The Israeli Foreign Ministry has launced a new Arab-language website to what a Ynet article says are rave reviews from arabic speakers around the world. Here is a sample quote from the article "The website is organized and rich in information. Arab websites make use of the site to prepare articles about Israel and the Jewish people. This is real information without distortion," an Arab surfer from Europe wrote. The website includes many documents dealing with Jewish and Israeli history, and information about the political system, women's rights, economics, culture, as well as videos. All that in addition to current information about important events related to the Foreign Ministry and information about our relations with neighboring countries such as Jordan and Egypt both now and historically plus (according to the article) a lot more. This gives me inspiration because once I learn hebrew (maybe eventually in my lifetime!) I plan to tackle arabic next because I think it is important to be able to speak with our neighbors in their own language not to mention the nearly 20% of our own population. And after arabic, I'm tackling russian. I gave up on French eons ago.
Speaking of languages, I'm back in ulpan. I'm in Gimmel with Gila (I love Gila!) and the class is large (about 30 or so people). My good friend S is in the class. We all had to do an introduce yourself thing yesterday including telling what you had in your tik, when you made aliyah (or why and how long you've been here otherwise), and your hebrew-learning history. I waited in terror until there were only about 10 people left, my mind a blank but then just did it --and I didn't die. I only made one mistake (it was a number thing and I can't do numbers in any language). I understood pretty much everything she said in the class and most of the things everyone else said.
Today, at 10 a.m. I was on my way back from a meeting, planning to stop and pick up kitty litter at the little shop down the street when the siren went off. It was one of the most emotionally moving experiences for me I've ever had and it was totally unexpected. I knew the siren would go off and I knew that everyone would stop what they were doing and stand for the duration in a moment of silent memory and tribute to the millions who were murdered in the Holocaust. I didn't know how, standing there motionless along with everyone else, with cars stopped on the instant in the middle of the road and the doors flung open and the passengers standing silently beside them, with the world seeming to have suddenly stopped in a frozen moment of pain and of memory and of tribute, I didn't know how deeply I would be effected. I was surprised to discover that tears were streaming down my cheeks. They fell without my moving a muscle to wipe them away until the siren cut off and the world was suddenly, almost jarringly, thrust into motion again.
Finally, my thoughts are bent tonight to the families of those who lost loved ones and friends in the terrorist attacks in Egypt and my wishes for recovery and healing toward those who lie injured.