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Aliyah Tales of Ariel II


by Benjamin Laskin

 Once my processing for Aliyah was well underway, my next major decision became, “Now, where the heck in Israel am I going to start this new life of mine?” I needed a place to absorb and I hadn’t a clue where to go. So, I did what any serious, sane person would do. I pinned a map of Israel on the wall of my apartment in Japan where I was living, and tossed a dart. After all, Israel is Israel, and it’s so small, anywhere is everywhere.


Four darts later and worried that I’d lose my security deposit, I was quite certain that there were no Israeli towns or settlements in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, Lebanon, or Jordan, I decided that a slightly more pragmatic approach to such an important decision was called for.


I dug up the handful of colorful fliers that I had picked up while on a visit to the Jewish Agency in Los Angeles describing various towns and cities in Israel that were looking for new immigrants. They all sounded good on paper, but that is, after all, the purpose of a flier. 

I needed a little more info than that.


I got online and clicked around, trying to get a better sense of some of these places. All I knew was that I didn’t want to be in or around Tel Aviv or Haifa. Nothing against those cities, but they didn’t tickle my romantic and idealistic fancies.


I narrowed my search to four or five possibilities. I sent some emails and waited. And waited some more. Only one address had returned with a rapid reply. The one I had sent to Ariel.


Within a few quick back and forths with Avi Zimmerman, I knew that here we had a guy who took his position seriously and could be counted on. Avi far exceeded my expectations, and when the big day arrived and I landed in Israel, Avi was there to drag my weary, bleary-eyed carcass from the airport and cart me off to Ariel. I remained under his big, brotherly wing until he had made sure all my important documentation and ‘to-dos’ were complete, including securing my apartment. I was overwhelmed not only by Avi’s concern and generosity, but by the very special Ariel volunteers who assisted us, led by the indefatigable and wonderful ‘Den-Mother-in-Chief’, Jenny Simon.


Having made aliyah directly from Japan where I had been living for some eighteen years, culture shock was unavoidable. On top of that, I was entirely solo, with not a single friend or relative in Israel to greet or help me. However, thanks to Avi, Jenny, and many others of the Ariel English-speaking community, my transition from a sushi- nibbling ‘gaijin’ to a falafel-snarfing Ole couldn’t have gone smoother.


After a few months, I wasn’t just chucked aside by Avi, either. He continued to demonstrate honest interest in my well-being and always made time for me from his busy schedule. Avi has moved on to another Ariel-related program, but his successor, Reuvan Franks, has filled Avi’s gigantic shoes most admirably. Like Avi before him, Reuvan is as helpful as you want him to be, and even though I am now a nine-month ‘old timer’ here, I feel that he is always ready to assist me in any way he can.


Ariel is a lovely town with many wonderful people, especially those in the English speaking community. Bonds are made fast, and kindness and generosity shine down on new arrivals like the Shomron sun we live under. It is hard to imagine a better and easier way to absorb in Israel than by coming to Ariel. Don’t toss darts and expect everywhere to be the same. Head straight for the bull’s-eye, Ariel.


Benjamin Laskin


I’m not someone who has wanted to make aliyah his whole life.  My family never regarded it as an option when I was growing up, and I had never even been to Israel until a few years ago.  But over the last few years as I’ve become more religiously observant, I’ve also begun to feel a stronger connection to other Jews and to our homeland. I began to understand that living in the land that Hashem gave us is an important part of our covenant with Him as Jews, and I wanted to fulfill my part in that covenant by living in our homeland. I wanted to live where the holidays that are celebrated are Jewish holidays and where the rhythms of daily life are Jewish. I wanted to be in Israel if, G-d forbid, bad things happen to our people, and to be there to celebrate when good things happen. I got tired of watching from the sidelines.  And I grew to feel more and more like an outsider living in exile in the U.S. 
I’ve never thought that Israel is some kind of paradise. I think my life in Israel will be harder than my life in the U.S. had been. Making aliyah wasn’t an easy decision. At times during the process I got cold feet and had second thoughts. Several times I decided not to do it at all. I didn’t think I could quit my job, sell my house, move myself and three dogs to a place where I didn’t speak the language fluently and wouldn’t even be able to read my phone bill. But I could never talk myself out of it. And somehow it all worked out. That must mean something. I did know for quite a while that my heart was in Israel and my soul was in Israel; now I’m very happy that my body is here too.
Making aliyah to Ariel has made everything much easier. There is warmth and support here for new olim, and having Reuven Franks, Ariel’s Community Aliyah Coordinator, makes a huge difference. I would not have known how to go about opening a bank account, leasing an apartment, getting my dogs licensed, or any of the other innumerable tasks that are a part of daily living without Reuven’s help. He helped me with all those things, and that’s incredibly valuable.
Terry Troutner


