Monday, December 3, 2012
The Story of Today #2, Bring on Petach Tikva
After the success of my laptop adventures, I decided to go to Petach Tikva today to fix my phone. He's been breaking down slowly over the past couple months and making me crazy, so I decided it was time for change.
I got to the mall, met Shimon the Orange guy (Orange is my phone company, Shimon was a white guy) and he told me that because we're friends, he's going to tell me the truth - that it's not worth it to get my phone fixed because it's so much money. He said that I should go to the Orange service store just a ten minute walk away, see how much they would charge me, call him, and he would tell me what the best idea was for me. That sounded good so I took his number and left the mall. I had no idea where I was going, so I asked a police officer nearby.
Me: How do I get to Jabotinsky?
Him: What do you need?
Me: The Orange store.
Me: ...my phone is broken.
Him: What do you have, a Galaxy? What chara (translate for yourselves). I switched to iPhone three weeks ago. You should switch too. Let me see your phone. Yep, Chara....
Me: Cool. Umm.. how do I get to Jabotinsky?
So he tells me to walk straight until I see the Orange sign. Sounds straightforward enough. I walked straight for a while and finally came to the sign. There was an arrow that could've been pointing straight or to the right. I figured if the store was straight ahead he would've said "keep walking til you see the Orange store", so I made a right. Bad move. Always go straight. I ended up taking a super long and unnecessary walking tour of Petach Tiva - but I did find a kosher Cafe Cafe! Got some ice coffee, continued on my journey. Suddenly, out of nowhere, like a beacon of light, I saw another Orange sign. YES. I walked towards it, and then realized it was a little stand in the back of a big fix-it car garage. I went over there anyways and asked if she could help me - she said they only see people who make appointments. I thought it was kinda weird that this crazy ghetto Orange stand was the most formal of any Orange store I've ever seen, but I wasn't about to start asking questions. She told me how to get to where I needed to go, and I was off again.
Think it's over? We're just getting to the best part now.
I FINALLY get to the Orange store that I was supposed to go to. Which was, by the way, 30 seconds after the stupid sign. As soon as I walk in, an Israeli girl I’ve never seen before who works there came up to me.
Her: Are you Shev?
Her: Do you know (person who I know)???
Her: I recognize you from Facebook!
Turns out I know her boyfriend. End of the story is I got to skip the line and she told me it was a crazy amount of money to send my phone in to get fixed and an even crazier amount to buy a new one. So I came home.
Got absolutely nothing accomplished today. Woohoo!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
(I'll keep updating - If you know of anything, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sign up to receive a soldiers name to pray for
Volunteer in the South with Lev Echad
Email email@example.com or call 072-2507714 for more information.
Recycling for the South!
Instead of throwing away used bottles, donate the money to residents of the south. Contact Divora Sarafraz for more details and to drop off your bottles - 058-4666006
Donating clothes, food, and toys to citizens down south.
Jerusalem contact: Steph.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tel Aviv contact: email@example.com
Bring food for Shabbat to Ashkelon this Friday!
For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Send a Chayal pizza or donuts - little things go a long way when you're stationed out near Gaza.
LEVDAROM is organizing a great weekend for families with children in Hod Hasharon. It will start tomorrow till Sunday. They are looking for 5 more volunteers. You will sleep there, eat with them, entertain them and play with the kids. Message Nofar Sharabani on Facebook if you are willing to come and help out.
Organizing/connecting families from the South that need a place for Shabbat with hosts who live out of missile range. Email email@example.com or call 02-999-0000
A call for people willing to do some agricultural work down south over the next couple of days before all the crops are lost. Please get in touch, as soon as possible with Hadas 0542696706. If a big enough group can do it they will provide a הסעה. In any case there will be food and a place to sleep for those who can stick around for a couple of days.
