31 January 2008

Would You Rather...?

Would you rather...

Wade through INCHES (that's a lot of snow for Jerusalem) of crunchy, fresh snow, as it is still falling in Jerusalem?
Take a trip to Turkey?

Things to consider: Snow is pretty. Snow makes it hard to get to the airport, if you are in Israel. The "you" referred to in the first line refers to me, Sara Beth B.

The answer, of course, is BOTH! Not only did I get to crunch my way around in snow this morning, but I also got on a Nesher (shared taxi) to Ben Gurion. So what if I had to wake up 8 hours before my flight, even when I live 45 minutes from the airport. So what if it was freezing and the Nesher was about 45 minutes late?


And so is Rafi!

Snow pictures and Turkey pictures to come after the weekend. Shabbat shalom from TLV - Ben Gurion International Airport.

29 January 2008

The Blizzard of Centimeters?

Jerusalemites / Israelis are freaking out because of the upcoming snowstorm in Jerusalem, slated to start tonight. Apparently, Rothberg told all of their students to "stock up on food and supplies" and to prepare for a few days holed up in their apartments. I know that they're not so used to snow here, but this is not a hurricane, although it's so windy, it kind of sounds like one.

I know I'm going to go load up on supplies (chocolate milk, diet Coke, and maybe a cookie or two), as I prepare for the blizzard (a few inches?), and hope that the snow doesn't keep Shiran away from Jerusalem today, or me away from Turkey, as I'm supposed to leave on Thursday. Apparently the roads shut down, and Israel doesn't really plow -- they just have a couple bulldozers to move snow, "the same bulldozers they use to knock over Palestinian houses," as a friend put it.

Not exactly Woodstock, are you, Jerusalem? (March 2007)

Jewish Camping in January!!!

This past weekend I was a facilitator at an AviChai shabbaton for returning, second-year shilchim (Israeli staff) at North American Jewish summer camps. I was brought into the project because of previous work at the FJC, and I was very interested in the idea of the shabbaton from my first meeting, so I set to my job of collecting Americans to interact with the Israeli counselors.

What was the idea? Well, the second-year shlichim commit to a months-long training program that helps them learn how to educate kids/staff in the Diaspora (outside of Israel) in a way that works. Our (American) role at this weekend, one of the first few installments of the program, was to show Israelis committed Diaspora Jews. In my group's case, this meant committed Diaspora Jews who were pursuing advanced degrees in Jewish studies for upwards of 5 years. Many Israelis are secular, and they are Jewish because they are Jewish. Interestingly, one of the Israelis, who said she was completely secular, also said that she knows Torah, knows traditions and celebrates holidays with family at home. I couldn't believe she identified as secular! Also, many of the religious Israelis do not pursue advanced Jewish studies degrees, since they live the religious life and don't seek out the confirmation that comes with, say, a MA in Jewish Education. They don't have to go to JTS or A-Jew, or to Jewish summer camp, to help cement their Jewish identity. It makes for interesting conversations, as we (the grad/rab students) astonish the Israelis with how our Jewish commitment manifests itself in our worlds at home.

The weekend started, of course, bright and early, which meant that I missed the introductions, due to my ulpan exam (it went well, I think). After the exam, I made my way to the Kiryat Moriyah campus in East Talpiot for a closed Shabbaton. Yes, I was maybe a half hour walk from my apartment, but I stayed at KM, as was required. It was great, though -- the radiator was inches from my bed, there was also a heater that blew hot air on the other side of the room, and the comforter on the bed was a-mazing!

When I arrived, I went straight to lunch for some real, authentic army food (hot dogs and couscous), as KM is also a small army base. Afterwards, we jumped into some heavy Jewish identity related conversations. Because my delegation of (male*) incredibly intelligent, attractive (some of them are SINGLE, ladies!) and fluent rab students, much of our conversations were in Hebrew. AND, as I've been bragging more consistently lately, I UNDERSTOOD so much of what was said! I know! I know! YAY!!!

