Monday, November 06, 2006

A Blind Memory

I have once again come to the time of the week when I feel committed to sit down and contemplate my next entry (if you have to yet to establish the pattern its somewhere between Thursday-Monday), and once again I am considering what to write. What immediately jumps to mind is Yitzhak Rabin who was murdered eleven years on Saturday last, or about dialogues in the dark a museum about blindness or even just begin to tell you about some of the lessons here at the Machon, an issue I believe I have neglected recently. I feel that all of these subjects deserve some time, but I promise I will be as brief as possible, and I really mean that this time.

I will start with last Monday when the Machon went to a Museum called Dialogues in the Dark just outside Tel Aviv, this involved walking around a museum in pitch black, so that its impossible to see anything. The purpose of the museum is to try and help one to appreciate life without sight, as you experienced a market, street, boat and bar without any visual aid. All the museum guides are blind and at the end our guide spoke about life as a blindman. The experience was truly eye-opening (excuse the pun) and really helped me to understand what blindness is like, and just how hopeless I would be without sight.

As I mentioned at the beginning Rabin was assassainated 11 years ago, and so over the past few days this fact has not been let slip from the forefront of our minds. This started as early as Wednesday when we had a discussion and then memorial ceremony at the Machon, where Rabin's life was recounted accompanied with poety, songs and the Dead Poet's Society. Then a brief respite as media and political tension and tributes built up until Saturday the anniversary of the death. After Shabbat a rally was held in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv. All of Machon plus around ten thousand others attended. It was after a rally for peace in that very square that Rabin was shot 11 years ago and now the rally is in his memory as well as for peace. The rally was 'non-political' although even a non-Hebrew speaker could sense the way the rally leaned to the left, and the attacks on the goverment, the war, Peretz and Lieberman were prevalent, particularly in the speech of award winning author and keynote speaker David Grossman. In a sense the rally seemed like it was going through the motions and lacked any passion in its celebrating of Rabin or its quest for peace, and its opposition to the goverment was very much the order of the day.

Something that I dont think any of the paper mentioned was what came after the rally. I speak of the torential downpour that occured around five minutes after the rally finished and lasted about ten minutes. For my part I was in a coffee shop throughout its duration, but it was very amusing to see thousands of people running down the street for cover. I am also positive that there were certain settlers in the West Bank saying that this was a message from G-d that he did not approve of the rally, whilst those who attended would say that as it came after the rally it was meant to be approval, as the rain was seen as a reward. On a more personal note many people I was with said they found the rally an experience/moving, I personally felt none of this. I found the atmosphere to be subdued and lacking of emotion and obviously not being able to understand the language did not help my experience of it.

Finally I will turn to lessons, from now on until I have covered them all I will talk about one set of lessons at the Machon a week. I shall start with Ivrit. One of my main tasks here at the Machon is to learn Ivrit, many things hinder this, they include I knew none to start with and so am naturally in the bottom set, I am terrible at languages, and the lessons themselves. The favourite activity with the lessons is complaining about them afterwards. There are four Ivrit lessons a week each 90 minutes in duration. The teaching is not as bad as it once was and we are starting to cover some ground, that doesn't stop the classes being too big, the lessons being deadly boring and my complete inability to learn languages. Many people have reverted to messing around or just not attending at all. To be honest things are looking up and we are finally beginning to confront grammar although its gone from being too little to too much. I get the feeling I learn more from taxi-rides than I do from classes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who needs grammer, so long as you can order a coffee, a falafel and find the way home, oh and by the time you make the ambulance crew know the difference between CPR, mouth to mouth and labour (birth not politics).

12:33 PM  

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