Sunday, February 27, 2005

Hello?? Hello??

We may not be able to go to mom and dads but we now have a 248 number! it was a full days work to set up, what with the cables going to the wrong place and the bezeq store giving me the wrong dsl box. but, with much help from sim, it now works. now i have one more reason not to get up. not that i needed it. tomorrow is a big school day. 10-8. what a tease. i finally get my free american phone and i have to go to school. im signing up for my last season of ulpan. Then i will oficially know hebrew. in more interesting news, i found a website that you can make porn cookies. my shany doesnt understand the need to blog. its hard to explain the importance of writing about all the things that are mixed in your head. maybe cuz it doesnt make so much sense.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Hail To The Chief

My Shany and I were just watching the 70s show (in bed of course) and they had the most incredible line that I feel very much applies to me.

Red: “Have you been in bed all day?”
Eric: “Yeah, I have. I’ve been reading the Jack Chirac classic ‘On the Road’. See, as I see it, why get out of bed when you can read about people who got out of bed?”
R: You have got to be the laziest non-communist I have ever met.”

Very rarely do I relate so well to television.

In other news, I am fed up with school. Specifically, statistics. Firstly, they call it statistica, and secondly, my Russian teacher with her thick accent calls it stateesteeka. Shes definitely a commie sent her by the KGB to ruin the minds of all the students.

I have discovered a problem with the makeup of this country. In America, one of the first things every kid learns is that (as long he is a native born) he can become the president. Every kid goes home some time before 4th grade and announces that he, or even she, will one day be president. That way every kid starts off with an aspiration. If you can become the president, you can become anything. Over here, no one would ever want to be prime minister. The same 3 people have fought over the job (til one got shot, now only 2 people) for the past 3 decades. That’s because it’s a bad job. Kids in this country grow up thinking that if they’re lucky they can work in a falefal store for 20 shek an hour. Theres no aspirations here, no goals. Even the Chief Rabbi is about to be convicted for taking bribes or something. That is why I feel that the economy here is so poor. We need a Bill Gates (just not Bill Gates himself, I don’t like him at all) or a president or someone who inspires people that they too can make it big. That’s why I’m here. My goal is to be the future generations inspiration of how they too can make it big. And I’ll start as soon as I get out of bed.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Ha'am Im Eilat

We just had an incredible weekend. Here are some highlights and thoughts....
-we stayed at Neptune Hotel on the beach. beautiful hotel wonderful food, only a little problem with towels or lack thereof. The weather was gorgeous. I am completely burned and happy about it. All meals are buffet with lots of meat and salads, etc. Our room had a big bed, a couch, a TV with some cable . a balcony with chairs and a tanning bed.
-For those concerned with the religious angle, we had a key for Shabbat, they gave us wine for kiddush, they had a shul which about 30 people went to. We did part ashkenez part sefard, depnded on who started first. Also, if you tell them that you rreligous, they dotn kick you out in the morning, they wait til after Shabbat is over.
-For those concerned with other things, we only saw two topless women on the beach. This trip as a lot different for me then previous trips to Eilat. On the one hand, i didnt have to worry about dancing by myself or picking up chicks. On the other hand, I couldnt stand and stare at all the half naked, or topless women. i had to keep walking. That is a very hard thing to do.
-In addition to my bathing suit tan line, I know have a ring tan line. i find this to be a higher level of commitment, even if I take off the ring everyone knows it was there.
-There is no tax in Eilat. But the price tags are marked with tax already included. So its like everything everywhere is on sale and you get to take off 15%. That was more Shanys fun. while she was doing that i was crossing into Egypt.
-Israelis are a lot more annoying then Egyptians. it took me around a half hour til they decided i could leave Israel, and til they figured out I didnt have to pay the border tax (i knew that and Ive only crossed once. youd think the girl that worked there would also know) I finally crossed, the Egyptians gave me no problems entering or leaving, and then the israelis hassled me again why i was coming into Israel. it also made me just want to stay in Egypt, except that they talk funny and dress funnier and every one of them looked to me like a suicide bomber.
We are now back in J-town starting a new semester. Upcoming attractions include my making aliyah (i have an appt March 2 nd in the morning for that) and the Siyum haShas (March 2nd at night). I feel that even if I didnt learn the whole Shas, I can say Amen at the end and its like I did, just like with Brachot.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Random Thoughts

