Had I been Afrewish…

If a Jewish state had been established in Uganda, as Herzl had one time proposed, I think I might have still emigrated to there. Not that I’m saying it should have been done, because obviously the ideal place is Eretz Yisroel, makes the most sense. And I still would have believed wholehartedly in Zionism even if that had been the case. But I have to admit, a big part of living here is living in a Jewish society, a majority of Jews, a place where Jewish traditions are the norm, not the sideline.

That might put me in a difficult position: What if the whole country tomorrow suddenly turned completely secular, without any trace or care for Jewish tradition? Would I have moved here for the holy land, or for the chance to reform, or for what? Would I have stayed behind?

Who is strong?

I was giving my (Israeli) friend chizuk.

“I know how hard it is to confront people, tell them off… I get that. And I get that you are an optimistic person, you like to see the good in people, so you’re hoping that she’ll come around…”

“That’s called naive. It would be sad because I wouldn’t be standing up for myself to her; when people yell at me, fine, yell, I just stand there. I can’t talk at that minute.”

“Of course not, I can’t either.”

“What? Of course you can. You always have an opinion and argue back.”

“Not if someone is yelling at me, attacking me.”

“Yeah you do. You’re all alone, you have to.”


“You’re here by yourself, there’s no one else here to yell for you.”

Huh. While that’s true, I can’t say that I’ve become any better at arguing or yelling back or protecting myself. I might be officially Israeli, but I am still very much culturally American. Even if that disappoints my Israeli friends’ expectations…

Old man strategy.

I have a new stategy for conversing with old men on the bus or at the bus stops or in the makolets.

I give them the conversational responses they would give me… It totally stumps them! And, obviously, it sharpens my old man conversational hebrew.

Old man on bus: “Boy, was it hot today.”

Me: “Yup.”

Old man on bus: “And it’s going to be hot tomorrow.”

Me: “Yup.”

Old man on bus: “And there’s going to be a heat wave on Saturday.”

Me: “Here comes summer, eh?”

Old man on bus: (Looks at me ponderingly and nods) “Yes… I’m just more of a winter person than a summer person.”

Me: “What can you do, though, right?”

Old man on bus: “Right.”

Come on, late comers!

For those out there who are only realizing summer break is upon us, and still need something to do this summer –
maybe something to beef up their resume?
maybe something to relax them?
maybe something different than they do all year round?

…consider visiting this site: Israel Programs Center. Maybe you just need an excuse to come to Israel. Maybe you want a trial run before aliyah.

Basically, the Jewish Agency has this little department who’s mission is to get you on a short-term (and that depends on how short or long you’re willing to stay) program to Israel, interning in high tech, training to be a medic or firefighter, learning Hebrew and working on a kibbutz, playing in the army, etc etc.

And don’t worry about it being so late in the season already – the Jewish Agency excels at lateness!

Feel free to spread this info and contact me with questions (how to do this cheaply, for example); I did an aliyah trial run through the internship program myself and I know a few people who have done a few of those programs. And I used to work for the IPC.

Orange-haired Mizrachi lady.

In my head, I gave her three guesses.

“So you’re achrei tzava?”

“No. I wasn’t in the army. I’m an olah chadasha.”

“Oh, you look 20, chamuda. So you’re 18?”

“Yeah, I know… No, 23.”

“You probably hear that a lot…”


“What nice shirt! So did you get that back in Russia?”

“No… the States.”