That's right, little Lizzy in uniform!!!

OK I am here at home and its the night before I return for another two weeks and I can tell you I am kind of dreading it. Last week, or should I say last two weeks was the first time I had to "close Shabbat". Meaning stay all weekend. And Wow, I have so much more admiration for soliers (usually guys) who have to do this every time. It is really hard to be away from hom for such a long time!

I don't know how to describe everything that happened during the two weeks so I will try to make some highlights. But first, I will try to explain how you feel after staying for such along time. It may seem dramatic, and maybe it is, but it feels like you really loose a part of yourself. Like you have somehow morphed into a piece of all these girls, chaos, experiences. Like you are not trully you.

Its not to say it was hell or all bad. Actually some really nice things happened and I got to meet some really nice girls because of this weekend stay. I really got to know a girl named Gila, who is from Canada. She is in my platoon. She is a very special girl. She really wants to be a fighter, actually that is all she wants to do in the army. But she has family problems that are making it not possible for her to do this, and it is really stessful. She is the only girl in our company that I think could really be in combat and flourish. We went on a trip to Jerusalem at the end of the 2 weeks and she and I sat together and secretly listened to her ipod (we pretended to be sleeping). She introduced me to this new Matisyahu song called Jerusalem. It really feelsl like he wrote it when he was on the bus on the way to Jerusalem. There is this bus ride feeling to it and the words are stunning. It ties 3000 years to 60 years ago. These are the words but you really should hear it for yourself:

Matisyahu - Youth - Jerusalem

Jerusalem, if I forget you,
fire not gonna come from me tongue.
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
let my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do.

In the ancient days, we will return with no delay
Picking up the bounty and the spoils on our way
We’ve been traveling from state to state
And them don’t understand what they say
3,000 years with no place to be
And they want me to give up my milk and honey
Don’t you see, it’s not about the land or the sea
Not the country but the dwelling of his majesty


Rebuild the temple and the crown of glory
Years gone by, about sixty
Burn in the oven in this century
And the gas tried to choke, but it couldn’t choke me
I will not lie down, I will not fall asleep
They come overseas, yes they’re trying to be free
Erase the demons out of our memory
Change your name and your identity
Afraid of the truth and our dark history
Why is everybody always chasing we
Cut off the roots of your family tree
Don't you know that's not the way to be


Caught up in these ways, and the worlds gone craze
Don’t you know it’s just a phase
Case of the Simon says
If I forget the truth then my words won’t penetrate
Babylon burning in the place, can’t see through the haze
Chop down all of them dirty ways,
That’s the price that you pay for selling lies to the youth
No way, not ok, oh no way, not ok, hey
Aint no one gonna break my stride
Aint no one gonna pull me down
Oh no, I got to keep on moving
Stay alive


So yeah, thats the song, but you really have to hear it get the full experience.

Then I met a really nice other girl named Dinah, who kindly provided me with this picture. She is in my company but I rarely see her cuz we just are in different circles and doing things at different times. She actually had to close Shabbat for 3 weeks!!! And therefore she was with our team. She is such a cool chick. She is organizing a finishing basic training and Hebrew course party at Mike's Place in Tel Aviv soon.

She had a crazy thing happen, where another girl who is from her team had to stay also. And the girl, who sleeps right next to Dinah, desided to get drunk and smuggle her boyfriend into the building and to the room. Where they proceeded to begin to...well, you can imagine what they were doing. So Dinah went out and told the officer. And then next door to our room we had 5 officers sceaming at 2 drunk kids trying to get him to leave. After so much yelling and fighting and things that I can't believe any guy would say and live it down, the officers called in a male officer to remove him with force, because they can't touch him.

Later that week we also saw another guy being walked out with handcuffs!! But these bad seeds are not completely removed, just for a time. And then you see them back with us, or they are kept for day before they are taken to army jail.

I did guarding with my group. It was a long 5 days. Little sleep and bordom. I studied when I could, called my dad, write Nancy a long letter. But at times I couldn't do these things that help to pass the time.