*There are also women at Machon Schechter, but they didn't come to the Shabbaton.

The weekend was incredible. The boys from Machon Schechter (where the JTS/AJU students go when they're in Israel for third year) were wonderful. They were thoughtful, critical, hilarious (Noam), and forceful when they needed to be. We pushed the Israelis, and the Israelis pushed us right back. The conversations ranged from hilarious to heavy, and it was fabulous.

The Israeli staff was great, and it felt good to work on a Shabbaton, largely in Hebrew. It felt good to work.

Thank you to Rafi, Noam, Jeremy, Gideon, Dan and Dan for being so incredibly fabulous.

23 January 2008

Jewish Penicillin - the Myth, the Reality

The past few days can be summed up in a discussion of pharmaceuticals. Jewish Penicillin is a common nickname for chicken soup. Indeed, it does plenty to heal achy throats and cold faces, but when you need the big guns, you want real antibiotics. Israeli Penicillin, as it turns out, is not Jewish at all, but secular...read on for more about my encounter with the myth and reality of Israel.

Two nights ago, I spent Tu B'Shevat, the New Year of the Trees, with my cousins in Har Nof. We studied a variety of Jewish texts at the dinner table, while eating from the 7 species. It was pretty sweet, and as usual, my cousins fed me heartily, with both food and conversation. I loved that they served chicken soup (ahhh, Jewish penicillin), because that's part of a festival meal, which indirectly made me feel better. After the meal, we called my grandparents, and David pulled out his ubiquitous camera to catch the moment on digital film. David also wants me to remind you to hug a tree, and wish it a happy birthday! Happy Tu B'Shevat!

I am talking to people in Boca!

Today I had part 2 of the 3 ulpan exams. There is the class test, the oral exam, and the Ramah / level exam. I did well on the class test (an ulpan-A!), and today was the oral (snerk). I was out sick for a few days, and I missed the announcement about the exam. So, when Melanie and I prepared for the oral exams, we did our dialogue on one of the 4 assigned readings. It was pretty sweet. I was a newspaper reporter from America, looking to help with the 1944 war effort through my writing. Melanie was Hannah Senesh. We were spectacular. Except, we were supposed to dialogue about a wedding. A restaurant. Something easy. And THEN we were supposed to talk, one-on-one, with the teacher, about Hannah Senesh or Mount Sinai or one of the other readings in the book. I hacked my way through my Mount Sinai knowledge. Maybe another ulpan-A? I hope so, as I am extraordinarily articulate...at least in English. AND, I didn't cough, hack or spit in front of the teacher AT ALL! I MUST be getting better!

Today I also started taking antibiotics (as it turns out, Israeli penicillin comes in pills, and not in pots of soup, as I originally thought.) for an apparent sinus infection. Apart from the 10-minute, uncontrollable coughing jags that plagued my day at school, and the pack-a-day (tissue) habit I've had for 2 weeks, I am starting to get (sort of) better. I plan on being 100% in a week, because...

RAFI and I ARE GOING TO TURKEY! Somehow, idle chatter about "going away" became concrete plans when we found a super-cheap deal that is all-inclusive, from flight to (vegeterian) food, for four days in some resort town in Turkey (not Istanbul, not Constantinople). It's supposed to be fabulous. As I expect my cough to be gone by then, I plan on catching up on my sleep, and learning about the finer qualities of the Turkish Baths. Let's hear it for the mighty miracle that is ISSTA!

20 January 2008

I Love Tel Aviv Weekends!

Weekend with Shiran!

For the past week, I've been up and down. I was sick. I was better. I was sick. I spent Shabbat in Tel Aviv. I even made my way to a meeting that was ALL in Hebrew (the English cheat-sheet and the preliminary meeting helped me follow along). It's been pretty exciting, and I've had some cultural exposure, in the form of mass amounts of TV watching.

This weekend, I experienced...

...The Shuk in Yaffo. Shiran and I went to Yaffo, to walk through the flea market, eat at a famous bakery, and walk along the sea shore. It was BEAUTIFUL out!

...Shabbat with a Yemenite family. Oh. My. Goodness. The food that I was fed at Shiran's was, as usual, fabulous. Except this time, it was a full two days of food food food food. And it was amazing. When they asked if I wanted rice, and I said yes, I loved being passed a green pepper, stuffed with a meat-and-rice combination. There were cakes. There was tea. There was ravioli. There was fried cauliflower, fish-shnitzel, and a million other things to eat. I love going to Shiran's...and the food is only a small part of the fun!

...Kiryat Ono and Bar Ilan University's campus. Shiran and I went for a walk for a little while. We crossed the highway and walked in Kiryat Ono (reminded me of Village Valley, CA), and then we crossed back over to walk on Bar Ilan's campus (which is in Ramat Gan). It was really nice.

...Sherut to Jerusalem. I took a Sherut back to Jerusalem, because I wanted to go to Ben Yehuda / Downtown, as it is still Birthright Season, and the sheruts go RIGHT to the bottom of Ben Yehuda. After getting on the sherut (easy) and paying the fare (approx. 75 cents more than a bus!), our driver took off, then informed us that they were closing down the entrance to Jerusalem. This meant that we switched to a highway that goes through the settlements, and that was really it. Funny how some security breach happens, and that sends us running for the Green Line. I got back with time to spare, and said hi to the latest Birthright Season installment of friends.

...The Painted Veil. Meital (Shiran's sister) and I went to rent a movie and came back with 2.

Meital has the BEST taste in movies!

We watched the Painted Veil before Shabbat dinner, and we watched the commentary afterwards. The short of it is that the author thinks that's how people view the places they visit and the world they live in. Eventually, the veil was lifted in the movie. Much like the Amichai poem "Tourists", I am trying to work against the "painted veils" or "heavy curtains" through which tourists and visitors view Israel. My painted veil fell off pretty soon after I arrived in Israel...and while it's been hard, it's been a learning experience. Just like in the movie.

...GREASE: I watched the latest Grease, a tryout reality show, installment with Shiran and her family. They sang (in Hebrew) and danced to Broadway show tunes. The translations were fabulous, and the dancing? Beautiful. The best translation was for the song "Heaven" by Sinatra:

English: Heaven, I'm in Heaven.
Hebrew: עדן ,זה גן עדן / Eden, this is the Garden of Eden.

We enjoyed watching the show, and I cracked up during תשעה עד חמש / Tesha Ad Chamesh / Working 9 to Five and השיר שלך / HaShir Shelach / Your Song. I was shocked at the outcome, when the family + Sara Beth vote for best dance was VOTED off of the show. Honestly, I am not big on reality tv, but this was great for me. I read the subtitles, and tried to understand the Hebrew. I sang along with the songs, I danced around the house, and I really wanted my favorite contestants to win.

One of the differences between reality tv in Israel and reality tv in the states is that being Jewish "ain't no thing" as my brother Alex would jokingly say. (Alex shout-out. Woo.) In the states, you see people on TV with cross necklaces, with clock necklaces, but it's kind of rare for somebody to wear a Jewish star necklace.

Alex and I audition for Israeli Grease...ORRRRRR, we do some karaoke. (2005)

But one of the competitors, Asaf, who was sick, and didn't dance at all in his performance with his beautiful partner, mesmerized me. It wasn't his eyebrows, which Shiran thinks are distracting. It wasn't his voice, although he has a great voice, and you couldn't tell he was sick (not like me currently, as I sound like a 30-year veteran chain smoker). It was his small, simple necklace. A small Jewish star, surrounded by his ample chest hair, above his one-too-few buttons left opened shirt. It's Israeli Grease. Of COURSE you can be Jewish! And it's not like you can't be Jewish in the States. But you don't usually see a Jewish star just chilling around someone's neck, when they're trying out for (ick) American Idol.

14 January 2008

Palestine / Israel Pilgrimage Seminar 2008...Day 3

Bush left on Friday, and I didn't leave my neighborhood. I did not really have anywhere to go, and that was fine, because, apparently half of Jerusalem and all of the roads to Tel Aviv were locked down. I think maybe Bush should consider traveling incognito, so that he (A) doesn't disrupt entire an country's operations by visiting and (B) has a more authentic experience as a tourist.

I seriously doubt his trip to Israel was any fun, for Bush, except for his positive approval rating, or for anybody else. And, while I'm on the subject, I think if you're in Israel for three days (barely) and you go to see the sites, does Yad Vashem really make that list? Especially when one considers that Bush's house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is just a hop, skip and a jump away from a fabulously done Holocaust Museum. When Bush comes back for Yom Ha'Atzmaut, maybe someone will take him to hike Masada or to swim in the Dead Sea. His trips have too much of the conflict reality, and none of the natural beauty that one should experience on an Israel trip.

After I wrote that, I came across an article, telling me that good old Bush did do some touristy stuff. Here is an excerpt from a NYTimes article on Bush's Trip:

Asked how he felt to walk where Jesus had gone, Mr. Bush said: “Amazing experience.” Archbishop Elias Shakur, a Greek Catholic, showed Mr. Bush around the site and asked him, “Did you come as a politician, as a leader of state, or as a pilgrim?”
Mr. Bush answered, “I came as a pilgrim,” the archbishop said.

I think it's interesting that he admitted he came as a Pilgrim, since he is supposedly promoting peace and being all political. It seems to me that Bush saying he came as a pilgrim is like when certain friends of mine told their parents they were traveling to New York to "search for jobs" and "check out law schools" when they were visiting New York to "drink" and "hook up with old high school crushes" and "take crazy pictures at the Met."
New York Pilgrimage 2007, at the Met. Where Tourist trumps Business. AES - I L Y M!

Secondly, it's no secret that Bush wants there to be a two-state solution with Peace in the Middle East. Is it possible to stimulate the peace process while fitting in something touristy, like following the footsteps of Jesus? Actually, not that Jesus is my God, but he has some good ideas about love and brotherhood. Maybe a Christian Zionist pilgrim can make some positive changes. I suppose only time will tell...and I'm always hoping for positive changes!

Anyway, just some thoughts about Bush in Israel. Can't wait to (not) see him again in May!

10 January 2008

Palestine / Israel Pilgrimage Seminar 2008...Day 2

Today, I went with Rachel to the Iriya / City Hall to try to pay a housing tax, or at least, get a discount. It wasn't so crowded (probably the first time Bush did something, albeit indirectly, that made me happy), but we were unsuccessful. This wasn't so shocking, as Israeli bureaucracy is incredibly untenable.

Anyway, after the Iriya, I walked to wait for the #30 bus, the fastest ride to Hebrew U this side of the Mediterranean. I was waiting, patiently, at the border between Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, and many buses numbered 6 passed by during the wait. A security guard walked up, and asked me (in Hebrew) if the #6 had gone by. I said "three times" (in HEBREW!!!) and he asked me which bus I was waiting for. I said the 30 (I think by now you realize I'm having this conversation in Hebrew), and he told me that there are problems with the buses because of the President.

I looked at him, kind of annoyed that he thought I hadn't noticed the massive road shutdowns and traffic problems in Jerusalem for the past few days. I said, "Ah, yes, Bush is here. Sorry about that."

I paused. "Funny. I feel like I'm always apologizing for Bush." Ah, the plight of the liberal American.

Then I talked to him in Hebrew for a few more minutes, making my kind of crappy day a little more bearable.

09 January 2008

Palestine / Israel Pilgrimage Seminar 2008...Day 1

You Too Can Be Part of an Israel-Trip Entourage...:
Actually, Davidson Trip 06-07

Good old President Bush (and by good I mean he likes Israel and that's about I have got that's nice to say, and my parents told me not to say something nice if I...oh, you get the idea...) arrived in Israel today, and it got me thinking about how his trip is very much like a teen summer tour of Israel, so please...Welcome to Palestine / Israel Pilgrimage Seminar 2008, Group Air Force One! Today was Yom Bush, Day 1.

1. Board a plane that seems to be only filled with your group. Everybody else just blends into the seats as you sit back and enjoy the most delicious offerings of a transatlantic flight. The option to sing and dance in the aisles is possible, but not encouraged. Decorum must be maintained, as you are representing your entire country.

2. Land at Ben Gurion. The airport seems overrun with your group members. Other planes are delayed because your group is so rowdy and unwieldy.
Welcome To Israel, President Bush!

3. The inevitable press conference (AKA, the letter sent to parents or camp director back at home).

4. Traffic seems to stop whenever your massive entourage is around.

Taken today, 9 Jan 2008. Here's King David street completely shut to car, bus AND pedestrian traffic.

5. Every Pilgrimage Seminar gets a helicopter ride!

6. Pedestrian and driven traffic avoids your large, loud, self-centered group. Normal bus service turns into snow day bus service. Good luck making it to ulpan!
"I wish I didn't have to find alternate routes to school for three days." Jan 2007, At the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

7. When you get to the hotel, it seems to be overrun with only people from your group. Many local hotels seem to contain only people from your group (King David, Dan Panorama...booked and bursting with security and press.)

8. Don't know where you're going? Don't worry, your trusty tour bus/limo driver will take you right where you need to go.

9. Meals are prepared in the hotel, and you do not go to restaurants, as that would disturb the other patrons.
Israeli Delicacy (Actually, at Max Brenner Jan '07)
Israeli Delicacy (Actually, skewered, grilled hearts, Jerusalem Grill Bar, Dec '06

10. Israelis, like any people who live in a tourist trap (like New Yorkers and Floridians), see you as a nuisance, but realize that your presence will stimulate the economy.

11. Your trip includes trips to places that people around the world wish they were able to visit.

12. The Old City seems to be lit up, just for you! (Really, the lights will stay on until 2AM, instead of midnight, so Bush can enjoy the walls of the old city like he did when he was governor of Texas.)
Oh, the Old City. She really is such a beauty.

13. Money is not an issue, so make sure you get Mom and Dad's money's worth while spending, like, $25,000.00 an hour. ($25,000.00 per hour on security. Seriously. This from a country that refuses to pay their teachers and professors livable wages.)
It's OK, it's just pretend money!

14. The Jewish Agency requires you to have armed guards at all times, so don't worry, we'll call some up from miluim (reserves), and they will be Israel's HOTTEST.
Or, Israel's Tired-est! (JK, This Soldier Was On His Day Off.

15. Don't forget to see the real Israel. Nothing says three days in the Holy Land like a day in Ramallah, a morning at Yad Vashem, completely vacant streets, and not a single stop at a falafel stand, the Dead Sea, or, even the Western Wall. At least Bush gets to dialogue in the West Bank, which probably hasn't been done with teenagers since I was on Pilgrimage in 1999.

16. Inevitable Group T-shirt:

FRONT: Israel Spent $25,000.00 an Hour on Security for My Visit, And All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt.

BACK: Palestine / Israel Pilgrimage Seminar 2008, Group Air Force One!
Rosh: George W. Bush
Staff: Ehud Olmert, Mahmoud Abbas, Shimon Peres
Campers: [Insert Press Core Names Here], [Insert Security Detail Names Here]
Driver: [First Name Only.]

[Insert Inside Jokes Here, such as "Peace in the Middle East?" or "My President Loves a Jewish Carpenter." Inside jokes to be collected over the course of PIPS2008]

A Sweatshirt / Tshirt Design Template

07 January 2008

Birthright Season!

From the second I decided to go to Israel for the school year, I knew that I would be loving December and January, because of BIRTHRIGHT SEASON! Below please find pictures, spanning the last month or so, filled with pictures of people I love and that I rarely, if ever, see, in the states OR in Israel.

Thanks, Bronfman, and, of course, Uncle Bill!

Amanda!!! Amanda is my Great Grandlittle in AEPhi, and we hung out on Ben Yehuda together. I shift into AEPhi mode when the Phi-Pham is around. Yay for Amanda!
(Thanks, Birthright!)

Amanda and Erika!!! Both were on Ben Yehuda, whee! Erika is my Great-Great Grandlittle! LML.
(Thanks, Birthright!)

Robyn!!! Robyn was my Wheelnik, and now she's a Birthright Staff member! I met her on Ben Yehuda the same night as my Phis. This makes me feel old, but it also makes me happy to see my kids growing up!
(Thanks, Birthright!)

Miritski!!! Miritski and I went on Wheels together in 1997. I met her to play in the shuk. Good times!
(Thanks, Birthright!)

Josh and Marlene!!! Josh and I go back, and Marlene is a new Davidson student AND a new friend. At Pituim.
(Thanks, Uncle Bill!)

SKay!!! SKay stayed with me for her free weekend / my birthday. I love SKay!
(Thanks, Uncle Bill!)

Yoni!!! Yoni's in my class, but he's on the Davidson trip this year. He took me to the juice / medicine man in the shuk, and he even gave me a date.
(Thanks, Uncle Bill!)

Joel!!! Joel is a first-year who was in my bible class a year ago, and we had fun on my birthday and at the shuk on Friday afternoon. He's the happiest man ever. Also, one of the nicest people I have ever met. Yay for Joel!
(Thanks, Uncle Bill!)

SKay AGAIN!!! I had to get another SKay fix before she left for New York today. So on Sunday night we had dinner and hung out in the hotel lobby. Lovely times!
(Thanks, Uncle Bill!)

Tannen!!! My co-counselor from Nivo '06, Tannen and I got along royally, at camp without beer, and in Jerusalem with the local brew.
(Thanks, Birthright!)

So ends the first edition of Birthright Season.


This past Shabbat, Rafi and I walked the brisk distance to the GREAT Synagogue (the only link with a decent picture on Google) in the center of Jerusalem. We have a friend in the מקהלה / makelah / choir, and we wanted to see him in action. Here is what happened in our GREAT Shabbat experience.

1. The balcony was WARM. This was GREATly increased by the hot air (and there is plenty coming from the cantor and the choir, except for Dan, who is GREAT), floating to the GREAT balcony above the GREAT men's floor.
2. Bar Mitzvah: A kid had his Bar Mitzvah, and his various female relatives pelted the kid with GREAT candy from the balcony, after his Torah reading in the mid-room Torah-reading בימה / bimah / stage. Hearing hard candy hit marble and lightbulbs? You guessed it: GREAT!
3. The Bar Mitzvah kid's little brother was also with his candy-throwing relatives, which gave him a great point of view from which to see his dad and brother in action. He called out, in a GREAT, high-pitched baby voice, quite often during the service: "Abba! Abba! Abba! (Dad!)" Pretty much the entire service. He thinks his dad is GREAT!
4. Apparently, one of the Gabbaiim (the people, or men in an Orthodox shul, who facilitate the service participants, Torah readers, etc.), whenever he heard a kid in the balcony (like the one in #3), he'd put on a not-so-GREAT face, point his finger at the balcony, and made a motion, similar to "get that stupid child out of my opera." (Because going to the GREAT Synagogue is like going to an opera performance.) Rafi is my source for this. I had a great view of the whole building, but not such a close-up of the activity around the בימה / bimah / stage.
5. Cantor. Rafi seems to think that the GREAT Synagogue is the cantorial acme of the universe. But really, the cantor and the choir made the whole experience not unlike my home shul, Temple Beth Am in Margate, FL, in the days of our old cantor. If I hadn't been in a balcony and absolutely stewing in the heat, I could've closed my eyes and imagined myself at a Temple Beth Am GREAT choir Shabbat, circa 1997.
6. Choir. All jokes aside, Dan and the rest were...oh, fine...GREAT!
7. Kiddush. After shul, there's a GREAT kiddush with cholent, although I stuck to Diet Coke and cake. I had a 20-second interaction with a frum (religious) guy, who seemed to be trying to get around me to get cake. He started "flirting" with me (just barely). It can be intuited from this interaction that he flirted with me because I wasn't wearing a hat (which marks me with the scarlet "S" for "Single."). Rafi found this particularly GREAT.

