Posts

Congrads to me

It’s May, which means my social feeds have been flooded with pictures of caps and gowns and smiling faces, proud in accomplishment. This time of year always reminds me of my decision not to graduate. I finished university and I am proud of my Bachelor of Arts, but I never performed the actual act of […]

United In-Flight Food Review #2

In transatlantic travel tradition, I have comprised a brief review of the culinary offerings on my flight from TLV to EWR: My flight was set to depart at 10:30 AM, an odd time to fly into another time zone. Perhaps due to this timing the meals were not defined so much as presented sporadically without […]

the frivolity of tp

When I try to explain what I studied in college, I use toilet paper as a starting off point. Toilet paper is a commodity. It is something unnecessary in our lives that has adapted into something viewed as essential. We don’t need toilet paper. We need food, water, shelter, and security. Once the basics are […]

I signed up for this

At the bratty age of 16, I used to complain my way through Israel, jokingly remarking, “I didn’t sign up for this.” As a teen, it was in reference to things out of my control like a long hike or being held hostage in Haifa for four days too many. I complained about the cucumbers […]

The Limits of Re-Moving

For the second time in 6 months, I moved. First it was off the kibbutz and into the city; now it was from the city to the same city, down the street to the right. I had to move. So I repacked up all my things, enlisted the army’s aid, and re-moved. In my process […]

Fake

I might be dissociating. Sometimes when I walk out of my room on base at night I think I’m on a movie set. The artificial grass, the concrete, the staged glow of spotlights. It’s too illuminated to be night. It’s too temperate to be outside. There is no breeze, no wind, no movement. Everything feels […]

Between Jericho and Jordan

There’s a path that leads to the known unknown. I know that the path leads to Jericho, but I’ll never know Jericho the way the way I know Herzliya or Haifa or Hadera—I’ll never know it with my own eyes. I know the sign, slightly ominous, leading into forbidden land. Yet the same sign marks […]

Welcome to the ‘butz, babes

As a new generation of near Israelis prepare to embark on their journey home, there’s a few things y’all should know about your new home. Having distanced myself physically and mentally and emotionally from what was once mine and will soon be yours, I like to think I have a somewhat helpful perspective. The first […]

An Ode to the Pardi* (*Party)

Today marks what once was my favorite day of the year: the end of Mardi Gras. One may argue that this can’t possibly be the end when today is Mardi Gras. While perhaps true, the beckoning of Mardi Gras itself concludes the culmination of a year’s worth of hype and expectation. That definitive ending was […]

Little Women: A New England Fairytale

This week I stumbled upon the 2019 adaptation of Little Women while browsing through Netflix. I eagerly clicked, wary of its 2-hour run time. Nevertheless, I pushed through with my ever-waning attention span. I couldn’t stop smiling as I was transported to a very specific nostalgia of my youth. While it felt like the characters […]

United in-flight food review

During my last flight to Israel nearly a year and a half ago I penned a piece entitled “EL-AL in-flight food review.” Please enjoy this companion piece and feel free to cross-analyze the two experiences. PRE-FLIGHT PRE-GAME Prior to boarding, I purchased a mocha coffee drink in a can and paired it with a blueberry […]

Taurus

I am a bull in a China shop when I speak Hebrew. It’s only fitting for a Taurus to thrash through a second language, ramming by and not thinking twice about the shattered shards of grammar and correct pronunciation that suffer. Perhaps the bull doesn’t mind because it is only a bull, not responsible for […]

I’m sorry

To the child sitting next to me on the bus from Jerusalem proper to pakmaz: I am sorry that my phone activity is so mundane. I know that you were expecting an interesting adult—especially a soldier—who browsed through newsfeeds with photos and videos. Yet you had the distinct misfortune of sitting next to me and […]

Jlem

The lady at Cofix kept responding to me in English. That hasn’t happened in a while. I also haven’t been in Jerusalem as a civilian in a while. The bus driver waited for me and then held my espresso as I sifted through my wallet for my rav kav. “What do you want?” he asked […]

Blissfully Vague

I recently presented a paper I wrote on the topic of military diplomacy. It was for an essay-writing competition within my unit, because unlike normal combat units, we don’t just krav maga until defeat. The prompt was vague, instructing participants to write about something military diplomacy-related, drawing on personal experiences but ensuring that the piece […]

