Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Not happy with the army right now.

Why? Because I'm leaving on Sunday and I wanted to see someone before I left...and this Shabbat is a closed one, which means on base. Murgh.

I guess that's life in this country.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Political Post #1

This blog is generally not a political blog at all. I don't even have a label for politics. But...I live in Israel, and a large part of Israel and being Israeli is politics. The first part is a notice about the True Freedom Flotilla, set to sail to the UN tomorrow. The second part is a letter that was posted by Tamar Yonah, an English-speaking radio talk show host and blogger. I do not know if the letter is real or not, but it's a thought either way. I will put my comments and thoughts about these in a later post.

Part I:



WHEN: Thursday, June 24, 11:30 a.m.

WHERE: The Queen of Hearts boat

Pier 40 (Houston Street and West Side Highway)

New York City


Marking the fourth anniversary of Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping byHamas, the “True Freedom” Flotilla will sail from Pier 40 around the tip of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty to theUnited Nations to remind the international body and the world of the real siege in Gaza and call for the release of Gilad Shalit. The Flotilla is organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

The Flotilla will sail regardless of the weather forecast, as the boats are covered.

The media is invited to remain aboard the Queen of Hearts following the press conference. The Flotilla will depart from Pier 40 at 12:00 noon and will return around 2:00 p.m.

Gilad Shalit was kidnapped from within Israeli territory on June 25, 2006, as part of an unprovoked and well-planned attack byHamas terrorists. He remains held in total isolation with no access to the International Red Cross or other humanitarian bodies. Since his capture, Hamas has provided only two indications that Gilad is still alive – a recorded message of his voice released on June 25, 2007, and a video of him released on October 2, 2009.

PLEASE NOTE: Security requires advance notice of all attendees to this meeting. To RSVP for the meeting, please contact the Conference of Presidents at rsvp@conferenceofpresidents.org or 212-318-6111.

Part II:
*Hello Uncle Erwin,***

This is Amir writing you after reading what you sent to my father, Eitan.

As you know, it was my unit and my friends who were on the ship. My commander was injured badly as a result of the "pacifists" violence. I want to tell you how he was injured so you could tell the story. It shows just how horrible and inhuman were the activists. My commander was the first soldier that rappelled down from the helicopter to the ship.
When he touched ground, he got hit in the head with a pole and stabbed in the stomach with a knife.
When he drew out his secondary weapon-a handgun (his primary weapon was a regular paintball gun: "Tippman 98 custom") he was shot in the leg. He managed to fire a single shot before he was tossed from the balcony by 4
Arab activists, to the lower deck (a 12 feet fall). He was then dragged by other activists to a room in the lower deck were he was stripped down by 2 activists. They took off his vest, helmet and shirt, leaving him
with only his pants and shoes on. When they finished they took a knife and expanded the wound he already had in his stomach. They cut his ab muscles horizontally and by hand spilled his guts out. When they finished they raised him up and walked him on the deck outside. He was conscious the whole time.

If you are asking yourself why they did all that, here comes the reason.
They wanted to show the soldiers their commander's body so they will be demoralized and scared. Luckily, when they walked him on the deck a soldier saw him and managed to shoot the activist that was walking him
down the outside corridor. He shot him with a special non-lethal bullet that didn't kill him. My commander managed to jump from the deck to the water and swim to an army rescue boat (his guts still out of his
body, and now in salty sea water). That was how he was saved. The activists that did this to him are alive, now in Turkey, and treated as heroes.

I'm sorry if I described this with too many details, but I thought it was necessary for the credibility. Please tell this story to anyone who will listen. I think that these days you are one of Israel's best spokesman.

*Thanks uncle Erwin, *

* *

*Shabbat Shalom!***

* *


Monday, June 21, 2010

NY, here I come! (soon)

I'm going back to NY for the summer.
It's weird-- I was so excited to come to Israel, every time I came before, and now when I'm going to NY, I'm just excited to see my family, I'm not excited to be back in NY (except that there are a lot of cheaper things there).

I'm confused.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Yay progress!