I had a bunch of random thoughts recently, so I'm just going to post them...randomly.
-I cant believe I ran off to a foreign country, served in it's army, and yet I'm still setting myself up to a 9-5 average joe.
-If I had the choice between buying a helicopter or a plane, I would choose the chopper cuz there are launch pads in Jerusalem, and it takes a long time in traffic to get to the airport.
-Why is orange the official color of Gush Katif?
-It's easier to die for your belief then to live for it. If someone is holding a sword to your head and says convert or die, probably times arent so good and you really dont have that much to live for anyway. Plus, its a quick decision with immediate results. Living with religion is a long drawn out never ending thing, designed so that you start off guilty and never know if what your doing is right, or, if after youve followed the game plan your whole life, you find out it was the wrong game plan. Like the story of the Rabbi who wrote a book and made a huge party. He said when he was kid he never learned and his father was going to apprentice him to a tailor. Then he told his father he wanted to learn and inthe end became a Rabbi and wrote books. He said if he hadnt told his father no, he wouldve been a nice jewish tailor and when he wouldve died G-d wouldve yelled at him fo rnot writing the books. Which means he couldve lived his whole life as a perfect Jew and still gone to hell for it cuz when he was 5 he didnt want to learn. That just seems twisted to me.
-Why are they called fngers if you cant fing them? (my friend reminded me that I messaged him that while I was doing guard duty once)
-The difference between EAT and FAT is that little leg on the bottom of the E. Coincidence?
-I dont believe in Valentines Day. Why Valentine? Thanksgiving-giving thanks; Mothers Day-celebrating mothers. I checked it up and i found that Chaucer the writer took a holiday of St. Valentine and linked it up with a day to choose sweethearts. So according to the holiday if you already have the girl youve accomplished already, its only for those who are choosing. And this guy Valentine was martyred for being a Christian. So why should we perpetuate his memory?
-Just cuz I dont believe in Valentines Day doesnt mean my Shany has to suffer. So I still got her chocolate, just a day late.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I Dont Have To

Some people have those days that they just dont want to get out of bed. I have those weeks. Its not that I'm sick or depressed or anything, i just have nowhere to go. Its finals time, so all I'm supposed to be doing is studying. I dont have to get out of bed to study. The only reason I need to get up is to pee or make my Shany tea. I do actually get a bit bored of staying in bed. Thats when I go to the other room and do a puzzle til I get tired. Yesterday was almost a perfect day. Then my Shany got thirsty, and since there were no drinks in the house i had to go out and buy some. Of course, all the stores were already closed. I guess if I got out more I would have known that. But I did go out in my pajamas, so it was still a complete day of pajamas. The day before I went out for lunch. That was it. I cant think of any reason to go out today. Or tomorrow. Thursday I have a test so I'll go out then. In the early days I would refuse to leave if it was already night time so as not to ruin the perfect day. But I'm past the need to prove that I can do it. Last week I broke a perfect day to go to Chinese at 11PM. We tried to order on the phone but they dont deliver after 10. It was good Chinese, though. The beauty of nice Chinese restaurants here is that the waiters dont speak any Hebrew. The problem is they barely speak English either.
I have fully adapted to the climate change (as much as I can while staying indoors). When I asked what the weather was like before venturing out one day, I was told it was the kind of weather where I would go out in long sleeves to bike ride and my mom would yell at me to wear a coat. So I put on a Tshirt and sweatshirt and went out. It was freezing. I would describe it as weather you dont want to have to deal with.
I may actually go out today. It looks sunny.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Give Peace A Chance

