Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ulpan and French Television

A few days ago the winter Ulpan began in Beth Ben Jehuda, which is the guest house of ASF.
ASF is a German organization that brings young volunteers to Israel for a year to do civil servis in institutions for the handicapped, old people or historical institutions like Yad Vashem. Whenever a new group arrives they turn to me and asked me to tell them my story.
This time it was only a small group of nine people from he Ulpan who came to me. They were of different ages and different professions, among them a math teacher from Hamburg, a physic student, somebody who had served in the Bundeswehr, an ergo therapist, a radio reporter and a musician.
At the same time there is a French television team in Jerusalem who were interested in the relationship between Germans and Israelis, Christians and Jews. They too had turned to ASF and asked for permission to film. It was decided to combine the two and a date was fixed for Wednesday at 3.00 o’clock.
It was a rainy day. While the people from the Ulpan arrived a bit early with dripping umbrellas at my house to listen to my story, the French television team of four was late in arriving. The musician had brought her violin along, so we filled in the time, until the team got ready, by her playing Hebrew songs and everybody joined in. It created a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere.

I tell my story with a power point presentation. The team kept walking forth and back, not quite knowing where it was best to look and film. As this was not the first time for me to be photographed, I took little notice of them and just carried on talking. At the end there were a few questions and a lively discussion developed for quiet some time. When we thought we had finished and were ready to pack up, the television team started to question the Ulpan people as what they thought about the German Jewish relationship.
By 7.00 o’clock I finally closed the door on the last person.

The television team would return the following Wednesday to film me together with the young volunteer from ASF, who regular visits me for a couple of hours once a week as part of his volunteer project.

Again the team turned up late, told us what to do, how to walk, where to sit, but luckily not what to say. We spoke German with each other, while the television team spoke French amongst themselves, with one of them translating the orders into English, a real mix of several languages.
So we laughed a lot, were told to take a walk outside and return to the house. We then proceeded to my computer and I showed photos of my grandchildren and my son. He has just purchased a yacht in Florida and sent me pictures. There is always something to talk about and if possible laugh about.
As we thought we had finished, the French started to asked some more questions in English. What their intentions were initially I do not know. It was difficult for them to comprehend how a young person from Germany and an old Jewish lady in Israel can want to share time with each other.
As far as I am concerned any body, who is nice to me, I am nice to them. If a young person from Germany comes to this country and wants to get to know something about us, about Judaism, about day to day life in Israel, wants to visit me and chat with me he is most welcome. And that is what it is all about for me.

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