My best memory from the guarding will be from this place that is a base within our base. It was 3am and I was trying not to fall asleep and suddenly I saw a soldier coming. He came and was writing something. He asked me how everything was. Checked the walkie talkie. And left. Then he called me. I could see him. "Do you want cafe? Tea?" OK thanks cafe. Ten minutes later he returned with coffee. I thanked him and he handed me a sandwich. Now realize I had been craving tuna for days. And he told me take it its hot. I thanked him and opened it and it was a grilled tuna sandwich!!! With cheese and tomato and even some fries inside. it was sooooo good. I called him on the walkie talkie and thanked him. I love Hebrew. The answer was: to your health.

The other great thing that happened is I finally go the verb structure in most of the verb categories. This is hard to explain but it is such a break through, I think my life will become a lot easier. I was literally in tears when I realized that I understood it. By learning this I can now really learn verbs and hopefully speak better and not such a broken Hebrew. I thanked my teacher and wow am very excited.

Well boys and girls I must get some zzzzzzz's and you won't hear from me for another 2 weeks. But I should have a lot of news soon as to what is next and where I go. At the end of these two weeks I am done at Mikv'ah Alon and I will find out what direction is next.

I'll see you around Novemeber 10th. Till then keep well!

I'll let you in a really great thing....

I have spent more than I year living in a lie. Why? Because I desided it was too much inofrmation to tell you. Maybe it would be too shocking. You would worry to much. Well you know what, get over it!

I am about to tell you about one of the most amazing parts of Israeli society. One of the things that I love doing the most and that I have had the most fun doing. A thing that has helped me learn Hebrew. And learn life in Israel.


There I said it.

And unlike in America, hitch-hiking is a legal and common practice here. And it is so much fun. So much.

Some rules of hitch-hiking:

1. Its not called hitch-hiking here its called: tramping, taking a tramp and if you are a hitch-hiker then you are called a trampist.

2. Don't think that you can tell anything from the people that pick you up. Like "oh that guy looks Arab so I won't take a ride from him."

Example: One night i was coming back to En HaShofet from Ma-Agan Michael with Noa and Jessica. We were on a junction with an ISrael-Arab village trying to get a ride and a guy stopped. Jess was like, no he is Arab I could hear the music. I said I don't care but we all have to be comfortable. The guy just say there. Then he started to back up. So Noa said lets just ask. He was going almost the whole way to the kibbutz so we got in. The air was think with uncomfortable-ness. He had the music going and was drining pretty fast. No one talked. Then when he got to where we were to get off, he kept going towards the kibbutz. And he said, "its just a few more kilometers to your kibbutz so I will take you. After all it is dangerous for you to be out waiting for a ride at night."

Example: I got a ride two weeks ago from Meggido Junction when I wasn't even trying. I was waiting for the bus and a guy stopped. He looked so Arabic when I asked him where he was going he said get in. We were driving along and he asked me something and I didn't understand so I told him talka bit slower because I don't know Hebrew so good. "Oh do you speak Russian?" He was Russian.

Tramping really makes you stop having these huge ideas that you can tell what a person is like just by looking at them, or by what car they drive. And yes it is a gamble. But so is eating. Maybe you will choke on a piece of meat and die.

3.Always try to talk with the people.

You never know who you will meet, what they will say, what you will say to them to not only effect your day, but theirs too.Once i got a ride from a guy whose girlfriend was just going to be moving from the US to be with him and he was really nervous and was so excited to here how much I love Israel. When I got out of the car he said, "I am so happy to have meet you because you put me at more ease about her coming."

4. When tramping expect to get things:
I have had people give/offer me candy, soda, cigarettes, water, food. Phone numbers. Everything. They like to leave you with a memory of them.

5. Don't expect to have a bad experience because they are really few and far between. Most people arr true and nice people that only want to help you.

6. Always lie and say you have a boyfriend, it will save you from a lot of annoying questions. Unless of course you get a ride from a hot local kibbutznik who is going to the mountains to ride his bike. Then hit yourself for not giving him your number when he asks if you have a boyfriend.

7. It is illegal to hitch-hike as a soldier in uniform: so do it anyway. As a friend said, people love to pick up soldiers, it is even easier to do. And it is true. I got picked up last night on my way back to En Harod and it was a full car, kid, dog and couple. And the driver asked me you need ot stop in the gas station to get anything before Shabbat begins? Nice!

8. It is your safest bet no to go with truckers alone. This can be a bit dangerous. Eventhough I have done it and I am fine.

