Saturday, November 16, 2013

Aliyah Manifesto: You Are An Immigrant

(excerpt from The Aliyah Manifesto- to be published in 2014 IY"H)
'You are an immigrant- accept it you yutz face'
I use 'face' as it makes the title statement stronger

You are an immigrant: Let me explain to you what that means. That means you are an immigrant. I am glad I can help you understand.
To explain immigrant further. That means you immigrated to another country. That means you will go through what immigrants go through. That means that you are not in your homeland. You are not in the land that you were educated to live in. You left the place where you know how to do stuff and understand the news. That means that as a person from a first world country, because you are reading English, you made a decision to not use your degrees or diplomas. You made a decision to be useless to society. You made a decision to not have any idea what is going on. You are an immigrant.

You thought everybody was so friendly and they were going to help you find a job as a non-English teacher or a non-telemarketer- because you hate them- when you first got here. Oh, they were so nice to you when talking to you about moving to Israel. Now you know, you got screwed. Once you make Aliyah you are by yourself. Nobody cares. The Sochnut, Nefesh BNefesh and every Israeli has done their job. They got you to give up your easy life. They made the sale. Now you are by yourself.
How do I know this? You ask. How do I know that they do not care about you once you have moved? Once you get off the plane, they do not set you up at the guest room in your cousin's house, which is their children's bedroom. Once you get off the plane, you done't even see your cousins anymore. You find out they are not even your cousins. They were a ploy to get you to move to Israel. They were nice people decoys to get you to think that Israel is one big family. True that may be, as I cannot rationalize the fact that random strangers yell at me because I might get a cold, because I am not wearing a jacket. Now you know that those people were trying to say, 'We are next to you,' on the bus. Next thing you know you are moving to Israel because you are all 'Krovim.'
Then you start to realize that you are by yourself. You get off the plane and they set you up in absorption center, with one of the old time Sochnut mattresses. The mattress is too small to sleep on, unless you are sleeping sideways all night. If you move on the mattress, you fall off. The mattress, or bed sheet (depending on how you see a 1cm thick mattress), feels good your first night of Aliyah. It is more comfortable than getting kicked by a toddler screaming on the plane. They are teaching you. It is their way of reminding you how hard acclimation to your new home will be.
Enjoy the mattress sheet, and live your new life. It is time for you to make your own way, and stop whining. Your first lesson in Aliyah is to do it yourself. They have Ikea too. A statement telling you that 'You have to build your own furniture. We are not going to help you.' Take that sochnut mattress and take another one. Double up the mattresses, and then find another base and put the two doubled up mattresses together; making for yourself a twin sized bed. Now you are living it up- Alone, on a twin sized bed sheet that is on a rigged metal lacing.
Always remember, in the late 1800s, the chalutzim did not even have the metal lacing bed base. They slep on a flat board, which did not dig into their spine. Whenever there is extreme discomfort, I remember that I am also a pioneer. And no pioneer has ever had enjoyed themselves. Pioneers enjoy the stories of hardship and plunder, and sleeping on non-tempurpedic mattresses.
Being a pioneer is not easy. What kind of pioneer would feel fulfilled if stuff made sense. Pioneers don't move to better countries. For the Aliyah to be meaningful it should be painful. And that is why we should thank the Sochnut and Nefesh BNefesh, for helping make the acclimation process severely traumatic. Yeah, there are roads in Israel that are beautifully paved, all of the electronics you would ever want, great phone deals, excellent schools and pleasant people. But we have to watch out for that stuff, which ruins our Aliyah experience. Thank you to the organizations who help us with Aliyah for not showing us the good phone deals.
As the pasuk (verse from the Torah) says, to quote my friend Cindy, something about settling the land being painful, or with difficulty. Exactly as the pasuk says.
Think back 10 years to when people used to not get payed for Aliyah. Think back to 10 years ago when Aliyah was meaningful and not the job you got when you made Aliyah.

If you leave Israel, you are a failure.
Failure is defined by leaving Israel. You gave up and everybody will know it. The rest of your easy life will be tainted with people constantly being reminded of your 'failed Aliyah.' They all will have won. They totally will have won and you know it and I know it. That is all that is going on in all of their minds back home. They are all thinking, 'Can David make it in Israel...he never past Chumish class growing up...he failed his Hebrew exam...' If you have to give your money back to the Oleh people, you are even a greater failure.
You made the move. Accept it. Be it. Be an immigrant. Enjoy it and fight through it. Fight through it like a refugee. A refugee of a land where the barbarians try to get you to 'Rock the Vote.' You cannot go back to your first world country. That would be failure and the acceptance of a full time job.
The only way to stay in Israel is to commit to it. If you start thinking you can get out, then you will. Obviously, you would go back. What idiot wouldn't? You are an immigrant in a horrible situation. Escape? Why did you make Aliyah to begin with you weak-of-hearted soul, if you have a soul? I am not asking the people that made it from outside of the British Commonwealth and the USA. If you are from a non-English speaking country, the answer is simple. You made Aliyah because they are tightening up boarder patrol in the US. As a ‘Westerner’ you made Aliyah because you wanted a harder life. You wanted to make your life a challenge. You wanted to be a pioneer. So be the pioneer and patriot who abandoned your land.
This is your challenge, so stop complaining and do something about it. Yell back.

Be happy that you are in Israel. That is what my mom always says, and that 'it doesn't cost more to marry rich.' My mom pays extra for every cab when she visits. She is an inspiration to us all. 'We are in Israel' is what she always says. She has the right outlook. She is not getting ripped off. She is supporting sociopaths.
That is the only way I can justify living in Israel; with happiness. That is what you got to say for Aliyah, ‘We are in Israel.’ That is what explains the new Jerusalem light rail, which I have not used yet and which has caused a backup of traffic since last year. ‘We are in Israel’ is the reason that I got cut in line, again, and then got knocked over into the bus. ‘We are in Israel,’ makes me feel better about getting screwed over. It corrects the wrongs.
And yes I fight back. I fight back on line and I fight back at the kotel, when they push me. I fight back, because I am committed to staying in this land. 'I knocked you down because I wasn't looking where I was going. We are in Israel my friend.' I don’t know if I am staying because it Israel or that I like not being comfortable. I just know it is my home, and in my home, people speak English. 'We are in Israel, speak English.'
I am going to be one of those Olim parents who gets angry at his children for speaking Hebrew. Because ‘We only speak English in this house, we didn’t move to Israel to speak Hebrew.’

Stop complaining already. Why are you still complaining? You made the decision to not want to work your way up the corporate ladder. You came to the Start Up Land of people who do not want a boss. When there are no people working for bosses, there is freedom. Other people can do what they want, and however they want. That is the beauty of your new home. Your new life with your neighbor who is a boss too, and she doesn’t feel like removing her garbage from in front of your door. We are in Israel, and you should be happy. You should not be bossing her around.
You didn’t flee the gulag. You fled your 6 bedroom home and backyard. Your decision. You messed up, so be happy. Be happy that you do not have to depend on your job as much as the people coming from poverty do. ‘Oh, I can’t afford the flat screen.’ The guy who made Aliyah from Iran can’t afford a flat toast. The guy that just came from Iran cannot afford a bed. Or a sheet for that matter. He is still sleeping on the Sochnut mattress sheet. His only job he can get, if lucky, is a security guard job, and even then you cannot sleep on the job. That is a hard job, trying to keep other people from Iran out of the malls, even if they call themselves Persian. They are trained to keep the malls safe from themselves. Try watching yourself on TV, checking yourself for explosives.
As an American immigrant you can go to the mall. So you can’t buy anything…WaWaWa (my impersonation of somebody crying). 'Oh, the shirts are so expensive.' Why are you buying a polyester flannel shirt anyways? The point is stop complaining. You moved for idealistic reasons, and Poverty is ideal.
Nothing will ever be the same. You are an immigrant. Take solace in the fact that you can return to your country without being shot at. Take solace in the fact that you do not have to wait 20 years to see the rest of your family. Take solace in the fact that you can leave Israel to make money and call it Shlichoot, or a 35 year mission on behalf of Israel to make money for yourself.
When things are down, never look at yourself and your mistakes, or how you can improve. That can only be detrimental. When things are down, look at how bad other people have it, from the third world countries. Not that they smell bad, but they have to smell their family members. Smelling bad isn't bad. Having to smell your friends that smell bad is. Unless you are the only kid in the class who smells bad. Enjoy that you have packaged soap. Enjoy that you do not have to be the kid in the class that nobody wants to talk to or invite over to their home; the kid who never played mercy or thumb wrestling, but always had to play catch. Enjoy the fact that other people have it so much worse than you. Look at them, laugh at them and enjoy how privileged you are. You always wondered why there were third world countries in this day of technology. That is why they are there. For you to feel better about yourself. For you and for whomever is running their country.
Love your move. Accept it, Love it, Cry about it, write a blog. And then move back to America.

I had to get that all out of the way. Now I shall complain.
I was a grownup in America. Now I am Chamud (cute little guy). As a New Oleh, I am not a Gever (macho Israeli man). I do not have the background. I do not meet Israeli women who want to go out with me. I do not meet Israeli women by smacking them. I haven’t learned the art of skipping the 'hello' and just grabbing a woman like a gever, without her permission. I don’t get dates, I get Israeli women who say, ‘B'Hatzlacha.’ They wish me luck. I get a blessing of farewell before I even start a conversation.
As a chamud, you need luck for a woman to take you seriously. An immigrant is chamud; speaks the language as a special person with disabilities. ‘How cute? See that, he has a PHD, he’s a CEO and he did that all with a Hebrew handicap…How cute? He just said Shalom. He thinks he said Shalom in Hebrew. Did you hear that?..How cute? He’s never going to get a job. I don’t think he understands what CEO means. He only speaks English. To be a CEO, you have to have a job. He wants something...Yeah, chamud. Shwarma? For you? 190 shekel. Only $53. Shwarma is very rare in Israel. How chamud? Are you disabled...I think he is disabled.’ I have accepted that I am chamud. And No, I am not disabled. I am American!
I have tried making it in Israel, but it is not easy. Even so, I do not give up. I get my deal on pastries. I know where to find the deals. I show up right before Supersol is closing and shabam, 50% off. In the shuk, same thing, they are closing, 50% off. But not shabam. Middle of the day, I argue. That is how I get deals in the middle of the day, arguing. I might be chamud, but I have learned that if you anger the salesman and bother them enough, they will pay you to leave. If you haggle enough, to the point that they do not like you and want to get rid of you, you get a deal. Getting a deal is making it.
You can’t give up. That is what is important; sticking with it. You give up, you are giving in. Then people like you, and you are paying full price.
If you understand early on that everybody is getting screwed over, not just you, you should feel comforted. There is a lot of comfort in knowing that a whole world is not being treated right. If you can accept that the whole world is wrong and that everybody is being taken advantage of. Take solace in the fact that everybody else's life also sucks. You can be comforted knowing that people are starving. That my friends brings happiness.
You are an immigrant you yutz face. So stop complaining. I am sick of hearing all your complaining. Remember, 'We are in Israel' and we are all surrounded by people who smell bad.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Aliyah Manifesto: Sooo Expensive

