Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Our New Reality

I thought that after the summer from hell, I wouldn't ever be able to write again. I could never accurately describe the terror of hiding in the bomb shelter, of receiving constant Red Alert notifications, of the obsessive need to check the news to make sure that my friends and family were still as safe as one can possibly be while living in Israel. I will never forget hearing the news of the 13 Golani soldiers who were killed in action, hoping and praying that it wasn't true, and worse hoping and praying that it wasn't anyone I knew. I will never forget the funeral of the lone soldier Max Steinberg, his family's eulogies, and seeing his body being carried on the shoulders of his fellow Golani soldiers. 

I will never forget this past summer. It was the summer the IDF finally went into Gaza. It was the summer that I realized what it is like to actually live in Israel, to be an Israeli. It was the summer that I learnt how to get up every day and go about my normal life despite the terror around me. We got used to the sound of the air raid sirens, finding shelter at any time, and in any location. We saw the Iron Dome shoot missiles out of the sky above our head, and we thought it was exhilarating. We made a joke out of the music video that Hamas put out intended to strike terror in our hearts, instead danced to it at clubs and listened to it on the radio.
The ceasefire signed, the people outraged, the summer ended, the country on the brink of war.

Today I woke up to the sound of the helicopters, knowing before I even opened my eyes that something terrible had happened. Today I woke up to the news of a deadly attack in a synagogue in a neighborhood relatively close to mine. Two terrorists wielding axes and butcher knives walked into a synagogue during the morning prayer and proceeded to slaughter the men inside. Men in middle of saying the prayer of peace, men wrapped in their tallit (prayer shawls), men who just wanted to go to synagogue that day to pray to their God, their loving, kind, gracious God who determines the course of every action in this world. 

A scene reminiscent of the Holocaust, the bloody stain on world history that we promised for years that We Will Never Forget. 

They say this attack breaks the records of depravity and cruelty. They say this attack is a declaration of war. 

We got used to the air raid sirens. We got used to the concrete blocks by the train stations that were put there to prevent terrorists from driving into pedestrians waiting for the train. We got used to the smell of tear gas in the air, the sound of gunfire, the constant news of riots all around us. 

Is this what happens now? Is that what we're supposed to get used to? Is this the new ridiculous insane level of the reality that we're expected to tolerate in order to live in this country?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

'If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?' --Shakespeare

This wasn't how I was going to start this post. I have been thinking about it for 3 weeks now, wondering how can I put my feelings into words, how I can express the emotions I am feeling.

I didn't sleep the entire night. Not even for 30 seconds. I lay in bed for close to three hours before I realized that I had to get up to work. Despite the fact that I hadn't yet fallen asleep, I still had to get out of bed and be a functioning member of society. I couldn't sleep because I couldn't turn my brain off. I couldn't stop thinking about what is next for this country. I couldn't stop thinking about what feels like the impending doom, about the non stop riots, about the barrage of rockets.
I couldn't stop thinking about all the people in South, all the people who haven't slept peacefully in 12 years.

I just watched a 20 minute documentary on the reality of what it is like to live in Sderot. A city so close to Gaza, that a day without a rocket attack is unusual for them. I heard siren alerts, saw videos of Israeli citizens running to bomb shelters, heard the situation explained in a way that hit closer to home than it ever has before. The video showed a park where there is this bomb shelter, disguised as a caterpillar. A friendly place for the young children to run to when the siren goes off. A place to run to when these kids have 15 seconds to get to shelter before the rocket lands somewhere in their city. Fifteen seconds for children to make a decision that no one should ever have to make. These are little kids. Kids who continue to grow up underneath the umbrella of terror. Kids who have so much PTSD that the pictures they draw of their families include them hiding in these shelters. Kids whose 'Ring Around The Rosie' games incorporate running into the giant caterpillar in their playground.

Less than 5 minutes after I finished this video, I went outside to get some fresh air. I saw 7 little Israeli kids playing right outside my house. This is the first time in the two years that I have lived in this neighborhood that I have seen Israeli kids playing in the neighborhood. They were playing hide and seek. They were hiding behind a block of concrete, around a pillar, fearless, and powerful.

In that moment I imagined these same Israeli kids in Sderot. Playing hide and seek in their playground, hiding in their caterpillar, playing the game until the siren goes off and then the game turns into reality, and the kids are hiding in their caterpillar because there is a rocket headed their way. A rocket fired at them by terrorists in the Gaza Strip who have one mission, one goal, and that is to wipe out the Jewish people.

