On coming and going, via route self marking.

I attended a fascinating discussion last night called “Piercing, Tattooing, and Cutting: Traditional Sources Meet a Modern-Day Trend.” It was held in Merkaz Edna and led by Sarah Halevi, a psychotherapist from Efrat.

It was basically a review of the connections and implications of self-marking from sociological, psychological and halachic vantages. While I didn’t necessary learn that much news, I did get a trip off hearing these issues discussed in a somewhat-public forum. The small audience was made up of a pierced girl who was probably younger than me, a girl around my age who is a social worker, two concerned moms (religious) and a very concerned set of parents (religious, somewhat naive).

Halevi summed something up that was definitely news in the way that I’ve never heard it put so simply before. She said she once had a student who explained to her the difference between American teenagers and Israeli teenagers when it comes to self-marking, drugs, etc.

American teenagers want to להכנס (come in) while Israel i teenagers want to לצאת (go out). The Americans are coming from a life filled with numbness and materialism; it’s empty and they need to prick themselves in order to feel alive. The Israelis live in a land of denial; they are expected to buck up and move on when a fellow student is shot and killed on the highway or an older sibling loses a limb in the army. They don’t get a chance to wallow or escape, so they do anything to remove themselves from the situation.

It can go either way, of course, depending on your family and social status, but in a general sense it was interesting. Definitely food for thought for the anxious parents present, who by the way, were all Anglos living in Israel… Maybe that has something to do with it?

Cross-cultural relativity.

Conversation between my husband and his Israeli dad:

“I’m going to the hardware store, I need to buy one of those plastic buts you put in the wall, to put a screw in – you can call it a trivet or something?”

“Eh, you ken call eet a spaghetti eef you want.”

<Laughter on our end>

“No really. Eet’s the long thing.”

“Well, the hardware store guy is called Abu Shukri, so I don’t think he’ll know ’spaghetti’ necessarily.”

“So tell him… חומוס, אבל ארוך”

You don’t mess with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Last night I watched 3/4ths of Adam Sandler’s You Don’t Mess With the Zohan.

Really, it was like any other Adam Sandler character acting film; Little Nicky, Waterboy. His extreme characters are not his strongest point for me (I’m more of a Billy Madison/Happy Gilmore fan). I’m always able to enjoy the twisted nature of his characters, yes, but at the same time, I feel lonely in that fact. Hence, only seeing 3/4ths of the movie; everyone around me was either asleep or unhappy.

Then again, it wasn’t like any other Adam Sandler character acting film. It was like a message of peace wrapped in ridiculous. I was pleasantly surprised by the handful of scenes that contained real dialogue and messages between the lines concerning the cyclical nature of Arab-Israeli violence.

I found it interesting that Sandler was banking on his audience to care for a movie with Arab and Israeli characters. A lot of the jokes totally ostracize people who don’t know much about Israel, while at the same time I think there could have been even deeper jokes for those of us who do. Why stop at hummus?

Of course, I can understand why the Israelis portrayed in the film are nothing like the Israelis in real life; similarly – and even more so – the Palestinians portrayed in the film are nothing like the Palestinians in real life. But I was not ready to get angry. It was half-baked satire, and that’s all i was expecting going into it.

I guess what bothered me more – because I was never going to take this movie all that seriously – Is that Adam Sandler is so much more than toilet humor. I don’t understand what goes through his head when he makes these character movies, which tend to blend together and lack finishing touches, as if he’s reaching for something but never quite there.

Leave that to Sacha Baron Cohen…

The difference direction makes.

The recipe for aliyah success is a complicated set of characterstics; not because what is required but because I think attaining what is required is seeded way before making aliyah.

I’ve mentioned creativity, open-mindedness and flexibility before. One other major ingredient in this recipe, I’ve discovered, is direction.

Now, direction is an ingredient for many successes: making the move from high school to college, making the move from college to being employed, independent and stable. Transitioning to the next stage of life, whichever that is, is a lot smoother if you know where you’re going, why you’re doing it and that you’re equipped.

Which is why, I find it funny when Israeli-borns are so impressed that in three years, I moved here, started a masters, got a steady job, got married, settled in a suburb, etc. They say, “Wow, I know tons of Israelis who haven’t gone that far…” Right. Because direction matters whether you’ve lived here all your life, or just for a few years.

A lot of people make aliyah because they lack direction. Some work it out, some don’t. Some people don’t make aliyah because they have direction and know it’s not in Israel; that’s not being anti-Israel, it’s honesty.

I also wonder if Israeli-borns view us as wealthy Anglos who obviously got this far because we had money coming into it. It couldn’t be more false; we were/are opportunists who are liberal when there is a knock at the door. Anyone can do that too, whether new oleh or vatik.

Opportunism, creativity, open-mindedness, direction, flexibility and honesty. It all works in hand-in-hand when you make it work that way.

Chillest fire department ever.

So there we are, my roommate and I, out on the mirpeset for a romantic start-of-the-weekend dinner of shippudim when I look up and see… a fire.

“Hey, that wasn’t there before, was it?”

Indeed, it was not. And it was growing by the second.

It was a fire started in some trees, right outside the school in the center of Tzur Hadassah.

So my husband calls the fire department… and gets a busy signal.

“Maybe everyone else is calling at the same time?”

He keeps trying till he gets an answer.

“B’derech, b’derech.”

We sit back down and watch the fire grow through the trees. Five minutes go by, ten minutes.

“The fire department is right here, in Bar Giyyora… What the hell?”

After fifteen minutes, he calls again.

“I reported a fire by the school in Tzur Hadassah about fifteen minutes ago… where are you?”

“Ahh… They said the fire was outside the school.”

Hmm. I didn’t go to fire school or anything. But I’m pretty sure fire doesn’t just chill where it starts…

“Duh, I think I’ll just plop down right here, conveniently outside the school so I don’t bother anyone.”

Ten minutes later, the firetruck shows up.

Tzur Hadassah made it to… Plurk?

Call me a geek, but I found this cool. I just signed up for a Plurk account (I’m still not sure what it all means) but when I was changing my settings and filling in my location, I clicked my country as ‘Israel’, than my region as ‘Yerushalayim’ and, ready to settle on that, I noticed… there was Zur Hadassah, on the list! Impressive, eh?