the People of Israel in the desert before they reached the Land of Israel.According to our sages these 42 stops represent rectifications that People of Israel must go through before reaching final redemption.These stops actually correlate to this period of 21 days and 21 nights (together – 42).During the period of the 21 days ofBein HaMetzarim we tend to indulge in anguish and sorrow over the destruction of the Temples. However, there is another side to this coin. According to our sages the same 21 days correlate to the number of the days of rejoicing in the Jewish calendar:Pesach – 7 days, Shavuot – 1 Day, Sukkot – 7 days, Shmini Atzeret – 1 day, Rosh Hashana – 2 days, Yom Kippur – 1 day, Rosh Chodesh – 1 day, Shabbat – 1 day. Altogether – 21 days.Thus the period of these 21 days is the time when one can draw inner strength and fill his / her spirit with fate and hope…Our sages tell us that the day of Tish’a Be’Av will eventually turn into a day of thanks and rejoicing.The Talmud tells us about Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi who wanted to uproot Tish’a Be’Av if it fell out on Shabbat, (Megilla 5b). The Seer of Lublin explains the intention of Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi in a very interesting way: “When Rebbe wanted to uproot [in Hebrew, “la’akor“] Tisha B’Av, he wanted to make it theforemost [in Hebrew, “ha’ikar“, spelled with the same root letters as “la’akor”] amongst all the holidays of the year.“On Tisha B’Av, although we are full with sadness and pain, because of that sadness and pain we actually pray with more intention and yearn more deeply for the restoration of our nation and our final redemption.And we hope that Tish’a Be’Av soon will turn into a day of thanks and rejoicing. Yoel & Orly You can [print_link]

My Hebrew Experience with Ulpan-or

My Hebrew Experience with Ulpan-or – Sam’s Graduation Hebrew Speech

We got permission from Sam Blumberg, one of our dear students at Ulpan-Or, to share with you his graduation speech, that he wrote in Hebrew, on our blog page! Speech?! Yes! Each student at Ulpan-Or, even those that initially don’t know how to speak Hebrew or write in Hebrew, writes a speech in Hebrew and reads it out loud at the end of their first week of studies. We are so excited every week to see our students finish their Hebrew course and read lovely speeches in Hebrew, with new expressions and Hebrew words that they have just learned. This graduation ceremony is now an old tradition at Ulpan-Or, both in our Jerusalem Ulpan and in Tel Aviv Ulpan too. Remember, in language learning , the platform is of the student and in order to progress in vocabulary words and achieve spoken Hebrew, the student needs to work, practice and continue to listen and speak Hebrew!So here is Sam’s original speech (English translation – below):

כל בוקר אני מתעורר בעליזות עם הידע שאני הולך לאולפן לראות את כל החברים שלי. אני רץ ל”מפקדה” ועומד בתור למלא את הבקבוק שלי. אני מסביר פנים לכל ההריוניות ומתחיל ללמוד. בדרך כלל אני משקיע את החצי שעה שלי בחדר הגדול, אם כי אני מעדיף להתחיל במשרד. אחרי חצי שעה של הכרת מילים חדשות (כלומר, חברים חדשים ), אני סוף- סוף פוגש את החברים הישנים שלי- יהורם, צביקה וכל הפמליה ב”קרובים-קרובים” (סדרת טלוויזיה ישראלית שהייתה חלק מהקורס שלי).

אני מתמודד עם התרגילים הקשים בבחינות הישנות מהאוניברסיטה העברית הואיל ואני מעוניין בבחינת הפטור. למרות שהעבודה היא ממש מתסכלת היא תשתלם בסופו של דבר. כל היום, הדס מעודדת אותי עם חיוך חמים ונמשים מנצנצים. אחרי יום מלא של פועל, סמיכות כפולה ועוד, אני הולך הביתה עייף וגאה, כדי לאכול ארוחת צהריים, לנמנם ולהתייצב מול שיעורי הבית שלי.

 Each morning I wake up happily with the knowledge that I am going to Ulpan-Or to see all of my friends. I run to the “headquarters” and stand in line to fill up my bottle. I greet all the pregnant ladies and begin to study. Usually, I spend my first half-hour in the big room, even though I prefer to start in the office. After a half-hour of getting to know new words (that is to say, new friends), I finally meet my old friends– Yehoram, Tzvika, and the whole entourage in “Krovim Krovim” (Old Israeli TV series that was used in my course). I cope with the difficult exercises on the old tests from the Hebrew University, since I am interested in the “Ptor” exam. Even though the work is very frustrating, it will pay off in the end. All day, my teacher Hadas encourages me with a warm smile and glistening freckles. After a full day of verbs, Smichut Kefula and more, I walk home, tired and proud, in order to eat lunch, nap, and stand up to my homework.