Aliyah Tales of Ariel


There are a few experiences in life – that you just get to have once. For better or for worse. They are the kinds of experiences that make you say, “Woah, is this happening to me?” The ones that can make you feel drunk on life. The major ones are “Lifecycle Events”. Births, Marriage, and Death.


I was privileged to add a Bonus Event to my Lifecycle this week, to my chain of events. I added Aliyah – I elevated my life, my family’s life, as we moved up to Israel.

I was not prepared for this experience. Even though I have been working for it and wanting it for 11 years. The week or so leading up to our departure, people kept asking, are you excited? Every other time I’ve gone to Israel, the adrenaline starts kicking up about that time. I get on the plane and my heart is pounding. This time, it wasn’t like that. I was just Ready. Emotionally. It was Time.

I expected the sad and tearful goodbyes. For the past 6 months or so, when I even thought of saying goodbye, I got choked up. I expected tears as we took off, but they didn’t come. I expected more tears as we landed – but there were just a few. Happy tears. Happy and thankful to be coming home for good.

And I was right, goodbyes were rough. And as we landed in Israel, I did get teary-eyed. I looked across the plane at My Shauli (we were each sitting with a kid at opposite window seats) and I longed to be able to hold his hand – as we landed in our new home. Our new country. And I fell in love all over again because he made this possible. He helped me realize my dream.

We landed, we clapped, we cheered. I cried – but just a little. We got off the plane and headed down the steps, waited for the bus and sped away to the terminal. As I looked out the window and saw the palm trees, I remembered my first view of the land. The palm trees, and the feeling of that blast of hot air. And my heart was overflowing. With love for Shu, Jonah, Sammy, and for coming home. FInally. My eyes started overflowing too at that point… The director of Nefesh B Nefesh, or the Rabbi who started it, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, was on our bus with us. And he saw me crying. He told me, “Don’t do that, now you are going to get me started all over again!” It’s cool that he still gets emotional with each new landing. I pulled myself together and we pulled up to the terminal. And no matter how many live or taped landings I had seen – no way was I prepared for what came next. For how I felt.

The shuttle doors opened and all of a sudden, there was Israeli music blasting. “Havaynu Shalom Aleichem, Havaynu Shalom Aleichem…..” Music blasting, people cheering, everyone waving and smiling. Cameras here, there, everywhere. Everyone welcoming us Home.

I gasped and the tears started flowing. There are no words that can begin to describe how I felt at that moment. No way to capture it. And I just stood there for a second, taking it all in. A random army lady saw me, she looked overjoyed to see me and told me, Welcome home. She gave me a little Israel flag and a hug, holding me tight. There were tons of cameras and video cameras in my face. Taking pictures of the boys in the stroller, Jonah almost asleep. 🙂 We walked along, through the aisle created by the masses of people and all I could see were smiles and tears of joy. I’m the one who came home – yet I can see the excitement in their eyes! I stopped, I covered my eyes, I was sobbing. This is my dream come true. Better even because I’m here with my incredible husband and 2 (and a ½) amazing children. We are home.

Well, if I was that emotional seeing strangers, you can only imagine how I felt when I saw the Zacks crew there to greet us! I saw Nava first and I just started yelling and waving wildly, “It’s Nava, it’s Nava! Shu, do you see her?” Then I saw Naphtali, Daniel, Aviva, Shevy – and I couldn’t get there fast enough!! I couldn’t get past the crowd but I just wanted to get over to them – to hug them. To thank them for paving the way for us! As soon as I got there, I wanted to hug everyone, I held onto Aviva for dear life. The crowd controller was trying to move us along, telling us we were holding up the line. Then Shlomo appeared and I followed him to get inside. Our friend Inbar for Sheirut Leumi in Detroit is there and I hug her – the crying starts again.

