No longer an Oleh Chadash 4a Things I learned – Driving in Israel

Israel has one of the highest automobile accident rates in the world. I think there are many reasons for this and I will discuss my thoughts in this post. Part of it is, I think, the Israeli attitudes. Israelis, especially the male variety, are very macho in their own way – “nobody tells me what to do or how to do it.” I also think that living under a constant threat of annihilation (political comment – thank you Mr. Obama) adds to a feeling of recklessness. This led me to make a post in December 2010 regarding my observations, I will repeat it here.

Observations – Driving in Israel

After living and driving in Israel for more than two years, I thought I would share my observations in order to help the visitors and future Olim. Please note that none of these comments are meant to be derogatory or sexist –just what I have observed, so, here goes:

  1. Driving in Israel is the game of ultimate chicken. I have decided to be a chicken, thank you very much.
  2. Israeli traffic signals flash a yellow light prior to turning green, this is to tell the second driver in line to start honking his/her horn.
  3. If you do not like the way motorcyclists drive, stay off the sidewalk.
  4. A red striped line at a curb (kerb for you Brits) means you cannot park next to the curb. Therefore park on the sidewalk. If they do not want you to park on the sidewalk, they will put metal stanchions or concrete blocks. This means only motorcycles are allowed to park there. If they do not want motorcycles to park there they will put up netting.
  5. If you want to pull into traffic, make eye contact with the driver you want to cut off, that makes you brothers, friends, etc. and he will allow you in.
  6. Number 5 does not apply if the driver is a woman. Women are more aggressive drivers here than men are and, in addition they are talking (illegally) on their cell phone, doing their nails or putting on makeup, eating breakfast AND yelling at the kid in the back seat.
  7. If you are stopped by a policeman, yell at him, he will usually apologize and go away. If he does not, and you are a woman, cry.
  8. All traffic laws are only suggestions

I welcome additions to the list.

Then there is car parking. Israelis love to back their cars into parking spaces, I am told it makes it easier to pull out. This is especially helpful when parking in a mall or supermarket car park (garage for Americans). They will back up against the wall. When they come back with many parcels or shopping bags they have to struggle to get things into the trunk/boot. Macho Israelis will never admit to having done something stupid, they act as if they meant to do that (cf the late, great George Carlin’s routine on cats and dogs [if a cat sees himself in a mirror and thinks it is another cat, and crashes into the mirror, he nonchalantly acts as if he meant to do that]). If they do not have a remote, they will climb onto the car to open the trunk with a key.

Highway driving is another adventure. Double lines do not mean do not cross, if you have an opportunity to pass, pass. Weaving in and out, at speeds exceeding 25% of the posted speed limit is common. If they cannot get past you, they ride your tail weave back and forth and flash their high beams at you. In their defense, it should be noted that they always signal lane changes. They drive with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the directional signal/high beam switch, which makes it easy to signal and flash at the same time.

Motorcycles and scooters are an additional problem. They weave in, out and around cars. They will ride 10 meters to advance 1 meter. When they want to go on a one way street in the other direction, or to avoid going around on a divided street, they use the sidewalk. If you are walking on the sidewalk, tough, they believe they have the right of way, not people walking on a sidewalk designed for … walking. They will park wherever they want with no heed as to whether they are blocking passage for others. There are actually two types of motorcyclists – those who have had an accident, and those who will. Splat!

One of my major peeves relates to parking in restricted areas. There are many spaces designated for the disabled and frequently there is a space between these spaces, with a dropped curb, to allow wheelchair dependent people to access the sidewalk. It also allows people with vans to actually open the door. See photos below, in the first picture, our van, is on the right. Virtually all Israelis respect the restricted spaces but will park in the access space. They also feel that if they are only partially in the space it does not count, absent the fact that they render the rest of the space unusable for a van or other larger car. My revenge is that these pictures were forwarded to the parking violations bureau!

Speaking of the parking violations bureau, only in Israel have I seen the ticket wrapped in a plastic baggie during the rainy season!

We have special names for various car parts. Directional signals are called … blinkerim. Windshields wipers are … visherim (after all, the sound they make is vish, vish, vish). My all-time favorite is that the rear axle of a car is a beck-exel. The front axle is a front beck-exel.

There are special hitching areas (hitching is tremp in Hebrew), soldiers are not allowed to tremp in uniform. There is an etiquette involved in tremping; the main item being that the tremper sits in the car quietly, only saying where they want to get off. I will offer tremps only to people I know, or, when I am in a settlement to anyone asking.

Israelis will make U-turns any time they feel a need, regardless of the traffic conditions around them. When they want to turn they just pull into oncoming traffic without signaling and expect the other car to stop and/or avoid them. This also applies to backing into traffic from a parking space. Usually they are lucky.

Recently I noticed a new phenomenon. You can be sitting in the left lane waiting to turn, your directional blinkerim (see above) signaling same. A car will pull up on your right and, you guessed it, turn in front of you (sort of like a U-turn). They assume you can see their blinker which, of course, is below your line of sight. But, even if you could see the blinker don’t they realize that not only is it illegal, it is “moderately” dangerous? This is a takeoff on the line jumpers, they will pull to the head of a turn lane and cut in, after all, their time is much more valuable than ours. There are also those who will stay in a left turn only lane, especially when the middle or right lane is also a turn lane as well as a straight lane, and, you guessed it, go straight.

