Who exactly are you for?

Two days ago Berlin joined the endless list of cities that were attacked by a terrorist in one of the most popular events these days, Christmas markets. Many were injured, 12 died. 12 innocent people that just wanted to enjoy a night out. 

As an Israeli I’m, unfortunately, familiar with these kind of terror attacks in shopping malls, open markets, cafes and buses. All of this in the name of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

However, today many people in Europe think that terrorism is a Muslim problem, I beg the differ.

In the 5 months that I’m here I met People from Lebanon Iraq and Syria and heard terrifying stories before coming to Germany. People that were in life threatening situations so many times, that lost everything they had, a house, a career  I even heard a story about someone that saw he’s love of his life being slathered in front of his eyes, right after he had his leg burnt…

That’s why If you ask me, a man who belongs to a nation that went through the horrors of the holocaust, that was raised on stories of what the Natzies did to the Jewish people and only now heard about horrific stories about what the Natzies did to their own people, Germans like them. A man who watches today what is happening to the Syrian people, 71 years after the holocaust ended, I refuse to let my self go so easily with thinking that this religion is good and the other one is bad. This country is Satan and the other is an angel. 

This division we are doing is good for kids and kids stories. But when you grow up and meet the real world you should understand better.

Understand that evil, at the end goes against everyone, regardless the nationality, the ethnicity or the color of the skin. Simply because that is the only thing evil knows how to do.

That once you let fear go inside your heart, it will be followed by rage, and once it entered, soon hate will join the two and will be settled down in your heart.

The next that will happen is allowing evil to go after everyone who isn’t you. Simply because you are too afraid already.

It’s the German pastor Martin Niemöller that wrote in 1946, after world war 2, the following poem:

„First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me“

I refuse to let fear and hate crawl into my heart and take me. So I do fill my heart with simple joys of life everyday.

That’s why me and my friends went again to Christmas market, only two days after the attack in Roten Rathaus.

This time after a cup of gluehwein, which you have to try and a warm heart, we got into the open freezing air for some ice skating dancing. It was so much fun!!!

Cause you see, when you come down to us people yhe fight is pretty simple. One more laugh, one more dance, one more loving word to one another is the best shield against hatred and the best victory over those who are seeking death, is fighting for life.

And life always always wins.

Weihnachtsmarkt Am Roten Rathaus

We are all the same

To celebrate the end of course level A1.1 some of us went to have dinner together.

Hulda and her husband Igor from Brazil. They came to learn German for Ivor’s university needs and Hulda joined him. Ella from New Zealand that came to try and live here. Chia- Yun from Taiwan that I believe it’s the first time I wrote her name right after so many wrong versions of it. She also came to live here and I, who came 5 months ago to live here too.

We started with beer and clicked glasses starting with the German „Prost“ and then one more time in every one’s language 

„Cheers“ for English, „Gan bëi“ for Chinese, „Brinde“ for Portuguese and „Lechaim“ for Hebrew. Then finally we started drinking beer and got talking about our dating experience with Germans as oppose to dating in our own countries. We all agreed that asking us to split the bill according to what we ate can drive us all crazy. Common people, nothing will happen to you if you split everuything in half. Luckily, I never experienced that with my Germans friend or with my dates. i was always paid for or i was the one to paid for them as well..

Then we bitched about apartment hunting in Berlin. I just found one after I was looking for months and Ella should go in to a new apartment after having to leave the one she was staying in and Chia-Yun that is still looking. We all agreed that the living situation in Berlin is crazy and it’s so difficult that you easily get to the point when you think you’re doing something wrong, and maybe you are the problem.

After an hour sharing these kind of behind the scene of ourselves and lots of hot and spicy Indian food, I was thinking to my self how funny it is that each and every one of us came from a different corner of the world, looks different and speaks a totally different language but when you sit down and get to know the person behind you find out that even if it doesn’t look the same, we are all the same.

From right to left-

Igor from Brazil, Ella from New Zealand, Hulda from Brazil, Chia-Yun from Taiwan and i from Israel.

Dinner together

Dinner together

My tattoo in Arabic that says "We ar e all the same"

My tattoo in Arabic that says „We are all the same“

Silly Me

Last class we had an evaluation to know if we can continue to A1.2. My evaluation was good and the teacher told me I can go on to the next level. However, she also told me I should try to keep calm when I don’t get it. She said, it will make things much easier for me, if I tried to move on even when I don’t understand everything, instead of freaking out. She basically pointed at the one thing I’m dealing with all my life. „Tell me something I don’t know“, I replied.

I’m the youngest of four boys. My eldest brother is the „Energiser bunny rabbit“ that runs from one place to the other without giving anything it a second thought, doing all kind of crazy things. The second is the „Handy man“, the one that knows how to fix everything and somehow it seems that he’s always onto of everything. The third one is the one  I always got into fights with and then there was me, the „Smart Ass“, the one that has to be so smart about everything.