I downloaded this special new app, an app that sends me a notification every time there is a 'Color Red' alert anywhere in Israel. I get a notification every time the air raid siren goes off and I have been getting notifications what feels like non stop for the past three days. Notifications that meant that somewhere very close, citizens of Israel were running to the closest bomb shelter.

I am an Israeli citizen. I will always be an Israeli citizen. I am also an American citizen. I grew up in America and lived there for the majority of my life. It makes me sick that America calls for Israel to resume peace talks, for Israel to sign yet another ceasefire with Gaza, another ceasefire that they will break as soon as they have the opportunity. It makes me sick that America expects my country, my nation, the Jewish people, to sit passively and take this constant barrage of rockets. It makes me sick that the entire world is looking at Israel right now, waiting for us to 'God Forbid' step out line. Waiting for us to make a 'dramatic, unrestrained' move to defend ourselves.

I know that if I was in my house in America and an air raid siren went off, the entire world would be in shock and the entire world would call for Americans to rise in arms and defend themselves. Why isn't Israel afforded the same right? Why aren't Israelis allowed to defend themselves - their families, their property and their lives - without fear of the wrath of the world?

Americans wouldn't even recognize the sound of the air raid siren if they heard one. In Israel, the air raid siren is so frequent that when you hear something that sounds even remotely like the sound of the siren winding up, your heart starts beating faster, and your mind goes on overdrive looking for shelter, you get that extra rush of adrenaline that will help you get to safety. Because in Israel the possibility of having to hear the siren is very real.

One rocket in America and there would be utter chaos. Hundreds of rockets in Israel, and we are told to behave with caution, to not add gasoline to the fire.

Why isn't Israel allowed to put out the fire? Why isn't Israel allowed to take action to annihilate the terrorism that goes on all around us?

The video I refer to.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Time I Met Zoey Deutch. Almost.

I have been having a hard time keeping up with the blog because every time I open the page to write something new, I see my Chevron and Gaza posts and feel like I can't move past what I felt there.

But today my wise mother told me I need to move past the pain and the outrage of what is currently happening in my beloved country and appreciate and embrace the beauty and goodness of the land of Israel. So I will do my best. This doesn't mean I am not absolutely outraged by these ongoing 'peace talks' and the release of terrorists, it just means I am not going to write about it right now.

So instead, I am going to tell you an amusing story about me and a celebrity. True, it may not be about Israel, but it did happen in Israel, and I guess that counts!

As some of you may know, depending on whether we are Facebook friends or whether I have deemed you worthy of the mildly embarrassing fact, I am absolutely obsessed with this book series called Vampire Academy.

Now before you roll your eyes and think to yourself - Oh joy, another vampire novel, that is so 2010, I have to point out that I am a person of reasonable intelligence and these aren't the sparkly vampires of the Twilightesque world.
The series is witty, engaging, funny, bad ass, and all around awesome. The writing is incredible, the story line is great, and I am OBSESSED with it.
So much so that I mentally reference the book in my head and compare myself to the main character - she kicks butt and has no filter and is all around amazing. Obviously I want to be exactly like her.

When I first finished reading this incredible series, I immediately checked to see if they were making a movie, because what could be better than seeing my favorite series on the big screen. I saw that the rights for a movie adaption of the first book had been bought, but as it commonly happens in Hollywood, it was just sitting on a shelf somewhere collecting dust.

So you can imagine my surprise and excitement when finally 2 years later, they announced that they had cast the 3 main characters and the movie was in fact being made.

And that is where it began. The obsession. The drive. The constant hunting for any news with any small amount of relevance. The camaraderie that was established with fellow fans, people just as obsessed as I was. This was all about a year ago.

After the initial casting announcement things sped up, they cast other characters, found a location and started filming. Behind the scenes shots were slowly shared and the thirst for these little tidbits was like the thirst of a man in the desert without any water. Each and every picture was shared, over analyzed and saved. This is the level of excitement I have for this movie.

 When I found out that the main character, Zoey Deutch, was coming to visit Israel, I was ecstatic. The moment I heard the news, I realized that I absolutely had to meet her. Israel is a small country, and I live right near some of the main tourist attractions. I made it my goal that during the week that she was in Israel, I would meet her.

