lizrael update: back to school edition

registered for my courses today. since it’s grad school and my first year, i’m mostly signed up for required classes (it just took me a good 10 seconds to remember how to say that in english, weird).
here’s a synopsis -

ניהול סיכסוכים בקהילות יהודיות בעת החדשה
מודלים וגישות במו’מ וניהול סיכסוכים
גישות חברתיות–פסיכולולגיות למשא ומתן
סמינר בינתחומי אינטגרטיבי בניהול ישוב סיכסוכים
היבטים משפטיים של ישוב סיכסוכים
יסודות המשפט
פסיכולוגיה חברתית
גישות ליישוב סיכסוכים
דיני משפחה

that’s for both semesters first year. crazy schedule.
who’s ready for a POWER year?!

we all need answers…

A: well…what is ur ultimate purpose coming to Israel?
L: hmm. live life here? do what i wanna do here?
A: what was ur purpose in coming here?
L: live my jewish life in israel.
A: why, religion isnt driving u…
L: yeah it is, maybe not traditional-looking religion or yeshiva-looking religion, but if i werent jewish i wouldnt be here
A: just the fact ur Jewish?
L: i mean that drives my reasons…
L: im here for zionism.
A: but most people will say zionism is dead… idealism doesn’t drive the country anymore…
L: fair enuf but it drives me. we all need reasons to live, to feel things, to get stuff done.
A: so fine ur Jewish….what is ur purpose to do here?
L: well if ur asking what i want to accomplish here- a jewish family, a continuance of traditions, and making israel a better place to the best of my ability, however that happens.
A: so then let me ask u…would that have been achieved more by working at Answers or Peres?
L: well thats a longer answer than u may realize: i think that concentrating on my studies is important right now because it will make me realize things about myself. at Answers, i go to work and earn marketing and people skills ill need for my career later on, then i come home and dont think about it – hence, concentrate on studies. at Peres, work would have been harder on a technical logistic level and caused me stress making it all fit, but id be advancing my career more directly, albeit through grunt work and lots of secretary/grant writing work… i think that for now, the first option is better.
L: not everything is as it seems…
A: ok good answers.
L: i thought a lot about it. everything has a right time. as long as i keep pace with the plan, ill get there and ill get there in a way suitable for achieving what i want to achieve.
A: listen, i think Israel needs more Answers, and successful companies…so u probably did make the right decision.

conversation peace.

Subject: Hi
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2005

Hi Liz,

It was nice meeting you last night at XXXXX. I enjoyed hearing about your interest in the “conflict management and negotiation” program at BIU. I thought that it would be nice to share some ideas on the subject. It’s interesting that the program title contains the word “management” as opposed to “resolution,” which one would think would be the ultimate goal during the course of negotiations between two opponents. I suppose that for our particular conflict in the ME, the ultimate goal of resolution and the achievement of a final settlement involving a true peace is too unrealistic, given the persistent rejection and refusal to acknowledge our right to exist amongst most Arab/Islamic countries. In this context, the need to consider coordinated military, political, and diplomatic responses reflects the sort of managerial approach necessary to deal with conflicts and crises wherein “damage control” is often essential. I’m curious as to your motivations for choosing this area. Do you plan to pursue other higher academic degrees in conjunction with this program?

Best Regards and Shabbat Shalom,
XXX

——————————————————————————–

Subject: Re: Hi
Date: Mon, 26 Sept 2005

Hi XXX,

How was your weekend? Now that I’m working again, I’m remembering why weekends are so important… It’s a good feeling.

You make a good point about the program being titled “management” as opposed to “resolution”. I’ve thought about it too. Well, deep down I’m on optimist but I acknowledge that in this business of conflicts, management is a good start… maybe it’s hasty to think we will come to a resolution right away? I didn’t sign up for a 2-year course in “conflict resolution” – I should hope it takes longer. We should ask Nelson Mandela. Certainly Yitzhak Rabin wasn’t murdered when the answer to such a grand conflict is a 2-year Masters!

Aside from that, the course isn’t just about political/international scale conflicts, it’s a chance at interpersonal, corporate, out of court conflict management. I don’t know yet where I’ll end up, I only know right now that this could be a start.

That said, yes, I do see myself pursuing more and more education afterwards; I don’t know if that necessarily translates into more degrees. My patience for degrees isn’t the highest. But I am certainly open to more education by whatever means. For now though, I am beginning that journey with a 2-year course in conflict management.

I hope all is well in XXX.

Liz

holydays in holyplaces

i’m deciding that i don’t want to be in jerusalem for the chagim. i’m not too crazy about holy days; not like it used to be anyway… sentimental… but jerusalem, as it says so eloquently in Ktuvim, is a whore. even the old city is littered with ‘foxes’. it’s depressing as hell, whether i’m religious or not.
so it looks like i will venture North for chagim, beautiful peaceful israeli north, where it’s green and crisp and the mind is free to be clear. religious or not.

Lizrael Update: technicals and practicals.