Yep, that the image I was cultivating all my childhood, being the smart one.

Although I love the unique point of view i developed because of that… here we go I’m doing it again..sorry!

Anyway, growing up as the smart one is a huge deal because I grew up being afraid of trying things I wasn’t sure about, that I wasn’t absolutely, 100% sure that I’ll succeed.

It saved me a lot of trouble but I missed many opportunities for that.

So ever since I was aware of that habit, I practice taking risks in many areas in my life. Yet, one thing hasn’t changed. How I react when I learn something new and I don’t get it.

Last time was the chapter about Akkusative and Dative in German class. I was hearing the words but nothing made any sense. What drove me up the wall was seeing other members of the class looking like they have heard it ever since they were babies and they are on top of this subject. I felt stupid and I just hated that. „I don’t understand what you are talking about“, „I don’t get it“, „your words don’t make any sense, I need something I can hold on to“, were some of the ways I was pushing to understand something that will make any sense.

Right at the end of that class, I realised that there’s something similar in Hebrew and I was starting to get it. Emotionally on the other hand, I felt frustrated from learning German. It’s too hard, I thought. I should do better, and i don’t, I got angry.. „Millions of people know the language and I feel lost, what does it say about me?“, I was stressing myself.

One class after my evaluation we learnt about Perfekt tense and again, things didn’t make any sense in my head.

I took a deep breath and told myself it’s ok, let’s do some exercises and it may be clearer after.

Surprisingly, it did, very quickly, at the same lesson. I saved myself the stress and the thoughts of being so stupid just because it seems that everyone gets it and i don’t.

How silly is that?silly-me

Fotos vom Kulturprogramm im Dezember

Liebe Teilnehmer,

das Kulturprogramm hat uns gestern Abend auf den Weihnachtsmarkt Charlottenburg gebracht. Zusammen mit euch haben wir uns mit Glühwein und Kinderpunch warmgehalten und mit den vielen Leckereien, wie gebrannten Mandeln und Zuckerwatte, schon ganz auf Weihnachten eingestimmt.
Anbei viele schöne Erinnerungen an gestern.

Euer DeutschAkademie Team


How I got my mates do something they didn’t want to

Whenever i studied something, I always thought I could be an „A“ student. In high school and university whenever they gave the trophy to the best student, I looked at her or him and thought „I could have been up there“ but I’ve never been.

It was only 10 years ago, when I started my course as a gym trainer, that I’ve decided, already from the beginning, that I will finish as an „A“ student and I’m going to do whatever it takes.

The night before the final exam I wrote on my Facebook wall „Tomorrow I got 100“. That’s OK, don’t worry, the mistype was intentional. I decided in advance what my score will be.

The next day at the end of the practical exam, I asked my teacher „How well did I do?“. „You scored 99“, he replied.

That can’t be, I thought, that should be 100. Then my eyes drifted to the paper my teacher had on his desk and I noticed the following instruction, „The student should present 10 perfect exercises out of 15“. „You gave me only 10 exercises, you should ask me to present 5 more“. I corrected him and thought that one perfect exercise more and I have a perfect 100 score.

„You’re right“. He said and asked to present one more exercise. Luckily, the exercise he asked was the same exercise I volunteered to present at the last class of the course.

As part of doing everything to get a straight „A“, I volunteered every time we were asked to. No matter if I knew to present perfectly or not, As oppose to how I was in every other course before and to the rest of my current class members.

I volunteered and made all the possible mistakes I could do. However, when I was asked to present the extra exercise in the final exam and realized that it was the same one as the exercise I volunteered to present, I knew already that my final score will be 100, as I said.

How come I knew it already? I remembered all the mistakes I’ve done, and how I should do it correctly, as the teacher showed on me when I volunteered at the last class.

And so it was. I presented the extra exercise, this time perfectly and got a perfect 100, as I decided it was going to get.

Therefore, yesterday the teacher in German class asked who wants to volunteer to write the answers on the board. No one wanted to and after few seconds of disturbing silence, I asked permission to say something.

„Go ahead and volunteer to write the answers the best thing that could happen is that you’ll get it wrong. Then you will know German  for the rest of your lives“.

After I was done one student after the other approached and wrote their answer on the board.

Everyone got it right, the first time.

img_0786 img_0785img_0787

All Around the Words

It all started when Cha Yin from Taiwan showed us how she writes her name in Chinese and explained that in her language there are signs, no letters. There’s no meaning to each line or piece of sign, only together they create a meaning.
I love languages cause it can tell about how the people that belong to that culture think, about their values and about their beliefs. I like the idea that alone we it doesn’t mean anything and only together we can create a meaning, only together we count for something.
I guess that’s why while we can go to gym and work on each muscle of the body separately at the Eastern culture they know that it doesn’t mean anything and they work out on movements that can serve us better as people.
Then she asked me to write her name in Hebrew and everyone where so enchanted by the letters of the oldest language in the world that one by one each student asked me to write his own name in printed and handwritten Hebrew.
I guess each letter, word and language, the same as people has its own charm on its own, and when being put together, a new magic is born.