She came to Israel with a group that brings celebrities from America and has them tour Israel and see what it is really like here so that they can go back to America and impart to their fans the impression they have from the land.
I followed all the celebrities from the group on Instagram and Twitter, avidly stalking their pages hoping for a sign that they were in Jerusalem and I could go meet them. Through all the social media, I excitedly saw Zoey Deutch experience the Tel Aviv nightlife, go jeeping in the Golan Heights, visit an air force base in the south and then it happened. A picture was uploaded on Instagram of the tour group standing in front of the Kotel.

The time had come at last. I got on the train and ran through the Old City in my attempts to catch the group before they moved on to the next attraction. I saw that I had just missed them. Dejected, I made my way home only to see a picture uploaded an hour later of the tour group in the tunnels underneath the Kotel. That is where they had gone, and I had just missed them.

Another picture was uploaded by a fan of the Vampire Academy book (signed by Zoey Deutch herself!) and while cursing her luck and my lack of patience, I saw that she had waited at the entrance of the Old City for the group to leave and therefore got to meet Zoey Deutch.
This only fueled my desire more. I knew at this point that someone had successfully done what I attempted to do, followed Zoey on Instagram and managed to meet her.

The next day was a Friday and I know that the shuk on Friday is an attraction for tourists, so when I was doing my shopping I was scanning my surroundings, not for terrorists like I usually do, but rather for celebrities. Alas, I did not see anyone. An hour before Shabbat started, I saw a picture of the group in the shuk and knew that my hunch had been right. They had gone there that day, and again I had missed them. I decided to run out and check on the off chance that they were still there. The shuk was closed and my hopes were dashed.

Right before Shabbat, I checked Instagram and saw that Zoey's mother had posted a picture by popular Nachlaot graffiti. It was infuriating. This meant that they had toured the small Nachlaot neighborhood and since I live right in the center of that, they had probably walked by my house and again I hadn't seen them. At this point, I had pretty much given up. I felt like I was playing tag, except I was never catching up. I was always one step too late. One step behind them.

So after all my attempts, after all my chasing this group around Jerusalem, Zoey Deutch left Israel without ever meeting me. Her loss.

Now that I have admitted my slightly stalkerish tendencies on the Internet, I can say that despite not actually getting to meet Zoey in real life, her trip was successful because in every interview she had the following week promoting the movie, she mentioned her trip to Israel and how incredible it really was.

Go see the movie - February 14, 2014. It is going to be awesome!

Monday, October 7, 2013

My Chevron Perspective

So I keep getting asked when I am going to write my next blog post and my go to answer is my complete lack of a topic to write about. The truth is, I am just a major procrastinator.

I just came on here for the first time in a month, and realized that it has actually been way too long since I wrote anything. I am a coward, and I am afraid that nothing I write will be able to top my overly emotional Gaza post.

Time speeds up and time slows down and right now I feel like the world has paused and I have endless opportunities in front of me, so I might as well sit here and write about something, anything that is on my mind. This could have more to do with the 1 AM unnecessary consumption of two Red Bulls, than anything else but I am up now and the world is my oyster.

It's October 7 right now. On September 22 I spent the day in Chevron. That was a little over 2 weeks ago. When I went to sleep that night I thought I would never stop thinking about what happened that day, but the sad truth is that only a little over 2 weeks later, I rarely think about it at all.

This is something I wrote that day.

I was in Chevron today. I was on a special tour arranged by the Chevron Fund. I went to places that Jews aren't allowed to go to normally because they would be killed. I saw Arab kids throwing rocks at the soldiers. I saw flash bangs go off to disperse the rock throwers. I saw soldiers at the ready for the Arabs pushing in from all sides. I saw the soldiers actively protecting me from the Arabs who tried to get through to harm me. I stopped and spoke to every soldier I passed, asking their name, where they are from, making them smile. Thanking them for risking their life so I could be in Chevron. 
An hour after I left the city, an Arab sniper shot and killed an Israeli soldier. He was right by Ma'eret Hamachpela, guarding the area so that thousands of Jews could go visit the graves of the patriarchs, on one of the 10 days a year that it is open to the Jews. I was there today. I saw the soldiers. I saw the Arabs. I saw with my own eyes what is really going on here.
How much longer are we going to let this happen? How many more young soldiers have to die? Guys who haven't yet lived their lives. Guys who are just trying to protect their families, their country. How much longer are we going to let these so called peace talks go on? How many more terrorists are we going to release? 

This has to stop. This has to stop now.