NU CAMPAIGN - Do you want to get ACTIVE for Israel?? We are launching a global t-shirt campaign in support for Israel, in light of the ongoing war, and are looking for people to get involved! For more details contact firstname.lastname@example.org
DONATE In the Tel Aviv area: Collecting food, money, toys, shampoo - anything that you have to offer for families in Sderot, Ashdod and Ashkelon. For more information, contact Guilia at 0532221599
DONATE HERE Visit www.stogether.org to donate - in the past few days they have been concentrating on bringing much needed winter necessities and toiletries to the troops. They also have a mobile cell phone charging station for the troops to charge their phones and be in touch with loved ones.
SEND PIZZA TO THE SOUTH!
We can help support both businesses in Israel's south and boost the morale of the citizens taking the brunt of Hamas's missiles by ordering pizzas from local southern vendors to be delivered to families and soldiers in the region. The following pizza stores are willing to take your orders and deliver them to families.
Pizzerias in the sourth (feel free to look up your own online) -- most recently added pizzerias are at the top of the list:
1) Pizza Kopidon in Ofakim - 011-972-8-992-1114 (Shlomi)
2) Pizza shel Efrayim in Ashkelon - 011-972-8-684-2068 (Moran)
3) Pizza in Sderot - 011-972-8-661-2007
4) Pizza Roma in Ashdod - 011-972-8-866-7000
5) Pizza Netivot - 011-972-8-993-0145
"After one delivery earlier today, the owner of Pizza Roma in Ashdod called me back to say: He decided to deliver the pie to a family who he thought needed it -- the mother was a teacher in the school that was hit by a rocket. After he delivered the pizza and the family was so uplifted to know that someone in America had thought to order them pizza, he himself decided to send a pizza to a different random family. As the mishna in Avot says "מצוה גוררת מצוה" - 'one mitzvah leads to another.'
In order to gauge the impact and decide about adding vendors, please drop me a line about your orders just noting from which pizzeria an order was placed (email@example.com).
Feel free to pass this far and wide. The Jews may be dispersed, but we stand together.
With hope for a lasting quiet soon."
All you need to do is:
1) Call one of the vendors below and place an order (you'll need a calling card or a friend who has one) and say:
"I am calling from the United States and would like to order a pizza to be delivered to a family in the area as a sign that we are thinking of you. Can I place an order?"
"אני מתקשר מארצות הברית ורוצה להזמין פיצה למשפחה באזור שלך כסימן שאנחנו חושבים עליכם. האם אפשר להזמין?"
2) Tell them that people in American are standing with them
3) Provide your credit card information (credit card number מספר אשראי and expiration date (תוקף).
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Everyone has their place, in this war. The soldiers get called up to battle, the citizens of the South continue to stand strong, and the students - we protest, we blog, we tweet, we pray, we do what we can.
It's hard to know what to feel right now.
It's hard because half of you is screaming that people are dying and rockets are falling and buildings are on fire and just because we can't see the children running to bomb shelters doesn't mean that they're not. And the other half is saying that we, the students, we fight by going to university, by continuing with our schedules, that we fight by living and by not being afraid. We gathered on campus today and sang Israeli songs and waved Israeli flags and the whole time you're wondering if this is making any difference. And there is not a moment when you're not on full alert for that siren, for the noise that you can feel with every inch of your body.
At home and in class, you just keep refreshing the Muqata, and Al Jazeera, and Ynet, and Times of Israel, and the rockets just keep on coming and the fake pictures keep circulating and you don't know why but you think that if the world just knew that the child covered in blood is Israeli and not from Gaza, everything would be over and maybe peace would come.
And then there's a lull, or maybe you just turned off the news because you needed a break from updates and sirens and suddenly there's a video of IDF soldiers singing Ani Ma'amin, I believe, and you smile because you're so proud to live here. And then there's a funny status about the rockets, and a ridiculous song about Hamas and it's all so silly because we're in the middle of a WAR, and then a soldier dies and everything stops being silly because he was 18 and you saw his picture and he could have been your friend.
My mom calls and asks if I'm okay and I assure her that yes, I'm far away from all the rockets but I'm making it up because the truth is I have no idea where the next one will fall. And I feel such a rush of pride every time I see one of the students on my program, who came for a year of the "Israel Experience" and are getting more then what they bargained for, write a status with the words Am Yisrael Chai - the nation of Israel lives on.
My heart hurts for the children who have grown up with the siren as a soundtrack to their birthday parties, for the soldiers who are risking their lives on the border of Gaza right now.
Israelis tell me that they don’t feel all of the things that I feel, and maybe its because this is my first war. Maybe. And I can already feel that mixed feeling of guilt and pride and fear ebbing away slowly as each day passes. I hope that I don't become callous. I hope that I stay tuned in to Galgalatz and listen for each siren because I want to stay connected to those down south who can't choose to turn it off.
Meanwhile, the world goes on. The Lions lost the football game, I watched Glee and walked home from school. The truth is that I'm pretty calm. Calmer then I thought I would be. Everything will be alright, because Hashem is protecting us.
Yoni Netanyahu said it best:
"...I would rather opt for living here in continual battle than for becoming part of the wandering Jewish people. As I don't intend to tell my grandchildren about the Jewish State in the twentieth century as a mere brief and transient episode in thousands of years of wandering, I intend to hold on here with all my might."
For a list of ways you can help out, check here: http://theycallmeshev.blogspot.co.il/2012/11/what-can-you-do.html
Saturday, October 27, 2012
We only met for 5 minutes tonight, but I feel as though I've known you forever. You are every girl I've seen in this little corner called Crack Square for the past four years. You were singing loudly and pretending to fall off the sidewalk, but I'm pretty sure you weren't as drunk as you seemed. Maybe the boys thought it was cute, or maybe this was your first time really drinking and you weren't sure how to act. You stumbled over to me and asked for the time. All I said was 12:15, but there was so much more I wanted to tell you.
I wanted to tell you that the six guys surrounding you do not have your best interests in mind. I want to tell you that just because you can drink alcohol in this country doesn't mean its safe. I want you to know that this night will not be as fun as you imagined it to be, that the 60 people you met today will mean nothing to you tomorrow.
I want you to remember that you are a princess, one of the lucky ones.
I want you to know that you have just one chance to make this year really special. You should know what an incredible opportunity you have - an entire year in Israel. All you have to do is travel, learn, and figure out who you want to be. I want to tell you the stories of hundreds of people would have done anything to be where you are right now.
I want you to know that when you get on the bus home tonight, and you're finally alone, you're going to sober up in seconds. You'll call your sister, your best friend, even your mother- because you want to hear a voice that will remind you of who you really are. Because we both know, you and me, that this is not who you really are. I can tell by the way you're unconsciously pulling down your skirt and the self-conscious way you stand when one of the guys gets a little too close.
I want to tell you all this and more, but I remember me when I used to be you, and I would not have listened.
So I tell you the time. I ask you what seminary you're in, give you my number and invite you for Shabbat. I fight the urge to buy you a bottle of water, to warn you that these boys are not staring at your eyes or your smile as you walk toward me, to explain that I'm only a few years older than you and I understand.
I watch you walk away and I wonder if I should have told you all the things I wanted to say.
Monday, September 3, 2012
Had I known that 4,195 people would be reading what I had to say, there are a few things I would have added. For one, I'd like to answer the question that I've seen on every comment thread: Where were the parents?
My parents are incredible, open minded people. They have always supported me in every decision I have made and I have never blamed them for sending me to Bais Yaakov. In my community, it was the best option at the time and I can't say I would've made a different decision had I been in their shoes. They made me follow the school rules, because as many of you pointed out - when you are part of an institution, you must follow the rules of that institution.
When I was younger, I didn't tell them how I was feeling, because thought that was I was feeling I was wrong. I didn't tell them when I got in trouble in school, because I didn't want to get in trouble at home too. However, as I got older it was pretty clear that Bais Yaakov was not for me. As soon as I was old enough, they sent me to a much more open minded boarding school in another state where they felt I could find my own place in Judaism.