It's been about a month since I last updated. Tons has happened since then...
-Deposited my first check, which was very exciting
-Miriam found an apartment and that she, Eden, and I are renting
-Ordered checks
-Got my teudat ma'avar
-Was in the MDA EMS Championship up North
-Finishing Ulpan
-Finding a job
-Summer in NY!

So, let's start:
Check: I deposited my first check in my bank account! It doesn't seem like that big a deal, but I did it in Hebrew. I walked into one of the bank branches and said to someone, "Hi. I know this sounds sort of silly, but can you help me deposit this check? I've never deposited a check before and don't know what to do." So she did. And she was very nice and helpful, and said, "There's a first time for everything." And so it was. I successfully deposited my first check. Go me.

Miriam found an apartment and that she, Eden, and I are renting: Miriam found an apartment for us. It's mostly unfurnished-- it has a fridge and stove, closets, and a couple of pieces of furniture, but mostly not. No beds or anything. So we are working on getting furniture. It's 3 bedrooms and a HUGE living room. The kitchen is also big, and there's another side room with the stove and a second sink and a place for the washing machine. There's also a mirpeset-- two of the rooms open to the mirpeset and the third does not. Two toilets and one bathtub/shower. A little more than I wanted to pay, but it's really not unreasonable for what we are renting. The Arnona and va'ad bayit are also more expensive, but that seems to be normal for that area. The landlords are also supposedly good landlords and good people. Our lease starts July 1.

Ordered checks: I ordered (and picked up) my checks. I have to go back to the bank, though, because it showed that it took 9 shekels out of my account when it wasn't supposed to because as an olah chadasha I get 3 checkbooks free. There's someone in the branch who speaks English and she's been wonderful; I'll go talk to her.

Got my teudat ma'avar: Went to Misrad Hapnim to fill out the form, gave in the pictures, and paid. Miriam went to pick it up from the post office (because it was sent registered mail) and they wouldn't let her because she didn't have my ID with her. Murgh. I SIGNED the form so she could pick it up...and they still wouldn't let her. So I went to the post office and got there at 5:57-- it closes at 6. Someone was there at 6:03 and they wouldn't let him in. I'm very glad I got there on time. So I now have a teudat ma'avar, which is like a temporary passport. You can't get an Israeli passport until you've been a citizen for a year, but you need to travel on an Israeli document when leaving Israel so you get a teudat ma'avar until you can get your real passport. So I have one now.

Was in the MDA EMS Championship up North: SO MUCH FUN! It was 3 days of challenges and working with new people and just...fun. The theme was "From Gilboa to Carmel," which were the two regions that won the last Championship (it's every 2 years); Carmel won again this year from MDA (BLS and ALS), and Spain (BLS) and Canada (ALS) won this year from the international teams. I was on the Irish team with a driver from Netanya.

Finishing Ulpan: Tomorrow is my last day of classes. We have to be out by the 15, but I'm teaching a course starting Monday, so I'm moving out Monday morning. I have almost everything moved out; Basi came on Thursday night and picked up some suitcases and stuff, I brought one home on Friday, and I have some other random things to pack up that I'm just going to have to bring to the course, and we still have quite a bit from the kitchen. And the stand dryer. Miriam is going to be taking stuff. I don't know how, but we will have to make it work-- we have to have things out and in some order. Alan came on Friday and took a bunch of stuff-- a suitcase of kitchen stuff, and the oven-- to his machsan.

Finding a job: Work in progress. There was somewhere that wanted me to come work, but it was mornings, and before I finished Ulpan and I wanted to finish Ulpan. I'm now looking for jobs, preferably in schools or gan or ma'on. Afternoons work too; I definitely wouldn't mind working in the afternoon. The system is very different here in that there are more part-time positions and very few full-time positions available. I don't really know how benefits work here-- full-time/part-time. Are they different? How? What am I entitled to as an employee, etc. Tips anybody?

Summer in NY!: I'm going back July 4-August 31. It's going to be interesting, because I'm still a citizen-- I'm not giving up my American citizenship, I don't want to-- but in a way I'll be a tourist. I don't live in NY anymore, and...I think that's going to be a shock when I first get there. Of course I remember how things look and all that, but it's...my parents' house feels like home. It feels funny to say that NY, though, is home. I'm not sure that it is anymore, at least it's not completely home.