Israeli Yom Kippur #4

I welcomed in Yom Kippur with shrimp, caviar, and corona; essentially beginning the holiday by creating new sins to atone for. Dinner started at 20:00, an hour after the fast was due to start, thereby declaratively sealing my decision to eat this year. When I arrived to dinner, I was told, “There’s corona in the […]

Base

I can draw a picture. The type you draw in kindergarten, then continue on until either you’ve honed the craft or given up altogether. It starts blank, a void of white. Like a child, I work my way from the bottom up. First is grass, but in this case there is no grass. In its […]

Things I really really really don’t understand about israelis

Why does the music always have to be deafeningly loud? This pertains mostly to within the realm of cars. There is no middle volume. It’s either there isn’t music, or the dial is turned until it can turn no more (note: the former is entirely theoretical, not anecdotal). One of my friends said that the […]

Breathing easier

I breathe better in Tel Aviv. It’s a difficult reality to accept, especially when my comparison point is paradise. I can breathe and I can run and I can be on my kibbutz, an Eden, but it isn’t the same as Tel Aviv. I went to Tel Aviv for the first time since the virus […]

Keep your signs and your symbolism out of my country, Donald

DISCLAIMER: From my limited understanding of my limited rights, I am fairly sure that my only limitation to expressing my political views is that I cannot discuss Israeli politics. I’m in an army that serves under the Ministry of Defense, under the Israeli government at large, so it makes sense. What I learned recently, however, […]

I got the job

I crossed my T’s, dotted my I’s. I sat up as straight as I could, never nodding off. I was quiet, but I asked insightful questions (and only a few kitbag ones). I was polite and formal and acknowledged that I knew I was in a military framework when I couldn’t help but tiptoe onto […]

Lost but found

I think I figured it out: to be Israeli is to go out of your way to help strangers. It’s other things too, like yelling and saying nuuuuuuuu when someone in front of you doesn’t move up a millimeter in line at the grocery store. It’s using capitalism as a vehicle to live life, rather […]

Fool me twice…

A few summers ago I drank grapefruit juice, convinced it was lemonade because of the picture on the bottle. Had I read the label, I would have known that eshkoliot is in no way lemonada. Similarly, on my last day of basic training I realized that I had been eating PLUM jam for the past […]

Hebrew I’ve learned

I’ve learned all the parts of an M-16 (M-shesh-esrei) in Hebrew. But I don’t think knowing the very specific pin name (pin petzil) that you need to extract in order to further deconstruct the weapon is going to help me after my army career. What will serve useful is the new tones I’ve been cultivating, […]

5:50 AM

Dog tag* – on. Shirt – tucked. Pants – buttoned. Pant legs – rubber banded. Socks – hidden. Boots – laced. Choger** – pocketed. Phone – charged. Jacket – zipped. Bucket hat*** – folded. Gun – slung. Neck warmer – warmed. Pills – taken. Chet**** – formed. Commander – answered. Breakfast – eaten. Day – […]

soldier girl tell ’em (basic #1)

There was a girl at the bakum, before we even put away our bags, who began arguing with a man who had a falafel on his shoulder. They were arguing about her job, because she was upset she hadn’t gotten magav. The falafel man was telling her that jobs were decided way before the bakum […]

Birthright & Basketball

I was just asked if I want to speak English for possibly the first time in months. While perhaps it’s an achievement that I have gone this long without hearing the dreaded question, it also felt like an insult. I’m in Sderot. Who speaks English in Sderot? I continued my exchange in Hebrew after telling the man at […]

More nice things

א. My necklace broke. My necklace has broken before, and each time I have fixed it. This time, I didn’t fix it. In a battle with a mosquito, it tore off my neck and into a silver heap on the table. I’ve been wearing (and breaking and fixing) this necklace since I was sixteen, right […]

as a kibbutznik(it)

I stood on a ladder and painted a rose on the water tower as the sun’s heat waxed, until all that was left was a chill and red. The red was everywhere. On the ladder. On my hands. (ALL OVER my hands, as if Lady Macbeth had suddenly taken up a predilection for paint). On […]

Nice things

Today I learned that you don’t have to pay 5 shekels for a shopping cart at grocery stores – the 5 shekels is just a pikadon, a deposit. You get the shopping cart back once you return it to its proper place post shopping. The garin Instagram page I run is a source of news […]