I've spoken to a lot of people who felt unaccepted religiously. Most of them, at one point or another, threw religion away. I never did that. I have never intentionally broken Shabbat, never eaten at a restaurant that wasn't Kosher. I credit that completely and totally to my parents. My parents are YES people. Shabbat was not the day where I couldn't go on my computer or go rollerblading - it was the day that I got to spend time with my family and friends. The dining room table was always covered in board games, popcorn, and chocolate chip cookies. Chagim were the same way. My father loves to learn. Dinnertime was centered around what time minyan was that day. Religion was a very positive thing in my home. As a kid, I didn't connect THAT Judaism with what I was learning. It was just our lifestyle.
When I said I wish someone had been there to tell me all the things I know about Judaism now, I was wrong. There were people who would have told me, had I been brave enough to ask. I have had many amazing influences in my life - my siblings, friends, families in my community. Now, looking back, I can see the effect that they had on me. But when I was fourteen and feeling like I didn't fit in, I didn't think anyone would understand.
One other thing I'd like to clear up is that I didn't write the post to place blame. To quote Rascal Flatts, "God bless the broken road", and I wouldn't go back and change anything. All of my experiences have led me to the place I am now, and I'm very happy here. As I said, the Bais Yaakov system works for some. My friends graduated from there and some of them have no idea why I wrote what I did. My intention was never to hurt or offend - I just had something I felt that I needed to say. Based on the amount of positive responses I received, I think I made the right decision by posting it.
Thank you so much for reading, and have a great week :)
Thursday, August 30, 2012
That was the first time I realized that I was not going to fit in. That there was an "us" and a "them", and "they" were not to be trusted.
I attended Bais Yaakov for ten years. I participated in their day camp every summer. All of my friends were from school. This was my whole world, and I was prepared to be an outsider for a long, long time.
As we got older, we were split into two classes. The "high" class and the "low" class. Premeditated or not, the "high" class all had fathers in Kollel and lived in the same religiously insulated community. My daddy was a doctor, and it didn't matter that he finished all of Shas and had a chavrusah every night. My house was a mere ten minute walk from the neighborhood the other girls lived in, but that didn't make a difference. I wasn't "Bais Yaakov" and that was it. I pretended to own it - yeah, I was a rebel - but the truth is that everyone just wants to be accepted. I tried, but it was clear that I was never going to be. I wasn't a bad kid. I never did drugs and I didn't drink, I hardly talked to boys and I dressed more or less the way I was supposed to. It was other things. It was the fact that I'd go bike riding with my family, that we listened to the radio in the car, that I was a dramatic, sensitive kid who just couldn't accept religion the way it was given to me. I always needed to understand why, why I had to keep Shabbat, why the boys had to put on tefillin but I didn't, why saying Shema at night would protect me from all the evil in the world. I needed to know why, and the only answer I ever received from my teachers was "because Hashem said so". I would get frustrated and angry every time I hit that wall, and at some point they stopped calling on me and I stopped caring. Clearly, I was too dumb and too unconnected to understand what everyone else seemed to accept. Clearly, I was just bad at being religious.
I have ADD, and davening was basically impossible for me. I had a system with my friends where we would all leave at different points and meet up in the bathroom until it was over. We got caught a few times, but no one ever spoke to me to find out why I was skipping it. I just got in trouble over and over, reinforcing in my mind the idea that there was something wrong with me. I just wasn't ever going to be good at being religious.
In Bais Yaakov, you were either they way they wanted you to be, or you were wrong. Until I left the school - until I was sixteen years old - I actually thought that wearing short sleeves meant that you were irreligious. I thought that by skipping davening, I was "off the derech". The girls who were wearing nail polish, jeans, even sandals - they were either already a lost cause or close to it. It took me a long long time to break out of that mindset, to realize all of the colors and shades and layers there are in Judaism.
