Yingele...

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Tagged!




I have been tagged. Inspired by Yiddishe Mamme, both Lost Spirit and Shevy want me to practise 5 casual acts of pure kindness. Five times two is ten, but I’m sure they’ll forgive me. They could add a kindness on their starchart.

1. This morning I happily prepared some nice breakfast for my hungry brother. Nice of me, no? Well, he didn’t really mention anything, but who cares. I did it for Yiddishe Mamme, not for him.
2. Just walked over to that pretty girl and told her how stunning she looks. A smile from here till Timbuktu, I think I made her day. So father, so son.
3. There where hundreds of people pushing and fighting to get onto that bus to Meron. I shtipt and pushed my way on and kept the seat on my left ‘Tafus’. My friend wanted a seat . Some guy didn’t seem too pleased and started a whole scene. The second he opened his loud gob, I opened mine. I yelled at him, like never before. You needed to see him curse his head off! Didn’t his mamma teach him some manners? He finished yelling at the top of his loungs and finally got off the bus. I didn’t punch his teeth out. Kind of me, isn’t it?
4. Some day last week, at like 12.30 I was outside shul and an 18 year old shababnik zoomed by. He gets off his stunning Yamaha motorbike and wants to put on tefilin, so I eagerly took mine off and let him use them.
5. Handed a couple of coins in the desperate hand of an old beggar in Geula. I kindly smiled at him, and wished him all the best.

Phew! Mission accomplished. I know have the honor to tag The Clown of Blog, The King of Blog and The Freshman of Blog. Good luck brave and kind men!

Next assignment; CosmicX tagged me. Cosmic, here goes:

If I could be an innkeeper… I would make sure to keep my kretshme open every Motze Shabbos. Especially in the winter, when it’s freezing cold outside. Just incase the Baal Shem Tov would pop by.

If I could be a missionary… I would build a large house in the shape of the 770 one. Then I would put a massive yellow moshiach flag blow by the window.

If I could be a world famous blogger… Grrr. I am a world famous blogger.

If I could be an athlete… Pass.

If I could be a professor… I would teach biology class in Beis Yaakov.

Phew. Another one accomplished. Yiddishe Mamme, Lost Spirit and Shevy - revenge is ever so sweet. Enjoy your new asignment!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Connection Lost.


Lag Ba'omer bonfire in Meron.

Meron - The little hill up north in the Land of Israel. For one day a year, a quiet village is transformed into a lively and busy city. Thousands flock annually to the holy tomb of the Tanna R’ Shimon Bar Yochai. The whole place is totally chock-a-block. Everyones neighbor will literally be spending Lag Ba’Omer praying, crying and dancing in the Galil Mountains. The whole place is one huge balagan. Chai Rottel Inc. has put up drinking stands all over the place, thousands of pilgrims praying and proud Papa’s carrying their 3 year old zeeskaiten happily on their shoulders.

Everyone thinks I’m crazy; I can’t‎ be bothered going to Meron. It’s a 3 hour bus shlep, coming back to Jerusalem at four am. I can’t be bothered running around, through all the pushing and geshtiperst and making sure not to stray off the glat-mahadrin men-only path. Little Yingele is not excited to see the Beyaner Rebbe light the gigantic bonfire, and he won’t feel comfortable dancing kadatchkes with the Toldos Aaron Chasidim. Indeed, there are a few cool parties, markets and barbeque's at the bottom of the hill, but there’s no big chance that I’ll be joining them.

“Yingele,” they tell me, “just go to Meron. You’ll feel a connection with your God.” A connection with God – that’s what it’s all about. I see. But what exactly is this ‘connection’ then? How does it feel? And what will happen if I will indeed experience it? I question if it will change me into a better and happier Yingele, or will it just fill me with regret and disappointment. This ‘relationship’ isn’t about sitting on the windowsill, gazing smilingly at the twinkling stars. Is it? Anyways, even if I do ‘feel’ that aliyah, history has already proven; it won’t last for too long. The next morning I’ll be little Yingele once again. So what’s the point? Connection what. Connection how. Connection where. Connection lost.

Maybe it’s just a feeling that one has when he follows Gods orders. Or it’s just something that makes you yearn for His words. I have no clue what this bond with God is, so I have no indication that I ever felt it. I’m not convinced that I ever did feel this heavenly relationship. I may not know what to dial, or He might not be picking up. I didn’t pay my bills, so maybe He just cut my line off. This Lag Ba’omer I might attempt one more redial. We’ll see who picks up, we'll see how long I stay on the line.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Medinat Mishtarah!