At that point, I’m about to faint. It’s almost too much to handle. Physical and emotional overload. Someone hands me a bottle of much needed cold water. Of course, then I notice my head scarf is practically off- woops and so I slip on the handy Nefesh b’ Nefesh hat they gave out. Now I know what those are for. Golda and Sarra arrive and more hugs, I don’t want to let go. Then Arye is there and Simmy and we are surrounded.

Avi Z. and the Ariel gang is there to meet us and I’m so grateful. I can’t wait to move there! We picked a good spot. We take a huge group picture. Go Zacks!

And on that note, since it’s almost 2:30 am and I’m running out of scrap paper to write on, I’ll bid you adieu. Or Shalom. Lehitraot. And for those in America, come soon! There is always room.

My Life By Donuts Mom

KASHRUT ALERT – bakeries

challahUnfortunately, the Yardena / Condituria Beitit has reduced their kashrut certification to regular kosher only, not mehadrin anymore. This is identical supervision as the bakeries at the two Megas. The immediate repercussion of this is that everything in the bakery becomes ‘behezkat chalavi / milchik / dairy’ – and one should not eat the assumed parve stuff (breads, rolls, challah, and pastries) directly with / at a meat meal. The only challah at the Mega that is approved parve is the Angel factory mass-produced (and price controlled) rectangle or simple needed ones, and the factory-produced sweet challahs that come packaged in cellophane. Beware of in house Mega bakery challahs that also come wrapped with a bonjour sticker. If the bag is not sealed, then it was probably cooked on site, behezkat dairy. Behezkat dairy does not mean it actually has milk in it, and usually means that it was baked in a dairy oven, and might mean that it was cooked in a dairy oven at the same time as dairy products.
Around the country, regular rabanut certification means short random (daily?) visits by a mashgiach. Establishments are either labeled meat or dairy. For an establishment, in our case, a bakery, to recieve a parve status, it needs to agree to a mashgiach that is on the premises for a lot more, even if it is run by a religious Jew. The mashgiach is there to verify that the pastries are not mixed, and that the parve and daity ovens are used properly and baking trays not interchanged. Without this extra supervision, we know, from experience, that trays are interchanged and other issues arise.
FWIW, the bakery at the Hezi Hinam has absolutely no certification at all and depends on a framed photocopied ‘kashrut approval’ from Hanukah 2005. ‘Kashrut permission’ is usually a certificate handed out from the original factory that is often sent to customers (bakeries and restaurants) who might hang it up when they do not have a kosher certificate to post. The legal meaning of this kashrut approval is that the food was ceritifed kosher at the factory, and is usually meant to show the local mashgiach, not to hang up on the wall.  I suppose that this might be enough for A) many non-religious people who might not insist on rabanut certification yet want to eat kosher-style, and B) to fool people into thinking that the establishment is kosher (a word which is trademarked in Israel to the rabanut).
On the other hand, the ‘Lechem HaAretz’ bakery in the industrial zone (anyone want to coin a better name for that area) still retains its ‘mehadrin’ certification meaning a strict seperation of milk and parve baking and products. 24 / 6.
Shabbat shalom,

Pesach shopping guide


Seder plate

Seder plate

In a follow up to the Kosher for Pesach (KFP) shopping list that I put in the files section (on the yahoogroups site), here’s my attempt at giving you some grocery shopping tips for Pesach.


First and foremost,

check each package you put in your shopping cart. Most KFP packaging is similar, if not identical, to the regular packaging, some stores are negligent in not separating the two. Kitniyot and non-kitniyot – be careful to read the fine print.

 Chief Rabbinate guidelines

Note that products are certified Kosher for Pesach 5769. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has attempted to make some order by issuing some guidelines such as: must have date, must be printed as part of the package and not a sticker applied to the regular packaging.

 Date stamp.

While we can joke about why something might be kosher this year but not be KFP next year, this is supposed to protect the consumer from recycled products. The day after Pesach, hundreds of KFP items become almost worthless to the store and the producer. Israeli producers have an incredible returns policy where a lot goes back to the producer who has no choice but to destroy the worthless products like potato-flour sponge cake, wine-based coconut cookies, etc… In the past, without a date stamp, the stores/producers could merely resell the stuff next year. Not anymore, almost. I’ve seen this appear with KFP baby formula a month ago. Theoretically, some stuff has an extended shelf life anyways, but you decided your limits. 

