Musings on life as a grandmother and as a speech pathologist

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Adjusting to Life in Israel January 2019 – 2 1/2 years here

February 2017..Started HOH SUPPORT group for English speakers.

Baby girl Rina, born, November 3, 2017.

Heart surgery to stop Afib, November 29, 2017.

No Afib episodes since October 20, 2017.

Still trying to adjust to life in Israel.

Still can’t lesrn Hebrew, because of hearing loss.

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Week THREE in Israel September 17, 2016

So, I’ve now been living in Israel for 3 entire weeks…last Tuesday, marked the 3rd week.
How I am adjusting:

Since September 5, i have not been able to transfer ANY money from Bank of America to my bank in Israel. Website thing doesn’t work. Problem has been escalated numerous times. Bank employees don’t even call me back.
I’ve slowly been transferring money out of B of A to CHASE bank.
Bank of America tech execs finally got back to me, to tel me that there’s no way for them to bypass the online system. There is no way for me transfer money from American bank to Israeli bank, online. So, the only way to get money from America, in Israel, is to pay by credit cards, or to write a check, or to go to a money changer in Israel. My new friend, Glen, connected me with a money changer, who is originally from Brooklyn. Crazy system..am not sure what to do about this, long term.

Speaking of getting over the $$$ hurdle, just want to acknowledge the many angels who fell on my head from the sky….Frances, Richard, Jean, Shoshana, Miriam, Gadi (Eliyahu Hanavi), MY SON – Joshua!!! — my hero!, my grandchildren, neighbors, friends, Melody, Glen, Lisa, Walter, Shira, Ofer (my furniture guru), Yitzchak (my shipper), Holly, Meir, Phyllis, Gayle, all of my HLAA friends (what would i have done without you over the last 3 years?)…oh my gosh…so many people…i cannot even think straight right now, but, if i have missed you, please forgive me.

Signed up to learn Hebrew, at government ULPAN…had to cancel, cuz i was and sill am too exhausted. So, found out about an ULPAN that is less intensive (less grammar and more conversation). It is given by AACI (Americans and Canadians in Israel). It is also closer to me..right around the corner; i can walk to it.

I cannot make my own doctor’s appointments, because i cannot hear the person on the phone (they all have accents). The healthcare system won’t allow me to make appointments, in person, with the front desk people. This is awful…so wrong and so unfair. I am hard of hearing/almost deaf. It is almost impossible for me to hear people on the phone, especially if there is background noise present.

On Thursday, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting some wonderful people at AACI (Americans and Canadians in Israel). Sheila (a counselor, who is a font of knowledge about health care system, etc.), Gabe Pransky, who founded the organization, http://www.shirapranskyproject.org (this website has tons of information about the rights of disabled people, including, deaf and HOH people) and Miriam, who is in charge of support-group organization. I shared my story with all of them…told them about how difficult it is for a deaf/HOH person, who speaks no Hebrew, and who cannot hear very well on the phone (especially when the speaker is Russian, or some other nationality, with a thick accent that cannot be understood by us). I told them that i want to start support groups…that i am uniquely qualified to run these groups because I am a highly trained (over 20 years) speech pathologist, who is also trained in audiology (this is requirement for SLP’s in the USA). Everyone i spoke with is eager to talk more about how we might start support groups for deaf and HOH, not JUST in Jerusalem, but, all over Israel. This has been my burning desire, since long before I arrived on August 23.

Yesterday, I got to spend almost 5 hours with my grandchildren, Josh and Kara.
I actually made it to the bus station and took a bus to Yad Binyamin, all by myself! I’m very proud of myself for figuring out what to do, considering the fact that I cannot read the Hebrew signs and cannot hear the clerks on the other side of ticket windows. Using my Google translate app on my iPhone and some feeble attempts at speaking, i bought round trip tickets!

I saw the kids’ schools and met their teachers. The kids showed me their lovely artwork; played a very difficult card game, called JAIPUR, with my grandson, Yehuda. He tried to teach me, but i had great difficulty, until i slowly read the directions. Yehuda was so patient with me; we played for almost 2 hours!). Before i knew it, it was time for me to catch the bus back to Jerusalem.

Despite the fact that i could not stay outside for more than a few minutes, in the scorching heat, I was able to ride in the car with Josh and the kids. Mostly, we stayed inside the cool house.
What a joy it was to finally step foot in my son and Kara’s home and to be hugged and kissed by my precious grandchildren.
Adina gave me a very special present…a charicature drawn of her, by an artist in California. I treasure that beautiful artwork.
Devora and Adina showed off their new Rosh Hashona outfits..gorgeous..they looked gorgeous.
Chani is the most cheerful baby girl. She speaks in paragraphs. I could understand every word she said. She loved being held and kissed by her Bubbe.
Kara gave me a beautiful present…pewter, tea candle holders, with scented candles..so pretty.

What an amazing day i had. I will never forget this very special time. My heart is full and i am looking forward to spending more special time with my babies.

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Making Aliyah August 23, 2016

It has been a very long and strange trip, getting to this point.i am writing this note, as I sit in my new apartment in Jerusalem.

I am so grateful to all of my New Jersey friends at shul and elsewhere and family (brother, Jerry, etc), for helping me with so many challenges, prior to leaving USA…not to omit my wonderful son and Frances, my realtor and friends in Jerusalem, Richard and Jean…the Wizards of Jerusalem, who know where to go and whom to see.