His name was Gavriel Kobi.

Two days before this, an Israeli soldier was kidnapped and murdered by an Arab who wanted to trade the soldier's dead body for his terrorist brother in jail.
This concept is in existence because the Israeli government has set a precedent that they will trade terrorists for soldiers. That they are willing to give back prisoners, people who have killed multiple Israeli citizens.

Just 2 days after this soldier was kidnapped and murdered by his Arab coworker, another soldier was shot by an Arab sniper right at the bottom of the Tombs of our Patriarchs. Both of these young men were 20 year old soldiers in the IDF. Both of these young men were the same age as me.

When I was in Chevron that day I was lucky enough to have access to a part of the city that is regularly closed off to the Jews. If they enter, they will be murdered. Tensions were high, the hostility was palpable, the amount of soldiers around us were many. All standing at ready, with their guns loaded, guiding us down this one short block so we could visit the crypt of the first judge - Ozniel Ben Kenaz.
While waiting for our tour, we were joking around with a couple soldiers who were a little hesitant about us standing right near them. When my sister asked whether we were actually allowed to be there one of them said that we aren't really, in case rocks are thrown at them, citizens can't be harmed. My smart-ass sister of course quickly answered  'Well if we see them throwing rocks at us, we'll just jump behind you'.
She was joking, but that is the reality. We were surrounded by young soldiers, men and women in the late teens, early 20's who were literally risking their lives for us. They haven't lived their lives yet. They haven't even gone to college. Yet on a daily basis they put their lives on the line so that I could live mine in peace.
Throughout the day, you could hear the loud sounds of the flash bangs, the roar of the crowd rioting, the smell of the smoke in the air. I picked up a freshly used tear gas canister as a souvenir.
I saw so much that day, more than I knew. I saw the dilapidated buildings, the caravans that the Jews live in, the Arab kids who are taught murder at a young age. I saw the complete and total bravery of the Jewish citizens of Chevron.

An hour after my tour left Chevron, a soldier was shot in the neck by a sniper, and died from his wounds. He was standing right near the spot that my family was sitting and waiting, just a few minutes earlier. I definitely smiled at him, maybe even said hi. He could have been anyone I know.
At that moment, I was devastated. It felt a lot closer than all the other news I hear because I was there that day, witnessing what is really going on in Chevron.

Why am I thinking about all of this again? Because 2 nights ago a 9 year old girl was playing in her yard when she was shot in the neck by a terrorist. She is a kid. She just wanted to play in her yard before she went to bed.
I read the news article and it briefly mentions the most recent terrorist casualties, the 2 young soldiers. The country has moved on to its next tragedy, its next terror attack.

The more we continue these so called peace talks, the more terrorism stems directly from it. You cannot negotiate with terrorists. This has to stop.

(These 3 photos aren't taken by me)

Some Chevron stats and facts:

Around 850 Jews live in Chevron, including 300 children. Chevrons Arab population is about 200,000 people.
The city area is about 20 square kilometers. The H-1 area (under rule of the PA) is 18 s km. while H-2 (under Israeli rule) is 2 s km.
Most Jewish property is 'off-limits' to Jews in Chevron. Property owned by Jews prior to the 1929 riots and massacre, and subsequently stolen and occupied by Arabs, has not yet been returned to the Jewish community.

Now some pictures from my day in Chevron.

In the bottom left corner you can see one of the streets where they were rioting and throwing stones

Sign warning Jews not to enter

Praying by the crypt of Ozniel Ben Kenaz

The crypt of Ozniel Ben Kenaz

You can't really see but they were pointing their guns at 4 Arabs who wanted to come up and cause trouble

If you look closely you can see the blue smoke from the tear gas

Ma'arat HaMachpela

Tear gas canister

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pillar of Defense

I wrote this at 4:30 in the morning. I was lying in bed attempting sleep while simultaneously dodging the mosquitoes in my bedroom when I realized though my eyes were closed and the light was off, I was writing and formulating a post in my head. So I got up, and wrote it all down.

Every so often, I think about 'Amud Anan' - Operation Pillar of Defense. The 8 day IDF operation in the Gaza Strip that happened last November
Before I made Aliyah, before I moved to Israel, I along with most people that I know, would sit in America and hear about the war, the terror attacks, the deaths and it would be a distant thing. Something that happened in a different country, to other people. Not to me, not to my friends.

