Started Up

Sunrise over Har Zeitim/Mt. of Olives & Har HaBayit/Temple Mount

So, first off, I want to apologize for my recent “radio silence” — I had another post ready to be written, but then I got ill with tonsillitis (and here I thought it was mainly a kids’ disease!), and am only now recovering. That post will follow soon.

But we had our first class this past Friday morning, so I wanted to discuss it briefly.

For starters, got to meet the few people in the course who were not around for our orientation. Some more interesting people for the mix. One brief thing of interest to note is the international nature of our class. Although the course is given in English (most of the authorized courses are in Hebrew and there is one other, that I know of, in English), a number of the students are non-native English speakers. We have students in our class from France, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland and Russia (and perhaps more, but that’s what I can think of off the top of my head, if I remember correctly). However, I don’t think there are courses given in any other language, so people who are from places such as these, and who are interested in becoming tourguides here in Israel, must determine which language they are more proficient in — English or Hebrew — and take the course in that language. I can only imagine how difficult it will be for some of them, with the technical language of so many different subjects, not in their native tongues.

So the first lesson we got was one of a more practical sort — about public presentation, clearly one of the most important skills for a tourguide to have. This is not a topic that is foreign to me (I’m pretty comfortable with public speaking and getting up in front of random strangers), but there were still some interesting tidbits in there that I learned.

Additionally, a few of us volunteered (not knowing what we were volunteering for) and ended up giving an off the cuff intro about ourselves on camera, which the class later watched and critiqued. Not surprisingly (for those who know me), I was one of those volunteers. Always interesting how critical we get of ourselves when we see ourselves on camera. I thought that my hand usage (Hey, I’m a Jew — I talk with my hands!) might have been too much, and grown distracting, but people seemed to think it was effective. I definitely moved around too much, but also learned an interesting thing about the way I moved around, based on some of the feedback.

That also gave me a chance to utilize another skill from my past life experience. As a screenwriter, and particularly as a member of a writing group, I learned the skill of how best to accept criticism. As the comments started up regarding my “performance,” I kept my mouth tightly shut, taking notes on people’s critiques, and not trying to respond or justify any of my actions. In general, one does not have to agree with all the feedback one receives, but one should listen with an open mind (and thus open ears) to all of it. And when your mouth is open, your mind is usually closed.

Among other things, we also got the tentative schedule for our classes and siyurim (tours), and it looks to be very exciting. Our first siyur this Tuesday is called “In the Footsteps of Dovid and Shimshon” (David and Samson), and will be around a series of tels and other sites near Beit Shemesh.

Due to a prior commitment (they changed the days of the course at the last minute) I will have to leave a drop early, but I should be able to be there for the bulk of the day, and I’m looking forward to getting my first taste of “field work.” By the way, this same prior commitment is going to make me miss two of the first four siyurim, and I will be making them up at some later point. Just in case you start to wonder why I don’t post comments from them!

Oh, and lastly, speaking of comments — I love them! So if you have been reading this blog and feel so inclined, I’d love it if you’d leave me a comment or two. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *