Ki Yachol Nuchal!

New olah; mom and wife. In small ways, every day, trying to rectify the error in judgement of my zaydies, the meraglim. "See these big grapes? We can make really big wine!"

"I could never live in Israel. Israelis are so…"

Posted by rutimizrachi on 03/09/2008

Yom revi’i, 3 Elul 5768/3 September 2008, Wednesday.

The Israeli ahead of me in line sees that I have only a few items, and offers me his place.

Three people jump up from their seats to help the mother lift her heavily-laden stroller onto the bus. Two middle-aged ladies take charge of her toddler, as the mother gets settled into the seat someone else has offered her. Several hands of various colors and ages pass her fare to the bus driver; and then several hands pass back her ticket and change.

Beautiful teenage children, one after the other, wish me “Shalom” as I pass them on the street. They make eye contact, and smile.

Cashiers in the supermarket point out the cheaper prices and the better deals. They speak like women helping out other women rather than like shills for any particular product.

Four strangers in a car disavow ownership of a 20-shekel bill that has been found on the floor of the car. It is decided that the owner of the car will put the money into tzedaka, rather than accidentally transgressing a Torah law.

A young Israeli in a bright red shirt, his carefully spiked and gelled hairdo unencumbered by a kipah, rushes to help an elderly woman who has fallen in the street. He slowly readjusts her shopping bag and her walker, and assists her to the middle of the sidewalk in front of his trendy hair salon. “Are you okay?” he asks. “Do you need something to drink?” He stands outside with her for several minutes, until she is steady enough to move on.

A bus driver sings Shabbat melodies with an autistic boy, who is clearly a regular passenger. The driver pulls up as close as possible to people’s homes, because “on erev Shabbat, people shouldn’t have to go so far with their Shabbat groceries.”

A credit card is dropped in the Misrad HaPnim. Several Israelis vie for the honor of fulfilling the mitzvah of returning the lost property, even though it means scouring the building for the owner. Only one of eight participants in this exercise appears to be religious.

A teenager’s wallet disappears. Nine months later, it is returned, with ID and 100 shekels intact. Exactly as he lost it.

I find myself a few shekels short when paying for my groceries. The cashier says, “Don’t worry. Pay me tomorrow.”

Most Israelis speak patiently and slowly when asked, enunciating like foreign language teachers. They repeat several times, as requested. This includes the woman who calls from my health care provider, to remind me that a yearly checkup is available to me now. I thank her for her patience. She laughs sweetly, and wishes me a very good day.

@&@&@&@&@&@&@&@&@&@&@&@&@&@&@

Everywhere in the world, one can find people who will be rude and self-centered. And yes, there are certainly cultural differences between what Americans view as acceptable, and what Israelis will tolerate. Personal space is different the world over.

But sometimes we repeat our disappointments in people so often that the negative stereotype is more clearly remembered than the positive one.

15 Responses to “"I could never live in Israel. Israelis are so…"”

  1. Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said

    Wonderful! I could go on and on in this vein (21 years worth) but it was a pleasure to read these. Thanks!

    And I love your comments to RivkA!

  2. Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said

    Wonderful! I could go on and on in this vein (21 years worth) but it was a pleasure to read these. Thanks!

    And I love your comments to RivkA!

  3. Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said

    Wonderful! I could go on and on in this vein (21 years worth) but it was a pleasure to read these. Thanks!

    And I love your comments to RivkA!

  4. Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said

    Wonderful! I could go on and on in this vein (21 years worth) but it was a pleasure to read these. Thanks!

    And I love your comments to RivkA!

  5. Rivkah said

    “sometimes we repeat our disappointments in people so often that the negative stereotype is more clearly remembered than the positive one.”

    What a great summary to a wonderful post! Like the rest of life, we see what we have programmed ourselves to see.

  6. Charlie Shrem said

    that was amazing, gonna read this to my parents when I tell them im gonna make aliyah

  7. Gilly said

    Beautiful Ruti – why hasn’t it been posted to the Chug Aliyah list?

    thanks so much for this – it cheered me up after a lousy day

    NG

  8. rutimizrachi said

    Y’he sh’mey raba mevorach: I look forward to the book I know you can write on the subject. We live in a time when there cannot be too much chizuk!

    Rivkah: And isn’t that what you and I do with our lives? Try to program ourselves, and those we love, to see the most positive, to see Hashem’s hand in everything? The great gift, of course, is the more we train ourselves to see, the more He shows us.

    Charlie: Nothing would make me happier than helping you to be “the point man” for your entire family. Lead the way, Boychick! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Gilly: Thank you. Many’s the time you’ve improved my day. It’s only fair to reciprocate.

  9. rickismom said

    Kol HaCavod! (very nice!)

  10. Benji Lovitt said

    It’s the truth. The unconditional generosity boggles my mind every time someone offers me some of their food during a work lunch.

  11. Anonymous said

    my very first shabbos in israel, a friend and i went for a walk to explore our new neighborhood. it was august in jerusalem. we had no water and no hats. (and no sunscreen, but that was an entirely different issue.) eventually we asked someone if there was perhaps a park nearby with a drinking fountain. you already know the punchline, right? he insisted we join his family for shabbos lunch.

  12. Lady-Light said

    I found your blog from Haveil Havalim #184.
    Very nice (and true) post. I remember from when we lived in Israel, many years ago, strangers on the bus would care that my little daughter might be cold b/c she was not wearing a sweater. Some may think that’s an intrustion, but I loved it: I saw it as family caring for family.
    (btw, one of my posts is also on HH; stop by and visit.
    Gmar chatimah tovah.

  13. A Living Nadneyda said

    I also came in through HH… beautiful reminder, balances out a lot of the negative.

    ืฉื ื” ื˜ื•ื‘ื”.

  14. Batya said

    Gorgeous post; this is the real Israel!!

  15. Integral Mind said

    Shalom – I want to thank you for this beautiful post! I am a “new Jew” – I am Jewish on my father’s side (reform community accepts paternal lineage) and he died when I was 12 so while I was raised with some Jewish customs and holidays as a child it was by no means a real Jewish upbringing.

    When a Reform Rabbi informed me that I was in fact Jewish and would be accepted there I was elated. Now I am raising my son to be the proud Jew he is and blogs like this really help me connect with who we are!

    Once I have studied more I plan to convert and join a Conservative Temple but for now I am rejoicing in finding my true family and identity in the Judaism! What a miracle Hashem has given us – the ability to learn from each other no matter where we live and have so many ways to study Torah, learn prayers, and better understand this wonderful religion.

    For the first time in my life I feel totally at peace and at home in my own skin becaues I know who I am and am following G-d’s law. Any prayers for insight and understanding would be welcome!

    Thank you again for the education and inspiration!

    Stephanie Schiff

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