Everything Costs A Lot When it is Frozen

Everything is cheaper in America. Falafel is now cheaper in America. Osem is cheaper in the United States. Osem is an Israeli food manufacturer. It should be cheaper where they make it. It should be cheaper before they ship it. The flight should not make it less expensive. The government must be taxing the entry tax for its own products, which were made in its own country. I did come up with a business model of shipping Bamba into Israel. Israelis love the peanut butter puffs they make in Israel. I figure that I can bring the Israelis the Israeli product. I will ship the Israeli product into Israel, and I will give it to them cheaper.
I don’t understand the infatuation with the Bamba peanut butter puffs. They aren’t even cheese puffs, which taste so much better. I won’t eat Bamba. Why? Because cheese puffs taste better. I can’t believe Israelis haven’t heard about cheese puffs. I know they haven’t, because if they had they would be eating them and feeding them to the little children. You have to feed children something unhealthy. At least you don’t take a chance with killing your child with a cheese puff. I can’t believe I gave up cheese puffs for peanut butter puffs. Do you now understand what it is to be an Oleh? What you give up as an immigrant? If there was one reason for my leaving Israel, it would be cheese puffs. Driving with cheese on my fingers and rubbing the cheese all over the steering wheel, or whatever serial and dye number mixed with element that the cheese puffs are made of. I will still sell Bamba.
Good point. I did have cheese puffs the other day, but I did pay 35nis for that bag. So don’t go all ‘Israel has everything America has’ on me. I am a little on edge about that with my Aliyah. Why doesn’t Israel have America? I’m in Israel, living in Israel and it is not America. I made Aliyah and I have the American Gd given right to complain.
Olim get too excited about this American product thing. ‘Israel has hamburgers. Awesome…We can watch the Super Bowl…’ You can watch the Super Bowl at 4am. In America they watch it in the afternoon. Even Americans are not that American. In America, they sleep. No American in America even watches the Super Bowl past the first half, unless they are a football fan. But we get so excited that we are even willing to rent a hotel room for the Super Bowl. I will never forget the miracle day that I heard that a random store on the way to Har Nof received Marshmallow Fluff for only 70nis a pint. And they still had no soft white bread to spread it on.
New Olim get so excited to point out to their heretic friends in Chutz L’Aretz (outside of the land- the land being Israel) that you can get anything in Israel now. ‘We have American products.’ That is true, but you have to pay an enjoyment tax. $220 for a box of Entenmann’s donuts!! Israel is not America. ‘Move to Israel and you can pay for somebody to start a business off your desire to still be living in America’- that is what I tell my Chutz L’Aretz friends. You olim who care so much to point out to everybody that they should be living in Israel, that is the new Zionist pitch you should be using. ‘Make Aliyah and support Entenmann’s Aliyah by paying for the donut and its seat on the plane.’ Each donut gets its own seat.
We have the products, they are just older. We are paying for the donuts pension plan too; $220 for the frozen donut. Donuts do not come out of the freezer section. The only thing that can come out of the freezer section with a hole are Lender’s Bagels. We are expecting the Lender’s Bagels to be disgusting and that is why they are allowed to be frozen. A product making it to Israel does not make it OK to freeze. Frozen works for meat. Wait, if meat was 3 years old we would also be complaining about freezer burn. It is hard to beat the expiration on some of these boxes. The box gets flown over, they hold it in customs, 250% tax the donut and its seat on the plane, eat half the donuts in the box and then sell them. By the time the government ate the only good donuts, chocolate glazed and white crumby style- leaving the plane ones, and 250% taxed the donut and its seat on the plane, it had already been frozen in the Ashdod port for 2 years of summer. They couldn’t even freeze the Ice City Exhibition in Jerusalem for 2 weeks. I am still impressed that the donuts from the Ashdod port are good till 2019.
We get stuff from all over the world. We also get Argentinian meat. Awesome! But it is frozen. Frozen means it might have been good. And may I point out, nobody freezes the good stuff ever. You freeze leftovers. Unless you are my mom and you are saving the good stuff for the Passover, when the guests come. Even that isn’t good once it has been freezerified. The guests don’t even like it. It is more of a punishment, to show us that the good stuff is not for us. That is what frozen is. It is a punishment. Frozen vegetables are a punishment. ‘Here you go…the vegetables with nutrients that have been frozen out. A little punishment for not eating your green-beans.’ Freezing cheese puffs is just wrong.
The good stuff in Israel is the produce. So enjoy that. But understand, you gave up every good preservative in the world. Frozen is not a preservative. Now, Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t taste the same. How can they mess up Ben & Jerry’s? Israel has the best dairy produce in the world. But they can’t figure out ice cream. They get the additives wrong. I don’t want healthy homemade stuff. I want preservatives. When I made Aliyah, I didn’t realize I was giving up preservatives. I could give up mom’s macaroni and cheese, but damn the day I have to stop eating Wacky Mac. I don’t even want dairy anymore. Just one more time, I want unfrozen B325 dyed ink, with a dash of omega19.
I now eat Israeli food. I have learned to be happy with Israeli food, such as pizza, hamburgers and apple pie. I don’t even care to eat American food in my new country. If I don’t get a stomach ache after dinner, I know the shwarma wasn’t fresh.
I used to starve and not eat till my trips to Chutz L’Aretz, where my Entenmann’s costs $2.50 without VAT (value added tax) before the discount. When they ship the boxes back to America, you apparently don’t have to pay the taxes anymore. And while I was at it, I would enjoy some Bissli and Bamba. And yes, when I visit I also enjoy my meat that wasn’t frozen. Not the meat in my mom’s freezer; that is for the guests.
I never even heard of VAT when I lived in America. Some products are made in the USA and the stuff they ship in from China has no value. You see, being in Israel I have become more of an American patriot then when I was in America.
The point is that there is a problem when you have to freeze a preservative to keep food fresh.

We have the products in Israel. We don’t have the deals. I could buy a home in Israel. They have those in Israel too. But I don’t have 3 million dollars. I gave up a $100,000 five bedroom home, near the Jewish community, in the cheaper area with those people. If you say ‘those’ it is not prejudice. I have learned that in my world travels and from my mom. It is not racist if you are vague.
They do have the $1 Store in Israel, but that is 5 shekel. I have told them to call it the Dollar & Thirty Three Cent Store. They could even call it the We Add On A Lot of Tax to Your Dollar Store. Someday, maybe Israel will be America. If the $1.33 Store with Taxes can make it to Israel, anything can. There are neighborhoods in Israel with ‘those’ people, the Israeli society is becoming much dumber, and I do have my parents visiting. I am a spiritual man and I believe that honoring your parents has a lot to do with allowing them to pay your bills.
Why did I move to Israel?, you still ask. Because I like being me and I am sure my parents are willing to smuggle in some Twizzlers, cheese puffs and Osem with freezer burn.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My 36th Birthday- I am Old & Single

It is just past my birthday- happy birthday to me. 36! I am old now. I played basketball the other day and every injury I ever had came back. My back, my leg, my knee, my ankle, my thumb, my wrist. It was like I reached my expiration. My toe started hurting. I didn’t even remember that injury. When I was three years old, a stubbed my toe on a Tonka Truck.
Now I got random growths coming out of my body. Young people don’t have that crazy stuff growing out. Growth spurts are normal when you are a teenager. Now I have to get doctors to cut off extensions of my body. I had something on my hand and he burned it off. There were no candles in the cake, but I did celebrate by plucking out 36 hairs from my nose and ears. Pluck. I shave hairs that are supposed to stay there. I am talking- plucking. I violently had to remove 36 hairs. At 30, they stop putting candles in cakes. Now I am stuck pulling out my age in hairs.
I was looking at pictures. Everybody looks better young. You get old, they use adjectives to describe the way you look, which have nothing to do with physique. ‘He is distinguished looking.’ ‘He looks dignified.’ ‘He looks bitter.’ You get moody and they try to make it sound like something positive. It is even harder for women. No man wants a dignified looking woman. If they came dumber looking, that is what most men would like. It all reminds me that I should have been married already. My 36th birthday brings back all my failures, and injuries.
Thank Gd for Facebook. If it wasn’t for Facebook, I would think nobody cared about me. But people can post on my wall and I feel loved. ‘Happy Birthday’ and that is a love post. No thought put into it. I do not want the whole world seeing how badly we messed up last year when the bowels stopped working in the middle of the promenade; as funny and apropos it is to my turning 36.
36. I am old now. I really mean it. I know I meant it when I turned 26, but I mean it now. They won’t even let me talk to young girls anymore. I go to a party, I am the scary old guy. They make us stand in corners, so that everybody can look at us and mock us. I am the frightening guy who causes young women to comment, ‘Those old guys are scary…they are too old…they shouldn’t have the right to meet people.’ And I understand. When old single guys…I remember when a man my dads age was hitting on the same woman I was. There is something to say for separating age groups some times, and he should not have mentioned how much fun he had, growing up with my dad in the ‘50s. But I am not an ageist, as the matchmakers are. I do not discriminate against age and I think it is wrong. One’s hopes should never be destroyed by the fear of arrest.
I am now in the next age group and I don’t know what to do. They think I am young in Israel, as most men in the Middle East go through puberty at pre-school and then stay in the sun for 40 years. But my birth certificate shows that I have accomplished very little. Yigal gave me the idea to get a fake ID, to show I am 21. Should I start lying about my age? 
I can’t even talk to women under 32 anymore. They won’t let me. Even if I go to singles events, they separate us. They promise the women, 27 to 35 year olds. In the ad, ‘Women till 27 will only talk to men up to 35. Older people will be in a different area.’ They let the women know, ‘Do not worry, we will keep the old guys away from you.’ I am now somebody they protect girls from. They quarantine us. No hope anymore. I now have to go to the Jerusalem singles parties for people between the ages of 36 and 90.

It is amazing how I had these same complaints at 26. I love every moment on earth that Gd gives me to complain.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Aliyah Manifesto: A Religious Young Man

A Little Chapter About Me
To understand the writings of an individual, you must first understand what is wrong with them

A Religious Little Guy
I grew up a religious little boy in America. I had toys, sports, a mom had money for stuff if I argued. I had space. I had a kippah (yarmulke- if that word helps you understand kippah). The kippah was the one thing that made me not normal. That and the fact I couldn’t eat at my friends’ homes or parties, and called my friends heretics at a young age. I didn’t know what a heretic was, but I knew Michael was not going to heaven.
I never liked toys. I liked reality. The toy truck never got me excited. I would have to sit on the hood of the truck to drive it. If I wanted to turn left, I would have to stand up and turn left, and then sit back down on the hood. It wasn’t fun. I had to crab walk. It was more exercise than fun. And GI Joe; I had the toys, but I knew they couldn’t talk. My friend would tell me, ‘I am killing you.’ No you are not Michael. You just jumped on my toy. And then you started banging my toy into the ground. And then you broke my toy. Now I am not happy. You never killed me. I am still alive, B”H (religious acronym). You just made our play dates not fun.
I liked sports more, because Michael couldn’t say, ‘I am killing you. The ball is in the basket.’ It didn’t go into the hoop, so it was not a basket. More simple are sports. That is, reality is more simple to me and reality is something I can work with. It is harder to cheat in reality, unless you are a historian. ‘You killed my GI Joe.’ But your GI Joe is still there you idiot, and now you have nobody to play with Michael.
Religion was the only real game that was reality to me. I believed in Gd and that was real enough. To show how real it was, I wore my yarmulke when I played basketball. This way, I would have the two realities of somebody scoring and spitting on me at the same time. And when I scored, I would have the reality of having to pick up my yarmulke before I ran back on defense.   
When I think back to my childhood there are little things I regret. If I were to go back right now, I would have shared my Weeble Wobble with Ben.

Religion was my connection to Judaism and I loved it. Loved the holidays. Holidays meant days off from school. My mom would complain about the two days of each holiday that Jews keep when they are outside of Israel (in Israel Jews only keep one, because they are better and closer to Gd). My mom didn’t like cooking as much as I thought. But I loved the two days, and I could deal with watching my mom working real hard so that I could enjoy dinner and cartoons. That meant two days of no school. I wished the holidays would last all year. I could have off from school and my mom could feed me. I felt so close to Gd, that I prayed every day for no school and brisket. Believing in Gd meant more vacation and I connected with my religion.
I would get so excited to drive around the city and give gifts to people on Purim. They would give me a dollar and I would have another day off of school. Even when we did have school, holidays meant more art projects and field trips and other activities we called religious because they taught us nothing. We would then have the Purim carnival where they would have the throw the sponge at David’s face booth. For the sake of community and less classes, I would sacrifice myself for the Purim carnival. They also had the David is running away from school experiment, where I spent all day hiding from the teachers, so they would be worried enough to let everybody skip class. I got in trouble for that.
We never got in trouble for spending a day making matzah, or going around to people’s Sukkot on the Holiday of Sukkot and eating stuff instead of studying. The Chabad Rabbis always had these great booths. Even in school we would get to skip class for a shofar making booth. They would also have a grorger making booth, for Purim. Every holiday had a booth. A booth meant 45 minutes on something we weren’t getting graded for. And then there was the matzah factory. Or as I called it, dream day. A multiple booth set up, including a field trip. A whole half a day off from school, to have us flatten dough for their Passover cooking. I was happy with the sweatshop work. It didn’t pay, but it did give us 5 hours off of school. Who could have ever thought that 18 minutes could last so long?
Would I have traded my religion for a whole week of Sundays? Yes. But you have to live in reality, and I never witnessed anybody who had a whole week of television. Heaven does not exist on earth. You take what you can get. Educational movie and television days were good enough. ‘321 Contact’ was that little piece of heaven brought into the hell of school. Those scientific genius 8 year old detectives were as close to redeemers I have ever witnessed. I love you Bloodhound Gang. I have no idea how you made it to Ms. Funsten’s class. You taught me ‘gangs are good.’

Shule was the life. People who knew me from when I was a little kid, saw me grow into a young adult with a C average. But they were always positive smiley people. They were older and also didn’t have to go to school. What was there not to be happy about? Other than the stale kichel at Kiddush (post services snacks, when most of the members of the community showed up at synagogue), life was beautiful for them. The disgusting puffed pastry was almost as bad as school and I have no idea what the sisterhood was thinking. They should have stuck with the Stella Dora chocolate on the inside, that I eat around, cookies. But it was still tasty, because I didn’t get a mark on it.
Youth group was fun. We had conventions and I got to meet other Jewish kids from all over upstate New York, which meant a good 30 Jewish kids my age. It was at that moment, in seventh grade, when I realized I didn’t have many dating or marriage options. Fridays before convention, we would leave early; which meant a day off of school. The kids who didn’t go on the conventions had to become smarter; their loss. Then we would show up to the conventions and they would try to get us to sit in study groups. They would say it was conversations about topics of interest, but there were source sheets. They tried to bring school to my vacation, and that was not fun.
My life revolved around not having school. My only goal in life was finding a way out of class. And then came camp, summer vacation, where they would try to get us to sit in class for 2 hours a day. I couldn’t get away from it. School followed me everywhere.
If they would have just allowed us to watch television, like my mom did, we would have been more relaxed. Television, as an educational tool, keeps children quiet and out of fights. And I am ready to raise some healthy educated children.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Aliyah Manifesto: Introductions 1 & 2

I have a lot of thoughts 

Shalom My Friends, Groupies, and Family Members who will not like this book,

This is my story of Aliyah. Why I did it, what I went through, what I am going through. These are the reasons for my move. I hope that by the end of the book, my parents will finally understand. This is not the whole story. The whole story would be way too long. That would include the hours of sleep.
I wake up at 4pm. After seven years in Israel, it is not jetlag. I blame it on jetlag. I do not want people thinking I am lazy. Jetlag is an excuse Olim use when they are not traveling. Excuses for getting out of work are a survival skill in Israel. Nobody wants to work, and it is important to be able to compete with excuses like, ‘I have done army service…I have been called up for three months…they are taking people out of retirement.’ This is how I write, because this is how I think. Everything is comes together at some point, but enjoy the rants and the side points, for it is the side points that are the truest thoughts I may share about Aliyah. And this book might not come together at all.
If you want to skip the introduction, do it now. It is long. I don’t want to frustrate you. I think it is brilliant and philosophical, but you want to read the book. So do it. Nobody is forcing you to stick in the roman numerals numbers. You can go to the real numbered pages; if it will make you feel like you are accomplishing more. Did you really finish the book if you didn’t read the introduction? I don’t know. You have to decide that. Maybe ask a friend what they think. Are you a quitter? I don’t know. Maybe you are and you are denying it. Are Roman numerals also numbers? Yes. They are just harder to write once you get past 7 or ‘v’ and two ‘i’s. I am going to get back to the philosophy of the explanation for the explanations in the story, or rant, or advice, or whatever this book about Aliyah is- The Manifesto.
The whole story would also include the restaurants I ate in. Though this is my book, I do not feel the need to give you every detail. I am not that egotistical. I know the details and they are not exciting. If I leave the details vague, you can imagine an exciting life, which I have, which is better than yours. The details that are shared are the emotions and a few of the experiences experienced before and during my first few years of Aliyah.
We all know how annoying it is to have to sit at a dinner with a detail talker, ‘I was born in 1935. It was a good year…They gave me a birth certificate. It had my date of birth…My mom’s name…she was a good woman. She raised me…I then went to…I didn’t know, I was only one month old…’ This story is going to take a long time. I know how documents work. We asked you how the grandkids are. Just answer the question! That is why I made it a point to leave out some details. Nonetheless, I didn’t leave out many.

I will take you thru the truth. I will not be selling Israel as a fun place. Israel is colorful and if you love life, then you might want to think about Aliyah. If you love people getting angry at you, then you might want to make Aliyah. If you love relaxation and stuff that makes sense, stay in America.
If it seems like I hate it, but that is why I am here. I like to complain. What you think I hate, is what I am connected with and love the most. I complain about what I love. I love Israel and the disorganized beauty. The same way my parents discuss me, because they love me. It is love that allows my parents to express the pride they have in me with words like ‘you suck.’
There will be an audio recording attached for those of you reading this book with no comedic timing.
I miss community and my life in America. You don’t make Aliyah because life is better. It is different.
In a time where people are moving to the land of their ancestry, I did it. It was between Israel and Far Rockaway, New York. It has nothing to do with trying to move away from family. I love my family and miss them. I miss being able to be at all the life cycle events, even if I do live in Israel and I cannot afford the gifts. I miss having people screaming at me. I need that warmth in my life. Being that I am single I do not feel the intimacy I need in my life. There have been some moments of intimacy. I dated an Israeli woman recently and she started reprimanding me on the first date. I was so excited, ‘This means I am in a relationship.’ Then she kept on yelling at me on the second and third date. By the fourth date, I realized that she wasn’t screaming at me with the same kind of love I get from the guy at the shuk- who I am now in a relationship with. I purchase my cucumbers from him and not her. And yes, the guy in the shuk is still screaming, because he cares about his sunflower seeds, unlike some.
Given, I do feel a lot of love when the guy at the makolet /bodega and my neighbors scream at me for not being them. I should throw out the trash they leave in the hallway.

The realization that I must move to Israel took place in my parents’ home at 3am. I was watching TV. My dad came down ‘David- why are you watching TV, it is 3am?’ Because I can! I knew that it was 3am, because it was 3am. All I could think to respond was ‘I am old enough- I can do things I want, I can eat a hamburger right now. Hell, I am making Aliyah.’
My Aliyah is about love and family and true search for what is important in this world. Connection to my people and where I belong. No matter how painful it is to be an immigrant- which I am. It is the fact that I am old enough. It is time to make decisions that will be detrimental. Time to make life meaningful and I hope I am on that path… as many have dreamed and many are fulfilling. I have to be in Israel. I have no choice. I did university and there is something inside of me that says that it should not have been that expensive.
My parents did not make a mistake or raise me wrong. They raised me Jewish. And yes, this is my manifesto. This is my message to all.
The audience for this book: you! moving to Israel, and you! anti-Semitic self-hating Jew not moving to Israel, and you! non-Jews who are going to hell unless you buy this book and support the holy writings of David Kilimnick. If you are one of those people who like to fight people giving orders, buy it if you want to.
It is The Aliyah Story, because we all had it in our own way. All of us who have moved to Israel have had our internal fight as to the price we should be paying for the cucumbers in the shuk/market. All of us have had our internal debate as to whether or not we should just take the TV, even though it is crooked, because the guy that installed it said it is not crooked; sitting right next to the washing machine in the living room, because the guy didn’t want to go through the hassle of installing it in the bathroom and said that it looks just fine next to the Picasso, if we just cover it with a cloth. All of us have flown ELAL, and like Aliyah, I shall not disguise it with cloth. Cloth being the metaphor.

