Friday, October 15, 2010


OK, here's another:

Waiting on line at a good Schwarma place on the Midrachov last night (before you start tsking, it was the first schwarma I had since Pesach time, and I think the first eating out I did in a long time), a religious couple, clearly from out of town, started asking about the hekhsher. (By this post, I by no means mean to belittle them- checking to make sure of such things is sadly neglected these days in the Land.) Sorry, but there'd be no real point to a translation here, so sorry for the rough transcription. Oh, and see if you can guess the source of the title above.

One of the countermen begins answering, "Rabbanut Hashgacha..."

The couple is insistent: "Rak haRabbanut?"

"Lo, Mehadrin Yerushalayim."

"Ma zeh 'Mehadrin'?"

"Mehadrin zeh...ha-ki tov, haelyon."

"Ken? Aifo haTeuda?"

The counterman begins looking around behind the counter, can't find it there, then realizes it's actually behind them, at the door. He points to it, the couple turns to read it. They're a bit satisfied. But then the man turns back.

"Aval ha'im zeh chalak? Aifo katuv she-ze chalak?"

A pause. The counterman ponders this. Then his face lights up.

"Ah! Avel ze hodu, ze lo basar!"

Another pause as it sinks in to the couple that despite common usage, there ain't no such thing as a glatt kosher turkey, and the counterman isn't so unlearned after all. Defeated- or, more likely, satisfied, they duly place their orders. And so do I. Yum.

By coincidence, a friend just emailed me a teshuva from Menashe haQoton (hey, it's what he calls himself) assur-ing all such foods. I promptly wrote back that I now feel pretty good that I unknowingly had some last night- if he says it's bad, it's a pretty good sign that the good Lord approves. (Ah, I had it phrased so nicely. Durn non-saved sent messages.)

By the way, I finally visited the Islamic Art Museum (see here) today. I'm not sure if I've posted this before- I first visited it in the mid-90's, and was especially impressed with their (non-Islamic) clock collection. Then last year, I discovered that half of the clocks had been stolen way back in 1983, and I was only seeing a part of the collection. They recovered almost all of them a few years ago, and...they are magnificent. Well worth a visit. The rest of the museum is pretty good as well.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

French Accent

It's been a while since my last "street encounter" posting. So here's a new one, once again translated from the Hebrew for your (and my) convenience:

I'm walking down Jaffa Street minding my own business (coming back from this event) when a group of young folk stop me and ask if I can explain a "joke" for them. (The Hebrew word can have a few translations.) They show me a small card on which is written, in Hebrew, "Holyland [the English word written in Hebrew, which is a long story in and of itself involving bribery and an eyesore- don't ask] in Latin, with a French accent." This was apparently some sort of scavenger hunt, and they wanted to know where it was.

Me: "Um...sorry, I don't think I know. Sounds like the Old City. Sorry!"

They: "That's OK, no problem! Thanks!"

We walk on. I go a few meters, still mulling it over, when it suddenly pops into my head. I turn around and run up to them, calling for their attention.

Me: "Holyland in Latin is Terra Sancta! Terra Sancta is a monastery, on French Square, at the end of King George Street! Holy Land, Latin, French!"

They, giving me a blank look for a second: "French Square? You mean Paris Square?"

D'oh! I must be the only person in Israel who refers to it by its proper name. That would have been too easy. Me: "Paris Square, that's right."

They, after checking a map: "Yay!" General cheering and pumping of fists. I walk away with my usual post-street encounter huge grin.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

You gotta love the way Shaffer (of National Review) reacts here (Paladino is running for governor of New York):

SHAFFER: Cuomo published an editorial in the New York Daily News acting like he will be a small-government, tough-on-unions type. Is that believable?

PALADINO: Ever been to the zoo?


PALADINO: Ever seen the zebra in the zoo?


PALADINO: Ever seen the zebra change stripes?


PALADINO: I’ve got the same feeling about Cuomo.