Home And Away: An American In Israel

09/28/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Home and Away: An American In Israel

What a difference a few years make, I thought as I made my way home from a friend’s break-the-fast after Yom Kippur.

Two break-fasts, that is, and a third one that I had turned down.

Because nearly four years ago, soon after I had arrived in Israel, I hardly knew anyone. Which is why I felt very lucky to have been invited to break the Yom Kippur fast at someone’s house.

09/04/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Home and Away: An American In Israel

‘Have you picked up your gas mask yet?”

From her casual tone, you would have thought my friend was asking about the weather. 

But no, she was asking about gas masks, which means war, which means fear, which means (why mince words?) death and destruction.

No wonder I almost passed out right there on Emek Refaim, especially when she specified that the gas mask “kit” also includes a syringe. (Ouch!)

07/31/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Home and Away: An American In Israel

‘I mean it’s nice, it’s really beautiful, but why the need for chain stores here? Like the Gap? Why not only Israeli stores?”

He was American, the fellow making these statements, and part of a group of us Americans ambling through the majestic Mamilla mall on our way to dinner.

Ever been there?

It’s really one of Jerusalem’s nuggets, I have to say, this boulevard of fancy shops and restaurants overlooking the Old City.

07/03/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Home and Away: An American In Israel

This time the cabbie’s name was Mordechai.

Moti for short.

“Ask me anything,” he said from behind the wheel, after he so graciously accommodated me by stubbing out his cigarette.

It turns out he’s a Jerusalemite. Born and raised. Grew up in Bakka, in fact. That’s right, on Reuven Street, that wide boulevard with the trees planted down the middle.  

“Really,” he urged me, “Ask away. Anything.”

I thought for a moment. Where to begin?

05/29/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Home and Away: An American In Israel

There I was at the bank, when suddenly, one of the employees appeared, talking at me in rapid-fire Hebrew.

It seems she recognized my name displayed on the computer of the banker helping me as she very innocently made her way back to her schmooze corner, I mean, desk, and it was a good thing she did because it turns out she had tried calling me that very morning! Why did I not pick up?

I blinked. This is my new tactic when I don’t understand all of the Hebrew.

05/01/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Home and Away: An American In Israel

As Israel celebrates its 64th year with joy and a haze of barbecue smoke, it’s easy to feel nostalgic.

After all, the creation of Israel is nothing short of a miracle. To think, on the heels of such destruction, to finally have a country of our own!

That despite the setbacks and the many innocent people who have lost their lives, what a thriving and impressive country Israel is. A real start-up nation.