We have a large number of student drivers, easily identified by a large lamed (ל) on top of the car. This, in itself, is not a problem. The problem stems from the fact that my neighborhood is chosen by the instructors to teach. This, in turn, causes a slow down in traffic (they will not pull into a street if they sense a car coming in the future. This, in turn, causes pollution because of the number of cars backed up behind them. Naturally, they drive slowly and other drivers, similar to those in the preceding paragraph will attempt to pass them. This often occurs when they turn into a street with people crossing, or walking, and cars parked.

We also have interesting car names. We have Volkswagen’s sport cars – Polo and Golf. Nissan has a car called a Juke. Jukes in Israel are rather large cockroaches. The car looks a little like a roach and is quite popular. Not to be outdone, Renault makes a car called a Fluence, I think of it as being a contraction of flatulenceJ (pass the cholent). Then there is the make of cars lawyers love to drive – Isuzu. There is another brand called Seat, what, am I going to stand in it. The list goes on.

We have a law that when an emergency vehicle approaches with sirens wailing, you must pull to the side. Unlike in the US where you have to pull to the right side, you only need to pull to the side. You can picture what happens. Also emergency vehicles always have their flashing lights on, there is no need or requirement to yield unless the siren is on. I have no idea why this is.

Taxi drivers in Israel are no different than those in America. They are rude and aggressive drivers. However, they will go out of their way to help someone in special circumstances. A friend of mine, on his way to the Kotel, left his Tephilin in the cab. Another driver got on his phone and not only tracked the driver down but arranged to have the Tephilin returned. It is also customary when taking a cab to sit in the front seat next to the driver, after all, we are family, and he is not your chauffer.

I think you get the general idea of the navigational skills and patience required to drive here.

No Longer an Oleh Chadash 3 The Last Week in America (We arrive in Israel)

Our flight was scheduled to leave Sunday 7 September 2008. I retired from work on 31 August. My boss, Arny Young, had a small party for us in the office (he had Ricki and Joel come by cab for it), and had a cake made with a three dimensional map of Israel on it!

That following week was a complete blur. We had a house sale, completed packing, brought Joel to the airport (he had moved in with us for a few months to help us pack, etc. {without you, Joel, we would probably still be packing}), and finalized major details. During this time, we had done something which we hadn’t done since college (we graduated in 1965!) – we pulled two all-nighters in a row. From Wednesday morning, to Friday night, I had a total of three hours’ sleep. We slept the last several nights with our good friends Mike and Linda Gardner (thanks again guys).

On Shabbat, we sponsored a Kiddush for our minyan, and the shul gave us a beautiful gift of a picture of ברכת הבית.

clip_image002Sunday morning, we loaded our luggage into our friends Dan and Sarita Sragow’s car, and loaded us into Rabbi Sidney zt’l and Carol Applbaum’s car and left for the airport, where were met by Sue Taragin. Needless to say, there was a total balagan at the airport, and, after checking our luggage, we went to the departure area where there was a short ceremony and then we boarded the plane for our charter flight.

We got into our seats (business class seats but regular cabin service), buckled our seat belts and … went to sleep. We were awakened a number of hours later by the flight attendant as we were nearing Israel and needed to do some “paperwork” on a tablet computer. As we approached the airport, the entire planeload of olim began singing ושבו בנים.

We landed and passport control boarded our flight to process our visas.

The plane then pulled up to the old arrivals building, clip_image006and almost all olim began to deplane. Because of Ricki’s wheelchair, we needed to wait to be taken off in a special truck and brought to the arrival, clip_image004everyone, of course, waited for us. Click here to see our greeting!


The ceremony at the airport was invigorating. It seems that the news of the day was a headline in the Jerusalem Post indicating that the police had decided to indict Ehud Olmert and there was a free newspaper on every seat with this headline. He was the featured speaker and we were asked on the plane not to boo him; we were told “respect the office even if you do not respect the man.” At the end, we sang the national anthem, the first time in my life that I had an anthem other than the Star Spangled Banner My other National Anthem. “Play ball”

We processed paperwork, got our cash in a plain white envelope (al la Olmert), picked up our luggage and were driven to Alan and Monica’s house. We were now Oleh Chadashim.

No Longer an Oleh Chadash 2

2008 The Transition

Actually, the transition began at the end of 2007. We rented an apartment in Katamon from mid December to Mid January to finalize all our plans, furniture, building etc. and to attend the Bar Mitzvah of our oldest grandson, Moshe. A few days prior to leaving, I was at the gym changing into my gym clothes, I stood up and bent down to pick up my towel from the bench and the next thing I knew I was lying on the floor, writhing in pain. My back attacked me.

Needless to say, I went to Israel in severe pain and consumed much pain medicine. I also was able to borrow a walker from Yad Sara which enabled me to get around. We still accomplished all we needed to and returned to the US certain of our future.

Up until this time, our plans were still secret, except for our children, no one else knew – that is until, at the Bar Mitzvah celebration, Rav Rimon, Shlita, announced it to the immediate world. Needless to say the Israelis were very happy but our grandchildren went berserk. They knew we bought an apartment but thought it was for when we visited, there were five very happy young people there that evening.

