Yesterday in Ulpan we were handed a sheet of paper with a series of questions on it in hebrew. We had to rate each question from 1-5 (1 being disagree, 5 being agree), and then we discussed everyones results. I am the youngest in the class, and the newest immigrant (both by a lot of years....). There was one Argentinian who made aliyah in 2001, and the rest of the class is made up of russians, who made aliyah between 10 and 25 years ago. The ONLY question we all agreed on was "are Israelis nice drivers". The answer was a resounding 1 (NO WAY). but that was about the only thing we agreed on.
One question said חבל שבאתי לישראל- too bad that I came to Israel. I put a 3. Ive only been here 5 months, which I dont think is near enough time to make a decision. I miss my family like crazy, and no doubt things have been hard, but I do like living here. A Russian woman next to me said that she put a 3 because it used to be a 5, but after 10 years here she is getting used to it. The Argentinian teared up and said that she put a 1... she loves living here, it is the Jewish homeland and there is nothing better.
Another question said נעים מאוד לעמוד בתור בארץ- It is nice to stand in a line in Israel. We all know that Israel loves its "lines". I put a 2- I dont mind standing in lines really, but lines in Israel arent lines the way americans know it... they are crazy messes! Its all about parking yourself to block everyone else off, to make sure that no one is trying to cut in front of you and fighting your way to the front. I hate it. One woman put a 4- said that she likes to people watch in line, to talk to friends, see the world. The only male in our class, a Russian who is over 80, put a 5- he said that in Russia after the war he would have to get up at 2am to stand in like for 6 hours to get bread for his family... standing in like here is a piece of cake.
We also discussed if every Jew in the world should learn hebrew, if every Jew should live in Israel, if it is fun to learn Hebrew and if Jerusalem was the prettiest city on earth. It was a very interesting conversation, and I loved hearing from more seasoned olim... especially that my mixed feelings about aliyah are perfectly normal. ulpan is a real bonding experience, and I am glad I decided to take it