Archive for May, 2009

Yeshiva Food

Posted in Food, Funny?, Israel, Me on May 26, 2009 by frumpunk

I forgot what it was like to subsist entirely on yeshiva food. I thought at my age, Mystery Meat and Unidentified Stew were things of the past. Unfortunately I forgot just what yeshiva food is like sometimes. I was ill for the past two days, apparently throwing up the contents of my stomach from the past few months. When I wasn’t hugging the porcelain I was alternating between sweating and being freezing. At one point I seriously considered the possibility that I’d caught swine flu from the yeshiva food. Most people can take it, but they’ve been here long enough that they’re hardened and acclimated to it, like the way a championship boxer thinks nothing of several blows to the skull. I spent forty shek on a bunch of pink tablets that the guy at the pharmacy assured me would make me feel better. Or maybe he was saying it’ll help me grow a third nipple. My Hebrew is terrible and he didn’t speak English, so either one is a possibility. Plus, Israeli medicine… it could be for my stomach with the extra nipple being a side effect. If I could read ivrit I’d probably realize it has “additional nipple” listed as a possible effect, right after “anal leakage”.

Now for my generic Israel complaint. Why can’t you buy juice? I have a Pepsi Max addiction, and I thought I’d hit the perfect drink (tastes great, no calories) until this girl who seems to have this ridiculous ability to make me want to make her happy asked me to healthen (no, not “heathen”) myself up a bit. I told her you can’t drink the tap water here (I have, but it tastes terrible) and bottled water isn’t cheaper than soda. So we agreed on juice, except that the only juices I could find were basically soda or syrup anyway. No normal not-from-concentrate apple juice or anything. I found the prigat apple nectar, but I’ve had it and it’s not the juice I’m looking for. I did find juice later, at the other end of the supermarket. The prigat organic freshly squeezed orange juice. For twenty shek. No thanks. That would buy me four Pepsi Max’s with change left over. I think the prigat company is in cahoots with the sun to make me thirsty all the time. And they’ve paid her to make me feel guilty for loading my body up with sugar. It’s a massive conspiracy against me, I tell ya.

Israeli Buildings Are Too Conformist

Posted in Israel, Me on May 17, 2009 by frumpunk

I’d always suspected it, but it wasn’t until I learned how to drive that it became official that I had zero sense of direction. North, south, east, west, maps, grids, visual layouts, I’m lost with all of them. I can only find my way around by recognizing landmarks such as parks, buildings and sometimes, a certain car if it’s always parked there. Before I go somewhere I need to head back home or somewhere familiar so I can figure out which way to go. I can’t visualize streets and their layouts to know shortcuts or which general direction to head in. 

So Israel is horrible for me. What’s with the rule that every building has to look the same? What might happen if they allowed you to live somewhere that’s not made of yellow stone? And it’s not just the colors, but the architecture, every building is designed exactly the same. I have absolutely nothing to go by to figure out where I am. I get the general idea behind the rule, I agree that putting a steel and glass highrise in the Old City might ruin the atmosphere a bit, but why even in places as far away as Ramat Beit Shemesh does everything have to look the same? I know it sounds like hyperbole, but I’m literally not ready to try and go anywhere on my own yet. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Speaking of Ramat Beit Shemesh, what’s with the graffitti in the little parks? As far as I can tell, the entire population consists of young black hat families and their hyper little kids. Who exactly is going into the park to spraypaint dollar signs on the walls? And why dollar signs? A sign of the recession? The only way to get close to a dollar in Israel these days is to paint it yourself? Also, the air in Ramat Beit Shemesh smells like marijuana. I’m serious, I asked someone else if they smelled anything. They sniffed the air and said “weed”.

More to come, basically whenever I get on the internet. Sorry for the lack of polish on these posts, I’m not used to being timed. 🙂

So I’m in Israel

Posted in Israel, Me on May 15, 2009 by frumpunk

Have you ever looked up at the ceiling of the arrivals terminal in Ben-Guerion? It’s littered with helium balloons, just stuck there. My flight got in early and I landed in the middle of the night, so I had to hang around for a few hours just so I wouldn’t be showing up at the dorms at 5am, waking people up and raising a chorus of “…uh, who’re you?”. It wasn’t bad, if you like people watching. I saw the crowds come and wait for their loved ones, helium balloons in hand, shriek when they arrived and then I watched the balloons float towards the ceiling on their way out. I guess because it’s fun to get a balloon, but do you really want to have to carry it around all day? I was wondering what they do at the end of the day. Do they have a guy with a long stick whose job it is to get them down, or do they just hang around up there until they deflate?

I’ve got lots more to write but I’m running out of internet time and the owner is starting to glare at me. I didn’t expect it to be so hard to find an internet cafe here. If anyone knows of any good ones, please let me know. This post is from a borrowed laptop and wifi.

Have a good shabbos.

Heading To Izzyland

Posted in Israel, Me on May 13, 2009 by frumpunk

So it’s summer, school is over and I’ve just finished paying off every debt I owed. I’m heading to Israel for the summer, because I always figure the best thing to do when you stop owing money is spend more money so you can continue the cycle. I’ll be in Yeshiva through July, and I will be blogging from internet cafes several times a week.

This was really a weird decision for me. I’m 24 now and I haven’t been properly learning for four years. I figured I could do with a summer semester of inspiration. Hope it won’t be difficult to get back into it.

Sorry for the short post, I’m leaving to the airport the second I hit ‘Publish’.

Stay tuned.

Positively Pesach

Posted in Frum, Funny?, Heimish, Me, Yom Tov on May 4, 2009 by frumpunk

Before I begin, let me point out that I’m not late in posting about Pesach this year. I’m just really early in posting about how my Pesach was next year. 🙂

This Pesach was the first time my brother came home since going off to Israel. In seven months he’s completely frummed out, which is fantastic, at least if you’re always looking for blogging material. I mean frummed out as in, making my sister cringe when he took her to a college interview and while they were waiting, asking any Jewish-looking passing students if they want to learn some Pirkei Avos.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. At the seder, while I was pouring out my grape juice-with-a-bit-of-wine, he looked over and remarks that while he’s sure what I’m doing is halachically correct, he’s going to do things the correct way and drink four cups of wine. To emphasize the hilarity of this situation let me mention two things; our seder cups are massive and noone in my family drinks alcohol because we’re genetically lightweights.

My mother, who’s always quick to jump on a bandwagon of anything that seems frummer followed his lead with filling up her cup to the brim with wine (because he also said it has to be a full cup no matter how big the cup. I asked him what about if I brought a giant novelty ten liter wine glass to the table. He didn’t answer). So as I expected, by the time shulchan orech came around, my brother was wasted and my mother was on the couch with a headache.

So ironically, my brother was trying to be so frum that he got himself drunk to the point where he collapsed into bed and was snoring after soup, so he didn’t even say hallel or have the last two cups. Also, from seven months in Israel his hebrew pronunciation has picked up an Israeli twinge on the accent that is frankly, hilarious.

As for me, I left the seder with a stomachache from drinking all that kedem grape juice that is probably more of a laboratory experiment in bowel movements than an actual beverage. So sickly sweet. And I remember reminding myself of the post I wrote last Pesach complaining about the same thing and getting some comments on the right kind of wine to buy. Maybe next year I’ll remember in time.

Hope yours was as much fun.