Israelis in India

March 18, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: History and Culture, Israeliness, Travel 

An extremely popular post-mandatory-military service travel destination among young Israelis is India. So popular, in fact, that a new film called Hummus Curry documents the “phenomenon of the hordes”.

On The Face Lisa writes:

The presence of Hebrew-speaking backpackers is so overwhelming in these places that they have come to resemble little Israeli colonies in India. Some speak of an Israeli invasion, and one Israeli woman wrote her doctoral dissertation on the phenomenon. The locals who run the restaurants and guesthouses often speak a bizarre version of idiomatic Hebrew that is notable for its hilarious syntax. Hebrew signs for various services – from internet cafes to rickshaws – are posted everywhere, and the restaurants serve falafel in pita, hummus, shakshouka and jachnun.

(local Israeli food items, slf)

The clip below shows a Hindu dance performed for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Ha’Shana, at a party assembled specifically for the Israelis/Rosh Ha’Shana. Wow.

The Witness

March 18, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Blogging, History and Culture, Israeliness 

Part of the Israel Jewish marriage custom is finding willing witnesses who will go over to the Rabbinate (Rabbinical Court) and testify on behalf of the intended bride and groom-to-be that both are single.

Brian of This Normal Life details his recent experience of bearing witness for a couple he knows.

Despite misgivings about whether I should really be considered a trustworthy witness (how did I really know that they are single; both had been married before and I hadn’t actually seen their respective gets – their divorce decrees), I nevertheless welcomed the opportunity to indulge in what I figured would be an only-in-Israel experience. The whole thing struck me as antiquated yet vaguely charming in an Old World kind of way.

At the same time, I found myself feeling slightly annoyed. I mean, why does the State of Israel acting through the Rabbinate need me, some Joe Jew off the street they’ve never heard of, to say whether two people are single or not? This is a highly bureaucratic country – don’t they have adequate records? What could I possibly add that a modern PC couldn’t already do?

All was Kosher, Brian signed and the rest – when his friends tie the loop – will be history. But he has a point about customs and relevancy.

Pronunciation 101

March 16, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Immigrant Moments, Israeliness 

The Zabaj team is at it again, this time taking pronunciation to task in this land of borrowed slang and multiple cultures.

What are they going on about? The Israeli habit of borrowing English words, switching around their pronunciation emphasis or adding “ette” to ends and VOILA! dubbing the new ism Hebrew. Linguists call that “slang”.


Parquet (pronounced par-quette)
Buffet (pronounced Boo-fette)
Geographia – Geography
Bee-oh-low-gee-ah – Biology
etc. etc. etc.

More here
At least it’s easier than studying Rashi interpretation

Poor + Religious = Happier

March 15, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Israeliness, Life 

If you’re religious but penniless, a new study shows you’re probably a whole lot happier than your less religious counterpart.

University of Haifa Dr. Roni Striar conducted a study of the secular and religious populations and found that while a secular person is apt to blame himself and feel tremendous guilt over low income status, a religious person in the same situation feels protected and guiltless within his community.

Further, while a non-religious person feels humiliated in asking for financial aid or support, the religious person feels the request is legitimate. Seculars perceive poverty as a meaningless state of being that robs the individual of self esteem while a religious person sees receiving community help as divine intervention.

Worlds apart. Wow.


March 14, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: A New Reality, Israeliness, Pop Culture 

So Bar and Leo attempt to come here on a secret getaway.

But before they can even get the “Shalom and Broocheem Ha’Ba’eem (welcome)” at passport control that we are all accustomed to (ahem), they’ve got the paparazzi breathing down their necks. Unbeknownst to them, a whole slew of press was onboard their flight from Frankfurt to Tel Aviv and of course, they tipped off their respective editors prior to touchdown.

So the young couple keeps a low profile by hanging out at Bar’s parents’ place in a Tel Aviv suburb. But how long can you lounge around the future in-laws’ without things getting stifling?

So they venture out in evening hours for a private after-hours tour of Yad Vashem - Israel’s Holocaust memorial – and then proceed to the Western Wall which has been roped off just for them. They’re really, really trying to avoid press.

And then this hits. Poor Leo. Poor bodyguards.

But then again, press here is pretty darned relentless. They havta be. They’re the same ones who push past police lines at bombings, go into war zones and rush in for comments from prime ministers and heads of state. They double up that way over here. Call it multi-tasking.

Tsk tsk. I fear Leo may not have such positive reports upon his return home to L.A. Leo, can I get you something? A shwarma maybe? It’s on me. Seriously.

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