Upon our return to the US I  visited a doctor friend who is a pain specialist. I had a series of epidurals, each one lasting less than the previous one. When it no longer did anything, surgery was decided upon. The surgeon told me I could fly six weeks after the surgery and it was scheduled for eight weeks prior to AliyahConfused smile. I considered waiting until I arrived in Israel but another doctor/orthopedic surgeon friend, already living in Israel suggested otherwise. I listened.

Of course, during this time period, our house needed to be cleaned out, 100+ boxes needed to be packed, the lift taken care of, etc. I had no idea how I would accomplish all this until I received a phone call from my younger son, Joel. He told me that he was packing up his apartment and putting everything into storage, giving up the apartment and coming to organize our move. Since he was doing free lance work that could be accomplished anywhere in the world where there was internet he would still be able to work as well. In truth, had he not done this, I would probably still be trying to get completely organized.

 THANK YOU, JOEL.Thumbs up

Joel took over everything and pretty much set a schedule to enable everything to get done on time. I also had to work. Each day he would tell us what needed to be done that day, generally doing the work under Ricki’s direction.

The surgery went better than predicted (thank you, Dr. Cohen) and I was cleared to fly after only four weeks.

Our lift went out on time although many boxes had to be privately delivered to the dock. With less than a week to go, we were technically homeless, but that, and our actual trip will be the subject of the next post. 

No longer an Oleh Chadash 1

I was speaking with my son Alan a few days ago and mentioned to him that I was beginning my seventh winter here in Jerusalem. He told me he did not realize I had been here that long and told me I am now a vatik, an old-timer, I was no longer an oleh chadash.

Well, we did make aliyah in September 2008 and here we are. I began reflecting on this and thought I would write my experiences and observations in a series of blogs, this is the first. I hope to continue this for the next several months with the intention of giving chizuk to current olim chadasim as well as to those planning or contemplating aliyah.

While I had thought about aliyah for quite some time, I never really considered it seriously. Then sometime in late 2005 or 2006 I bought cemetery plots for Ricki and me in our Shul’s cemetery section. I mentioned this to Alan and he asked me wouldn’t I prefer to be buried in Israel. I said it was very expensive to bring a body to Israel and his response was “not if the body is already here (!!!). Hmmmm.

I discussed it with Ricki, and need I say she was less than enthusiastic. Nonetheless, we made a “pilot trip” in December 2006/January 2007 renting an apartment in the center of Jerusalem to see if we could do it. We could! We met with people from Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN) and AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel) and looked at apartments. We also met with two women who were disabled to see if it was feasible for us to do it (one of these women, Elaine Pomrantz, made aliyah as a disabled person and convinced us that it was truly possible. 

We started negotiating for an apartment that was not even a hole in the ground at that point in time. To make this part of a very long story short, we bought an apartment. By mid 2007, we were pretty sure that we would do this and started the paperwork process (small mounds of paper).

Our apartment was scheduled for completion the end of October, 2008 and it looked as if it would become a reality (rare for Israel). We set the date and signed up for the NBN charter flight for 8 September 2008.

Our move and transition will be described in my next post.

Vol. 2.6

Today is Yom Haatzmaut (Israel Independence Day – aka July 4 in America). I just received the following piece in my email, I found that it accurately expresses the feelings Ricki and I had during the last week.



Naomi Ragen

The festivities for Israel’s 65th Independence Day are in full swing.  But
for us in Israel, before the hora dancing, the plastic hammers, and the
fireworks, there are the sirens.  Two minutes of time to stand and think.

First, the siren goes off for Holocaust Memorial Day.  It stops traffic.  We
get out on the highway, eyes closed, hearts heavy.  The scenes rip through
our souls: emaciated bodies in piles, starving children in rags, family
members ripped apart and sent to their death in factory-like settings
conceived by meticulous Germans with their talent for efficiency.  We are
there, all of us, the devout and the atheist, dressed in black gabardine and
the latest Paris fashions, stuffed altogether into box-cars, locked in,
helpless. Jews.

The siren seems to go on forever.  Then it stops.  We breathe again.  We go
back to our normal lives, only to be confronted exactly a week later with
another siren, another two minutes, this time for Memorial Day for our
fallen soldiers and victims of terror.  Every year the number grows.  This
year it is 23,085 soldiers, and 974 victims of terror.  Every single one was
someone’s beloved: a son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister.
Someone whose death ripped a hole in the lives of so many who will never
stop grieving until the end of their days. Our soldiers, those strong,
beautiful young Jewish men and women with their whole lives ahead of them
whose promise was cut short not by accident, but by their conscious decision
to sacrifice their personal safety and well-being to protect and cherish the
precious dream that has finally come true for their people after thousands
of years.  Without them, there would be no State of Israel, no place for
persecuted Jews to come to avoid the fate of every, single Jew in every
single generation since the fall of the Herodian temple in Jerusalem: a life
of persecution, fear, prejudice, helplessness and causeless hatred. 

Our victims of terror: babies in carriages wheeled by grandmothers in the
park, elderly survivors sitting down with their families to Passover seders
in an Israeli hotel, teenagers riding a bus, young girls at a Tel Aviv night
club killed by bombs, knives, guns wielded by hate-filled strangers..

