12 Shvat 5781 / Monday, January 25, 2021 | Torah Reading: Beshalah
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Aliya for Dummies    

Aliya for Dummies

Be careful in Israel - it can be very traumatizing to sit down to a healthy bowl of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch only to find out it is covered by goat milk…


Well, now that I’ve got a good six months of living in Israel under my belt, I am the obvious person to give advice. Allow me, please, to share with you some of my vast wisdom.


If you are not planning on owning a car right away, you have an exciting adventure awaiting you in the Egged bus. If you are unaccustomed to riding the seas during a hurricane, bring Dramamine or any motion sickness pills you can pop. There are no special bags available in the seat pocket in front of you.


I would be truly amiss if I did not educate you regarding a special technique frequently employed by the bus driver. This technique is referred to as “The Lurch.” The Lurch is most commonly applied just after you step onto the bus and are digging in your purse or pocket for your bus fare. Until you work on your “lurch balancing techniques,” it may be wise to invest in a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads. A helmet with a nice chin strap is highly recommended. If you pride yourself in being a graceful human being, it is time to flush this illusion. After peeling yourself off the floor or windshield, you can be sure the second lurch is on its way. This usually occurs as you are walking down the aisle. You will be a human pinball. The more seasoned travelers will offer you expressionless stares.


I should add a special tip for the ladies. Although I am not sure of the rabbinic ruling, it is possible that your new helmet could be considered a head covering. So make sure you buy a nice one and add glitter and stickers to make your best fashion statement. If you have trouble finding a rabbi to declare this your head covering, please consult me. If you don’t mind dark alleys, I have connections. A note to sheitel wearers - if you have difficulty getting the helmet over your sheitel, try gluing the sheitel into the helmet first, then adding your nog last.


You may be surprised to learn, as I was, that people here speak Hebrew. Everywhere you go – stores, restaurants, holy sites, and even in synagogues. If you don’t speak Hebrew, I recommend learning the sentence, “lo mideberet ivreet.” (I don’t speak Hebrew. Men say “mideber”). When people are talking to you, this will save you from GOLS (Glazed Over Look Syndrome) and the inevitably unbecoming MOP (Mouth Open Posture). Though the flies in Eretz Israel are holy, it is against Halacha to provide a landing pad for them in your mouth.


Be prepared to buy the wrong products at the grocery stores. Your little container of yogurt could actually be sour cream. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out what the flavor is. If it tastes like sour cream, it is. If you have not evolved yet into a GMD (Goat Milk Drinker), it would be good to familiarize yourself with the difference between a goat and a cow. I know this is challenging for us city people who did not grow up on a farm. After you familiarize yourself, you can now look at the carton. If it is cow milk, there will be a picture of a cow. If goat milk, a picture of a goat. Try to meditate and repeat this sentence to yourself several times. It can be very traumatizing to sit down to a healthy bowl of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch only to find out it is covered by goat milk.


If you are single, be prepared for “the look.” People here have a special laser-like ability to zero in on this area of your life. They are on a mission. If you fall into the hands of a yenta, you will be immediately escorted into another room where you will be weighed and your height, hair and eye color will be noted. Be sure to have two eyebrows instead of a single long one. Man or woman, Yenta will pull out the hot wax and rip off the unsightly. You may lose a little skin in the process, but it shouldn’t take more than two weeks to heal. After the hot wax, she may pull out her Rorschach Inkblot test kit. For tips on successfully passing this test, you may want to contact your local psychiatrist or Breslev Emuna Coach Dr. Zev Ballen.


Finally, for your own safety, mentally and physically, you must learn about Israeli line etiquette. An Israeli line is similar to watching a herd of cattle trying to escape through a single gate. It might be wise to wear protective gear in this scenario as well. If you are the overly polite type, you must psychologically prepare yourself to be in last place for the rest of your life. If you have narcissistic tendencies, you have nothing to worry about. All that exists is you. For those somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, I recommend preparing with the following exercise: gather 100 of your closest neighbors. Take a piece of chalk and draw a 3 foot circle in the middle of your street. Now tell everybody that whoever fits into the circle will win a million dollars. This is the Israeli line.


Welcome to Israel!

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