Stores selling chametz

make sure that the store has a receipt for selling its chametz. This will be important during and after the holiday.

 Store design

Store management awareness to KFP has grown tremendously. Many stores will have entirely seperate sections for KFP products days before the holiday. During the holiday, they will close off the non-KFP sections, or cover the shelves up with plastic sheeting. The stores catering for the religious/Haredi market will relegate their non-KFP stuff to a small corner and the rest of the store is KFP – truly awesome!

 Store hours are usually extended in all branches.

 Many packages that are normally Badatz will have writing stating ‘l’yamot hashana bilvad’, or something like that. It means that while the product is Badatz certified, it might have kitniyot inside and/or the product might need extra stringency for Pesach that the producer is not willing to pay for. Most Badatz’s are Ashkenazi meaning that most Badatz products are non-kitniyot. Yeah!  I am not endorsing ‘badatz’ food (at this time), just that around Pesach time, them make life a bit easier for us Ashkenazis.

A non-kitniyot tip – salami and other packaged meats. Tirat Zvi (orange packages) offers the widest (and virtually only) selection of non-kitniyot meats, some of which is non-Badatz meaning that it will be cheaper too, You also support the kibbutz up north 🙂

 Okay another tip – if you do not eat kitniyot (and not to start a discussion whether Canola is kitniyot or not), you will need either Palm oil (about 10NIS / litre) or Walnut oil (24NIS / litre). These are only available at the Haredi stores (more info to follow).

 Store locations and features for Ariel residents based on my experience.


Mega Ba’Ir (2 X Ariel)

– best to come prepared with Rav Tav coupons so you can save some money. At these stores. be EXTRA careful to make sure you are taking KFP products, ESPECIALLY during the holiday. Even after many complaints over the years, there are problems. On Pesach, a ‘minor’ problem is a major problem. Hopefully, this year there won’t be any. Like most of the ‘regular’ supermarket stores, you’ll see that they cover entire shelves but cut out little windows for KFP products. Many times, adjacent to these revealed KFP products is pure chametz. Often, the sheeting tears, it might even fall down, some people take advantage and take out non-KFP items. To the store’s credit, I once witnessed one of the cashiers refuse to sell a customer a non-KFP product. I think it was ice cream with cookie chunks. I try to avoid Mega Ba’Ir during the holiday and afterwards for a few weeks. Very hard to find non-kitniyot food here.


Yesh (Ariel, Kfar Saba, BeErot Yitzhak)

-Yesh is theoretically the Haredi branch of the Shufersol chain so many products are badatz, less so at the Ariel store which also serves different consumers. The Ariel branch is relatively small compared to the other branches. Good prices, no packers in lines. I’ll tell you a secret: the best time to shop for a small order is 15-20 minutes before closing – the store is really quiet then. It’s somewhat risky because there might only be one of two cashes open.



-The BeErot Yitzhak Yesh branch is my TOP PICK for KFP shopping. Massive (relative to Israel of course), all KFP food, kitniyot and non-kitniyit shelves/sections clearly marked. Mostly Badatz products. Very good prices too. During the week before the holidaym it is a madhouse. In the evenings and until closing, it might be hard to find a cart since there are many shoppers and some people load up more than one. You will have to stake-out people leaving the store and ambush them. Approach them ASAP asking them assertively to take their cart after they unload. Prepare a 5shek coin so you can make the trade at their car. Doors are open until almost midnight. Lines are horrendous, because of the masses and because people are making massive orders. I assure you that you will wait in line for no less than 30min, maybe even an hour. Take it with stride, be patient, talk with your new line friends, go back to search for more food. bring a book or MP3 player. It pays to drive here, car pool together, I promise that you will pay less here on products, but, but, but you will buy so much here – so take a shopping list. BONUS – frequent minyans in the shul at the back of the store. 


Yad Yitzhak (Yaynot Bitan) (Rosh HaAyin, Kfar Saba)

Good selection, many Badatz products but perhaps a small majority. I don’t do pre-holiday shopping here. Some baggers, not at every cash, long lines. Let the locals pack the place instead.


### BEST LINES ###

Hetzi Hinam (Yarkonim)

Tens of cashes, shorter lines than all other stores, ‘professional’ baggers at every cash, cashiers that work fast, good prices, large selection. Not many non-kitniyot stuff.


