Garin Weekend: Aftermath.

This weekend was an amazing success!! I met most of the rest of my Garin, and I really get along well with all of them.

This weekend I volunteered together with another Garin member to put together a few icebreakers. Thankfully, they went well enough that nobody wanted to shoot me.

This weekend we were speaking a lot more Hebrew than we did at the last seminar, and I did do somewhat better than I did last time.

However, I cannot stress how important it is to be able to speak Hebrew fluently before you make Aliyah. My Hebrew skills are rudimentary at best, and I’m trying. But as it seems now, I am considering making Aliyah 2 months early to attend an early Ulpan program. This is a 7 week course to prepare new Olim for life in Israel in the absorption center in ra’anana.

Also this weekend, we were interviewed by Garin Tzabar and army officials- in Hebrew, which went rather well actually. Considering I haven’t been asked to leave the program that is.

Also, they brought in a bunch of Garin Tzabar alumni who explained several incredibly important things to us.
1- just because you feel that you can do a certain job in the army, does not mean you will be able to do it.
2- it’s not all fun and games. This is above all still an army. As such, there are rules, officials, and red tape.
3- when Garin Tzabar says “mishpacha lekol hachaim” “family for life” it’s really true. Two of the alumni who visited were from the same group and they told us that they trust each other with their lives.

From this weekend, I learnt a lot. How the draft process works, how I can improve my Hebrew, what I will be reaching for, who’s giving me money…. All the fun stuff.

This is not a decision to be taken lightly. This is likely going to define my life. I congratulate all the Garin Tzabar members who have made this choice and all those who even seriously considered this decision. You are Israel’s future.
You should be proud of yourselves.

On a side note, one of the Garin members mentioned something to me this morning that made my day. He told me that a while back he read my blog and thought to himself “hey, sounds like a good idea”. And to see him sitting in our circle and know that at some point before we met he read advice I wrote, for people like us, was honestly very satisfying for me.

But back to the message, I hope that all of you Olim succeed way beyond your wildest dreams. This year on Passover when I say the words “leshana haba be’yerushalayim” I will know I will be a hell of a lot closer to our nations holy city than I am now.

5 thoughts on “Garin Weekend: Aftermath.

  1. Beautiful. May you have much success in your aliya. And I have personally found that the immersion method is the best way to learn — surround yourself with people who can’t (or agree not to) speak English. At all. And don’t be afraid to ask what things are called or how they’re said. Israeli’s don’t mind teaching you — we are all immigrants here at some point, and they like that we want to learn.

  2. One piece of advice based on my own upland experience. Find non English speakers to form an inner circle with. It is even better if you all have a different mother tongue because Hebrew will become your common language. Push that comfort zone, it’s worth the fluency in the long run.

  3. Aryeh, I’ve been following your blog since you started and I have to say kol hakavod. As a fellow young monsey-er turned Israeli, I just want to point out that while it’s important to learn Hebrew and Ulpan can be helpful – I’ve found that the best way to pick up on the language is just to SPEAK it. Ya, its intimidating and sometimes embarrassing but Israelis will help and correct you and you can’t give up. I’m sure you’ll pick it up quickly once your surrounded by people speaking Hebrew. (Become friends with Israelis, besides for the Hebrew benefit they can also always help you out with learning the Israeli culture and dealing with bureaucracy)
    Secondly, Aliyah (and especially the army) really isn’t a game and is almost guaranteed to be very difficult. It sounds like you’ve really thought through this decision, so you always have to remind yourself that you’re here for the an ideological reason and *keep pushing through*. I can tell you that five years later, its started to get easier and I don’t regret my decision at all.
    Best of Luck!

  4. love reading your posts Aryeh. It was terrific to see you. May you be blessed with continued strength, endurance, good foresight and belief. No only in yourself, but with all those around you.
    Peace and love.

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