Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So, nu tell me about life in Israel?

So I have no time to post of late [lets be honest, did we really think I was going to keep up with the blog]. So for this post I present you with:

One of my former colleagues at one of the synagogues I taught at asked her students if they had any questions for me since I am living in Israel where they have studied. Below you will find their questions and my answers....Got questions about my life here? Post them in the comments box and I will answer them in a new post (this will give me something to write about too!)
**please note the answers have been changed for the blog post, I did not tell 7th graders where to go to learn hebrew curse words.

1) Do they have Menchies? (self serve frozen yogurt)
They do not have Menchies. They do have Yogurtland, however it is not the same at all. In Israel there are no self serve Froyo places that I have seen. Ice Cream/Fro yo takes three forms:
1. Gelato--richer and far tastier then plain Ice Cream
2. Frozen--frozen yogurt where you pick your mix ins and they blend the whole thing together.
3. Ice cream Bars--like Nesscruch, or Ice cream sandwhiches

2) Are there lots of explosions?  Have there been bombings?
Since I have been here there have been no explosions in Israel, there has been some violence in Gaza, but nothing in Israel.
3) Is it scary?
Not really, while I have been here people have been frusterated by things like expensive housing. To deal with these problems they protest peacefully (like sleeping in tents in parks and having rallies and concerts). Overall I am no more scared living here then I am in America.

4) Is there a lot of violence?
There is not a lot of violence, but the military is more obvious then it is in the states. Because everyone has to be in the army after High School you see soliders everywhere. Safety precautions are also more obvious here. As a result,  it is common here to have to go through a metal detector to go to the mall, or for a security person to ask to check your bag, or to see a solider with a gun in a mall.  These things are not scary, they really are there to keep you safe.

5) Are busses safe?
I ride busses all the time, they are totally safe--they are just sometimes croweded and a little stinky.

6) Do they have the same kinds of cars, food, brands, music, we do?
So some stuff that we have they have too, for example:
Coffee Bean
yoplay yogurt
Ford cars
Pizza Hut
They have a GAP near where I live
There is an American Apparel in Tel Aviv
There are Billabong stores, Havianna flip flops,
They LOVE abercrombie and fitch and they have Mango clothing stores.
Everyone seems to have an Iphone
They love american music, but there are also really awesome Israeli bands such as The Idan Rachel Project, Ivri Leader, and Hadag Nahash.
There are some things that are different. For example you cannot get a good burrito here for your life (I REALLY miss mexican food), but they also have really amazing pastries called burekas which are dough filled with cheese or potato, they have falfael here and shwarma which is meat on a stick that is sawed off and put into a pita or a laffa bread. Salad here is tomato and cucumbers with some salt and lemon juice. The food is different, but a lot of it is absolutly amazing....In Israel a lot of it is about street food: Pitas filled with falafel, hummus, eggplant, salad, onion, and its greasy and amazing. Bowls of Hummus with veggies or meat on top. The food is different, but you can eat your way through and not miss to much (except burritos) from the states. 

Also, the food here is not as processed so a lot of it tastes better. 

7) Have you swam in the dead sea?
I have on past trips, sadly I have not been there yet this time. If you ever go make sure you have no cuts--it REALLY burns if you do.

8) Is there a fancy part of Israel?
Yes. I stayed on a Moshav that was AMAZINGLY beautiful, there are areas with lovely houses and suburbs like in the states.

9) Are there sports teams?
YUP!!! They take football [errr soccer....] very seriously...the best way to learn words that you should not learn is to go to a sports event!

10) Is war going on? Have you seen anything war related?
There is currently not a war going on. What I have seen is the freeing of Gilad Shalit, a solider who was captured five years ago. Recently Israel negotiated with Hamas for the return of Gilad Shalit. The day he came home there where signs up EVERYWHERE welcoming him back. It was as if he is everyones brother or son or friend, the majority of the country was so happy to have him home. 

11) What happens on Shabbat?
It depends on where you are, In Jerusalem lots of restaurants and stores are closed, but in Tel Aviv its like any other day.

12) Are they very religious?
Some people are (they are called Dat-ti), and some are secular (He-lo-nie), some are Reform (Reformie), and some are conservative (misoritie). In Jerusalem the largest growing group are the dat-tim. In places like Eliat or Tel Aviv, they are fairly secular. 

13) What are your favorite parts of Israel & why?
Tel Aviv, hands down best city. in the WORLD. There is so much to do and see its AWESOME. I also love the desert its quiet and the amount of stars you can see is breathtaking....its also home of the kibbutz with the best dairy in the world....the North is also great, its lush and green with amazing hiking.14) Is it loud there like in NYC?
Some parts are really loud, like Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem at times--big cities. But there is also a lot of space where there is a lot of shecket [quiet]. The desert is not very populated and it is calm and peaceful, the same with the northern part.

15) How is it different than LA?
There is public transportation--you can take a bus to get anywhere!! Mos of the cities are walkable, so you don’t need a car.  Because Israel is Jewish, it is easy to forget things like Christmas. Instead of Christmas trees everywhere, you see Sufganiot [donuts for Hanukkah]. The busses wish you a happy Rosh HaShannah and a good Yom Kippur or a Chag Sameach.

16) Why would you choose to live in Israel?
Because its awesome! The truth is I am studying to be a Rabbi and so my first year of school is in Israel. That being said, its an amazing country--and beautiful! For a tiny space they fit a lot in, you should come visit!

17) Do they celebrate Halloween?
No. People here who are American do, however Halloween is not part of Israeli culture. Neither is Columbus day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, The 4th of July, Valentines Day, Marten Luther King JR Day. Those days all feel like normal days here. The Jewish Holidays are what feel different. For example on Yom Kippur in Jerusalem you can walk in the middle of the street---there are NO cars. Here they celebrate all the Jewish Holidays, Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day), Yom HaShoah (Holcaust Memorial Day), Yom HaZikron (Memoral Day for Soliders), and the anniversary (yartzheit) of the assination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

18) How is the weather?
AMAZING--although Jerusalem is chilly, the rest of the country tends to be wonderful weather wise!
19) Are the signs and books in english or hebrew?
Signs are in Hebrew and in English and sometimes Arabic. They sell books in many languages. Most people speak English in addition to Hebrew. Some also speak Arabic, Russian or French.

20) What is a new food that you have tried that you really like?  (New experiences too??)
Shakshukah--Its eggs (sunnyside up), in tomato sauce with peices of veggies--which is AMAZING....Bureakas which are pastries filled with cheese or potato, or pizza filling. They have something here called choco b’sakit--which is chocolate milk in a bag, but it is the best chocolate milk EVER, and so so so much fun to drink!  For snacks they have chocolate with poprocks in it, and milky--pudding with whipped cream, they also have crembo--a cookie with marshmellow and chocolate on top. They LOVE sweet potatos in Israel and the other day I had pizza with mozzerella and sweet potatos--it was AMAZING!!!!

21) Have you seen any Jewish attractions? (
I’ve been to the Kotel (western wall), I’ve seen the city of David, gone up to the Dome of the Rock, Gone to the hall where israel was founded, The first Israeli settlenment from when people first started moving here, I've been to the desert, to the most southern point, all around the old city, to Beit Lechem (otherwise known as Jesus's hometown), Tel Aviv, Yaffo...and the list goes on

22) Do non-Jews live there too?
Yes. there are many Muslims and Christians living in Israel as well.