23 January 2008

Jewish Penicillin - the Myth, the Reality

The past few days can be summed up in a discussion of pharmaceuticals. Jewish Penicillin is a common nickname for chicken soup. Indeed, it does plenty to heal achy throats and cold faces, but when you need the big guns, you want real antibiotics. Israeli Penicillin, as it turns out, is not Jewish at all, but secular...read on for more about my encounter with the myth and reality of Israel.

Two nights ago, I spent Tu B'Shevat, the New Year of the Trees, with my cousins in Har Nof. We studied a variety of Jewish texts at the dinner table, while eating from the 7 species. It was pretty sweet, and as usual, my cousins fed me heartily, with both food and conversation. I loved that they served chicken soup (ahhh, Jewish penicillin), because that's part of a festival meal, which indirectly made me feel better. After the meal, we called my grandparents, and David pulled out his ubiquitous camera to catch the moment on digital film. David also wants me to remind you to hug a tree, and wish it a happy birthday! Happy Tu B'Shevat!

I am talking to people in Boca!

Today I had part 2 of the 3 ulpan exams. There is the class test, the oral exam, and the Ramah / level exam. I did well on the class test (an ulpan-A!), and today was the oral (snerk). I was out sick for a few days, and I missed the announcement about the exam. So, when Melanie and I prepared for the oral exams, we did our dialogue on one of the 4 assigned readings. It was pretty sweet. I was a newspaper reporter from America, looking to help with the 1944 war effort through my writing. Melanie was Hannah Senesh. We were spectacular. Except, we were supposed to dialogue about a wedding. A restaurant. Something easy. And THEN we were supposed to talk, one-on-one, with the teacher, about Hannah Senesh or Mount Sinai or one of the other readings in the book. I hacked my way through my Mount Sinai knowledge. Maybe another ulpan-A? I hope so, as I am extraordinarily articulate...at least in English. AND, I didn't cough, hack or spit in front of the teacher AT ALL! I MUST be getting better!

Today I also started taking antibiotics (as it turns out, Israeli penicillin comes in pills, and not in pots of soup, as I originally thought.) for an apparent sinus infection. Apart from the 10-minute, uncontrollable coughing jags that plagued my day at school, and the pack-a-day (tissue) habit I've had for 2 weeks, I am starting to get (sort of) better. I plan on being 100% in a week, because...

RAFI and I ARE GOING TO TURKEY! Somehow, idle chatter about "going away" became concrete plans when we found a super-cheap deal that is all-inclusive, from flight to (vegeterian) food, for four days in some resort town in Turkey (not Istanbul, not Constantinople). It's supposed to be fabulous. As I expect my cough to be gone by then, I plan on catching up on my sleep, and learning about the finer qualities of the Turkish Baths. Let's hear it for the mighty miracle that is ISSTA!

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