Demonstrators block a motorized police on a Jerusalem street.

Our entire Police State was totally paralyzed for 5 full hours yesterday afternoon. Hundreds of angry demonstrators blocked all major crossroads throughout the whole country. Police had raised the national alert level to Level 3 -- just one stage below a general state of emergency. The Mizrachnikes and Mitnachalim always tryed getting the frum Chareidim to go out and protest with them. For various reasons - which are so full of the regular filthy politics - they never joined forces. But this time, it was different. There was a secret ingredient filling those busy roads, packed with honking motorists. The secret that will awaken Sharon from his stubborn fantasies. The secret that brought all the Chareidim out of Me'ah Shearim. Yesterday, there was Action.

We where all standing at Knisat Lair. (The main entrance - and exit - to and from Jerusalem) 200 teens already got arrested. Arrested I said? I meant dragged and pulled, cruelly pushed and pressed into the tiny meter by meter cages, that fill the especially designed for Police Buggys. As far as my eyes could reach, I see cars. The traffic seems to be endless. Through the dark smoke we saw the black motor bikes coming towards us. Run! Run! Run! We all sprint away. Five minutes later, we return. A policeman tries dragging a 14 year old girl away. She pushed and screamed. She won.

The road is back open, the cars are literally moving inch by inch. Many wave orange flags through their windows. Yehudi Lo Megaresh Yehudi is echoing through the whole fighting field. Our orange army is getting wild. We all grab the metal barriers and block the street once again. Within seconds the police are chasing us. We run into the buildings, parks and gardens. The black motorbikes are chasing us. Brutally slapping, kicking kids. Young innocent kids, just standing quietly on the pavement and enjoying the action.

It's getting dark. Police are still there. The orange posters, flags and banners are proudly blowing through the air. The chanting starts again. Yehudi Lo Megaresh Yehudi, Yehudi Lo Megaresh Yehudi keeps on being shouted. All of us are singing, screaming and booh'ing. Within minutes the German Horses arrive. They chase us. Heavy geared police, wearing helmets and bullet proof shirts, large wooden clubs in their hands. Horses on horses. Brutally running around wild, slapping and beating everyone they could hit. Nazi, Nazi is now being shouted through the streets. Cat chases mouse, policeman chases kid. The sweat is dripping down our forehead, running like never before. Throwing stones and blocking traffic.

Towards midnight the place starts emptying. We all made our ways back home. 300 of our friends where arrested, and cruelly kept in very difficult conditions. Yet this morning they where all dancing lively and singing happily while entering the Masyahu Jail. They where asked to sign not to participate in any other rally, and they would be let free. Guess how many signed. Exactly, not one.

"One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law." Yes, that's Martin Luther King Jr. speaking. Brave prisoners, my hat of to you all!

We have won. Sharon will finally open his stubborn eyes and face the harsh reality; His country will turn upside down, inside out. He'll grab the first possible oppurtunity, and he'll delay the pullout. Delay, forget and cancel. That's the plan. War has been declared, now let the action begin!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Me'ah Filthy She'arim



Please don't be misled by the exaggerated title. Most of Me'ah Shearim's inhabitants are really nice people. Hasidim, full of kindness, happiness and holiness. The many open guesthouses and all the free-for-all kitchens are just a tiny proof of the tens of non-profit gemachim that are ran by the masterminds of Geulah. It's a real shame I needed to adjust my title just because of a rotten minority.

The sun is boiling hot, yet a nice and calm spring breeze is blowing the papers and dust of the streets. As I walk between all the black-hatted, long peyesd Hasidim with no glasses on (some ultra orthodox men take their glasses off on the street, so not to see anything untsniusdik), I spot the countless large billboards decorating Jerusalem's noisy and busy avenues. For a short moment I stand still, glimpsing at the posters of all shapes and colours. As my innocent brown eyes slowly scan the bold letters, my blood slowly starts to boil.

Between the ridiculous yellow papers advertising a new cure for gas and constipation problems, I am informed by big capitalised oiseyes that there is a new ban doing it's way round town. Amnan Yitzchak is a new hazard for Judaism! His crime: In one of his magnificent public speeches he made a sarcastic comment, making fun of the ridiculous kosher stamped cellphones. There you go. The great Amnan Yitzchak a Shaigetz! He made fun of Kosher Mobiles Inc.