I have more to say

You will misunderstand what I write and think I am ‘anti,’ ‘anti’ everything. You are wrong. Read between the lines; there is a lot of positive sentiment there. They are just not written. This is a manifesto about a society I love. As love has taught me, as shared to me by my parents and shared to them by their parents, true love can only be expressed through ridicule. If I am complaining, that is because I love it. There will be complaining. There it is, the first thing I have repeated.
OK. You know something. Take offense. You are so touchy feely. Calm down and do something with your life, instead of trying to pretend like you feel bad for everybody else. They don’t even feel bad, so enjoy making fun of them. ‘Oh, I can’t believe it. Somebody has an opinion.’ Yes, B”H (for those of you Jewish and religious and frum- five percent of the people reading this), finally somebody cares about something enough to talk honestly about it, you careless person who doesn’t understand that people move to Israel because it is colorful. It isn’t perfect, but I, the Anglo, am trying to make it more like an ancient Germanic tribal culture. If you are angry at me for my love of Israel and this book that will probably help more people in their Aliyah and help people decide to make that move to a country ever trying to be better- which keeps on making it worse in its attempts, please protest. Please complain about the book. That is called advertisement.
The truth is raw.

Let me begin by saying that Aliyah is not for people from the USA. Aliyah is for people from 3rd world countries and France. They figured, ‘People in France want to kill us, because we are Jewish. Let’s move to the Middle East… A lot safer.’ You do what you have to do for safety. And that was irony, so please read between the lines. If you didn’t get that, then this book is going to be hard. Relax with the book and see what is being said, by letting it speak to you. I am a bad writer, but the thoughts are there, and it can be really funny if you like typos. So develop a sense of humor. I am not saying that was the greatest joke you will ever read. However, there should be more laughs for you in this book.
Truth is that I made Aliyah because I was from Rochester, NY. I love Rochester, but it is cold, and older Jews move someplace warmer and change their name to Bernie. I figured. I can move to Jerusalem and live with Americans. Or, I can move down to South Florida and live with Israelis. What is an Israeli, I don’t know. There are so many different societies that have moved to Israel over the years. The only way I can describe an Israelis are, ‘people Olim complain about when they move to Israel.’ They can also be described as ‘people who moved away from Israel and started a moving business, and then started selling Dead Sea lotions in a mall.’ There are many more reasons taken into account in Aliyah, and we will get into them. One other major reason I moved to Israel is, Rochester’s company, Kodak, has not been doing well and I wanted to get out of there before they started blaming it on the Jews.
As you go through the book, I want you to count how many different reasons I give for my Aliyah. Kind of like a Highlights exercise. I love those books, they are entertaining and it is always more educational when there is an exercise involved. Since third grade, I have not had as many exciting experiences as I had finding stuff in a magazine, that isn’t Waldo.
It is amazing how the reasons change from year to year, activity to activity, page to page. I made Aliyah before Obama became president. Thus, I have different reasons.

To my dear reader, no matter who you are, you will walk away enlightened as to the inner workings of Israeli society, phrases, and educated as to the views of a new immigrant. The one great difference between the Oleh immigrant to Israel and an immigrant to any other country is that once the Oleh debarks the plan, the Oleh feels they have the right to complain. And we do have the right to complain, because we moved here for a better spiritual life and worse financial life. And we the people from the first world countries know better. And we love telling everybody we know better; we come from the land that created cable television, fast food, hula hips and nuclear weaponry. We have the right to complain and that is the beauty. We are moving home. And at home you can complain. An immigrant from Mexico to the US may not complain. They have the right to work, if it is not reported. What kind of immigrant has the chutzpe to think they can come someplace and then tell them how to run it? The immigrant who is coming back home.

Do not worry, no research has been done for this book. No quotes. For the concerned, this book is extremely non-educational.