I remember the week of the Gaza Operation vividly. I barely slept. I was on my computer the entire day watching the updates stream in from around the country. I had the radio on listening to live sirens in the south, knowing that as I heard the siren, people just 40 miles away had 15 seconds to get to shelter. 15 seconds in middle of the night, to shake the sleep out of your eyes and grab your kids. 15 seconds to run to the closest bomb shelter. 15 seconds to take cover. 15 seconds to run to whatever safety you can find.
How long does it take you to wake up in the morning? From when your alarm rings until you are coherent. For me it takes a lot more than 15 seconds. But 15 seconds is all that they had.

I would sit in my dining room reading the updates -- IDF missile strike on site of rocket launchers. Siren rings in Ashkelon, Ashdod and surrounding areas. Waiting to hear the injuries.
I would hear the siren on the radio, getting chills every time it rang, knowing that somewhere very close people were frantically running to safety. I get chills just writing about it.

My friend and I organized a worldwide campaign on Facebook for the safety of our soldiers and of everyone in Israel. We reached over 45,000 people. People invited to take on an extra good deed to help guarantee the safety of the people of Israel. Strangers from all around the world were pledging to do extra acts of goodness and kindness, things that they aren't regularly inclined to do. As these promises flowed in, I knew that every time the siren rang, these promises were keeping the soldiers safe. The soldiers that are my friends. The soldiers that I go out drinking with every week. The soldiers that my family has opened up our home to.

Every time the siren rang, I would think about these soldiers and where they were, what they were doing so that I could sit in my dining room relatively safe. Every time I would think about these soldiers, who watched every missile fly overhead, I would find myself struggling to breathe.

I read a letter my friend wrote to his wife as his unit was preparing to go into Gaza. He had called his parents and said goodbye to them. Said that he was sorry he had caused them so much grief when he was younger. And then he sat down and wrote this beautiful letter to his young wife, less than 6 months into their marriage, and placed it in the pouch that held his dog tags.
I read this letter a month after the operation was over. I was sitting in a bar in town, crying. No shame, tears streaming down my face. As I am crying now thinking about this letter, about what the implications of such a thing means.

My sister was in Tel Aviv for school, and was walking back to her dorm with a friend when the siren went off. They were standing in the street, 2 seventeen year old girls from America, with no clue what to do.
The missile landed a few blocks from where they were standing. My sister said she felt the ground shake on impact. Just a few blocks away from her. No one was hurt.
We heard that a missile landed in Tel Aviv, for the first time since 1991 and frantically called her and told her to get on the next bus home. The siren rang 2 more times before she could get on the bus. She brought with her 5 girls from her school, all Americans who were scared out of their minds. Jerusalem is the center. Jerusalem is safe.

Hamas released a video threatening attacks in public places such as bus stops, cafes, the shuk. I was terrified to leave my house. I stayed by the safety of my computer and my constant updates.

I was taking a shower Friday afternoon and had a full blown panic attack for fear of a siren going off while I was in the shower, fear that I would be trapped in the bathroom. This of course was a ludicrous idea because why would the sirens go off in Jerusalem? I texted my friends in America and laughed saying I don't know if I would be able to deal with the sirens ringing through out Jerusalem.
Not 20 minutes later, my dad had just left to go synagogue and I was setting up the tables for the 30 guests we were going to have for the meal. I was in my dining room sitting down for a minute. My friend was sleeping on the couch. My sister's friend was in the bathroom. When the air raid siren went off in Jerusalem.

It took what felt like a minute for it to sink in, but in reality was maybe 3 seconds. The siren was ringing and my mother and I looked at each other and I yelled 'Mom! That's the siren! We have to go to the bomb shelter!'
The world started moving again. My sister's friends all running down from the bedroom, my friend jumping off the couch, spilling a drink on the way, my 83 year old grandmother who had no clue what was going on, all of us running down the steps to the shelter in the basement.

I am not proud of this, but I totally lost my mind. We were standing in the basement, 12 of us in this tiny room, listening to the air raid siren, not knowing what is going on.
I couldn't breathe. I couldn't get enough air into my lungs. I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't understand such hatred for an entire nation. Why would someone want to kill me? I had only just moved to Israel. What had I done to deserve this?
What are we supposed to do against such reckless hate?

The siren stops ringing, the allotted ten minutes are up, and we all file upstairs. I crack open a bottle of wine and go outside. I went to see if the world outside had changed, because the world that I was living in had been rocked, the naivety that I was experiencing had washed away.
We see people walking in my peaceful neighborhood. We ask our neighbor what we are supposed to do now. He said to do nothing, to go make our meal. What are you afraid of?