Kulturprogramm im Dezember

Liebe Teilnehmer,

am 08. Dezember findet unser Kulturprogramm statt. Zusammen gehen wir auf einen der wohl schönsten Weihnachtsmärkte in Berlin, den Weihnachtsmarkt am Schloss Charlottenburg. Es erwarten uns viele Leckereien in einer besonders weihnachtlichen Atmosphäre. Bringt gerne Freunde und Familie mit und lasst uns zusammen einen schönen Abend in festlicher Stimmung verbringen.

Der Treffpunkt ist an der DeutschAkademie Alexanderplatz um 18:30 Uhr oder an der DeutschAkademie am Wittenbergplatz um 19:00 Uhr!

Meldet euch rechtzeitig an, es gibt nur eine begrenzte Teilnehmeranzahl.

Euer DeutschAkademie Team



Fotos vom Stammtisch im Dezember

Liebe Teilnehmer,

vielen Dank für euer zahlreiches Erscheinen beim gestrigen Stammtisch. Die Gewinner unseres Weihnachts-Quiz „Schneekind“ und auch die anderen Teams konnten unter anderem mit ihrem zeichnerischen Talent überzeugen. Anbei haben wir noch ein paar schöne Erinnerungen an den Abend.

Euer DeutschAkademie Team




My First Date

Oday was my first day of German school in DeutchAkademie. I have a weird relationship with first times in everything I do. We usually have a lot of fun with you.

Allow me to introduce myself first. My name is Chezy Menna and I’ve been to Berlin almost 4 months ago from Spain but I’m from Israel.

I’m what you call a „Citizen of the world“. I hate to be a tourist.

As a kid I would like to know seven languages and by now, as I would like to learn English, Spanish and German. Which I do not.

I would like to learn German with a private teacher. It has been a long time since I was born.

So, today was my first time in German school and for three hours I was struggling to stay up and not to bang my head against my notebook.

Do not get me wrong. It’s not the teacher. She’s super cool and has a lot of patience for us. It’s me, that’s how I deal with „difficult“, I just want to go to sleep.

I’ve been in high school. I’m so happy to be here. I’ll be there for you.

The thing is, I’m sorry. Without that you can go back to where you came from. In both cases, you will always be able to live with the local bureaucracy.

I had a lot of patience, but it was not a good thing. I’m going to have a good time.

I heard an interview with the Israeli actress Ayelet Zorer, who played the latest Hollywood movie „Daredevil“. She said, „You’ll never be able to climb on a cliff if you look up and say wow, how high.“ .

So I heard her, kept my eyes open and got myself „sugar high“.

See you tomorrow. We have a second date!



Christmas spirit in Berlin

Don’t tell my sister in law but I love Christmas. She’s an American Jew and she always hates it when she hears me singing Christmas Carols or hears that I have a tree in my house. Yes I know, I’m a Jew, I’m not suppose to celebrate Christmas, but I’ve never cared for what people thought I can or cannot do, so why should I start, when it comes to Christmas?

There’s something about the Christmas spirit that warms my heart. With the energy that changes and tunes everyone on the same positive vibe.

I especially love Christmas decorations and Christmas lights. Don’t kill me for that, but i’m a sucker for kitsch. It’s funny because „Kitsch“ is a German word that was used in Idish, which was the language Jews from Eastern Europe where using. Today you can find it used in English and as well as in Hebrew. It defines a design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality. Excessive or not, I think that everyone loves it and the ones who don’t, hate to admit that, because it’s not manly enough or they are just too damn bitter to allow the sweetness of Christmas crawl into their hearts.

Lucky me, I have friends who loves it and when we came back from thanksgiving dinner, we drove by kudam Christmas market, saw the decorations and made a Uturn to appreciate the lights a little bit more.

On Sunday night I couldn’t help it and had to go there and see it up close, not from behind the window of a car.

I was strolling down the street taking pictures of every tree, a star and of the beautiful rain deer, who I thought was Rudolph but it was missing the red nose.

I also treated myself with a Schokokuss that is very familiar treat in Israel too. There are cream people and biscuit people, but although I usually hate cream and prefer the Israeli biscuit, surprisingly, I loved the German cream version and didn’t really cared for the biscuit.

Going out from the market I thought it would be nice that instead of a small green plastic tree, I will get this year a real Christmas one.

I was so excited about that for a second, just before I realised, I don’t have a flat of my own and I’m still looking for an apartment in Berlin.


I was so excited about it, I was so excited about it.A Rain DeerA real tree