Some nation observations:
1. One of the professors I have, an American who has been here for 20+ years, teaches us fundamentals in Conflict Management and Negotiation. I’d say he himself is a bit short with us, a bit impatient. He’s always shhing the students and snapping at them when they’re questions seem dumb to him. To be fair, they are a bit rowdy – ok, ok – very chutzpadik. Could be because of the culture differences, even after all these years (he’s not the only American professor Ihave with whom I’ve noticed culture difficulty with teaching Israelis).
The other day in class, there was a new student – an Ethiopian girl. He noticed her in the middle of class. He looked taken aback to see a new student and then he very sweetly asked her, Are you knew? and she replied, Yes, and then he asked her name and welcomed her.
It was very nice, but I’ve seen him speak to new students before, especially since we’re all new. It struck me suddenly: Even after 20+ years, the American instinct to be PC is still around. I say this because there’s no way I could mistake the way his face changed when he started talking to her; the way his voice changed, how he addressed her, how he stood. This, for some reason, fascinated me.
2. This might seem simplistic of me, but I still can’t get over the relation of diaspora and Israeli Jews. Mainly it’s in the faces: the way I look at people on the bus, and I try to guess their origin, and then I try to see them as if they were born in the States. And then I picture people in the States, and how they could just as easily be Israeli. And how the face could be the same, the Jewish face, and yet they could come from completely different places, at least in the last generation.
3. I was at lunch at work the other day, and I was sitting with a bunch of Israeli coworkers. I was dazing in and out because we were speaking in Hebrew. When I finally snapped back into attention, I realized that one of them was talking abou a very personal topic in her family. The other women were asking very blunt questions. Their faces weren’t necessarily hard, but they weren’t gushing either. And the girl speaking was answering their questions in a similar tone: That’s life.
People here are just very open and easy going about personal lives. A classmate had cancer, another a miscarriage – and it’s life and you move on. I guess the difference is that people are more gushy in the States. Softer and more dependent on interpersonal tipul. I don’t think either way is neither good or bad, terrible or ideal.
But I suppose I’m falling into line.