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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm more Israeli now than I was 6 years ago because...

... I enjoy 'light tuna' much more than 'white albacore'.

... I applaud at wedding ceremonies when the bride walks down the aisle.

... I understand the news broadcasts (but wish I didn't).

... I have no problem telling the guy stuffing my pita/laffa at the grilled meat joint, "Al TItbayesh... Sim, Sim!" (Don't be shy, put more, more!)

... I yell at survey takers for calling during dinnertime rather than apologize to them about my poor Hebrew.

... I am surprised now when people acknowledge my having given them the right of way... rather than when they don't.

... I can answer the phone and not think it the least bit strange to say 'hello' (actually 'hollow') half a dozen times (while the calling party also says 'hollow' half a dozen times), before the calling party finally gets around to telling me who they are looking for and/or why they called.

... I finally feel I have a handle on the whole 'tipping waiters at weddings' thing.

... I would have no problem asking someone about their salary or what they paid for their house.

... When I hear an Israeli politician talking, I automatically assume he/she means something different from what is actually being said.

... I've finally learned to stop worrying and love the fact that I can't do anything about the people, entities and countries that want to kill me.  Being powerless to change the reality is actually liberating!

Posted by David Bogner on June 17, 2009 | Permalink


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Is today your aliyahversary? Congratulations!

Posted by: Maayan | Jun 17, 2009 2:29:38 PM

For most of the items listed, while I may not be ready to accept/participate etc, at least I "get" what you are talking about, but this one stumped me:

"I finally feel I have a handle on the whole 'tipping waiters at weddings' thing."

Enlighten us new olim, please, before we embarrass ourselves more than we already have


Posted by: Rachel | Jun 17, 2009 2:36:53 PM

Maayan... actually it'll be six years in July, but I've been feeling particularly 'at home' lately, so I felt like sharing. :-)

Rachel... This isn't universal, mind you, but at most weddings and bar mitzvah's I've observed people slipping their waiter anywhere between 20 and 50 shekels. This joins you and the waiter in a small conspiracy whereby anything (within reason) that you ask for will be brought to you right away. It also means that if there is something 'special' available (fruit smoothies from the bar, cappuccinos with dessert, or an extra portion of something particularly delicious), it will be offered to you and/or you will be served sooner rather than later. In most cases the service is usually quite good whether you tip or not... but I've found that the little tip pays big dividends in special treatment throughout the evening.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 17, 2009 3:03:22 PM

Exactly the same for me except that I now hang up on survey takers - any time of the day, and I still can't get over the salary questions, and I'm here already 15 years! - Madelyn

Posted by: Madelyn | Jun 17, 2009 4:35:24 PM

One added comment regarding the tipping thing: My daughter worked as a waitress for a catering hall. The pay per hour is embarassingly low and the tips really make their night.

Posted by: Madelyn | Jun 17, 2009 4:38:05 PM

I think the baalei simcha should be tipping the servers, not the guests. The only outlay a guest at a simcha should have is the gift to the celebrant(s)
Even 5 star hotels in Israel serve tuna that here in the US would be labeled Meow Mix. Guess I'll know I'm ready for aliyah when I don't feel the need to bring my own when I visit! (or can I bring you a few cans?...)

Posted by: Marsha in Englewood | Jun 17, 2009 5:12:06 PM

Ah, the step down from white tuna to light. Now, wait 'till you actually start to tolerate the really cruddy brands like Nun, or you start tolerating salat tuna in a can. Hard to swallow, even as survival food.

Funny, that here in galut I still eat light tuna. My wife won't do it, though.

Posted by: Mordechai Y. Scher | Jun 17, 2009 5:30:50 PM

Marsha: it's a cultural thing this tipping waiters (I've not seen it at Bar Mitzvahs, btw, just weddings). It is a way that the guests show appreciation to both the waiters serving them and their hosts.

It struck me how deeply Israelis bond with one another a few years ago when we attended a wedding a few days after a funeral. At a funeral, as you know, it is customary to say both: אני משתתפת בצורך (ani mistatephet b'zorech/a -- I participate in your woe/event) and בצורות טובות (b'sorot tovot -- to good "things"). I actually think that by tipping the waiters, the guest get to feel that they truly participated in the simcha!

Posted by: zahava | Jun 17, 2009 7:21:14 PM

Ya, what IS UP with thatr whole answering the phone thing???? I swear I thought it was ME! Why can't you just say "Hello" like a normal person and be answered "Yes, is so-and-so there please" or whatever??? Why does everyone who calls act as if YOU are the one who called THEM and they have no clue why the 2 of you are on the phone??? What IS that??

Posted by: Lisa Zlotnick | Jun 17, 2009 9:26:36 PM

... I understand the news broadcasts (but wish I didn't).

Amen to that. When my Hebrew got good enough to understand the news broadcasts, thats when I stopped listening to them. I'm always pleasantly surprised when I find native Israelis who loath the news broadcasts as much as I do and turn off their radios at the end of every hour.

"אני לא שומע את החדשות. זה רק מעצבן."

We're a tiny minority however, as most Israelis seem to enjoy listening to the highly politicized and tendentious "mivzak" every hour or even every half hour on some radio stations.

Posted by: jacob | Jun 17, 2009 9:56:46 PM

Well, white (Albacore) tuna has higher mercury than chunk light, so switching to chunk light is a good thing. We actually switched before making Aliyah, even though we preferred the taste of the white.

Also, it sounds more like "allo?" to me...

Posted by: Jonathan | Jun 17, 2009 10:38:35 PM

who wants to kill you?

Posted by: shabtai | Jun 17, 2009 10:52:58 PM

The last time I received one of those phone calls, I think I just hung up after a few rounds of hellos, before any conversation actually occurred. Or maybe the person actually just asked for me by name...

Posted by: tnspr569 | Jun 17, 2009 11:44:00 PM

Sorry Trep, but you're not really Israeli until you start telling other people how to raise their children.

Posted by: Raizy | Jun 17, 2009 11:44:23 PM

How long would you have to live here to understand the crazy shopping carts in the supermarkets?

Posted by: Baila | Jun 18, 2009 12:25:47 AM

who wants to kill you?

Just a few hundred million Muslims/Arabs in a bunch of countries :-)

but you're not really Israeli until you start telling other people how to raise their children.

Lots of people do that in other countries, including the USA, as well.

Posted by: Mark | Jun 18, 2009 2:48:55 AM

That last point is a good one -- now if your politicians would just quit fretting so about the world's opinion.

Posted by: Bob | Jun 18, 2009 6:00:24 AM

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