Israeli elections memes: some real ‘winners’ here

Israeli election season started pretty much right as the U.S. election season ended. Fear not – it’s no less depressing, frustrating and exhausting.

I wonder if I can write in a candidate this time, too?

Eretz Nehederet (Israeli sketch comedy) collected Israeli election memes and some of them are real… ‘winners’ (ehhhhh). A few of my favs:

Naftali Bennett: HaBayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home)

“I threw a grenade and killed 80 terrorists. And then the grenade exploded.”

Yair Lapid: Yesh Atid (There is a Future)

Yair Lapid: “Yair Lapid once said…” Bystander: “Aren’t you Yair Lapid?” Yair Lapid: “Thanks. You’re not bad yourself.”

Tzipi Livni: Hatnua (The Movement)

“Hello, everyone, welcome to the first meeting of the party Hatnua. Since most of us don’t know each other, let’s open with everyone saying your name and where you lost in the primaries.”

Aryeh DeriShas (Shas)

We’re there for those who don’t have… the energy to pay taxes.

Also, some non-elections related ones. Worth it. Check it out. (All Hebrew)

Also, Bibi and Bennett are playing footsie. Evil hatred footsie.

That awkward moment when… (#tmi)

…your 3.5-year-old son pulls a wrapped pantyliner out of your purse in public and continues to ask, ‘what’s this, Ima?’

…your 1.5-year-old daughter’s been playing around on you and then you look down and realize she’s made inconveniently-located saliva-sucking marks on your t-shirt.

…your son is reviewing with you the fact that private parts are private – “mine is mine, bebe’s is bebe’s, ima’s is ima’s, and abba’s is ima’s.”

…your daughter is trying out the toilet, pointing to the pee, and then handing you her wet fingers.

…you have a stand-off with your son about him wanting to come into the bathroom with you and you’re trying to convince him to stay out while clenching a tampon in your fist.

Those awkward moments, brought to you by Are You Mom Enough?

What are yours?

How to send condolence letters to the people of Newtown

With love.This time, it’s not even about being an expat. It’s about being a parent, a resident of a small, sleepy town, and a fellow human.

After noticing there was a destination address for sending messages of condolence for residents and victims of the Newtown, Connecticut rampage shooting,  I suggested to Koala we draw pictures for some people who are very sad in America. And maybe our pictures will make them feel better.

He was happy to comply, as was Bebe. Maybe teaching compassion and empathy this early is an important part of the cultural solution to today’s twisted society.

With love to Newtown from Tzur Hadassah, Israel.

With love to Newtown, from Tzur Hadassah, Israel.

You can send your own messages and letters to the following address:

Message of Condolence
P.O. Box 3700
Newtown, CT 06470

…or send a message online. The NYTimes has an entire list of ways to donate money and volunteering to Newtown and its residents, including the local United Way, local churches and other Newtown family and counseling services.

Does he realize my face is wet from tears as I kiss him good night?

NYTimes: B’Nai Israel Cemetery in Monroe, Conn., where Noah Pozner, 6, is to be buried today.Sitting just outside the kids’ room, on the cold tiled floor in the hallway, scrolling through articles on my phone. Silently scanning Newtown coverage, reading Newtown stories, seeing Newtown pictures as my son restlessly attempts sleep, deep within his bottom bunk.

“Ima, can you tuck me in?”

I don’t even bother wiping the tears from my face; it’s soaked and the evening chill stings my cheeks as I stand up.

He’s looking at me while I don’t make eye contact, lifting his little body up with one hand and stuffing the blanket underneath his back, the way he likes it. Tight like a hug.

I smooth it out on top of his belly and look at him. Kiss the place where his cheek and his nose meet.

What does this child know?

Does he realize my face is wet from tears as I kiss him good night?

Does he assume that I’ll always be there, even if I’m not?

Is he aware of the hidden demons that take shape around the world while we’re busy playing? Busy living?

Do American first graders practicing school lockdowns know why they’re lining up and locking doors?

Is there a way to fix it all, fix it like my son so passionately pretends to, fix the pain, the mess, the loss, the inevitability?

What might our children know?


Fifty-Two Frames: Opposite

I cherish that moment just before a small flame dies… If you catch it just at the right moment, you watch its last breath… and then it becomes a memory.

I cannot say the same for people. Maybe that’s what makes the concept of an eternal flame so comforting.

Week 50: Opposite

One minute you’re it, next minute you’re out.

Fifty-Two Frames: Opposite


Gun violence, mental illness, school shootings: Is my paranoia justified, then?