Now, thank God, I've left that world behind me. The only valuable lessons I've taken from those years are memories of all of the things that I will never tell my children, memories of feelings I will never allow them to feel.
I feel lucky that I refound Judaism in my own way, lucky that I can have a genuine relationship with Hashem. However, there are still some parts of my education that stick with me. Still a judgmental voice in my head telling me that I haven't gotten there yet. That I'm still not good enough, not religious enough. That if I can only conquer tzniut, if I can just daven mincha every single day, that THEN I'll be done. Then I'll be really religious. It's a perception I wish I could get rid of, but ten years of education is hard to unteach.
I'm not writing this to spread hate or to speak lashon hara. The Bais Yaakov system works for some people, and I'm glad it exists. But I wish that when I was growing up, there was someone telling me what Judaism is really like. Someone to tell me that Hashem loves us regardless of nail polish. That texting a boy doesn't mean cutting yourself off from religion. That wanting to express yourself and asking questions is a positive thing, something to be encouraged. I wish someone had been there to tell me all of the things I know now.
I can't change the way Jewish education is run. I can't change the way teachers will answer questions or the way kids will slowly stop asking them. What I can change is the way they feel about themselves, the way they see themselves inside of Judaism.
I'm writing this because I want to make a change. Because Judaism is too beautiful to reduce to skirt lengths and how long your shemoneh esrei is. Because someone has to tell a little six year old girl that no matter what her hair looks like, she will always be a Bas Yisrael, always be a princess of Hashem.
Monday, August 27, 2012
I like to think of myself as a positive person. There is so much beauty, so much wonder and perfection in the world around me, but the negativity is what shocks me into writing more then anything else can. I'd like to find a way to capture the light of Israel in words.
It's not as easy to be passionate about a great day where the sun was shining and the bus came on time and I got to hold a little boy while his mother paid for his ticket. It's not easy to be passionate about the time I went to the zoo with my family, and we all got popsicles. Not easy to write enthusiastically about the beer festival in Jerusalem. But those are all things I want to tell the world about. I want everyone to know that in Israel, we don't sit here and sharpen our swords as we prepare for battle all day, we don't hide out in bomb shelters waiting to be attacked, we don't spend our days teaching children to throw rocks at the bad guys.
We live our lives here.We study in university, go to the army, try and make enough money to eat and live and play. We date, we break up, we eat ice cream and we try again. We get married, raise families, and send our children to gan. I'd like to write about that. I'm going to try.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Monday, March 12, 2012
Except for the part during the chuppah when they had to stop for a few minutes because the Iron Dome was intercepting a rocket, and the huge WHOOOSHH sound made it impossible to hear the ketubah. Except for when, before the toasts, the brother of the chatan read out a list of "what to do if" scenarios and explained where all the closest shelters were. Except for the part where the Code Red alarm sounded twice during dancing, and half the wedding party vanished.
I didn't really debate going to this wedding beforehand. I knew it was near Ashdod, I knew it was potentially dangerous, I knew there had been rockets earlier today. I've been keeping up with the news and was hoping the escalation would be over by tonight, but I knew the chances of that were pretty low. I didn't start panicking until I boarded the bus. Then the reality of the situation hit me and I started thinking about going home. I don't want to die, I thought. I don't want to be near a rocket when it hits the ground, I don't want to run to a shelter, I don't want to be scared for my life. Suddenly, everyone on the bus looked terrifying, every backpack and briefcase could've been holding a bomb, everyone wearing a sweatshirt was hiding something. I stood up and started getting my stuff together, ready to leave.
And then I realized what I should've been thinking the whole time. If I got off the bus right then and went home, they win. If I miss my friends wedding, if I'm too scared to take a 20 minute bus ride, the terrorists have accomplished their goal. They have taken control, the power is in their hands.
I've always said that I regret not going to the army. I say that I want to fight for my country. I want to show the world that I'm not afraid to die for something I believe in. I've argued passionately that Israel is something worth putting your life on the line for. I say these words all the time, but as I stood on the bus, debating my next move, I wondered if they were true. If I was brave enough to stand behind them. And I sat back down. Because I realized that THIS is the way I can fight back. I won't change my plans, I won't let my decisions be guided by fear, I won't jump every time I hear a loud noise.
