Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kimsois Chuson Al Kalu

Arriving back in Israel immediately threw me back into the whole system. As soon as I walked out of the airport, I found myself having to go through the motions and stress of getting a sherut to the proper place in Jerusalem. For the unacquainted, anyone who wants to save money takes a sherut from the airport. A sherut is like a small bus, fitting around 12 people, that goes between the airport and one of the larger cities in Israel. In Jerusalem, because of the large area and the number of people going, the system is broken up by area, and to "save time" the drivers spend hours making sure they place people in a sherut by street. On my sherut, I had several secular Israelis and a group of Mormons from Salt Lake City. Lovely. As soon as we entered Yerushalayim, the Mormons were shocked to see people walking around openly with rifles. This was after they survived the trauma of our sherut driver attempting to run over all cars in his way. I wonder how the rest of their trip turned out...

My first two days back in Israel happened to be national holidays, Yom HaZikaron (remembering fallen soldiers) and Yom Ha'Atzma'ut ("independence" day). Most religious people are too keen on these days. I asked a friend why it was that Zionists and daati leumi ("National Religious", or modern orthodox) wanted to remember the bodies of the soldiers killed defending an anti-Torah agenda, but not all of the souls that the state of Israel has destroyed by putting nationalism above spirituality. He didn't have an answer.

On thing about secular holidays in Israel, unlike in America, is that EVERYTHING closes. I wish that Israelis could be as makpid (strict) about closing on Shabbos as they are to close on stupid holidays like Yom Ha'Atzma'ut. On Yom Ha'Atzma'ut, I found myself standing in line at the only falafel shop open on Geulah. As I stood in line with 50,000 other hungry people, the lone man-behind-the-counter acted in typical Israeli fashion, barking out requests and shoving food to people. A man from France two ahead of me in line, someone who seemingly had never been to Israel before, told the worker that his customers are not animals, and his disrespect and tone are sickening, and that he wouldn't pay. Not really caring, the Israeli shoved the food to him, and he went back to the seating area. Two seconds later, as I still stodd with unknown children latched onto my legs and someone's elbow in my back, the Frenchman returned, took his falafels in both hands, and threw them at the Israeli behind the counter. At this point, even the most aggravated people in line turned on the Frenchman, and people on the street watching through the window verbally assaulted the poor guy as he left. In Israel, you have to have a sense of humor about everything, or you won't even last a day.

Friday was the type of day that makes Israel magical. The sun was bright and warm, the white clouds floated by soothingly, and the whole day seemed to embrace you. As I walked to the kosel for shacharis, I found myself really engrossed in enjoying the day. The Old City seemed more packed with tourists than normal, and the whole city hummed with noise. After davening and an early lunch of chips im charif, I walked back to my apartment. Hotter now than in the morning, Israelis were huddled under treesand below walls, looking for a place cool enough to allow them to drink handmade espresso without completely melting. The city is really wonderful. "Yusis ulayich Eloikoyich, kimsois chuson al kalu..."

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting about the wait in line to get something to eat. I know right then you knew you were not in USA anymore. May-be the elbow in the back but not the kids hanging on your leg. From your entry sounds like it's good to be home again. I looked up a few new words but no hit so I will ask later. Be Safe and G-d Bless. Peace to you. Love Mom