Those pashkevilen, as they are called in Yiddish slang, are very educational. Today they taught me some mussar! You know why Egged Bus Number 2 exploded two years ago? A bus crammed with kids, mamma's and papa's blew up on it's way to the Kotel. Well, according to this Jerushalmi poster, it happened as a punishment for an unacceptable pirtze that is ruining Judaism. That Bus Number 2 wasn't a mehadrin bus. The men didn't sit in the front, separated from the women who sit at the back. Need I say more?

Of to the next poster. Between all the Achareimois-Kedoishim-Emoir Levaya posters, there is a notice from the Vaad Hachinuch. Beware! Take care of your holy kids, they shouldn't participate in the 'impure' parties, that our 'enemies', those 'evil' tsionim are organising on this 'terrible' day. Talking about Yom Hoatsmaout, there was a special Tisha Bav ceremony in a couple of shuls in Jerusalem. These nutters are also the ones responsible for the 'Jews aren't Zionists' campaign. You live in Zion, you're a Zionist. You don't like it? So why don't you just go and pack all your Al Hagule Veal Hatmure books (Satmar book against Zionism) and get the hell out of here!

Radio Kol Chai, the Orthodox radio station that broadcasts solely hasidic music, is according to the Badatz, and I quote "Worse than any missionary group, this hazardous and evil radio is turning our next generation into chiloinim". Okaaaayyyy. I don't listen to Kol Chai anymore. The Rabbis banned it. Now I enjoy Radio Jerusalem 101.

Oh well, that's part of being back. I thank the Lord that I'm not part of their messed up crowd. Maybe it's not such a bad idea afterall, to take my glasses off when walking through a Jerusalem boulevard.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

A Mile at a Time.

Holidays are over and the vacation is coming towards a sunny end. I just came home from the traveling agency and got my ticket back to Ben Gurion. The three month long summer zman is less then a week away. Before I'll be able to scream 'Help' I'll already be in Israel, boiling hot and covered in sweat. Back to Israeli teenage life, back to the noisy streets packed with crammed Egged busses and smoking pressure cookers driving white Skoda cabs. Back to Malchei Yisrael, Geula and the Kotel Plaza, and lehavdil Burgers Bar, Sbarro and El Gaucho.

It wasn't raining when Noah built his ark, I got to plan ahead. There are a couple of options to pick from on the wonderful yet confusing, bitter-sweet menu called life.

For this zman's new resolution, I can return to the temimusdige path. The path I so blindly, yet so nicely used to follow just a couple of years ago. I could start sitting on those wooden benches in the beis medrash, sitting by an open gemoro all day long. No faking; just simple, real and genuine learning. I'll start putting tefilin on every single morning, and I'll start praying with a minyan. Praying nicely, at normal times. Not like the 3 minute afternoon shacharis I'm so used to. No more town, no more girls and no more movies. Goodbye internet, goodbye MTV. I wont hang out in town any more, I wont party with the old gang any longer.

On the other hand, how much I preach and cry about it only being a tiny dot away, I still haven't yet managed to convince myself entirely. One voice in my young head tells me to stop, the other innocently whispers "Yingele, just go ahead". I don't think I want to leave the internet, say goodbye to the girls and hand in my cellphone. Yet.

So should I get onto that plane with a prepared mission of partying my head off all summer? Should I decide, here and now, to have a blast this zman? I can continue - not learning properly, not praying and not changing. I can continue to go where I want, do what I want and dress how I want. I can take every day like it's my last - in the goyshe sense.

But, will all this running be worth it? If I'll just follow my desires, without thought, without a pinch of responsibility... Will it have the snowball effect? Will I be so blind and drunk from our worldly pleasures, I wont have a second to think about me, myself, I and my life? My mind wont be mine anymore, my self-control would be gone. I will feel totally lost. I will be totally lost. Besides, it's not right for me to put my lugagge on that belt, with the mental image of drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll.

The more I think about it, the scarier it becomes. Sometimes I feel like I'm being dragged down, totally confused - living life in a wild and powerfull whirlpool. I think I'll just use Dominic Toretto's wise words. I live my life a quarter mile at a time, nothing else matters, for those ten seconds or less, I'm free.