check out my new blog for all writing related posts.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


No matter where I’ve been it’s always  good to be back home again.


Even the weather reminded me of home. It hasn’t been as hot as this in Manchester for 30 years. My sweaters and  rain jackets stayed in my suitcase.


This tram also  made me think - Will the Jerusalem light rail  really one day  traverse the city as smoothly and unobtrusively as it does in Manchester UK – still seems difficult to imagine looking at the ongoing  balagan downtown.


Already on the flight  home you begin to feel ‘Israeli’ once again. The pilot apologized  for the delay in take off as most of the passengers had far too much carry-on luggage with them  ( sound familiar??)

Just seeing the stewards and stewardesses helpless faces on Jet2 as they tried in vain to seat the passengers who insisted on chatting with long lost friends from the minute we took off, brought  a smile to my face.

Yes I know the behavior  isn’t helpful but it just made me feel that I’m already home again.


Sunday, June 20, 2010


   Every time I drive down to the Dead Sea I find it   difficult to believe that just half an hours  drive from  Jerusalem  the scenery and climate  change so drastically.


But the heat, although overpowering sometimes, is still more bearable to me than the  humid climate of the Mediterranean coast.

The sun here, at the lowest  point in the world, has its harmful rays filtered out and sunbathing  is  beneficial  to many skin complaints.


image Sunset over the Dead Sea


patches of  dried saltimage 


If you’re visiting the area for health reasons then check out how much your hotel offers free of extra charge. You should be able to get the use of  the hotel’s beach, indoor Dead-Sea –water pool, Jacuzzi and solarium  without having to pay anything extra. Maybe also the use of sulphur  pools and sauna.

Remember if you have any scratches, open wounds  etc the salt water will be painful  so stick to clear water pools. If you suffer from high blood pressure or heart problems or are pregnant  then be guided by the notices which give the maximum amount of time that should be spent in the various treatment pools.


IMG_3498                                       All that sea and sun and so healthy too


This is the best place to stock up on  Dead Sea skin products and often the hotel shops have excellent prices, but take a trip to the mini-malls in the shopping area by the hotels as they have  very good package deal prices – shop around.

If you found the treatments beneficial then take some mud and sea crystals back home and continue the treatment there.


You don’t have to stay in a hotel  to get the benefits of  the Dead Sea. There are several  day spas and, as the distance from the main towns is relatively short , you can get a lot of sunbathing / treatments  without having to stay overnight.


People fly in from all over the globe to  benefit from the Dead Sea water, mud and sun. Those of us living here are fortunate that it is so much easier ( and cheaper)  for us.

Monday, June 7, 2010



You’d imagine that teaching English as a foreign language here in Israel is enough of a challenge on its own.

But when your students come from backgrounds as varied as Ethiopia, Russia and Europe as well as Israel and amongst those from each country are several ultra-orthodox students who do not watch television, use the internet, read regular daily newspapers nor popular literature, and you realize that we’re talking about major cultural differences as well.

This was first brought home to me when doing practice exam papers.

During the year I can more or less choose the material I use, but the students have to get used to the type of exam they’re going to have to take, so towards the end of the year we do old exam papers …..and what a problem they are.

“Teacher who or what is Harry Potter? A person? The writer? The passage here talks about him as if I’m supposed to know. And there are other words here that aren’t in the dictionary at all” ( could she mean muggles?)


“Teacher, what is The Olympic Games? Is it a children’s game? Why are there dates for the game can’t you play it when you want?”


“ What is a website teacher?”


“ What is the greenhouse effect? I looked it up in the dictionary but then I didn’t understand the definition it gave?”


One part of me enjoys teaching my students about daily things we take for granted, modern ecological and environmental issues and advances in hi-tech.

But another part feels it’s unfair that even if their grasp of the English language is good and they are working very hard, they could fail their exams simply because the topic in their comprehension paper ( which is the main section of the exam) is one about which they know nothing and this inevitably hinders their understanding of the text.

I have spoken to the powers-that-be who write the exam papers asking for more general topics, but they claimed that if we stick to totally neutral topics such as family, food or education it is simply too limiting ( not to mention boring).

So if anyone out there wants to send me a short definition/ synopsis of some recent trends or moderns issues, in relatively simple English, I shall be happy to use them in my future lessons.