Israel, and much of the Middle East, is right now in the thick, humid stomach of a dust storm. This haboob - Arabic for "violent wind" - is wreaking havoc on asthmatics, endurance athletes, and those who enjoy seeing things. Visibility is currently about half a kilometer. Though the dust was brought in by strong winds, … Continue reading The Heat and the Haze
Have you wondered just how Israeli elections work? Perhaps you're an Oleh Hadash (עולה חדש), or simply someone following the Israeli news from abroad. I watched all the election coverage, went to the polls, talked to people, and still didn't fully understand. So I did some research, and I'll take you through the process step-by-step.* The … Continue reading How Israeli Elections Work
Well, it's Bibi again. Frankly I'm disappointed that Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu's Likud party won the election. I was excited to see what a more liberal leader could have done for the country, a leader like Isaac "Bougie" Herzog or Tzipi Livni, the center-left leaders of the Zionist Union party. The Zionist Union was the Likud party's strongest … Continue reading Election Day
Here's a post I wrote back in the summer, when I worked as an aupair for an Israeli family: Aupairing is a risky business. First, the advantages: Your family is a ready-made community and a wealth of in-country information. You get to practice the local language and adjust to the culture. Truly, the family-as-mentor aspect … Continue reading Your Guide to Aupairing Abroad
No, not like that - My employers aren't paying me a legal wage. They aren't paying me at all. Just tips. I have recently discovered that, in Israel, it's illegal to replace a salary with tips. Back in January, when I first started working as a waitress, indeed, I was shocked to find that employers … Continue reading I’m Working Illegally.
Another bureaucratic saga. (consider each bolded phrase a new bureaucratic obstacle) Some of you will remember that I was certified as a medic with Magen David Adom (MDA) back in November. I persisted for months against dead-end email addresses, voice mail messages, wrong numbers, and disconnected phones, to register for the month-long intensive course. It … Continue reading What Happened With Magen David Adom?
I'm generally an optimistic person. I need to be - I throw myself into new situations all the time. Without optimism I'd quickly give up, because adaptation can be mind-blowingly difficult. New challenges pop up each day, from homesickness, to cancelled bus routes, to bureaucracy mind-melts, to the ever-persistent language barriers. And yet, I still keep … Continue reading Escaping the Rat Race
I am so depressed. Working in Israel feels futile. If I were in the U.S., I could make twice as much at a minimum-wage job. I'm working at least 50-hour weeks. I'm getting paid about $5 per hour (before taxes). I am stuck on a kibbutz 1.5 hours from the nearest good-sized city, which means … Continue reading Israel: The Fount of Self-Despair and Poverty
I want to introduce all of you non-Israelis to some Israeli music. Welcome to Israeli Song of the Day! Today's selection is from 1983. It's called "It's Cold Out There," by the singer Rami Kleinstein. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae3MahlYW3s I dive again into your eyes, I press your hand once more. If only your dreams one day would … Continue reading Song of the Day – קר שם בחוץ (It’s Cold Out There)
In Israel, you hear a lot of strange noises. Sonic booms that rattle the windows (air force training runs), missile sirens (thank you, Operation Protective Edge), the roar of low-flying military jets. Hey, it's a militarized country. This evening I hear a pop-boom outside. I ask the boyfriend what it is. "Fireworks," he says. "Hamas. Maybe … Continue reading Pop-BOOM