NYTimes: A flag at half-staff on Main Street in downtown Newtown on Saturday morning.So I guess I’m not as paranoid as I thought… Or the world has become a more realistic place for people with morbid imaginations like myself…

Set your mind back eight years. Remember the Beslan school hostage crisis? The massacre in September 2004, erupting from a local school hostage crisis that lasted a whole three days, including the capture of over 1,100 people (including 777 children) and ended with over 380 children and adults murdered.

That horrible terrorist tragedy really shook me. Violently. To my core. Something inside me was never replaced after that. Back in 2004, I didn’t have my own children yet. I was single, about to make aliyah, and absolutely horrified as I read every single detail while my eyes stung and my face soaked in tears.

I didn’t have kids yet, but it stuck with me, somewhere deep, dormant. Years later, when I started sending my oldest to a maon, a local kindergarten here in Israel, the Beslan massacre edged back into my consciousness.

One of the safest places in the world for a child, invaded. A schoolhouse raped by violence. Death in a classroom door. If it could happen because of terrorism there, surely it could happen here, in Israel. Even right here, in suburban Tzur Hadassah. In fact, it has happened, in the very beds of sleeping babes.

Surely there are troubled, evil spirits everywhere.

And so it’s been, for the last few years of every morning splitting my soul into two, and then three, as I send my kids into their gans, my mind wanders to an ugly place. Two to three times a week, it creeps into the outskirt of my typically rational lobe, whispering to me, what if. And so, if the gate is ajar, I make sure it’s locked when I leave. If I see a stranger loitering outside, I wait until I can suss out their purpose. And as I drive off, each time, I spend a couple microseconds pushing these thoughts out of my way.

And I’ve assumed I am paranoid. Morbid.

Did the parents at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut ever feel that way?

From reading up since the massacre, I learned the Sandy Hook school seems to be pretty tight with their security. And not in an inner-New York City way. Visitors must be buzzed in (on a typical day). The teachers held occasional drills to be prepared for ‘lockdown’ which apparently happened quite liberally. I found that shocking, actually. Security drills are the new fire drills in today’s America, perhaps.

Can it happen in Israel? Absolutely. This is a mental health care issue as much as, if not way more, than it is a gun accessibility/control/rights issue. And Israel’s gun control (yes, it’s actual gun control policy) is not an acceptable model for the U.S. of a “gun-toting utopia” as some would like to claim.

But mental health care – that’s another challenge.

In fact, it’s incredibly frustrating that ‘gun control’ is trending everywhere while ‘mental health care’ or ‘mental illness’ is still the untouched, ugly, misunderstood American elephant. I do hope President Obama is serious about taking “meaningful action” after this latest in an entire series of deadly shooting attacks in the second half of 2012 alone.

But meaningful action is not just centered around gun control, please. We Americans don’t have an encouraging health care system in place – and beyond that, a welfare management system for the mentally ill – in order to make serious changes regarding how these individuals are functioning (or not) in society. Forget Obamacare. As we all know, health care – and mental health care structure – are broken in the United States.

And Israel – well, it’s just as bad on that side of things. Kupot (the national insurance companies) barely cover therapy sessions, let along drugs related to mental illness, conditions, disorders. Even private insurance here isn’t inclusive.

From the classroom, I’ve heard from teacher-friends that learning disabilities are routinely denied in the classroom, or staff don’t have the education or tools for coping with it. For children with special needs, there are resources here and there, but until what point? And that doesn’t even touch the issue of what happens after the school system… Or way beyond learning disorders – serious mental illness.

This morning, after dropping the kids off, I did my morning walk routine. It includes a chance to peep through the fence that surrounds Tzur Hadassah and see from the outside of the yishuv the building where I send my son every day. Part of my crazy is that I often look to make sure everything is peaceful on the outside. No one strange lurking. That the gate is closed.

I wondered, as I approached today, what I could possibly see there. What kind of wide range of events is possible in such a twisted, ill world.

Who hasn’t been dreading the names of the 20 Newtown children being released. Who can  handle their names, their ages. Their pictures. There’s really nothing to say.

As an American, a parent, a human, I hope “meaningful action” means something, on the part of all of us operating in society.

RIP Vicki Soto, a hero with no other choice to make than the right one… 

Must-watch: What teachers do: Kaitlin Roig, first grade teacher, shares her account of how she protected her class… “I wanted them to know someone loved them… I wanted that to be the last thing they heard…”

Boys and their mothers and their future girlfriends.

Better than an I <3 my kids tattoo...I guess we now know what types of girls Koala won’t be bringing home…

Koala: What is that?
me: What?
Koala touches and scratches my nose
me: What are you doing?
Koala: You have something here…
me: Oh, my nose ring?
Koala: What??
me: That’s supposed to be there.
Koala: Why?
me: It’s nice. It’s been there since before you were born. You’re only noticing it now?
Koala: I don’t like it. Take it out.

Imagine he had seen me in my tongue ring days!?