OK, that was the speech Sam read a week before he actually finished his course. Now watch how Sam sounded on his last day at Ulpan-Or, reading his goodbye speech.

You did great Sam!

How to survive your visit at Mahane Yehuda Market – Learn Hebrew Tips

Planning to visit The Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem? You might want to read this blog post and learn some cool tips on how and what to do in order to enjoy (and survive) this experience. Our student at Ulpan-Or, Daniel Weinberg, summarized for you his insights from his own experience as a student and as a neighbor living across the market. Machane Yehuda market is the liveliest and most interesting market you can find in Jerusalem and some say in all of Israel! You will hear Modern Hebrew and Traditional Hebrew, where many slang words and expressions of the Hebrew language were born. Read how Daniel wrote originally in Hebrew during his course and to our request translated it to English too.



זה מה שאנשים יגידו לכם בדרכם לשוק. אבל אני כאן היום כדי לתת לכם כמה רעיונות, על קצה המזלג, כדי שתיהיה לכם חוויה טובה.

חוק ראשון: אל תקנו בלי לטעום. למעשה, אסור לקנות בלי לטעום. ההיפך הוא לא נכון – מותר לכם לטעום בלי לקנות

שנית: בשוק העיראקי אין פירות יותר טובים ואין מחירים נמוכים יותר מבשאר השוק.

שלישית: אל תביאו יותר כסף ממה שאתם רוצים להוציא.

רביעית: אם אתם מסיימים תוך פחות משעה, כרטיס האוטובוס שלכם עדיין יהיה בתוקף.

חמישי: אם אתה לא בטוח במחיר, תמיד תבקשו כמה שאתם רוצים בשקלים (מינוס 5 שקלים – כי בעלי החנויות תמיד ייתנו לכם יותר ממה שביקשתם). לדוגמה: תבקשו 15 שקל של שקדים, במקום קילו וחצי. ככה אתם לא תהיו מופתעים.

השישי: תכירו את בעלי החנות שלכם. תחזרו לאותו מקום כל יום, תקראו לבעלי החנויות בשמם.

שביעי: בשוק, “סליחה” פירושה “זוז כבר”

 Beware!That’s what people will tell you on their way to market. But I’m heretoday to give you some ideas, in a nutshell, you have to Have a goodexperience.First rule: Do not buy without tasting. In fact, you can not buy withouttasting. The opposite is not true – you can taste without buyingSecond: In the Iraqi shuk, the fruit is not better, and the prices arenot lower, than in the rest of the market.Third: Do not bring more money than you want to spend.Fourth: If you finish in less than an hour, your (Egged) bus ticket willstill be valid.Thursday: If you are not sure of the price, always ask how much you wantin shekels (minus 5 shekels – store owners always give you more thanwhat you asked.) For example: Ask for 15 shekels of almonds instead ofpounds. That way you will not be surprised.Friday: Get to know your merchants. Go back to the same place every day,and call shop owners by their name.Seven: At the Shuk “Slichah” means “Move, already” [print_link]

Learning Hebrew Can Be Fast and Enjoyable

Ambassadors to Israel from all over the world filled the new auditorium at the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv last Thursday to participate in a special “Hebrew Taster and Israeli Culture” event hosted by Ulpan-Or and The Ambassadors’ Club. This event, the first of its kind for Ambassadors gave the diplomats a unique opportunity to actively engage in speaking Hebrew with Ulpan-Or’s revolutionary RLA (Rapid Language Acquisition) method and experience Israeli culture with wine tasting from Recanati winery, and cheese tasting by Jacob’s dairy company.After just one hour of experiencing Hebrew, the diplomats were able to engage in a simple conversation in Hebrew, ask for directions, order wine and cheese and even perform in a few dialogues in front of the distinguished audience.

On one hand the Ambassadors learned how to officially present themselves in Hebrew and how loosen up and use some slang words such as “SABABA ” סבבה “Cool” on the other. It was our tremendous pleasure at Ulpan-Or to jointly host this event with the Ambassadors’ club, headed by Mr. Yitzhak Eldan. This “Hebrew Taster” event for world Ambassadors to Israel has provided a great opportunity for us at Ulpan-Or in fulfilling our mission of being the Ambassadors of Hebrew to the world.Orly & Yoel


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