Friday, February 10, 2006

Living under a rock (actually two countries to the west of it)

Think about that title for a minute. I didn't even realize that the Olympics start tonight. I have been away from television for so long that I don't know anything that's going on. It's just as well as I don't care much about winter sports (though bobsledding and the luge entertain me) . Vosever... I had an away message up on my IM yesterday that read the following:
"Ben Yehuda, the Shuq (Machane Yehuda), bookseller, Mea Shearim, Old City? Call the Israeli cell. I feel safer on a blow-uppable bus than as roadkill on the dangerous sidewalk". I wrote the away message before I saw this article:". Apparently a bus ran over two people here in Jerusalem. More people die in accidents in this country than in terrorist attacks. I feel MUCH safer on a blow-uppable bus than as roadkill on the dangerous sidewalk.

On a different, but somewhat sad note, there is a huge problem with homeless in Jerusalem. I really want to help and usually give a shekel or five for people who ask. The Rambam says not to investigate and have your hand open and your heart open. However, I find it interesting that on Ben Yehuda street, there are people who actually asked me for $20, adding more to her sad story (which changed constantly). I have even gotten people asking me for money in supermarkets. It annoys me however when people try to get money from me when I'm davening at the Wall. I am at the base of the holiest site it the world pouring my heart to God and it is quite inconsiderate to disturb someone at that point. I am quite open with my wallet for the many many beggars in the Western Wall plaza, but if I'm davening, stand back, please.

I am starting to figure out the bus system here. Please don't be scared about this. Bus 18 is the bus that goes from Yochanan Ben Zakkai (the main street near me) to the Machaneh Yehuda Shuq and the foot of Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall.
I went to the Shuq yesterday and bought fruit (Persimmons!), challah for shabbat, and some salatim (red cabbage and red tiramasalata).

My lungs are probably really bad from the recent dust storm and the constant barrage of indoor second hand smoke that I was so removed from under Bloomberg's Law in NYC. Everyone here also has two cell phones. I don't think that Israel is a first-world country. It's not a third-world country either. It's a second world co--- you know what, Israel IS a first-world country that just prefers to use solar power than having unlimited heating. That's Israel! They created Instant Messenger, cell phone technology, are one of the most technologically-literate, militarily strong, and weaponologically advanced. It got nukes quite quickly. Don't mess with Israel. I don't know why I introduced that randomness. The ultimate sign of Israel's coolness: I found a Coffee Bean (minus the Tea Leaf) at the foot of Ben Yehuda. They don't even have those in Manhattan!

Shabbat Shira Shalom. I have been terrorizing Shira Wallach with various puns using her name and this holiday, such as I wished her a Shabbat You Shalom and that I'm going to hear the You at the Sea and daven at Your Screenname tonight or perhaps Your Screennname made into the masculine (because there are two synagogues on Emek Refaim with similar names, Shira Chadasha and Shir Chadash. I think the former was the inspiration for Lalekhet (n
é Halacha And Modernity). I am also going to a tisch tonight in honor of the special sabbath where we arrive at the Song at the Sea in the weekly Torah reading. Sunday night there is a special Seder for Tu Bishvat, the Jewish Arbor Day, the birthday of the trees which means a lot more in Israel than anywhere else because it is consistently the day that the almond tree begins to bloom and the trees begin to spread their sap thus beginning the growth taken away by the death of fall and fallowtude of winter. We celebrate this holiday with the fruit and wine of Israel. This holiday has special significance to Israel because according to Torah Law, the trees of Israel can only be picked from orbenefitedd from after three years after planting and the Trumah and Tithes have beenseparatedd in the fourth year. If the planting takes place today, the 12th of Shevat, then on Sunday night it is officially considered to be 1 year old as this is the birthday of the trees. Therefore it is beneficial to plant now.

Therefore, Shabbat Wallach Shalom (oops) and Tu Bishvat Sameach,


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