Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Last night I visited Mosad Harav Kook, the famed research institution and publishing house, for their annual sale. It runs until next week, and I highly recommend it. A huge selection of great books, almost all from them, of course, at huge discounts. I managed to restrain myself and limited myself to what I came for. (OK, maybe just a bit more. But that was it.) There was a big and very diverse crowd browsing and buying.

In the lobby was someone selling the Bar Ilan Responsa Project, now on "disk on key." I think if you bought enough at the sale you got a discount. He had some monitors set up to demonstrate and greeted everyone coming in with an "Erev Tov" ("Good evening"), a flyer, and, presumably, a sales pitch if you stuck around. On my way out, he was still at it. A man in a black hat and suit came in:

Salesman: "Erev to..."

Customer, cutting him off and hurrying on: "Ain li mechashev." ("I don't own a computer.")

He was so abrupt I just had to laugh out loud, although a few seconds later I realized that, the Haredi world being what it is, he might well have been telling the truth. Still, it made me smile. And I got a few good books out of it too, which is never a bad thing.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Just like UN vehicles in these parts have "UN" written on them in large letters, so too reporters (no matter what their actual medium) have "TV" written on their cars in big letters. I was always a little offended by that- the obvious implication is "We're on your side, don't throw stones at us!"- and also a bit amused- Arabs don't use the Latin alphabet, but the whole world knows from the letters "TV." But today I saw something really funny- a couple of media SUVs with the letters "HD" added before "TV." Ha!

So, heading home down a semi-alley tonight, I see a few kids arguing/discussing something. As I approach, one goes "Ah!" and turns to me. I was a bit wary, but no need. Translating from the Hebrew:

He: "What blessing do we make on bananas?"

Me: "The fruit of the earth." (The usual blessing for vegetables, not fruit, which gets the "fruit of the tree" blessing.)

He, turning to the girl as if I've just settled it: "Aha!"

She: " grows on a tree!"

I tried explaining that strictly speaking a banana doesn't grow on a tree (look it up), and walked on. And promptly cracked up. What a country.