And if any of you crazy Olim who were inspired by the supernatural to make Aliyah, or come from a third world country and love the fact that milk comes straight from a bag so that you don’t have to see the cow while drinking it, get mad at me for sounding anti-Israel- I am not. I am living here, so go ‘Titchadesh yourself.’ If you haven’t moved here yet, I will say it- move here. Yes, I will be that person who hounds you on your next visit, ‘Are you staying? Are you staying?...’ I will ask it more than twice. You don’t just visit Israel, you come and think about staying. That is how we welcome visitors. We make them feel very uncomfortable for not giving up their lives overseas. When you visit Israel, it is not a vacation. When you visit Israel, it is a chance for you to feel like less of a Jew for living in a society where shopping is easy. More reasons for Aliyah already?! For you? OK. Free education, free healthcare, no Israelis. Yes, the people you complain about are just not Americans, but they are not Israelis. Maybe some are. But most have moved to LA.
If I repeat myself in this book, it is because I spent many years in Yeshiva and the concept of Chazara/repetition in learning is very important. I want you to remember what I write, because it is important. It is also because of bad editing and good negative emotions coming out in rant form, more than once, which makes me feel real good. I am getting a load off my back.
I should not be editing my own work. My English writing skills are quite poor. That is what they told me at Yeshiva University. That is how bad my skills were; even Yeshiva University thought they were bad. I blame it on my high school. I blame everything on my high school. It makes life a lot easier to have something to blame it on. It is this poor writing and communicating which is the reason why I moved to Israel. Now, I still have a hard time interacting with people; I still can’t communicate effectively in English, and I still have not learned Russian. We’ll use that Russian Oleh joke genre a few more times in this book. Maybe we’ll even mask it with French. I will tell you this, I am sick of people asking me why I haven’t moved to Israel yet. I live in Jerusalem and that should count for something.

And you religious guys, enjoy the book. I will get you the rabbi letters if you need. If I am running short on pages, I will put the haskamot (letters of approval) in the book, to make it longer.

When I made Aliyah, I took my mishpuchi/family with me. All the mishpuchi who never made it to Israel. All the mishpuchi who prayed every day for the redemption, so they could enter Israel. All the family that is still in the diaspora, watching a Jewish Nation rise again. They are all with me. This is all figurative and metaphysical talk. I did not take my parents with me, and many of my siblings still reside in the US of A. It is important that I have my share of financial backing. You are with me at heart. I love you and I am looking forward to the next time you bring me a laptop. I understand it is hard to smuggle in desktops and I am sorry for that time you got held up at customs.
To quote Begin in a misquoted way. As I read at the Begin Museum, ‘No, no I will not return to you Brisk…but you are with me in all that I do.’ How right! And I am going to quote this a few more times, so you and me understand what it means.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

'The Aliyah Manifesto': Introduction to Introduction

Starting Yom HaAtzmaut time, I am happy to share the introduction to ‘The Aliyah Manifesto: Living the Dream…Volume 1’
The work has been in progress for a while and you will be receiving a new excerpt each week
Some of the stuff may not make sense to you. Cross that out of the book. It will make the book more enjoyable to you. Feel free to do your own edits. If something is repeated, look at it as review. If that bothers you, cross it out too. That will also make the book shorter and easier to read.
This book is about making the Aliyah experience real. Humor deals with reality and humor involves exaggeration too. I trust the reader is smart enough to figure that out.
You may be offended, as all people who do not have strong moral beliefs are. If you are offended, even better.

I am an Oleh, of the Olim. The renegades of the USA. The traitors who betrayed the right to success. A generation of people who have decided to leave the good life, for the meaningful life. It is good for some Americans as well. However, we made Aliyah because of a necessity to be awake, to be aware, to be of the people who need life to hit them in the face. Life is not always easy for us, but we made that change. I am of the Olim who did not want to leave my family. I am of the Olim whose heart yearns for connection. I am Aliyah.
Nice strong ending to that statement. I know. It sounds beautifully self-righteous. That is how all Olim speak when we are asked about our Aliyah. Sometimes we even throw in a real spiritual, life changing story, about how there was almost death and we were saved, and then we saw G-d and we had to move to Israel because we got a raise. They are all inspirational stories. Not mine. There is nothing inspirational in this book. Even so, you might get inspired. Do not blame me for that.

There is a story (in the Magedei Meysharim of Rabbi Yosef Kairo) where a voice told Rabbi Kairo to leave his money behind and move to Israel. If you do such, there will be no Beit Midrash (house of Torah study) that will not use your book and know of you, discuss you (or so I think it goes- I was just in Tzfat and this is what I heard). What happens in Tzfat, stays in Tzfat, and I do not remember anything I learned there. Around 500 years ago, the rabbi whom is learned in every Beit Midrash as the basic source of Jewish Law, was living the same promise and reality that Olim live in this generation, today. The voice is saying ‘Move to Israel…’ And we moved to Israel and we are broke. We left our wealth behind, and our families talk about us in the house and discuss our mistake.
Olim are people who made Aliyah. Oleh is one of them. Aliyah means going up. Somebody did the action a long time ago and wanted it to sound spiritual. Leaving Israel is called Yeridah, which means going down, or the action of any Israeli of moving to another country to make money and enjoy your life. A Yoreid is also known as a person who loves Israel, but thought it was a better idea to sell Ahava products at a stand with wagon wheels in a mall. If there is one justifying factor in the Aliyah process, it is that you are going up. That is to say, duty calls. That might be vague to you, but If you do not live in Israel, you suck.
There is a concept of Aliyah LaRegel, going up to Israel for the holidays. Back in the day, people would come up to Jerusalem for holiday sacrifices and good falafel. Nowadays, people come for the Passover hotels, so that they do not have to clean their homes.
Do not worry, the funny will be coming. It just takes a lot of buildup. A whole long three introductions of buildup.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

ADVICE: Traveling Kosher

When traveling, find out where the Jewish organizations are. (David Kilimnick on how to get free food on Friday night, in 3rd world countries).