Thursday, September 27, 2007


I was looking for a seat on a good old Jerusalem Egged bus the other day.
Keeping in mind that there is sort of an unspoken rule that you just don't sit next to Haredi men on buses -
1) Out of respect of the whole religious men separate to women thing
2) Because they smell
3) Because it is slightly wierd when they try and rub up against you.
I surveyed the scene to find a space for myself.

On Egged buses they sometimes have the two seats facing two seats situation and inadvertently due to the above situation, there naturally forms same sexed seat grouping.

What was unusual about this particular trip was that I noticed that there was a male foursome like this but with one space missing and I really wanted to sit down.However instead of a Haredi male, the usual reason why I wouldn't join the group - there was an Armenian Monk. I briefly halted - what is the correct behaviour regarding an Armenian Monk? DO they interact with Women? Do they even talk? I realised how ignorant I am regarding Armenian monks and then I thought to myself - this is slightly bizarre that I am on a bus trying to decide whether or not it is ok for me to sit next to an Armenian monk - but also sorta cool!

I sat down next to the Monk - he didn't really flinch - he was too busy texting on his mobile phone in Armenian to notice my insignificant presence.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An Open Letter to Jewish Mothers from a Potential Daughter-in-Law

I have noticed that the relationship between us can be a bit strained. I have thought a bit about why that is. Perhaps you feel that I am stealing your son from you. This however is the natural order of things. When you got married you also took away a son from a mother. I am a bit concerned about the state in which I am receiving your son, he seems to have a few issues. I thought about a few tips that maybe you could follow in order that we both feel a bit better about this whole situation.

The first is always the hardest, it is hard for you to admit things to yourself but this is basically the crux of the whole issue. One day your son is going to move out of your house. Moving out means that you should no longer offer to do his washing, he should be able to cook and fend for himself and also live more than 50 metres down the road. He should be independent and self sufficient, capable of looking after others as well.

Here are some ways to help you both prepare for this:
1) From the day he is born you should start saying to yourself that one day he will grow up, be a big boy and have children of his own. You should also mention this to him and at around the age of 18 you can start actively encouraging this by saying things like – do you have a steady girlfriend?
2) Teach him to put the toilet seat down
3) Teach him how to do his own washing
4) Teach him how to boil water and make simple things like toast and pasta
5) Take him shopping with you to the supermarket so he knows where the food in the fridge appears from
6) When he moves out, stop offering to do his washing for him and also tell his grandmother to stop doing this too.
7) When he moves out, don’t give him the number of a cleaning lady, give him a broom and tell him to use it.
8) Stop telling him he is the best thing since sliced bread, instead tell him that he would be lucky to find anyone that would want to be with him.
9) If he is 30 and still living at home then kick him out
10) If he is 40 and still doesn’t know how to cook – don’t expect me to date him

If you do all the above I will:
1) Make him call you on your Birthday

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Coca-Cola New Year

Last night sitting around with friends...someone pointed out how cool it was that on the coke bottle it says Shana Tova. It is cool, it brings a familiar feeling back to you, it makes you feel like this is where you belong, that this is where you want to belong. Why? Because a major company's label recognises a holiday that is a part of you, it's in sync with your calendar too.
At the same time we discussed how nice it was to grow up in an environment where we asserted our beliefs as Jews like in a non-Jewish school where one girl was proud of her identity of being different and sticking up for it, instead of being brought up in a bubble where everyone was the same.
I recently had an encounter with someone who didn't want to hang out with me because I wasnt religious enough, I thought this was rather interesting because in Sydney I was always the religious one.
As I walk around the canyon and see all these girls on their year off to study here in seminary, they all look like a carbon copy of each other...I hope I look different.
So I start thinking about individuality, community, belonging and independant thinking, wondering how they all fit together, wondering where I am comfortable being.
I had a friend in Sydney who used to marvel at me..."Gila I just don't see where you belong?"...
Maybe that's because I belong here...that's what I'd like to think. Maybe I will drink diet sprite though instead of the main stream choice of coca-cola but it also has a Shana Tova label, so I think I will be ok.