The חול

I left home so that I could come back and remember why I love the land. I left so that I could miss it. I left while I still had the freedom to do so. So that when I go back, I am ready to defend it. I left because Israelis are annoying. On the […]

The line at the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station

Last week, I returned to my kibbutz from the מרכז via the New Central Bus Station (CBS). My mind was set into overdrive as I entered South Tel Aviv, taking in debatably the most diverse area in the entire country. For a block, I heard no Hebrew. I passed shops I had never seen before, […]

Day of the 100

The bus dropped me off at 7:34 in the morning, in some nondescript area between Ramat Aviv and Ramat Hasharon. I walked toward a building, which looked more like a high school than an army base. I found my fellow Garin member and we approached the curious structure, entering a lobby of Israeli twelfth graders, […]

Routine – שגרה

In light of the חגים ending and my schedule including and excluding structure, I thought it was about time to chronicle what my regular days (Sun-Thurs) have consisted of throughout the past few months: 6:12 – first alarm goes off, snooze. 6:15 – second alarm goes off, snooze. 6:18 – third alarm goes off, finally […]

A 2nd person perspective of הר הרצל

You get off the bus – making sure to thank the driver as you begin your decent down the steps – and follow along, up the slight incline of the paved parking lot. Through a gate, past a small kiosk selling coffee and candy and chips, and straight to a line for the bathroom, because […]

In my beginning

I loved Israel before I knew what Israel was. I grew up listening to cassettes and CDs of Israeli songs in the car and I said the שמע before bed. I learned Hebrew in school and supplemented the language with daily lessons about my people’s origin story, far greater than that of any superhero or […]

What’s in my backpack for a day of Israeli bureaucracy, another list

Phone Phone charger Portable phone charger AirPods Sweatshirt Jean jacket (the Middle East has air conditioning) A big bag of cariot 2 Master Cafe coffee drinks (tiramisu, obviously) ID Immigrant ID All other forms of identification (passport, birth certificate, driver’s license, Tulane Splash Card, etc.) Documents (see above ++transcripts/ health forms and other miscellaneous documents […]

Advice on how to tackle Israeli bureaucracy, a list

Sometimes it’s better to be on time than early A rav kav is not a valid form of identification Bring your ID EVERYWHERE In my case, also bring your immigrant ID EVERYWHERE When you’re told no, ask again When you’re told no about something that you know should be a yes (as per official documents), […]

The communist room, a photo series

When I think about my origins as they relate to immigration, my mind transports to the turn of the century – to boats and being welcomed by Lady Liberty. In true Ashkenazi Jewish fashion, my family passed through Ellis Island to begin their new lives in the land of opportunity. I imagine the voyage was […]

EL AL in-flight food review

Every time I have flown from the States to Israel, I have had the pleasure of flying EL AL. Yet with this great honor comes the Russian roulette of the in-flight cuisine. It’s a toss up whether you’re going to get a tray of gourmet goodness or if you’re in for a stomach ache all […]

My last visa

The last time I spent more than three months in Israel, I had a visa. I didn’t need the visa because every time I (an American citizen) left Israel before the three month mark, my “visit” reset. I had the visa because it was advised, since I could have hypothetically remained in the country from […]

For Nick: kibbutz, defined

This week my friend Nick came over to say his penultimate goodbye before I depart for the homeland. During his visit he inquired about my future living conditions, as any mildly concerned and invested friend would. I explained to him that I would be living on a kibbutz in the south. “A what?” Nick responded, […]

Reasons I tell people I’m moving to Iz: a list

The UV in the Mediterranean is better for tanning Aloe water Ice cafe Capitalism is a vehicle to live rather than a goal The tomatoes I ran out of Garnier aloe/shea butter lotion Israel happens to exist at the same time that I exist; I can’t imagine living my life and not taking advantage of […]

The levity of packing

I thought packing was going to be difficult. I thought I would want to bring everything so that nothing felt left behind. I thought I wouldn’t part with items because maybe those items constituted a piece of my identity. Maybe the collection of materiality that I have amassed and cultivated over the years has morphed […]

In the Beginning

…בראשית, הייתי ברוטשילד בדרך לוונג In the beginning, I was on Rothschild, on the way to VONG. But it started before that. It started when I couldn’t handle the States and would google things like, “how to join the idf,” inevitably ending up on Garin Tzabar’s website. Or maybe it started even before then, when […]

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