Bar Kol (Petach Tikva)

– Good prices, caters to Haredi/religious clientele so mostly Badatz food as well as non-food. Across from the Main Bus Station, but I think that parking is limited. I might recommend this store to people without access to a car because the store is much larger than the Ariel Yesh and size means thousands of more products. ‘Non-mobile’ folks could load up a trolley suitcase or two and put them on the 186 to Ariel and easily cover the return bus fare with the savings on food.


Bnai Brak

Shaul HaMelech road (Bar Kol, Yesh, and Ezra V’achva)

– the feeling of Pesach in Israel is just too incredible here on this street. PACKED, tons of Jews getting ready for chag, fighting for parking spaces in Yiddish. SO exciting. Virtually all Badatz food meaning large selection of non-kitniyot food. Even though we now do our major KFP shopping at the BeErot Yitzhak Yesh, I still like to visit this area to stock up on non-food items and for the atmosphere.



‘Supermarket Feely’ in the mercaz

Shufersol Deal (Segula)

Habiv (Segula)


Avoid the local Russian cornerstores. While awareness might have grown, there is no stringency. Some will openly sell chametz during the holiday. The 24hour stores should also be avoided. They ‘might’ cover up their pretzels, but still offer you whisky. One is notorious for selling bread and pitas. Hashem yishmor.



My family and I wish you all a kosher and happy Pesach.




The shekI must have missed the news of this law passing. It must be a law because there’s no way they’d initiate something like this. I had thought that, maybe, it was just one supermarket chain going one up for the customer, but I have now seen it at a few different chains. 
In Israel, while we have already gotten used to seeing price stickers on all products (by law since only a few years ago), and also by the same law given legal chutzpah to demand any discrepancy in price if the cash register charges us more, we now have a new weapon in the struggle to keep costs down and save money too.
After the stores were forced to ‘price’ every single item, they seemed to neglect displaying the prices on the shelves themselves. It seems this is a thing of the past.
While some of us took this for granted overseas, we can now rejoice in the birth of the right to know the price per volume. Companies coming out with all these weird sized packages, others downsizing while keeping the original price. No more. Now we can compare the price per 100ml of Danone yogurt with Mueller. Need some ready made ‘ugat habayit’? Instead of trying to ‘break your head’ (Israeli experssion), you can know compare easily between the 400mg, the 450mg, and the 500mg sizes. Trying to choose between the Mallawach package with 5 units inside or 8 will be much easier now. I now discovered that Colgate costs double the price of Aquafresh (both mehadrin kosher BTW).
I urge you all to go try it out. This lesson in smart shopping works best in cookies section. Can’t decide which chocolate chip cookies are the best deal? Now you can choose the best deal between the Osem, Elite, or those 37% chips cookies from Holland.