Two minutes.  And then the siren’s chilling wail fades slowly into silence.
Night falls.  We leave our homes and make our way to the center of town
where bands play joyous music and crowds line the streets, our heads
twinkling with flashing lights, waving flags.  Soldiers and yeshiva boys,
grandfathers and young children join  hands and dance with joy; young girls
in jeans, religious women with headcoverings dance the hora as the music-
Ashkenazi and Sephardi melodies brought from every Jewish diaspora- fill the
night air. 

We look on, moving our feet to the music, our faces alight with smiles,
Ethiopian and Russian immigrants, American and British Olim, camera-wielding
tourists,  all of us now Israelis, part of the largest Jewish community in
the world, a beautiful, blooming, thriving, young,  hopeful, joyous nation,
whose people are among the happiest in the world, the youngest, the
smartest, the most hopeful.  We are all, citizens of Israel, experiencers of
miracles.  We have seen Divine prophecies come true, watched our country
swell and prosper with the ingathering of the exiles, ingenious new
industries.  We have come home to our own land, and we have secured her with
our labor and our love and our sacrifice.  And every year, for as long as we
live, we will stop twice and give two minutes each time to the blinding
grief and unbearable sacrifice which gave birth to our joy and in which it
is rooted, and then, we will go out and give thanks and rejoice.

God bless the land of Israel and her precious people. Happy 65th!

The following is a collection of my Heblish observations over the last several months, enjoy. Contributions of other pictures are welcomed.


Thank you, Joel.



The other is also a sauceConfused smile







Where did the house go on vacation? Home Depot (Home Center in Israel).





I’m not even going to go there.



A number of months ago, we were visited by some very dear friends from the Old Country, we went to the Jerusalem Zoo. A woman was creating sculptures of Chimps, using steel wool. The Chimp was very cooperative.


As we were watching this, another Chimp came by to watch us.

Unpaid commercial for an excellent tour guide.

Joels Info0001

Vol 2.5

I wonder who the last one voted for in the last two presidential elections…..actually, I don’t wonder.  I know.

The one about Le-A is the craziest yet!!  Thank goodness she understands what she meant !
Further evidence of the impending doom!
New sign at Wal-Mart


Our society is doomed…………..


I handed the teller @ my bank a withdrawal slip for $400.00
I said “May I have large bills, please”

She looked at me and said “I’m sorry sir, all the bills are the same size.”
When I got up off the floor I explained it to her….

When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. ‘Hey,’ I announced to the technician, ‘it’s open!’ His reply: ‘I know. I already got that side.

This was at the Ford dealership in Canton,MS

We had to have the garage door repaired.
The Sears repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a ‘large’ enough motor on the opener.
I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one Sears made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower.
He shook his head and said, ‘Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.’ I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4.
He said, ‘NO, it’s not..’ Four is larger than two.’

We haven’t used Sears repair since.

My daughter and I went through the McDonald’s take-out window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill.
Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter.
She said, ‘you gave me too much money.’ I said, ‘Yes Iknow, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back.
She sighed and went to get the manager, who asked me to repeat my request.
I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said ‘We’re sorry but we could not do that kind of thing.’
The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1 and 75 cents in change.

Do not confuse the clerks at McD’s.

My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco.
She asked the person behind the counter for ‘minimal lettuce.’

He said he was sorry, but they only had iceburg lettuce.
— From Kansas City

I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked,
‘Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?’
To which I replied, ‘If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?’
He smiled knowingly and nodded, ‘That’s why we ask.’

Happened in Birmingham , Ala.

The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it’s safe to cross the street.
I was crossing with an intellectually challenged coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for.
I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red.
Appalled, she responded, ‘What on earth are blind people doing driving?!’

She was a probation officer in Wichita , KS

At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear coworker who was leaving the company due to ‘downsizing,’
our manager commented cheerfully, ‘This is fun. We should do this more often.’
Not another word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with that deer-in-the-headlights stare.

This was a lunch at Texas Instruments.

I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself
and for the sake of her life, couldn’t understand why her system would not turn on.

A deputy with the Dallas County Sheriffs office, no less.

How would you pronounce this child’s name?
Leah?? NO
Lee – A?? NOPE
Lay – a?? NO
Lei?? Guess Again.
This child attends a school in
Kansas City
, Mo.
Her mother is irate because everyone is getting her name wrong.
It’s pronounced “Ledasha”.
When the Mother was asked about the pronunciation of the name, she said, “the dash don’t be silent.”

SO, if you see something come across your desk like this please remember to pronounce the dash.
If dey axe you why, tell dem de dash don’t be silent.


They walk among us……



Reality Bites

Dry Bones cartoon: antisemitism, Double Standard, anti-Israel, Israel, Zionism, Zionist, antizionism, flag, Shuldig,
Today’s cartoon has an interesting structure. The wordless punchline makes the cartoon for me.

-Dry Bones- Israel’s Political Comic Strip Since 1973

HaKerem: The Israeli Wine Blog


Why a Wine Lover Should Always Carry a Clean Kerchief…

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 10:47 AM PST

I was on my way to Haifa last night (from Ra’anana) with a friend who shall remain nameless (his wife gets upset when I mention his drinking online but many of our mutual friends will guess who he his anyways). And since I’ve been told drinking is legal in Israel in a car (for the passengers at least) and there’s no open container law (although flaunting it might still get you pulled over or hassled at a DUI roadblock) I often take a bottle for a long ride.

