Benji Lovitt
Because the Middle East is Funny

An Immigrant’s (Video) Confession

Just a couple of months ago, I celebrated my 10-year aliyah anniversary. If oleh chadash (new immigrant) Benji could have seen his future self 10 years down the road, let me tell you what he would have thought:

Future Benji has his stuff together.

Future Benji is beyond stress.

And Future Benji absolutely, positively, DEFINITELY speaks Hebrew fluently.”

And why wouldn’t he? Nobody liked speaking Hebrew more than Oleh Chadash Benji and even pre-aliyah Young Judaea nerd Benji, so who would think otherwise?

Well, somewhere between landing at Ben-Gurion with my new Nefesh B’Nefesh baseball cap and celebrating ten of the craziest and most meaningful years ever, life happened. And if someone were to somehow not realize that life doesn’t always turn out as we expect, immigrating to Israel will help reinforce that lesson immediately.

Though I’m still here and doing more than just “surviving,” it turned out that learning a new language to the degree I had hoped wasn’t quite as easy as I had expected, at least not for me, my circumstances, and the life choices I made along the way.

(Sorry to anyone who might be offended by the F-word but this is the group’s name.) I was recently asked to take part in FuckUp Nights, “a global movement born in Mexico in 2012 to share publicly business failure stories,” according to their website.

Okay, who wrote that English? “To share publicly business failure stories”? I would have written “to publicly share” but, hey, I’m not here to flaunt my English skills. And that was the purpose of my story, to recount the troubling journey of my relationship with Hebrew. No matter how good or bad your Hebrew is, hopefully many (most? all?) immigrants will be able to relate to at least part of it. And maybe I didn’t follow the guideline about relating it to my business, but if it was a mistake, it wouldn’t be the first one this immigrant has made.

Even though we all try to put on our best face before we walk out the front door (or choose our new profile photo), no one out there should think that they’re the only one struggling.

The following video contains just a few F-words, and I don’t mean “felafel.”

Benji Lovitt Benji Lovitt, Comedian share his personal story about being an Israeli, his personal Fuckup as Ole and why is so hard to learn Hebrew?!

Posted by FuckUp Nights Tel Aviv-Yafo on Saturday, 1 October 2016

Here’s to a year of happiness, health, and forgiving not only others, but also ourselves.


About the Author
Since making aliyah in 2006, Benji Lovitt has performed stand-up comedy and educational programs for groups including Jewish Federations, Chabads, synagogues, Masa Israel Journey, and Birthright Israel. His perspectives on aliyah and Israeli society have been featured on Israeli TV and radio and in publications such as USA Today, Time Magazine, the BBC, and more. Benji has worked as a cross-cultural trainer with groups including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Masa Israel and is a popular presenter on the Limmud International circuit. During 2014's Operation Protective Edge, his humorous observations on the war led to his being called in Israel "the only reason to go on Facebook.”