A boring, technical Lizrael Update for yous.

Work, work all day.

On the job front, things are going really well. My workplace is calm and friendly, half Anglo, half Israeli. The top people treat the bottom people with respect. I’m not exactly bottom by any means, but I’m just saying. It’s chock fulla respect here. The office is located across the street from Malcha mall, mucho convenient for bus travel and lunch breaks and after-work dinner shopping. The actual work is mostly interesting, usually exciting, and always educational; since I am actually a big geek who likes to learn about random stuff, this last adjective describing my work is very awesome for me. Did you know that there are volcanoes in space?

School’s in for autumn.

It has finally been admitted to me by the department of Conflict Management and Negotiation at Bar-Ilan University that the schedule of classes for all first-years is Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday 4pm to 8pm. Yeah, I consider it sucky, three days in a row to schlep to Ramat Gan from Malcha Mall and then get back to Baka by 10pm. But then again, I am (as mentioned above) a geek and therefore excited to begin learning in a classroom again. Sure, it’s in Hebrew. So there’s sand! I’ll figure it out.

Course schedule to follow, including some really crazy classes like Psychology in Conflict Management, Managing Conflict between Secular and Religious Jews, and other relevant-sounding topics… (I can assure you it will include law; can you feel the disdain through your monitor? Then again, I might actually like law… my disdain for it has more to do with who studies it and what they do with it rather than the topic itself).

Gotta live somewhere.

I love my apartment in Baka and I actually like my roommates (that is an understatement but I won’t gush here). Unfortunately, said-roommates are chucking me out by December. OK, to be fair, I agreed to sublet until then because they needed someone to cover a different friend who can only move in December time. I have very very very loose plans for come-December, and the loosocity of these plans scares me because now that I actually have a job and classes, the thought of being homeless is not as glamorous as, say, when I had no job, no classes, and really quit a pathetic existence of sitting around all day. In other people’s apartments.

Life and beyond.

In general, life is good on the meter that measures ‘life’s being good’. My brother is here studying in the after-high school-yeshiva-year capacity. While he and I are not necessarily fans of this style of living for him, it was a way for him to spend time in Israel and think about it seriously, hopefully despite his yeshiva peers. I’m trying to help him find ways to feel the living in Israel for real as much as possible despite actually living in an Anglo yeshiva in Jerusalem.

And so…

Other than that, I’m really just settling into the routine of settling into routine so that later on (probably sooner than that) I will begin to complain about having settled into routine. And then perhaps I will forget to look at life a bit not-so-seriously and I will need help remembering. I have many good non-American friends for that. And there is this Lizrael Update I keep so that I can scroll back and remember why I came here, what life for me is about, and that in the end, sometimes when you keep your eyes open and your mouth closed – even for just five minutes – you end up learning a lot more.


a little bit more of the usual.

sunday morning. time to buy a new cartisiya (bus card).

note to liz: now you have a job, no more getting 18 and under cards with ten free rides. you have a job now, you can afford to be legit.

alight the bus. pass by the youngish lady who is chatting with bus driver. smile at the driver.

“cartisiya.”

“noar?”

oh, irony. he is asking if i want a youth card, 18 and under, with ten free rides. i could just say yes or i could stick to my working-legit liz plan.

“lo. rigeela.”

the driver looks taken aback, which is silly. i dont look that young. but, what does a middle-aged mizrachi sunday morning bus driver know?

“b’emet? lo noar?”

“lo. rigeela.”

youngish lady smiles at me and turns to driver.

(in hebrew) “ma pitom? she looks young, but not that young.”

driver shrugs.

“eh, nu? until they are 18 they get the cartisiyat noar and then they are enlisted and they ride for free, and then they come out and they buy regular cards.” she looks at me and smiles and i nod.

“b’seder.” driver hands me my card.

—later—

last rider on the bus. we’re approaching the mall.

“yalla, boi.”

i come to the front and sit near the driver.

(hebrew) “getting off at the mall?”

“ken.”

“to work? or l’tayel?”

“work.”

“work? ah, you look so young.”

ha, ha, “yes i know, but i am 23.”

“no kidding! very nice. what is your name?”

“elisheva.”

he puts out his hand, i take it. “na-im meod.” “na-im meod.”

he turns to me again.

“wait – where are you from?”

“new york. aliti in january.”

“lama?”

“lama lo?”

“yaffe meod. yom tov.”

“bye!”

a little bit more of the usual. and the big smile creeping across my young-looking face.

how do you view your work?

something about working in modern-day Jerusalem:

yesterday i was in a conference call meeting with my two bosses and our PR firm in New York. when we ended the call and reviewed the meeting, one of my bosses joked, ‘we gotta get those guys over here to see where they are calling to every week.’ then she turned to me and said, ‘one time, they actually asked me what i see when i look outside the office windows. i said i see a mountain. they were blown away. i told them sometimes i see goats roaming on it. they said that was ridiculous. then i told them, but on the other side of the building, i see a mall. they didnt know what to say. but that’s israel.’