It is the best of times ( I am reunited with my grandchildren). It has also been a very difficult, frustrating experience, just getting here..

Then, arrived at Tel Aviv airport, early Tuesday morning.

what a harrowing experience, getting through immigration absorption bureaucracy….4 hours of interrogation, by Russian people, whom I could not understand or hear.

spent Tuesday afternoon with my kids, reuniting and hugging. Then, a couple of days and a night with my dear friends, Holly and Meir. They took me in to stay with them, because I had no supplies in my new apartment, which is gorgeous! They also stocked my fridge with food and other supplies, before I arrived, so that I would have something to eat, etc. they are angels.

Have slept in my new apartment since Wednesday night, sleeping on air mattress (no bed yet…long story).

Thanks G-D, Josh set up my Israeli cell phone for me and I can use internet via “personal hotspot”. Have appointment to have internet router installed on Sunday morning. Josh, thank you for taking care of that. Eventually, he will set up ROKU Box, so that I can watch American TV.  Am not holding my breath!!!

Have been running around with my “assistant”…Gadi Last, the most wonderful person, who took me on as his first client. His new business, “Israel at Last”, is helping new OLIM (immigrants) become adjusted to life in Israel. He spent all day, Thursday, running around, to government offices and to banks, to help me set up bank accounts. This was a challenging adventure, that led us in circles. One of the bank branches does not even deal with, or have cash shekels!!!

We have more errands to run next week. Lots of banking details. Spent 4 hours on the phone with Bank of America, yesterday, trying to fix an automatic payment for my credit cards, which they had screwed up 2 weeks ago. That took many phone calls and escalation to managers, because the phone clerks are idiots.

I do not know how long Gadi can help me, but, hoping that he stays in my life for a long time.

plus, banks are closed between 1 and 3:59 PM!!! Huh?

spent yesterday with my kids again…finally got access to the swimming pool. That took hours of phone calls and emails. Then, we went swimming and went out for lunch. It was grand!

Only problem? Josh accidentally took all of the towels he left me on Tuesday and so, I cannot take a shower. And….cannot call for help, cuz it is Shabbos. Cannot buy towels, cuz all stores are closed on Shabbos.

I tried to wash the tiny towels I was given for kitchen, but cannot figure out how to use the washing machine. There are symbols on the dial that I don’t understand and I cannot read direction booklet, cuz it is all in Hebrew!

Landlord is unavailable for 2 weeks, cuz he is on vacation until September 7 and does not want to be “disturbed”. He left for vacation on the day I arrived..thus, he  has not met me, or given me a walk through, to show me how to use appliances, or air conditioner, or floor heater, or towel warmer, or where to put garbage, or where the storage area is, in the garage, or anything else,

everyone says, “welcome to Israel”, when I tell them about these calamities.

i am trying to laugh, so that I don’t cry. But, it seems as if the nonsense never ends.

i don’t read or speak Hebrew. So, when I have that problem, which is exacerbated by being almost deaf, that is a dangerous and frustrating state of affairs.

hoping to start ULPAN on September 1, so that I can start learning to speak and read Hebrew.

i try to keep my eyes on the prize…being with my grandchildren. They are delicious and gorgeous and adorable and they love me with all of their hearts. They had tears in their eyes and made me the most beautiful welcome home sign, when they greeted me on Tuesday afternoon. What more can I ask?

today is my first Shabbos in Israel. I am going to lunch at a neighbor’s house…Shoshana. She lives in my development. Thank G-D for nice people. I have not been able to get to a store to buy food or supplies.

so, I need to figure out where to get towels, how to use the washing machine, meet new friends today and then, hopefully, just collapse and rest.

Stay tuned for more adventures in the promised land!!!

Ronnie (Rifka Lea)




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March 30, 2013

Josh told me that he joined a men’s choir. 

He sang some of the songs (all in Hebrew, of course). 

His voice is very deep…he sings the bass part…..like an angel.


i am very proud of you, Josh!

josh also told me that Yehuda has a new pet….a snail in a jar….that’s our boy!

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Strange week…

I have learned to ride the crest of the wave, as it were.

Best laid plans.

Started feeling sore throat and chills on morning of March 10. Never made it to the NBN mega event.

Felt a bit weak and feverish on Monday; ignored it. But, by Monday night, I had 101 fever. Tuesday morning, felt feverish and chills, but went to work. Driving to work, at 7:34 AM, got A fib episode (1st one in 13 months). A fib resolved, without beta blocker, by 8AM.School nurse called 911. Arrived at Overlook, by ambulance, at 9:00AM. Diagnosed with Bronchitis; given script for Zpak.

Saw primary doctor on Wednesday; he said, no Zpak…take Amoxycilin. Pharmacist said, “no…cannot take, because have penicillin allergy”. Spent afternoon, on phone with pharmacy and doctors; finally given Doxycillin.  Have needed to stay in bed..when not in bed, have chills and lots of coughing.

Saw cardiologist Thursday…EKG normal…advised take antibiotic and see him in 6 months.

Now, it’s Friday and I finally feel a bit better. But, still being cautious…cannot go outside…coughing starts if I do.