Also we were going to a favorite bar, ELi’s Pub on Jaffa Rd. in Haifa to listen to their Monday Night Jam sessions (no cover charge and great jazz/rock/blues musicians) that lets me bring my own wine (after paying a corkage charge).

So I opened the bottle along the way ( a mistake…I should have opened it before leaving my apartment) and on the road it became painfully obvious that the bottle I was opening (2007 Tishbi Single Vineyard “Petite Syrah”) had a bad cork. Now by a bad cork I don’t mean the cork was infected by bacteria TCA, trichloroanisole, that can infect a natural cork so that a wine ends up with a taste of wet newspaper but rather that probably by my own fault of storing the bottle standing up the cork had dried out. Typically I store a bottle horizontally instead of vertically so the wine keeps the cork moist but I had thought I would have drunk this wine much sooner and now I was suffering for my poor planning.

As I attempted to extract the cork with a conventional waiter’s corkscrew (which most professionals prefer particularly for its advantages for dealing with problem corks where some fancier gadgets prove useless in such a pinch) the cork started to crumble into flakes so much so I couldn’t get a grip on any of the cork. If I was somewhere I could stand up and was lit and I wasn’t afraid of spilling a little wine (unlike sitting down in a dark fairly new car) I could have extracted the cork remnants slowly and precariously with a likely probability of getting it open without much or any cork getting in the bottle. But this cork was a real SOB and I knew if I wanted a glass of wine in the car for the ride I was going to have to get creative if I didn’t want a mouthful of cork in each sip and swallow of a wine that retails for NIS 130 or about $40.

As a fan of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy I do recall the perfect item to carry if you have only one item to carry as you travel around the universe, a towel but I had no towel but I did have a clean kercheif which in this case was even more ideal of a tool for this situation.

I bit the bullet and forced the cork or what little was left into the bottle and I took my kerchief and draped it into my glass creating a nice filter as I poured myself a glass. Any cork that would have gone into the glass was caught by the kerchief and I poured myself and my friend a glass.

And we were both awarded by a great glass of 2007 Tishbi Petite Sirah Single Vineyard (91 points) that was fruit forward with bold blackberries and raspberries expressing integrated tannins and fragrant smokey oak and vanilla in a pleasantly lingering finish. The wine seemed at first like maybe I opened it just as it was starting to peak but as the wine decanted in the bottle as well as my glass the wine did still open up a bit showing it still might have aged for another few years.

Even better than enjoying the bottle of the course of the evening on the ride to and during a great jam session was knowing that I rescued a very good bottle of wine from being served in a way that would have diminished all the good craftsmanship that had been exercised in the vineyard and the winery to bring this wine to fruition.

Often a sommelier at restaurant isn’t merely judged for as much by how he can pair and suggest wines for diners but how he can handle problems with bad bottles and corks as they arise. Who knew this California trained sommelier would get to play MacGiver and overcome a serving mishap one day on the road to Haifa?

This is Cerabino’s best column ever!  I particularly like the observation that neither a sound mind nor a sound body are necessary to enjoy the Florida Dream.

Cerabino: Pope would fit right in if he chose South Florida as his retirement spot

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Dear Pontiff:

First of all, congratulations.

As a wise man once said: Nobody on his or her deathbed has ever said, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.”

So props to you, Benedict XVI, for being the first pope in 600 years to realize that.

When you become a retiree at the end of the month, you’ll need a new place to stay.

Have you considered moving to Florida? Everyone else has.

I read that the church is planning to move you to a fixer-upper monastery at the Vatican, where you will be downsized to Cardinal and made to live near your replacement.

That’s never a good idea. First it’s like, “Oh, we’re so glad to have you around for your counsel, blah, blah, blah …” and within a few months, your calls are going straight to voicemail and you’re getting all your papal news from Twitter.

Do yourself a favor and make a clean break.

And when you do, there’s no place better to land than a South Florida condo.

You’ll fit in. Trust me.

Half of the adults-only developments here have Italian-sounding names and were built in the style of the Vatican. And nearly all the landscaping work is done by Catholics.

So think about it. You don’t have to commit.

At first, just come for the season.

I guarantee you, once you get here and feel that warm sunshine radiating through your mitre, you’ll want to take off all your shmatas and sit by the pool in a bathing suit for deep reflection, a little contract bridge and maybe a late-night cigar.

Which brings me to something else. You probably could use some sharpening of your leisure skills.

I’ve read that your plan for retirement is to pray. Which is like Tiger Woods saying he’s quitting the tour so he can play golf.

Seriously, your Holiness, coming to Florida may be God’s way of having you experience some of His most remarkable creations: Like the all-you-can eat buffet at Golden Corral followed by a musical review performed by the Kings Point Players.

We here in South Florida are living in the land of miracles, and I’m not just talking about hip replacements.

A lot of prayers have been answered here.

Which reminds me, you’re gonna have to watch out for the ladies.

The adults-only communities are teeming with them, and many are still on the prowl. It’s like being surrounded by an army of Mary Magdalene’s grandmothers.

So I wouldn’t flash a lot of that fabulous jewelry around the clubhouse, or mention your vow of celibacy in any way that might be misconstrued as a challenge.

As a last resort, you’ll be able to keep them away with your golden staff.

I know you’re feeling old and tired now. In your retirement announcement, you spoke of a recognition that you were losing the “strength of mind and body” to do your job.