Soon after that we had our guests arrive, people mentioning the siren casually. I stood up and made a joke about going to the shelter in an orderly fashion if the need arises again. And life went on.

I slept on the couch that night, afraid to sleep in my room on the upper floor for fear of not waking up in time. I tried to stay up as late as I could, because I wasn't sure I could handle being woken up by the sound of the siren. My father closed the metal shutters and sat with me until I fell asleep.
I prayed. I prayed for my friends on the front lines, for my family, and for my country.

Sunday morning the siren went off again in Jerusalem. By this time I was a pro, something that had completely unraveled me the first time was quickly taken into stride. I grabbed my coffee, the radio and the dog and went down to the basement.
Another miss. And time went on.

I left my house, walking through the streets picking out potential shelter, and imaging what I would do if the siren rang right at that moment, regardless of where I was.

Throughout the 8 days of the operation, over 1400 missiles were fired into Israel.

I was walking to school a couple weeks ago and thought I heard the beginning of a siren. I frantically looked around and saw that there were only glass store fronts, my constant vigilance had relaxed and here I was caught unawares. Then I saw the motorcycle whining as it struggled to get up the hill, and I started breathing again.
To this day, I lie in bed and every night I hear a motorcycle revving up the main road in the distance and my heart starts pumping, the adrenaline starts flowing.

I know that no matter how much time has passed, the week of the Gaza Operation will never be forgotten, because I sit here nearly a year later and remember it as if it had happened yesterday.

I am no longer naive. The news isn't about people in a far off land that I don't relate to. The news is about me. The news is about my friends. The news is about my country.

Watch this video -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygb6VrW8WZw

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Facebook Etiquette

Do you want to know what pisses me off?

Well obviously you do at least on some level because here you are reading my blog.

A lot of things piss me off actually, but right now I am just thinking about one.

I really hate when people try to dictate how much I post on Facebook. It is my Facebook page. I control the amount of statuses that I make per day. I control what things I share with my friends. I control what comments I make, what pages I like.
Do you see what name it says when I make a status? Whose picture you see?
So why are you trying to make as if you have any right to tell me what I should or should not post or that I should limit the amount of statuses I make a day.

Back in the beginning days of Facebook (for me that was 2007) it was pretty simple. You were friends with someone because you wanted to see what they posted and you wanted them to see what you posted. Now in 2013, things have gotten a little more complicated. Facebook etiquette and all that.

But as Facebook has advanced it has made it really easy to still be friends with someone and not have to see everything that they post. You have the option to hide all of my posts. You have the option to hide only my statuses. You also have the option to hide my pictures. You even have the option to hide a particular status or photo if you found it offensive after you have seen it.  All of this without me even knowing that you aren't an avid reader or follower of the things that I post. You just need to smile and nod if I happen to reference a specific status to you on a later date. Yes, you - the random Facebook friend I don't really talk to.

So after Facebook has been so nice and polite to give us all the option to follow proper Facebook etiquette, why am I still getting complaints from people that I post too often? You don't want to read my statuses or see my pictures? Please do us all a favor and hide me. If that is too complicated for you and you don't think you handle it, then by all means go ahead and delete me. But do not complain to me that I post too much. Do not write on my wall mockingly about what I am posting or how often. Because at that point I will just go ahead and delete you before you delete me.
I had a friend who posted an article on my wall from one of those rag bullshit news websites that said that a man killed his neighbor because he posted too much on Facebook. Everyone in court could sympathize with him, so therefore he wasn't committed for murder. Needless to say, I deleted her. Jokes like that aren't very funny.

So let's be honest here. The reason I am still getting complaints is because people don't want to hide me for fear that they will miss out on some of my incredibly witty statuses.

My brother actually just told me that he keeps 'hiding' me on Facebook but then someone will mention something brilliant I said, so he'll check it out and 'unhide' me. Until the next time that he deems my posts annoying. So much back and forth without me even knowing about it. Don't worry, I understand the struggle.

On the flip side, I had someone friend request me because her friend told her that I make really funny statuses. So I guess that's a win. Honestly, I am not sure if we are still Facebook friends. She too may have gotten annoyed.

So the conclusion is, you don't want to see it, delete me or hide me. But leave me out of your decision making process. Because I couldn't give a crap.

