The Diaspora Museum and my first Intro to Japanese class

Today the International students took a trip to Tel Aviv University to check out the Diaspora Museum, known as בית התפוצות The Museum of the Jewish People. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures because I didn’t have time to grab my camera before we left. But here is a picture of the museum from the outside.

The buses left for Tel Aviv an hour after classes ended. Mitch and I decided to grab some lunch and check out the travel agency on campus before we left. We wanted to see what cruises left from the Haifa port at the beginning of April – we’re going to go to Cyprus and the Greek Isles over our spring break. Ya it’s gonna be sweet. But anyway, the museum. It was pretty awesome. There was one room that had replicas of synagogues from all over the world that were built throughout the last 1000 years of history. The architectural differences of these synagogues – some being in Warsaw, Venice, Amsterdam, Aleppo, etc. – were incredible. It was by far my favorite part of the museum. Sadly not all of the replicas represent standing synagogues, since many of them in Europe were destroyed during the Second World War and the Holocaust.

*I’ll post a picture of one of the replicas when my friends have pictures on Facebook that I can steal – Google searching proved to be a failure*

It was pretty incredible walking around the museum with our tour guide as she was explaining the way of life of Jewish communities from all over the world during the 2000 year absence from Eretz Israel (the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 CE – 1948 CE). The recurring theme of the tour was that no matter how hard things got for Jews during the Diaspora, it was their dedication to the faith and culture they held so dearly that ensured our return to Israel. For example, during those 2000 years, Jews worldwide would say “לשנה הבאה בירושלים הבנויה” every year at the Passover seder. This means “Next year [we will dine] in the rebuilt Jerusalem.” Obviously, these people lived and died without ever seeing or dining the city of Jerusalem, and yet in 2 days I’ll be traveling there to celebrate the Shabbas with friends. I wouldn’t be able to do this if it wasn’t for the resilience of the Jews that lived before me. It makes me proud and honored to have an ancestry as dedicated as they were to preserve their/our faith through all the horrible years and atrocities that befell them. You don’t need to be religious to appreciate something that magnificent.

After I got back to my dorm, I had dinner with my Japanese roommate, Hisashi. He doesn’t speak English too well and doesn’t know Hebrew well enough for me to speak with him in Hebrew either, so communicating is interesting. But he understands a lot in English despite not being a great speaker. And hell, who am I to judge, I don’t speak a word of Japanese. But anyway, we started talking about 2nd languages and stuff like that, and he informed me that Japanese has 3 alphabets! What the hell is that about?! Not to mention, two of them have 52 letters and the other one has 1000+! He couldn’t put a number on it because he wasn’t sure how many letters there were, but assured me it was over 1000, maybe even 10,000. Literally my mind is blown. So as the title as this post states, I had my first Intro to Japanese lesson this evening. It’s probably going to be my last one as well. That shit is hard!

Time to go smoke some nargilah (hookah) and do my homework. It’s becoming a ritual here which is really unhealthy, but it hasn’t gotten old yet so I’m just going to go with it for the time being. Oh ya, and Israeli-Iranian war while I’m here? What…?


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