Category Archives: Uncategorized

IATEFL Dreams Update – Lessons in Uncertainty

Note: This is an update regarding my IATEFL Dreams, as described here.

Today I finally got a hold of the secretary of the Ministry Official, who is in charge of authorizing such things as missing school to attend a conference abroad.

She says the request did not arrive at her office.


Back to making phone calls to the people lower down in the pecking chain who had approved my request and promised to pass it on …

It’s Saturday! E.B White Wrote Poetry?

For me E.B White has always been the author of beloved children books. I think my personal favorite was “The Trumpet of the Swan” (I guess an amusing tale about a Trumpeter Swan who “makes it” despite being mute would appeal to a special ed. teacher!) though I believe my sons enjoyed “Charlotte’s Web” more.

Since the age of nine or ten, I’ve always associated E.B White with humor. That was when I received the HUGE book called “A Sub Treasury of American Humor”, which he edited along with his wife, in 1941. I still have it and it truly is a treasure trove. It is an edition from 1941.  I got it from friends whose children were all grown along with the classic board game “Careers” in which man had not yet reached the moon. In the pages of this book I discovered authors (such as James Thurber) whom I later encountered in many contexts, and countless others whose work I never encountered anywhere else.

This week I learned that White also wrote poetry. Think of all the babies you have known – isn’t the following poem so right?!


Hold a baby to your ear

As you would a shell:

Sounds of centuries you hear

New centuries foretell.


Who can break a baby’s code?

And which is older-

The listener or his small load?

The held or the holder?

When Life Repeats Itself, It is Time to Repost

I know I posted this song on the 18th of August 2011.

But the words (written below) of  this song, with its haunting melody, are just what we should be thinking about now.

I know it is what I’m thinking about.

(Soundtrack of “Lost Horizon”)


Have you ever dreamed of a place
Far away from it all
Where the air you breathe is soft and clean
And children play in fields of green
And the sound of guns
Doesn’t pound in your ears (anymore)

Have you ever dreamed of a place
Far away from it all
Where the winter winds will never blow
And living things have room to grow
And the sound of guns
Doesn’t pound in your ears anymore.

Many miles from yesterday before you reach tomorrow
Where the time is always just today
There¹s a lost horizon________waiting to be found.
There’s a lost horizon
Where the sound of guns
Doesn’t pound in your ears

Saturday’s Book: “The Elephant’s Journey” by Jose Saramago

I was a bit hesitant to start reading this. Despite enjoying the previous book I read by this author (“The Cave”) it was slow reading and Saramago’s senctences can run to half a page. I wasn’t sure I was in the mood for that at the moment. But my husband said this one was different and he was right!

It’s written as if a storyteller is telling it. You can just imagine the author sitting by a campfire, the younger set at his feet and the older ones in the outer circle. He always relates to the listener’s (reader’s) point of view with digressions that sound like answers to questions. Its as if he wants to put any troubling thoughts you may have related to the story at rest. Its a tale (based on a true story) officially about an elephant’s journey from Portugal to Vienna. But there is so much more to it! Really interesting and at times laugh-out-loud funny! Saramago’s trademark long sentences are there but it isn’t slow reading at all. It is also a small book to begin with.

Look for it! I’m at the part when the elephants will soon cross the Alps. Curious…

KUDOS to an EFL Teacher who Promotes Peace Through Music!

When the news is filled with the horrid events in Toulouse, France, it is so heartwarming to see this video.

Lauren Ornstein, an awesome teacher and musician who works with both Jewish and Arab students as an EfL teacher and counselor, is also a Music in Common volunteer in Israel.

This is their latest workshop video “Peace -Shalom – Salaam”, a song written and performed by both Jewish and Arab students. They also participated in video-taping the project.

If you listen carefully you will hear her in the background.


Saturday’s Book: “Fragment” by Warren Fahey

The funny thing is that I’m reading this fantasy thriller about a lost island where highly dangerous animals have evolved completely differently, as a direct result of reading Bill Bryson’s book about Australia a few weeks ago.

As you know, I like to tell anyone who is willing to listen about what I read. Which means my husband and sons get full updates. When I was reading about Australia we discussed the part about the damage done by the rabbits brought to Australia. I had heard about it (I knew the term rabbit-proof –fence) but hadn’t really known that it had all started with so few rabbits and that the damage was that extensive.

Anyway, when my eldest heard about the rabbits he pulled the book “Fragment” off his shelf and said: “If you thought that was interesting then you must read this“. My other son chimed in that I should read it too. The book begins with very real factual information about the damage done by species from one environment invading another (interestingly though, the author doesn’t mention the rabbits in Australia). My husband then read the book (quickly, it is a thriller!).

So now I’m reading it too.

It is well written, very fast paced, with lots of amusing and intriguing details. You could have discussions on issues raised in the book! Think a modern, really up to date version of Jurassic Park but with no dinosaurs. However, I don’t like horror tales and skip a bit of the descriptions of how people met with their death. The book seems to be made for the big screen and I’m surprised it hasn’t been made into a movie yet. Though I probably wouldn’t watch it – reading about things is one thing, watching them is another!

Yes, I’m squeamish but I certainly recommend reading the book!

I wonder what Bill Bryson would say…

Good Things are Worth Waiting For!

Photo By Gil Epshtein

Well, it seems that I’ll be following the Glasgow IATEFL conference from the comfort of home.

The competition has ended and I made it to second place!

I wish Nahla_Shaw all the best! Her posts were great!

I’m actually disappointed and relieved at the same time. I want to attend an IATEFL conference, both for the sessions and to meet my PLN face to face!

On the other hand, I found that just thinking of the logistics I would have to deal with in order to go during the school year (with our vacation beginning a few days AFTER the conference) to be quite stressful.

So, perhaps Liverpool, or maybe Harrogate will be the venue where everything comes together and you will see someone running around with a picture of a puffin on her bag!

Saturday’s Trip in the Sun!

Today was the first warm sunny day in almost  a month. So off we went to the Judean Desert.

Life is old here.

We saw what’s left of early monasteries (6th century) and the gorgeous spring that sustained them (it is very quiet there, even today!).

We saw the route where my Biblical namesake Naomi, along with her daughter in law Ruth, is believed to have travelled from Edom to Bethlehem.

And we just saw the beauty of nature and enjoyed the sun!

Here are a few pictures, all taken by my son, Omri Epstein:

          DSCF2945                       DSCF2956 

DSCF2950                         DSCF2953       

DSCF2964         DSCF2983        DSCF2969