Archive for June, 2009

How To Throw Stones

Posted in Frum, Funny?, Israel on June 21, 2009 by frumpunk

One thing that becomes immediately obvious being in Israel is the line drawn between those who keep shabbos and those who don’t. Religious neighborhoods do everything they can to keep cars from driving through on shabbos. Some places have fixed gates that swing shut come Friday eve. The more ghetto places have stolen police barriers, plastic fencing, and I’ve even seen uprooted trees and road signs dragged into the road for the sake of shabbos.

The most interesting fixture to me though is the screams of the Israeli kids (and by kids I mean, people into their early twenties) of “SHHHHAAAABBBBBBOOOOSSSSS”  at the passing cars. I’m not sure what the purpose of this is. I have yet to see a car stop, it’s driver get out apologetically explaining how he had no idea, and how grateful he is to them for informing him of this fact. I’m fairly certain they can’t even hear the shouts, what with the engine, the radio and the thrust of a diesel engine moving them past the screams at speeds of thirty miles per hour. Really, all they’re doing is annoying me. Some of those kids can shriek.

Luckily, the shabbos patrol has hit upon another method of carrying out their duties as modern day town criers. The hurling of small blunt objects, such as rocks or unruly children. This makes far more sense to me and heeding the commandment to keep the shabbos day holy, I eagerly join in the launching of these airborne kiruv minerals. Of course, I asked about the proper way to go about this.

For starters, you have to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. If you see someone driving on shabbos, you have to assume that his wife is having a baby or someones ill and it’s a matter of life and death. That’s why before shabbos I write “Mazel Tov!” on one side of the rock, and “Get well soon” on the other. Only then do I feel comfortable delivering my message of goodwill right through their windshield.

You also have to keep in mind that not everyone is Jewish. Israel is also populated by Arabs and various Christian groups. That’s why I also wrap a few printouts of Noachide shirum around the rocks with rubber bands before launching my gift of kiruv into the driver.

Don’t call me a hero, I’m just trying to make the world a better place. Okay, you can call me a hero. Just once. Maybe twice. You know I can’t resist adulation from you.

I Almost Saw This Girl Get Killed

Posted in Israel, Me on June 18, 2009 by frumpunk

A few shabbosim ago while walking to our hosts on Friday night I almost saw this girl get killed. Yes, I’m trying to hook you in with the first sentence. Keep reading.

It was around a forty minute walk from yeshiva and led us through Geula and past the massive Brisker Shul, ‘The Castle’ as my friend called it. One thing that cracked me up during the walk was passing a different chassidisher shul just as they were leaving from davening. The shul was set up on a small hill, with stairs leading to it winding back and forth. With hundreds of identically dressed people going back and forth down shallow steps I had flashbacks to the classic game Lemmings. I’m not proud of it, but from my vantage point on the street it looked as though I should be able to click on them and start assigning them to start climbing or digging their way out of there.

As we neared our hosts we reached a roundabout with hundreds of young families and their twelve hundred children each milling about on the road. Suddenly we heard the wail of an ambulance get closer and closer. People started to move onto the sidewalk, but at a much slower rate than I would have expected. As the ambulance wailed into the roundabout, a young mother was pulling her double stroller onto the sidewalk when her little girl fell back onto the road, right in front of the ambulance.

One of my friends played hero and ran between the toddler and the ambulance with his hands outstretched like Moshe at a battle. The ambulance stopped short and in the midst of this surreal scene, I was most shocked by how the mother took her time picking her girl up and carrying her onto the sidewalk. I would have expected motherly instincts to provoke a rescue reminiscent of the Flash after going through a carton of Red Bull, but she seemed to lackadaisically pick the girl up, calmly walk back onto the sidewalk and only then let the ambulance back on it’s own lifesaving mission.

When we got to our hosts, I noticed it was a neighborhood with shabbos gates blocking cars. I asked what happens if someone needs an ambulance. Noone seemed to know.

On the way back we stopped off at the Brisker Castle so my friend could use the bathroom. While waiting for him, I counted how many people left without washing their hands. And we were offered bananas. I wondered if the Rebbe gets the bananas to ensure that his chassidim eat fruit at least once a week. And the rest is for another post.

Bugging Out

Posted in Israel, Me, Rants on June 9, 2009 by frumpunk
It’s never quiet here. It’s summer and it’s hot so we sleep with the window open. Last night at around 3am I hear a loudspeaker announcing something. I couldn’t tell if it was hebrew or arabic but I couldn’t decide what the tradeoff should be. Do I close the window for quiet or keep it open for the breeze? I’ve decided Israel is a second world country, by the way. First world technology, third world culture. Maybe thats a bit harsh, but the Israeli mentality definitely grates on me a little.
And the insects. I don’t like bugs. I’m not scared of bugs, I’m just protective of my body and when I see something that looks like it could sample my leg while I’m sleeping, I step on it. Israel must be a haven for ectomologists, because the sheer variety of creepy crawlies could make one shiver with glee. On shabbos we had ants crawling out of both sinks. This is doubly annoying, because it means you can’t wash your hands without someone shouting at you that you’re going to hell for killing on shabbos. Plus these little suckers had wings. WINGS. All of them, not just the queen. And last night I went to take a shower to find out they’d migrated and I was exposing myself to thousands of little friends. I hope none of them were female, or I might have been over an issur of yichud, not to mention indecency. I took a close look, but it’s so hard to tell, and I didn’t feel like trying to flip them upside down. 
I did the honorable thing of  course, and aimed the shower nozzle at the walls, giving them both the waterpark ride of their lives and a viking funeral. 

 

It’s never quiet here. It’s summer and it’s hot so we sleep with the window open. Last night at around 3am I hear a loudspeaker announcing something. I couldn’t tell if it was Hebrew or Arabic but I couldn’t decide what the trade-off should be. Do I close the window for quiet or keep it open for the breeze? I’ve decided Israel is a second world country, by the way. First world technology, third world culture. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but the Israeli mentality definitely grates on me a little.

And the insects. I don’t like bugs. I’m not scared of bugs, I’m just protective of my body and when I see something that looks like it could sample my leg while I’m sleeping, I step on it. Israel must be a haven for ectomologists, because the sheer variety of creepy crawlies could make one shiver with glee. On shabbos we had ants crawling out of both sinks. This is doubly annoying, because it means you can’t wash your hands without someone shouting at you that you’re going to hell for killing on shabbos. Plus these little suckers had wings. WINGS. All of them, not just the queen. And last night I went to take a shower to find out they’d migrated and I was exposing myself to thousands of little friends. I hope none of them were female, or I might have been over an issur of yichud, not to mention indecency. I took a close look, but it’s so hard to tell, and I didn’t feel like trying to flip them upside down. 

I did the honorable thing of  course, and aimed the shower nozzle at the walls, giving them both the waterpark ride of their lives and a viking funeral.

I Like You

Posted in Her, Shidduchim on June 9, 2009 by frumpunk

Remember when you asked me if there was a baracha to say upon seeing a pregnant woman? I thought for a moment and responded with “shelo osani isha”. You laughed harder than I did, and I like that.

To make this post more relevant for everyone else, this is a fantastic read.