Fortunately, you don’t need either to enjoy South Florida living. And after a few months in the condo, your immersion into shared experiences will rejuvenate you, even if it’s mostly just stimulation by agitation.

Instead of wasting away in that hush-hush monastery atmosphere, you’d be part of the hustle-bustle among other people, who like you, also consider themselves infallible.

Who knows? This might lead you to imagine that you still have some of that papal mojo left. If so, you might consider joining the condo board, where you can enforce rules that make the Inquisition look progressive.

So, think about it, Your Holiness. There’s no reason to feel cast aside and too old for the world.

That’s why God made Florida!

Innocents Abroad Build Foreign Armies

by Daniel Pipes
February 10, 2013

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In the near-century that the United States has been a great power, it has developed some original and sophisticated foreign policy tools. Examples include the Marshall Plan, special forces, and satellite imaging. At the same time, the country’s naiveté remains firmly in place. For example, the notion persists that government staff are “particularly qualified to [handle a problem] because they knew nothing about it.” (For details, see my analysis at “American Know-Nothing Diplomacy.”)

The persistent belief that training and equipping foreign troops imbues them with American political and ethical values, making them allies of the United States, offers another sign of innocence. Some examples of this delusional policy in recent decades:

  • Lebanon: On landing U.S. troops in 1982, the priority was to train a national army. Of course, this failed, with most members returning to their communal militias with new arms and training to use against rivals. Despite this failure, the effort was renewed just two weeks ago.
  • Afghanistan: Training a national army was a action following the 2001 invasion; but the Afghan Local Police, a militia backed by the government, turned their guns against their international colleagues so often – 34 times in the first eight months of 2012, killing 45 persons – that the training was stopped.
  • Mali: The latest disaster, where U.S. efforts to train the woebegone Malian national army to take on Al-Qaeda did not exactly work out. In the words of Der Spiegel, “American specialists did train four crack units, totaling 600 men, to fight the terrorists. But it backfired: Three of the elite units have defected en masse to the rebel Tuareg. Most of the commanders, after all, are Tuaregs. Captain Amadou Sanogo, trained in the United States, was one of the soldiers who didn’t defect. Instead, he inflicted even more damage when, last March, he and a few close supporters overthrew the government in Bamako and ousted the elected president.”
  • Palestinian Authority: A disaster still in the making. The Dayton Mission has trained over 6,000 Palestinian Authority security personnel in the hope that they will become Israel’s partners for peace. To the contrary, I have predicted in writing that “these militiamen will eventually turn their guns against Israel.”

When will American politicians and military leaders eventually realize that training foreign soldiers does not allies make them? (February 10, 2013)

Related Topics:  Middle East patterns, US policy This text may be reposted or forwarded so long as it is presented as an integral whole with complete AND ACCURATE information provided about its author, date, place of publication, and original URL.


Der Drei Kleiner Chazzeirimlach

Once upon a time there were three little pink kosher animals with curly tails named Shmuli, Tuli and Smartest-in-Schooli. Their mother, whose name is inconsequential, sent them to learn Torah and get an online degree in neuropsychology.

Each one went out to build a beis medrashel. To leave more time for learning Torah, Shmuli built his beis medrash of straw. Tuli collected leftover schach after Sukkos and built his beis medrash from sticks. Smartest-in-Schooli received a loan from the Small Business Administration, collected Section 8 vouchers, obtained Pell Grants and guaranteed student loans, and built a beis medrash from bricks.

Along came the Big Bad Feminist and banged on Shmuli’s door. “Little prig, little prig, let me lead the hakofos!” Shmuli answered, “No, you can’t. It’s against the Torah’s hashkafos!” “Then I’ll hora with the Torah, and force my way in.” And she did.

The Big Bad Feminist banged on Tuli’s door. “Now I want to learn Gemara. Little prig, little prig, let me start reden in lernen!” Tuli answered, “No, no. It’s assur for women to have that yearning!” “Then I’ll learn at Stern, and I’ll argue my way in.” And she did.

The Big Bad Feminist banged on Smartest-in-Schooli’s door. “Now I want to be a rabbi. Little prig, little prig, let me learn Yoreh De’oh!” “Not on your life, you Apikoyres, you Cholerya! “Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your walls down.”

But the brick walls were too strong. Shmuli, Tuli and Smartest-in-Schooli continued to learn Torah undisturbed. Furious, the Big Bad Feminist climbed onto the roof of the beis medrash and jumped down the chimney. She fell straight into a fiery pan of gribenes. This caused her cholesterol level to skyrocket, and she was never heard from again.

The Pea and the Not-Princess

Malka Feldensteinowitz was desperate to find her son Mendel a kalloh. Only she couldn’t be one of those spoiled JAPs, a princess. But how to make sure? Malka instructed her son to go to the hotel lobby before the date, locate the plushest, softest chair in the room, and place a small dried pea under the cushion. During the date, the girl would sit on the chair. If she felt the pea, the verdict was clear – no shidduch! The plan worked. Date after date, every girl sat in the chair and complained how uncomfortable she was.

