Friday, November 20, 2009

My Strange and Charmed Life

(A physics reference; never matter.)

So I'm entering the Ben-Tzvi Institute last night for what proved to be a very enjoyable experience. The guard, as is usual, asks me if I'm carrying weapons. (I'm always amused/bemused by that question. They must be asking for some other reason, right?) My companion and I laugh, and go, "As a matter of fact..." I turn around and show him the three plastic swords sticking out of my bag. We all nearly collapse laughing.

Why am I carrying plastic swords in my bag? Come to Beit Shmuel, end of December, and you'll know.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Boy Wonder

Let me just make it clear up front that I think the whole "peace process" is a crock, and, even more, hope it fails miserably- precisely because I believe that its failure is a necessary step toward achieving true peace, the most important thing.

That said, you have to savor the irony of Obama, the man who supposedly understood the world so well he'd save not only the US' international reputation but the world itself, really putting his foot into it, on both sides, and thus perhaps (hopefully?) ruining the very process he claimed only he could save.

On the Palestinian side: I think a serious case can be made that the Arabs are ever more emboldened by the fact that it seems that the current US administration will see no wrong in them, thus leading to their attempted unilateral moves that may well (again, hopefully) lead to Israel taking some steps of its own.

On the Israeli side: Let's not be stuck on stupid: I think it's pretty obvious that when the US says it doesn't want building in a place, it means it hopes that place will one day be Judenrein. Leaving aside that there are hundreds of thousands of Jews in the West Bank and tens of thousands in the Golan Heights (and considering what a bang-up job has been done on- whoops, for- the few thousand Gaza expelees), when Obama's representative starts talking about Gilo in the same language, Israelis are gonna put two and two together and start drawing the line, and at a lot more than Gilo and Jerusalem.

So much for The One stopping the rise of the oceans.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Reasons I love being here, part...

"White Russian."

[OK, OK, but if my purchases are going to be influenced by movies, that's a good one. Besides, up on stage at the Canaan music bar, Jordan Zell is playing an original song named "Russian Girl."]

The waitress looks at me quizzically. I repeat the order, point to "Black Russian" on the menu. A light goes on.

"Ah! Ani Eshol." [I'll ask.]

She talks to the kippah-clad bartender, comes back a few seconds later.

"Zeh b'chalav- anachnu b'sari." [There's milk in that- we're a meat establishment.]

I order a Black Russian instead, as a small chorus of angels inside my head (and I, to my neighbors) sing the praises of the Land of Israel.

I've ordered White Russians in bars before. This is the first time that's happened.

Oh, did I mention the shelves behind the bar that the bottles are on are in the shape of a giant Magen David? Perfect.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Toto, I don't think we're in Queens anymore...

The following is on the front page of today's Yediot Acharanot, the largest circulation paper in Israel. I have not translated; the line appears in English. (The speaker is the unrepentant murderer of an entire family- parents, grandparents, toddler and infant.) The asterisks are mine, because this is a family blog. Apparently, however, that isn't a consideration for Israeli newstands, and the word is printed in full:
"I'm a nasty m*****f*****, I killed them all"
I'm going to have to go through some cultural adjustment, that's for sure.