Concerns about investing

The following is a response that I wrote to a family of olim that is considering moving to Ariel. They, as others before them, expressed their concerns about moving beyond “the green line”. So, how DOES one approach the question of how to approach the geo-political issues related to investing in a home in Ariel?
I would suggest approaching the issue at hand in one of two ways: “practically” or “faithfully”.
1. Practically – certainly an intelligent approach. The reality of the situation – at least as I see it – is that everywhere in the world there is a degree of uncertainty about what the future may hold. There is a sense (not a statistical fact but a “sense”) that the degree of uncertainty is greater in Israel than in America. Indeed there is a “sense”, influenced and fed primarily by media coverage and framing and somewhat by governmental policy (or lack thereof), that the degree of uncertainty is even greater within certain regions of Israel. One such “region” is none other than the nation’s capital – Jerusalem. Another such region is that of Judea and Samaria.
The informed analyst will take things even further, and examine the subdivisions of “degree of uncertainty” within the aforementioned regions. As such, there are what I would consider “indicators” – no guarantees, but indicators as to what may be in the future. The foremost indicator is what’s termed “the security fence”. The fence is seen by most as an initial form of a border between the State of Israel and what may some day become a Palestinian entity – if such an agreement is ever reached. Accordingly, those areas that are on the Israeli side of the fence, also referred to as “on the inside”, are considered safe from the threats of land concessions in any final agreement. There are 3 regions which are beyond the “green line” (as the 1967 borders are often referred to) and yet within the fence: Ma’aleh Adumim, The Etzion Bloc and The Ariel Bloc. Though the fence hasn’t yet been completed, with a question mark remaining regarding certain communities, the fence around Ariel has already been built and the city is “within the fence”. 
There are other indicators, one of which is building permits. Building beyond the “green line” currently requires central government permission. Those communities granted permission to expand are considered to have a lesser “degree of uncertainty” concerning their future. Due to the complexity of Israeli politics building permits require a lot of effort, however the City of Ariel continues to build with permits (currently there are several projects throughout the city, 4 of which are new residential developments).
Yet another indicator is the infrastructure in the region. Perhaps Israel’s best highway, highway 5 which goes from Tel Aviv to Ariel, has just been completed. Most of the highway has been in use for several years, but the work on the final 3 kilometer stretch was opened on November 10th. Many consider this significant investment to be a strong indicator of Ariel’s promising future.
2. Faithfully – personal beliefs are no less a part of a decision making process than rational thought. For example, no logical assessment of the situation will convince those who are diametrically opposed to living beyond the “green line” due to their political views to consider Ariel as their home. If their belief system is antagonistic to the city and everything that it represents then they will most likely feel uncomfortable here. However, those who are committed to the Jewish Homeland, the security of Israel and the right for a Jew to dwell in areas of Israeli sovereignty will naturally lean towards building a home in Ariel.
Beyond the natural magnetic pull of Ariel for Jews from around the world, there are those who are drawn for idealistic reasons. More than any other place, the City of Ariel embodies each of the primary objectives of the modern Jewish movements that see the State of Israel as a meaningful aspect of Jewish history:
a. dwelling in the Land
b. advancing a healthy orientation towards Jewish practice and belief amongst the residents of Ariel
c. creating a healthy interpersonal and inter community dynamic amongst Israelis, notwithstanding their different views and lifestyles.  
For some, the city’s idealistic pull may overshadow other considerations, because their decision making process is primarily driven by their inner commitment which may either supersede or perhaps even tint their theoretical analysis of the geo-political situation.
As mentioned, it really depends on how you approach the subject. If you’re looking at the dry facts on the ground it certainly looks like Ariel is here to stay. The “degree of uncertainty” is very low, though it does exist.
It is my opinion that olim need to keep both the practical and the faith-oriented considerations in mind. First I suggest asking yourself if you’re comfortable or perhaps interested in moving beyond the “green line”. In the event that you are you’ll then want to consider what “degree of uncertainty” you’re comfortable with. It is my belief and understanding that Ariel really is safe from the concerns that you mentioned,  due to the points mentioned above as well as others. My wife and I purchased our home here as many others continue to do on a daily basis. Indeed, Ariel has even become a hot spot for real-estate investors and the demand continues to grow.
So, to sum up – I suggest coming here and seeing for yourself. It’s by far the best way to get a real feel for what life is really like here.
Awaiting your visit,

Telfed in Ariel



With the growing popularity of Ariel’s Community Aliyah Program word has a way of getting around. True – North American olim and South African olim are not quite the same.  Still – they have a lot more in common than their mother tongue, and for one reason or another the South African community has begun to take an interest in Ariel.

Telfed (The South African Zionist Federation) has been pushing aliyah to the land of Israel for their constituents. Back in July Telfed brought a flight of 100 new olim to Israel. They’re taking a serious interest in stepping up their operation, and as such it was just a matter of time until they made their way to Ariel.

During their visit this past Thursday, mayor Ron nachman showed the group around the city. The guided tour included thorough visits to the up-and-coming Performing Arts Center, the brand new Sports and Recreation Center and the Ariel University Center. As with all of Ariel’s visitors, the delegates were very impressed.

A few months back, after a series of inquiries from potential South African olim about Ariel, I approached the Ministry of Absorption and suggested that they add the South African community as potential benefeciaries of our Community Aliyah Program. The response was that they’d rather leave things status quo… unless the South African community makes an organized request to come to Ariel. Well – Telfed is now in the process of issuing that request – we’ll keep you posted as things move along. 

Oh- by the way- my wife is originally South African. So – when the time comes I think we’re going to have to issue a dictiionary that translates South African terminology to American terminology. Don’t worry- it’s not too bad. Just keep in mind not to hold your breath if a South African says “just now”.