Then Mendel took out a girl named Shprintze Rochel. She sat on the chair with the pea. “Does it feel okay?” he asked. “Just fine,” she replied. An hour later, Mendel asked her, “Is the chair comfortable?” “Couldn’t be better,” answered Shprintze Rochel. After another hour, he inquired, “How’s the chair?” “Great,” she said. At the end of the date, Mendel was bursting with excitement. He rushed home to tell his mother that he had found his true bashert!

Sadly, Shprintze Rochel was not interested in Mendel. “He spent the whole evening talking about furniture, staring at my seat, and muttering about pea.”

The Matzo Brei Man

Once upon a time, on Paysach, a kindly balabusta made matzo brei for her husband, who learned part-time in Kollel and worked part-time as a coat rack. She fried the matzo brei in butter, then shaped it into the figure of a person, adding raisins for eyes, a fruit slice for a mouth, and strands of bean sprouts for tzitzis.

Suddenly, the Matzo Brei Man jumped up and ran out the door, shouting, “Run, run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the Matzo Brei Man!” “Never mind,” said her husband. “He is gebrokts, so we can’t eat him any way.” So they did not run after him.

He ran past a cow. “Run, run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the Matzo Brei Man!” “Looks tasty,” thought the cow. “But matzo makes me constipated.” So the cow did not run after him.

He ran past a horse. “Run, run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the Matzo Brei Man!” The horse licked his lips at the sight of the Matzo Brei Man. “I love fried foods, but the trans fats will give me a heart attack.” So the horse did not run after him.

He came to a river. “If I get wet, I will fall apart,” said the Matzo Brei Man. A fox appeared and said, “I will help you across the river. Ride on my back and you won’t get wet.” Halfway across the river, the Matzo Brei Man heard the fox making the berocho of “Borei Minei Mezonos”. “He probably brought along a snack to eat,” thought the Matzo Brei Man, who was fast, but wasn’t very quick. Before he could even say “Omen,” the Matzo Brei Man felt himself thrown in the air, and the fox gobbled him up. After savoring his yummy snack, the fox realized he had behaved badly. “I just remembered – I’m still fleishig!”

Goldenlutz and the Three Baers

One Shabbos a boy named Goldenlutz went to visit his friend, Laibie Baer. He knocked on the door. No one answered. Goldenlutz entered the kitchen and found three boxes of cereal on the table. He examined the first box. “This hechsher is too permissive.” He read the second box. “This hechsher is too chassidish.” He checked the third box. “This hechsher is just right.” And he finished the entire box.

Goldenlutz walked into the Baers’ living room. He saw three shtenders with an open Gemara on each. Goldenlutz started learning from the first Gemara. “This sugya is too hard.” He tried the second Gemara. “This sugya is too easy.” He looked at the third Gemara. “This sugya is just right.” Goldenlutz started shuckling vigorously, until the shtender broke. “Now it’s muktzeh,” he said and went to take a nap.

He went upstairs and found three beds. The first bed was pointed East-West. “That’s against the Shulchon Oruch,” Goldenlutz said. The second bed was pointed South-North. “That’s against the Zohar,” he said. The third bed was pointed North-South. That’s the pesak of the Mishnoh Beruroh,” he said and went to sleep.

Papa Baer and his sons Chezkie and Laibie came home. “Someone’s been touching my cereal box,” said Papa Baer. “Someone’s been touching my cereal box,” said Chezkie Baer. “Someone’s been touching my cereal box,” said Laibie Baer, “and it’s all gone.” Papa Baer smiled. “Interesting choice,” he said.

The Baers went into the living room. “Someone’s been learning my Gemara,” said Papa Baer. “Someone’s been learning my Gemara,” said Chezkie Baer. “Someone’s been learning my Gemara,” said Laibie Baer, “and they broke my shtender and left the pieces all over.” Papa Baer smiled some more. “Yes they did,” he agreed.

The Baers went upstairs. “Someone’s been looking at my bed,” said Papa Baer. “Someone’s been looking at my bed,” said Chezkie Baer. “Someone’s been looking at my bed,” said Laibie Baer, “and he’s sleeping in it.” Papa Baer smiled even more. “Yes he is,” he agreed.

Goldenlutz woke up and saw the Baers. “I am really sorry,” he said. Papa Baer said, “Never mind, my boy. You ate Laibie’s cereal with the right hechsher. You left the muktzeh pieces of shtender on the floor. You chose the only bed that follows the Mishnoh Beruroh. You passed the test. Would you like to marry my daughter?”

“Help!” Goldenlutz screamed, and he ran out the door and never came back.

The Little Red Socialist

Once upon a time, there was a Little Red Socialist, who lived in Eretz Yisroel with a Mekubal, a Chossid, and a Misnaged. One day, the Little Red Socialist decided to build a kibbutz. “Who will help me?” asked the Little Red Socialist.

“Not I,” said the Mekubal. “Not I,” said the Chossid. “Not I,” said the Misnaged. “We’re too busy learning Torah. “Then I will do it myself,” said the Little Red Socialist. And he did.

When the Arabs attacked, the Little Red Socialist asked, “Who will help me fight?” “Not I,” said the Mekubal. “Not I,” said the Chossid. “Not I,” said the Misnaged. “We’re too busy learning Torah. “Then I will do it myself,” said the Little Red Socialist. And he did.

When the fighting subsided, the Little Red Socialist asked, “Who will help me build the economy?” “Not I,” said the Mekubal. “Not I,” said the Chossid. “Not I,” said the Misnaged. “We’re too busy learning Torah. “Then I will do it myself,” said the Little Red Socialist. And he did.