OK, and its not like I tramp everywhere. I do take buses. But there are a lot of places that buses don't go. And its not like I went form never doing it to doing it. Slowly slowly I started. Like first I just did it into the kibbutz on the kibbutz road. Then with friends. Then I started alone. Now it is fine. And it is the best time to practice my Hebrew. I used to make up stories of where I was from or what I was doing, or how long I had been in the country just to practice saying things in different ways!

My Space

I feel a bit foolish to post these, because my room looks a little bit more lived in these days. So maybe I should take update pictures. Plus I planted a garden now!! Its so cool how it happened. My neighbor Dora and I have been talking about it for weeks. And suddenly it just happened. I went to En HaShofet last weekend and bought some plants and when I returned Dora had turned all the earth, which I can only imagine how much work that was, because the earth was so bad. But now I have a nana (mint) marva (I don't know what that is in english. Oh I just looked it up: sage) And I got lemon grass. And then two kind of iceplant things. I have to take some pictures of that too.

Tzahal: part 1

I can’t explain how it seems so daunting to start this. I could have written something last week or earlier today, but I don’t even remember where to begin. Now that I am on week 4 of the army and I have not kept you up daily or weekly, so where do I start.

Slowly, slowly this will be a project to bring you up to speed.

OK. To start with the army is not soooooo bad as I first thought. I mean in the week before I was having bad sleep, upset stomach and well, diarrhea (sorry to be so honest). But the first day, I realized it’s not so bad. And that feeling grew on me as the time passed.

The first day was so long. Gani my friend took me to the bus station in Haifa where I was ordered to report. The night before I came to En HaShofet and my friends made a special dinner for me. It was so nice. We just hung out had good food, laughs, and wine. I went to bed pretty early and the slept amazing well considering. The next day as I was putting on my clothes, I just kept thinking this is so surreal, what am I doing.

I am so happy and grateful that I didn’t have to go to the bus station alone. Gani took the time off in the morning from the factory to take me. And it was great he had coffee for me when he picked me up and he sat with me in the big room where we all, new soldiers to be, sat glassy and wide-eyed. At this point, I don’t know why but I was not nervous.

They called my name as one of the first and Gani and I walked down stairs to the bus I was to board. We stood there for a few minutes and then I told Gani –OK go. Thank you, but go now. And I boarded.

We went from Haifa, the top of the country to Tel Aviv to a place called the ba-coom. That is the place that they process all the soldiers coming in. It was long day of lots of girls, waiting, do this, do that, sorry I don’t understand, can you say it in English. I gave bank info, got a phone card, They took the most extensive pictures ever of my fingers and hands. Head x-rays, teeth pictures, face pictures for my ID (that took 2 hours of waiting because the first time didn’t work for some reason), interviews of all kinds, blood sample for bone marrow donation match (optional), vaccinations (only two shots and I don’t think anything too horrid, tetanus and some booster thing) and, and, and.

We got a break to eat. Army food. Yummy.

And then finally got our kitbag and uniform. So much in one day. We tried on the uniform to make sure it was fitting semi-OK. (BTW now I got it fitted because it was so huge and ugly. I wore it for 2 weeks till I got a good look in the mirror and was like –Oh God! I look like I am in a potato sack, I must fix this. Now it fits and looks good! Sexy soldier girl maybe?) Sorry I still don’t have pictures.

And then waiting to see where we would be sent. Because I was not processed with just new immigrants. So all the new immigrants boarded another bus and back up North we went. When we got to the army base it was twilight already. We didn’t do much at that point. We got another kitbag. So you picture us with 3 huge bags! And we ate and got some of the processing there done and then went to bed.

So day one was done. Day two at this point I don’t even remember as something clear. So I will just talk now about the army experience.

First of all, my base has some amazing views. I can see Tzfat and for that matter the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) and for that matter Jordan. Yes another country. The sunrise is so amazing and beautiful. I am not happy to wake up before it, but it is a nice present or consolation prize for the sleepy eyes.

There has been a lot of running, push-ups, sit-ups (this is funny: The word they call for these exercises is matsav, which means situation. So push-ups are called matsav 2 and sit-ups matsav 3. So think of how funny it sounds when you are translating from the commander- give me 30 of the second situation. Don’t sound right, right?)

