Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Importance of American TV in Israel

I had a great past two days. A good friend of mine, an American-Israeli, is back in Israel from New York for Succot and a friend’s wedding. Her mother, step-father, and sister still live here, all of whom I know, so I went to their house for all the meals (about 5 or so) over the past few days. Her step-father is a British-Israeli doctor, so his apartment is a large, comfortable place in a quiet neighborhood. It’s about a 45 minute walk, which I did about 4 times in two days. Let’s just say my legs are a bit stiff, but it’s a nice feeling.

I don’t really have any super-close friends here, considering this friend now lives in New York (hopefully just for another year or so), so it can get kinda lonely. There is a difference between having a very close friend living nearby versus a bunch of good acquaintances. This is a family to go to, a family that apparently really likes me, and the importance of a comfortable second home is beyond words. Most of us, living near or with our family or around close friends, tend to forget how social the human being is. We certainly are not solitary creatures. Never forget the importance of our ‘wolf-packs.’

It will be a shame when this friend leaves. Luckily, she has a sister that lives here, and it was made clear that she wants me to visit for more Shabbats when she is home. Having family dinners with your mom and step-father, alone, is not really the best way to spend a Friday and Saturday. Everyone needs a bit of company, even when you are with your family!

On another note, Succot is still in session, but we have begun the ‘Chol HaMoed,’ essentially the ‘minor festival days.’ What this means for Jerusalem is that the Old City is packed, all day and night, with tourists and Israelis of all types (religious and secular). On my walk to my apartment I had to stumble over Americans, French, Russians, 10 year olds pushing strollers, and the various Arabs ogling all the improperly dressed teenage girls.

Apparently Mea Shearim, a super-religious neighborhood of Jerusalem, is filled with dancing ultra-orthodox all week. This holiday is a joyous one, meant to be celebrated with lavish meals and alcohol and dancing, and so like everything else the ‘Charedim’ push it to the max. I should really get out there and see if it’s as crazy as they say.

Oh, and I got to watch about two hours of American tv tonight. You’d be surprised how much you miss the simple things, even after one month! And I don’t even watch much tv in America. At my apartment in Williamsburg, during school, I didn’t have tv. Nothing lightens your load like watching Steve Carrel make a fool of himself in The Office.

* Doctors here actually don’t make much money, or at least anything like in America. Supposedly Israel has the highest rate of doctors per capita. Nonetheless, a doctor in any country is going to make more than the average, even in a quasi-Socialist health care system like Israel’s.

Listen up! Tomorrow, if you read this blog, you will hear my thoughts on the current Syrian-Israeli conflict. Remember, I got my degree in Government (political science), so this is an educated opinion. Well, it's worth about as much as I put in to my studies, which was late night cramming sessions the day before tests and papers....but presumably you already guessed that much. (Just kidding, I worked very hard....)

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