After 60 years, the Little Red Socialist asked, “Who will help me enjoy the bounty?” “I will,” said the Mekubal. “I will,” said the Chossid. “I will,” said the Misnaged. And they did.

Copyright © 2013 by Eli D. Clark

All Rights Reserved

This week on the Tribal Update, Latma presents the Iranian captain of the Starship Gondiprise, brings you a behind the scenes look at Netanyahu’s coalition negotiations, and interviews the director and producer of the Oscar nominated Israeli documentary, “Five Broken Gatekeepers.”Visit our website and our Facebok page to vote on your favorite Latma sketch and song. They will be played on a special programming day on Radio Galei Yisrael, on Purim, February 24 beginning at 4 pm!
A Hebrew’s Word with Avishai Ivri 8 2 13



Check out Medieval helpdesk with English subtitles

Jewish Humor

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is now available in Israel in the following flavors:
Wailing Wallnut
Mazel Toffee
Oy Ge-malt
Mi Ka-mocha
Bernard Malamint
Berry Pr’i Hagafen
Choc-Eilat Chip
Simchas T’Oreo
It should be noted that all of these flavors come in either a cup or a

Prisoner X

Dry Bones cartoon, prisoner x, Zygier,Ron Arad, Jonathan Pollard, Media, Double Standard, Israel, U.S.A., Iran, Prisoners, Prisoner Release, Prison,
Today’s cartoon asks two simple questions. The first one is easy.

-Dry Bones- Israel’s Political Comic Strip Since 1973

Vol. 2.4

Israel and the Nations

Dry Bones cartoon: Passover, Haggadah, Syria, U.N., Jews, Jewish State, Israel, Moses, Sinai,
As many of you loyal Dry Bones fans out there know I’ve been working on a Dry Bones Haggadah.

My usual task is to draw cartoons for people to read today, Writing a cartoon for a Haggadah means writing a cartoon that ( we hope) will be read by a future generation or two.

Today’s cartoon is one that I did for the Haggadah.

-Dry Bones- Israel’s Political Comic Strip Since 1973


What Planet Does John Kerry Live On?

by Daniel Pipes
February 3, 2013
Cross-posted from National Review Online

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The two-day old tenure of Secretary of State John Kerry got off to a flying start today with an astonishing statement from his ambassador to Egypt, Anne W. Patterson, at a joint ceremony in Cairo to mark the delivery of four American-made F-16 aircraft:

U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne W. Patterson.

Today’s ceremony demonstrates the firm belief of the United States that a strong Egypt is in the interest of the U.S., the region, and the world. We look to Egypt to continue to serve as a force for peace, security, and leadership as the Middle East proceeds with its challenging yet essential journey toward democracy. … Our thirty-four year security partnership is based upon shared interests and mutual respect. The United States has long recognized Egypt as an indispensible partner.


(1) Is not anyone in the Department of State aware that Egypt is now run by an Islamist zealot from the bowels of the Muslim Brotherhood whose goals differ profoundly from those of Americans?

(2) Willfully ignorant, head-in-the-ground statements like this are the embarrassment and ruin of American foreign policy.

(3) What a launch for Kerry, whose mental vapidity promises to make Hillary Clinton actually look good in retrospect. (February 3, 2013)

This text may be reposted or forwarded so long as it is presented as an integral whole with complete AND ACCURATE information provided about its author, date, place of publication, and original URL.

This photo  shows the true strength of the Israeli Army! 

The soldier’s right hand connects him to his commander, his left to his Creator.  

“For it is the L-rd your G-d, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.”



I love it……………………………. 

If you are a senior you will understand this one, if you deal with seniors, this should help you understand them a little better, and if you are not a senior yet……..God willing, someday you will be…….

The  2.99 Special

We went to breakfast at a restaurant where the ‘seniors’ special’ was two eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast for $2.99.

‘Sounds good,’ my wife said. ‘But I don’t want the eggs…’

‘Then, I’ll have to charge you $3.49 because you’re ordering a la carte,’ the waitress warned her.

‘You mean I’d have to pay for not taking the eggs?’ my wife asked incredulously.  

‘YES!’ stated the waitress.

‘I’ll take the special then,’ my wife said..

‘How do you want your eggs?’ the waitress asked.

‘Raw and in the shell,’ my wife replied.  She took the two eggs home and baked a cake.       

WE’VE been  around the block more than once!

Send this to the Seniors in your life. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it!   

Even non-seniors will appreciate it!

What makes Jewish mothers so special (a golden oldie)

Courtesy of



The Fracking Situation

Dry Bones cartoon: fracking, Shale, Energy, Oil, Technology, Israel, ,
This fracking story seems to be surfacing again. The last time I did a cartoon about this was in 2011. In that 2011 posting there’s a link to the original news item which claimed that what we’ve got is not a fracking technology! Confused? Don’t be. Check out the original shale post.

-Dry Bones- Israel’s Political Comic Strip Since 1973

This video is from all the way back to the Reagan Presidency. He is sitting along side Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil; enjoying an evening together at the Ford theater. A very funny act takes place on stage. With all the security that take place around any of our Presidents, nothing the performer does could ever take place today. Make sure you go to full screen..