I grew up in a religious society, where our lives ran around Shabbat, kosher, and the belief that Israel is the Jewish Homeland and we offered a part to the Arabs in 1948 and they said no, then they attacked us and lost, so now it is entirely ours and they dont get any. This all made perfect sense to me. Then, around the same time i questioned everything else, I started wondering about this Israel thing. I wondered what the Arabs had to say. After all, it seemed pretty clear cut to me that Israel is ours so what could they possibly have to say. I took a few books out of the library written by Arabs about their "struggle" against the Israeli "agressor." (This was actually pretty risky cuz this was in the same school that suspended me for Teen People magazine-I wonder what the punishment for pro-Arab literature is?) In these books they talked about how their families had lives in Jericho and Jaffa (next to Tel Aviv) for generations. Then slowly, throughout the beginning of the 20th century, Jews started coming. At first they welcomed the Jews for bringing them more commerce and wealth, but after awhile they got pretty pissed off that the jews were taking over their cities. But, with the exception of a few trouble makers they did nothing. Then in 1948 they were told to leave their homes cuz there was going to be a war, but after they can come back. So they went to relatives in Rammala or Shechem or Jordan. Then the Arabs lost the war. Now all these poor guys want is to go home and the Israelis wont let them. And worse, the Zionists took their cities over and gutted them and turned them into Jewish homes. The point is that the average Arab guy had a peaceful life next to his orange grove and because of Arab extremists and Jewish aggresors they are stuck in a refugee camp. Their children have all been brought upl, like I was, with the belief that Israel (or Palestine) is their homeland, its been taken away for now, but someday they will get it back. There was one quote from these books that I'll never forget. "There is nothing more precious then to see our Palestinian children standing up to the mighty Israeli Army with a few pitiful rocks." At the time, that line made no sense. I would say there is nothing more stupid then to stand up to an army of guns with a rock.
I came to Israel fully believing that this is the Jewish Homeland and we have to kick the Arabs out. I attended many Kahane rallies and bought the t-shirts and flags, etc. Then I went to the army. I learned a lot in the army that changed many of my views. But it was while standing guard duty in an Arab village that I realized something. Calling Arabs murderers is like any other stereotype. The old man walking his donkey down the dirt road is no more a terrorist then I am a thieving Jew. And yet, if I didnt stop him at gunpoint and make him pick up his shirt and show me his ID, then an actual terrorist would come there and blow me up.
Another thing I saw was a major catch-22. When little kids would go to school, if they walked past my post they had to stop and open their bag. If they didnt stop I would yell at them to stop and point my gun at them. If I didnt do that, then a terrorist would easily be able to put a bomb in their bags and blow them up at my post. But because I stopped them at gunpoint and made them open their bags, they learned to hate the Israelis. From this kids perspective, he just wants ot go to school but I, the evil Israeli, point my gun at home and dont let him. Of course his role model is going to be the terrorist who is going to one day "free" him of this scary guy. So its damned if you do, damned if you dont. At that point I realized that the status quo is not good enough. Something has to change. We cant stay in their villages, cuz then that just breeds more terrorists. And we cant leave their villages cuz then the terorists will have a free hand to run around and do evil. The only other idea I thought of was expulsion.
There are many problems with expulsion. Firslty, nobody wants them. Secondly, they dont want to go anywhere. And I have a moral problem with forcing an entire nation to leave cuz some of them are terrorists. Just cause Russians and Iranians and everyone else have done it doesnt mean its right. People say that we have a Biblical right to kick them out. I think thats wrong. When the jews first entered Israel with Joshua, he didnt kick out all the nations living there, and G-d told him that he was going to have to deal with them there, cuz he lost his chance to kill or expel them.
Also, while nobody likes ot mention this, the Messiah hasnt come. We can still be kicked out of Israel and be at the mercy o the world. G-d forbid, but it could happen. If he wants, he can put us in the hands of these same Palestinians. How much would that suck. Right there is a reason not to piss them off.
I still dont know of any good plan. but I now understand the Arab kid standing up to the army with a rock. He does it because he believes in his cause. He knows he cant win. But he also knows that as long as he and his friends keep standing up to us, we cant win either. and he's right. We cant win them by fighting. We've tried it for over 50 years and its not going anywhere. They believe in their rights to Israel as much as we do.
I have many problems with the current plan of expelling the Gazan Jews and unilaterally giving away Gaza-but no one is offering an alternative. More about the Gazan Jews later. For now I say, give peace a chance. It's the only thing left we havent tried

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Don't Know why I'm doing this

It was suggested to me by the Sarra and the Sim to start a blog. Apperently everyones doing it. I told them that I wasnt going to cuz I had nothing to say. But then I read through everyone elses blog and realized that noone has anything to say.
Life is good here in Jerusalem. It was supposed to snow over Shabbat and the whole city was getting ready. Then it didnt. It hailed for a few minutes in the afternoon. that was it.
We're in the middle of finals time in Israeli universities. The most wonderful Israeli creation is "moed bet." "Moed Aleph" is finals, and Moed Bet is if you dont like your grade or if you failed you can take the finals over again. Since this is a militaristic country, if you were in the army during finals you get to take Moed Gimmel. Ive finished all the moed alephs. i had four tests. I passed my hebrew final. So I officially know hebrew. Didnt quite pass the economics final so thats what im studying for now. Thats really why I'm writing this, cuz I'm not in the mood to study. I dont think i'm ever in the mood to study. I also took two other tests but I still havent gotten grades back yet. hopefully this will be the only moed bet i will have to take.
The Shany is also in the middle of finals. but she takes like 19 classes or something. she is actually right nwo studying for a final she has this afternoon. After two and a half months of marriage I am still a big fan.
After two and a half months of marriage we made shabbat for the first time. I helped with the buying of the food and the setting of the table. Shany made the food. We had soup gefilte fish lots of little salads a big salad, chicken (KFC still), and dessert. The thing most missed was Moms home made challa. Instead I bought two challot, 6 shekel apiece (about $1.50) They werent bad, just not anything special. We had over another couple fromt he neighborhood. Then we went to them for lunch. These are ur first and so far our only friends from our neighborhood. I'm not such a fan of my hood cuz they dont speak english here. I guess I should get used to that.
I just got a call from work. I work as a waiter for a caterer, does mostly bar mitzvas and brissim and things like that. Its not very exciting work, the pay isnt very good and if I had something else to do I probably would. but I dont. My Shany got me the job. I jsut had to turn down work because of this test I have. The beauty of my work is that I can say I have a job, but I work at most about once a week. Probabluy closer to onve every other week. They call me if they need me. Many of my co-workers are Arabs. This doesnt really bother me. I have not yet aliged myself with any political thought. I used to be hard core right wing, but I realize that thats not the answer. I'm somewhere closer to the center. When I figure otu my politics I'll blog it. Thats it for now.
I feel good that I have proven to myself that I can also write enormous amounts of nothing.