Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Integrating into Life in Israel

I have probably mentioned this in another blog post, but one of the best things I have done to help in feeling a part of the community where I live, is to start a Gemach. It does not matter what Gemach you begin, but giving to others and taking the time to interact with Hebrew speakers is a wonderful way to get to know the system, your neighbours, to improve your Hebrew and much, much more. 

Our latest two Kallot, both orphaned from their mother, were born in Israel to Israeli parents. Needless to say, in order to interact with them we have to speak in Hebrew. As I SMS'd the step-mother of one, in Hebrew, and prepared an email to the other, in Hebrew, I had to stop myself.

I have been Israel for over 12 years and I came here knowing the Alef Beit and a few simple phrases to say or ask in Hebrew. More than that, I was stuck. I could not really read and could not write at all. But I forced myself to speak whenever the situation arose and to keep working on reading, writing, typing, speaking. 

I am not yet completely fluent, but every day I notice something more that I have accomplished. Yes, I do still need to check my spelling and then have my husband proof read what I have typed or written. I do still make mistakes when speaking but I am not afraid to ask a Hebrew speaker to describe a word so that I can understand or how to say x and to give a description of the word or tense I need. 

For those looking for a way to integrate into life in Israel, the best thing I can suggest is to help others. Volunteer, start a Gemach, go to shiurim or events and make an effort to learn the language. By giving to others you will benefit in ways you never expected possible.

Enjoy the blessing of being in Eretz Yisrael. It is the most special place to be.

Have a very blessed day

Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist

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