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by Benjamin Morgan(with small additions by the Editor), posted December 6, 2011

Shalom to the readers of the Winnipeg Jewish Review!

Shalom to Faith Kaplan, President of the  Winnipeg Chater of Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University--you will probably get a chance to read this once you and Hart land in Hawaii. I'm sure you have a lot of Hebrew U related work in Hawaii and it will be just a co-incidence that you find time to go snorkeling while you are there.

Shalom to Sharon Zalik, Executive Director of Hebrew U in Wininpeg. It is good to know you haven't flown all the way to Hawaii with Faith. If you had, your arms would be tired.

It is with great honor that I am able to send this letter from one of the most holiest and cherished cities our world has to offer-- Jerusalem [ not Maui].

I really feel that there are no words that I can use which will be able to describe a fraction of what I have been experiencing here in this amazing city, but I will try my best.

Almost four months ago to the day, I arrived in Tel Aviv airport from a long and tiresome flight. I had no idea what I was to expect stepping off the plane about what the culture would be like, the climate and the language among many other things. I was still absorbed in my own Western sphere not realizing that the change would be so drastic!

 There are probably three things that I can say that I first noticed once I stepped off the plane. The first is the heat. I knew that this was Israel, located in the Mediterranean, but never did I think that the sun would be bearing down on you like that! This was an interesting change to my normal, muggy and brisk weather, which I would get 9 of the 12 months (If we were lucky), in my northern Ontario community. The second thing I noticed were the hills. I think I had this preconceived notion that the majority of Israel was covered in barren flat lands. This, however, is not the case.

In Canada, I was used to having to actually enter into the towns limits before I saw any inhabitants. Here in Jerusalem, however, accompanied with thick haze from the desert you can see the surrounding towns from miles and miles around. It makes everyone seem so close and connected. The third thing which I quickly noticed but not so quickly became accustomed to was the rush. Everyone here is in a hurry! From making a U-turn right in front of on-coming traffic to “Slicha’ing” your way through a line-up I quickly learned that my Canadian-inherited passivity would not suffice the impatience of this very happening country. My director even told us, on the first day, that once we get back to our hometowns, “The sweet child which your parents knew and loved will not be the same”. I believe I am guilty of this already.

 I came to study here in Jerusalem more than a year ago. Being interested in studyingLinguistics, I thought that coming to Israel would be a good opportunity in helping me submerge myself into new languages. While I have been here in Jerusalem I have picked up a love for the Hebrew language and have also been learning so much Arabic! With the intensive hours of Hebrew learning that are offered by the Mechina program, I am hoping that I will be proficient enough to stay here for three more years and study Arabic language and literature among other things. For me, language is the foundation of culture and society and through the Mechina program so many doors have been opened to me to learn so much here which the country and its people have to offer.

I highly recommend anyone coming to Israel, even just for a year or even a semester! There are so many things here which one cannot experience unless leaving the boundaries of Canada. From amazing falafel sandwiches (yes, I am the stereotypical tourist) to the most magnificent views you will ever see or even just experiencing the beauty in the cultural differences which are abundant here, no time spent in this wonderful land would ever go wasted or leave you disappointed.

I hope that future students will be able to benefit from the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University Winnipeg Chapter just as I have. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making it possible that I could spend a most amazing year here with 8 more months to go! Every day is an enjoyment, every day is a new experience, and every day I am thankful that you have made this possible for me.

Toda Raba, Shalom v’Lehitra’ot.


Benjamin A. Morgan

p.s. Faith--send us a line or two form Hawaii when you get  a chance.

Editor's note: Breaking news---We have just learned that President of the Winnipeg Chapter fo Hebrew University Faith Kaplan has taken a pilot trip to Hawaii in order to see if she can convince the citizens of Hawaii  to join in supporting IMRIC's medical research in the areas of Alzheimer's Disease, Diabetes, Autism Spectrum Disorder + 7 other important causes through the Virtual Marathon for Medical Research this upcoming Sunday December 11, 2011 form. This innovative online race is a fun way to raise funds for medical research with 10 avatars representing 10 causes competing in an online virtual marathon, hosted by none other then .........Virtual Albert Einstein.

This innovative online race  to raise funds for medical research with 10 avatars representing 10 causes competing in an online virtual marathon on December 11, 2011.

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