Don't hesitate to subscribe to my blog! I'd love to see who is actually reading it! :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Reasons Why I Love Israel

This is a collection of some of the reasons I love Israel. Some of them are general, and some of them are specific to me. This is a growing list, and was compiled over a couple weeks worth of observation.

Reasons why I love Israel:

1. The taxi drivers don't mind having a personal conversation on the car speakers. He just told us to be quiet so that the person he was on the phone with wouldn't hear us.

2. Everyday the coffee at Waffle Bar is a different price.

3. The guy at the fish store wished me a Shabbat Shalom on a Monday.
That happens everywhere. No matter what day it is, the people in the stores always wish you a Shabbat Shalom.

4. I was in the grocery store ready to pay and I had to wait for this old man to finish blessing the owner, before he would ring up my vegetables.

5. You can drive by a falafel store and shout out what you want from your car, and the person who works there will bring it to you.

6. I know I have truly adjusted to living here when I walk in middle of a busy road without checking if the cars are stopping or not.

7. Every evening the guy who owns this little store gets strangers from the street to come inside and do afternoon prayers.

8. These guys sit outside every day and just hang out with each other. They all were probably in the same unit when they were 18 and are still friends.

9. I was in the vegetable store and one of the workers just broke out in song and everyone in the store joined in.

10. Despite the multiple 'No Smoking' signs that are all over, people smoke everywhere.
I was in a cab that had 3 different signs and the cab driver was smoking a cigarette.

11. There was a giant crowd of people by the late night bus, and so a couple people brought out instruments and were jamming.

12. There is a pair of guys that are always playing in the shuk. They sit there all day, people join them, buy them beer and come and go. Once I was there and there were 8 different people all playing together. It always makes me smile to see them

13. Everyone walks around everywhere carrying large rifles and you don't see anyone shooting up a school here. Coincidence? I think not.

14. This was overheard at my Shabbat table
"Guns? Who needs to carry around a gun? If something goes down then you hit the nearest Magavnick on the head and take their gun. Thats what they're for...walking armories."

(Magavnickim are officially border police. Who don't stand on the border. So are therefore useless)

15. On Lag Baomer the entire country smelled like bonfires. You couldn't go anywhere without smelling it.

(Lag Baomer - Jewish celebration marking the anniversary of a Rabbi's death)

16. The bus driver stopped the bus, blocking the entire road so that he could go inside and get a shwarma.

17. I was at a restaurant and my lemon came with a sticker on it. 

18. Its perfectly acceptable to drink beer first thing in the morning. During my 10 minute walk to Ulpan, I saw 5 different people doing it. 

19. This isn't such a good picture but for me this kind of sums up Israel. The 4 soldiers sitting next to the 4 old guys who are in the park everyday playing poker. And in 60 years that is who they will be because that is the nature and way of Israel.

20. Every time you drive out of Jerusalem, you have a gorgeous view of the Judean Hills. It never gets old. 

21. I took my grandmother to the dentist and it was on a high floor of the building overlooking Jerusalem. This was the view.

22. Some guy tried to convince me he's from America. Where in America? Lake-town. 
Nice try dude, nice try!
I told him next time, with the next girl, to say Manhattan.

23. I was standing outside, waiting to get into a concert and some girl grabbed my friends Smirnoff Ice while simultaneously saying - Give me some, I am thirsty.

24. One night some Israeli tried to buy me in the shwarma shop. He pulled out a 20. But then 2 minutes later he was too cheap to buy himself a 6 shekel cola. 

25. People will have huge screaming matches about the smallest things, regardless of the time, place, or the people watching.

26. These are ultra religious Jews who play classic rock music. They always have a huge crowd, and they always play in front of the Intima shop. (Local Victoria's Secret)

26. Yom Yerushalayim. One day a year to celebrate Jerusalem. People come from all over the country and fill up the streets of the Old City and Jerusalem. 

27. Israeli Independence Day. It means so much more here, than it did in America. 

28. I was at the Golani swearing in ceremony at the Kotel and there is nothing quite like it. The fathers and grandfathers watching with pride, as the soldiers swear to protect Israel and its people, the mother crying when her son receives his gun.
And best of all when all the soldiers and the entire crowd sing HaTikvah together, it reminds me of why I truly love Israel.

       Sometimes there are the days that I don't know what I am doing or why I am here. Those days happen often. But then there are the moments, like all of the ones above, that remind me.