It was just a usual quiet evening until the knock on my door. I looked out and saw an extremely frustrated young man with a computer.

“Do you know an older couple named Dave and Anne who live in this building?”

I answered, “I don’t know anyone here.”

“You do live here, don’t you?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Then you must know your neighbors,” he exclaimed. “At least you talk Hebrew… I just talked with them. They insist they are in this building… what number is this?”

I explained that this was number nine, and that no, I don’t know my neighbors. I only speak Hebrew and English, and all my neighbors speak Russian.”

“Are you sure?” the look on his face was complete confusion and anxiety.

I have no idea what was so important to him, but he definitely needed to find these people.

“I honestly don’t know,” I replied.

“Is there another 9 Yoav?” he was begging for an answer.

“Well,” I considered. “There is a 9a Yoav, in that building across from me.”

He looked, his eyes lit up, and he shouted, “Hallelujah. God bless you. Thank God… someone speaks Hebrew, Hallelujah! Thank God…” and went running off to the next building.

I had no idea what was so important to him, but I’m glad I could help, glad I was able to communicate with him, and sorry that Russian is such a terribly difficult language for me to learn.

Just today one of my neighbors came up to me all excited talking about flowers, and then going on and on in Russian. I smiled and nodded, and was happy she was happy. I don’t know why. She had a spade in her hand and looked like she was going to plant flowers… but I looked out the window, which is what I thought she told me to do, and didn’t see her again.

I think I’m the only person in my building who speaks Hebrew. If you would have told me that would happen when I first came to Israel in 1982 I would have answered, “no way!”

Somehow, these two incidents still bring a smile to my face, and I wanted to share this little taste of life in Israel with you.