Our little kibbutz ulpan started with 21 people. It was almost 22 but one man, whom nobody even got his name, left within two hours because our kitchen is not kosher.
Jeremy the french man left after two weeks for reasons I don’t know. James was the next to leave. He was my roommate from south Florida that was an angry drunk who couldn’t stay awake in class. Sam from ‘little Italy’ (the name of room 3, full of Italians) left soon after. He was a new immigrant as well, but his family lives in Netanya. He was only in ulpan so he wouldn’t have to live with his parents as everyone got set up in their new homeland.
Now, Alon is leaving. He is the only non immigrant to leave so far. He isn’t leaving because of a lack of work ethic or the like. He is entering the IDF as a Jewish volunteer. I didn’t talk much to the others who have gone but Alon is in the smokers club with me. He is genuinely a good, smart guy. And now he is not just leaving, but taking up arms to defend the country to which I am now a citizen.
There is so much that is missed by a void from those no longer here. It may be the homesickness or the now tiredsome feeling of transition, but the void feels especially large and dark when left by people whom we’ve just met. This shining light in a sea of childhood darkness is not just leaving a void. He isn’t returning to his country to have beach days with friends and barbecues with family. He is going to ensure that we, who are so new and unworthy, are free and safe to study.
ללמוד, לומד, לומדת, לומדים, לומדות. לגור, גר, גרה, גרים, גרות. לעבוד, עובד, עבודת, עובדים, עובדות.
And there are more voids to come. Sofia, a young, quiet woman from Argentina will be switching ulpans within a week. Two other men are on very thin ice with their lack of study and work. Who knows what this group will like like when the hot summer days of July finally arrive and what voids we may have to endure.