I made a decision to make aliyah, and in that split second I went from being a citizen, a student, to a soldier. I don't have a uniform or a gun, I haven't been trained in warfare, but I can fight for my country by just living here. By not letting myself be afraid.
I went to the wedding tonight. There were three rockets that flew over my head, all intercepted by the Iron Dome. I didn't run when the alarm was sounded. I danced with the kallah and my friends, danced all night long until we were exhausted. We sang מי שמאמן לא מפחד and I closed my eyes and believed it. Hashem is protecting us. That's really all there is. We cannot be afraid.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I sat in front of my computer today for three hours and watched the number of casualties grow. 20 injured. 25 injured. 30 injured. 50. Four critical. Two critical. One death.
I don't know much about politics. I can't tell you the benefits of Likud vs Kadima. I hardly understand what an apartheid state even is.
Here is what I do know. I know that this is our country, this is our home. I know that my family is here - my brothers and sisters, my nieces and nephews. I know that my friends live here, in all different parts of the country. I know that there's a million percent chance I could've been on that bus, or somewhere near it. It could've been me, it could've been someone I know and love, it could've been you. Tomorrow, maybe it will be. This is the risk we take living here, the risk we took when we made Aliyah and became soldiers instead of just citizens.
What happened in Itamar made me sad. I cried for hours, couldn't sleep all night. My heart broke every time I saw a picture or an article, and all I could think of was how unfair it was.
What happened today made me angry. Fifty people injured? Fifty people who just wanted to walk around town today, who were on their way home from work, school, from a doctors appointment…Fifty people who will never ever in their entire lives forget today.
It makes me so angry. I'm not confused anymore. At first, I didn't know what to think. Maybe the Arabs were just brought up this way. Maybe they were brainwashed. Maybe they're convinced that this is their religious obligation.
I don't care anymore. Come in here and kill a child?? Come in here and murder an entire family, slaughter them in their beds, decapitate, stab, leave their toys bloodstained and steal their futures. Hand out candy in the streets. Blow up a bus. Disappointed that there was only one death? Upset that only twenty people had to be rushed to the hospital? Did the terrorist who left that bomb get a reward? I wonder if they watched the aftermath of the attack on the news. I wonder if they had beers and parties and laughed every time another person screamed. No, I don't care anymore.
People say not to judge an entire nation on the actions of a few. They ask how Jews can afford to be racist. How we can afford to hate, when so many judge us. They quote stories and historical events of all the times we've persecuted the Arabs, they spit ideas of "peace" and "unity" with our Palestinian cousins. I don't care. Tell me your statistics, quote me your events while your brother is being blown up by an Arab. While you're on the phone with your sister as she cries hysterically after seeing a yeshiva boy run around with his legs on fire. While your mother calls you nonstop for hours, hoping you're okay because she read the news and is terrified for you.
We are all family. עם ישראל חי and we must never forget it. One of us dies, and a part of us is gone forever. We might move on, we might forget, the word "Itamar" might not bring tears after a while, but the part that's gone never comes back.
Racism. I can't think of anyone who would kill a sleeping baby as a human being. As a feeling person with a heart and a soul, a person who used to be a child. Who once tripped over his shoelaces and cried til his mother gave him a hug. No. Anyone who has the capacity to do what they've done is an animal. Racism does not apply. Get them out of Israel. Get them out.
They are threatening our family. They are threatening our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, our grandparents. They want to kill all of us. So you can sit there, and you can tell me not to be racist, tell me to be politically correct. Tell me some Arabs are good Arabs. Tell me whatever you want. I'll tell you that this is not going to stop. We must do something.
We are the Jewish nation. Someone is always trying to kill us. That doesn’t ever mean that we stop fighting back.
"A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace." - Kohelet