In a lot of ways the most tiring thing was just the plan fact that we have so little sleep and we are up doing so much shit, bullshit for so long. Yeah bullshit. twenty seconds to run to this spot and be in order. 4o seconds to this spot.

Hearing the same things over and over, repeating things over and over. I think for the most part the food is horrible in the army. Its is just drenched in oil and salt. And we are only given ten minutes to eat each meal. And this is hard for me. I have had some tummy problems due to this stress on the body. What can I do?

We have shot two days a total of 8 or 9 times. And one thing, so when you get the gun you are like wow I’m carrying around a M-16 gun. Wow. But very soon after when the reality sets in it is not glamorous at all. Take it to the shower with you. Figure out how to go to the bathroom with it. Sleep with it under your pillow. Not to mention the fact that it weighs almost 7 pound or 3 kilos. I know that really isn’t a lot of weight, but very soon it becomes heavy. And my legs were covered in bruises from the gun.

But it was fun and scary to shoot. I did really good lying down and pretty bad on one knee and standing.

I have learned so much and I want to continue but it is late and I am really exhausted so I am sorry but this is going to have to wait till next week for a continuation.

Stay tuned. Same bat time, same bat channel.

Har Gilboa

Some facts and history:

District: Northern

Altitude: 508m/1,667ft

Situation and characteristics

Mount Gilboa, an outlier of the hills of Samaria, bounds the Jezreel plain on the southeast. Rising to a height of 508m/1,667ft above sea level, its summit is 628m/2,060ft above the town of Bet Shean, which lies 120m/393ft below sea level.

From the Afula-Bet Shean road a winding track runs up to the summit. The summit itself is a military area closed to the public, but there are good views on the way up.


Mount Gilboa was the scene of a tragic event in Jewish history. Here King Saul assembled his army for battle with the Philistines, who were encamped at Shunam, and consulted the witch of Endor. As the witch had foretold, the Israelites were defeated by the Philistines. Saul's sons Abinadab and Malchi-shua were killed; Saul, in despair, fell on his sword, and the victorious Philistines hung his body from the walls of Beth-shan (1 Samuel 31,1-12). David lamented over his death: "Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you..., for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away" (2 Samuel 1,21).

Lets Begin With Some Pictures

Woke up one morning in En HaShofet and had to take this. Of course it does the sky no justice but it was a beautiful morning.

Remember the pictures a few weeks ago of Ziggy and Ziggy Junior her baby. Well these first three are of Ziggy Junior and he is as big as Ziggy now. The look the same and they both sleep in this weird yoga-ish style and he has his tongue out all the time like this!

Then about three weeks after I returned we all thought, "Ziggy is getting fat she must be eating good?" Till the same night she was running into Hannah and Nina's room all the time. Then her water broke on Hannah's bed. The the babies were born on Nina's bed. And we sat a watched the whole thing. I never saw cats being born. Now they are so cute but here they are ugly.

The one on the right was the first born and I called it Alien Baby because well they really are so ugly when they are born. Its like the cat gave birth to alien mutant cats.

Ziggy Junior Junior (as you can see she had another clone made) is hugging his siblings

This is Avi-El. He is a great guy and I feel so lucky to have met him. And he lives on a moshav right down the road from my new kibbutz. No he is not Irish or Scotish. We do share a passion for bagpipes, him and I. No his mommy is Hungarian. And Avi-El spent a year of service before the army in the US talking to all kinds of people about Irael and Zionism, etc. And now he was just excepted into the Navy in Israel. He is a really cool guy.

And this is Ben who now is back in Canada. Our boss (who looks like the Israel Bruce Willis)in Mivrag called him you-fucking-Israel-Canadian. That means Edi likes you when he calls you names or makes fun of you. Ben by the way is not having a medical problem but performing our favorite song of the summer hoshev aleh (thinking of her)

My house mates. From the left: Phillip the wild eveangelical Christian from Canada, Sibastian from Colombia who always says, "Sweetie, Sweetie" in his little accent!! Nina from Sweden who I think is trying not to leave Israel. She just had a b-day. And Israel who left Israel and went back to Equador. Que rico!

And a view of my new view. The Gilboa Mountain! So pretty. I am the luckiest girl in the world.