After the kiddush, we walked to the King Solomon Hotel to have lunch with the Davidson trip group (not as GREAT as last year's trip, but pretty GREAT all the same.). We played Taboo in the lobby until lunch. Funny Taboo moments ensued: Rafi didn't get the cue words I used for "foxy" and I got angry when he called me a "poodle" instead. Rafi thinks the word "ring" is an onomatopoeia. British Taboo cards have words like "Bogey" on them. Also, my professor and his wife seemed to enjoy appearances of my dirty mind that was so popular on last year's trip. After Taboo, we had lunch, I spoke with my Assistant Dean for about an hour about Hebrew at JTS, and then Rafi and I ended up hanging around with friends there for the rest of the afternoon, until Shabbat was over.

Rafi and I took a short, GREAT walk to the Inbal hotel (about 5 minutes from one hotel to the other), to attend a Rabbinical School Admissions Deans' Oneg. I like being a significant other -- the perk of dessert at the Inbal being a GREAT one. I even get to go to the Rebbitzins' book club. (Tonight. Suite Francaise. Be there or be "S" for "Single".)

All in all, it was a really GREAT Shabbat.

04 January 2008

Nokia's Fine Craftsmanship, The Third.

I know it's hard to believe, but...

My third cell phone in three days is broken. That's right, this one came with broken LEDs under the #'s 1-2-3 and 4-5-6.

Whatever, at least I can use it. And it's Shabbat in a few minutes. So I'm just going to enjoy Shabbat, without my messed up Nokia III.

03 January 2008

10 Bucks For Honesty

Yesterday, I realized that I was oversleeping, not because I had mono, as I had flippantly hypothesized, but because my cell phone alarm was not ringing, but rather vibrating. Moving the phone away, as it turns out, makes the phone even LESS likely to wake me.

Cue Guster (with a pivotal editoral change made by me):

"You'll be a-wasting time,
You've dreamed a thousand dreams,
None seem to stick in your mind,
[Ten bucks] for honesty,
It must make you sad to know,
That nobody cares at all.
Nobody cares at all."

I'm sure the fine gentlemen of Guster didn't have me in mind when they wrote this song, but in fancy, Pine Crest-educated fashion, I am able to see myself in the text. I'm wasting time (oversleeping), dreaming a thousand dreams (about oversleeping, of course, all while not being awake and getting dressed for school), none seem to stick in your mind (the phone only vibrates, and doesn't ring), two points / 10 bucks for honesty...

So, I called Israel Phones and asked them to send me a phone, after explaining what was wrong with my current phone...

SBB: It doesn't ring.
Customer Service Rep: Did something happen to it?
SBB: It fell*.
CSR: Well, we're going to charge you $10.
SBB: But I have been paying for insurance on the phone. Why the $10?
CSR: You just told me you dropped it.
SBB: But if I hadn't dropped it?
CSR: No fee.
SBB: So you're charging me $10 for being honest?
CSR: I guess so, but we don't like our customers lying to us.
SBB: That's the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.

* I would like to mention two points here. Firstly, everybody drops their phones. EVERYBODY. Secondly, I really dropped it. I admit it. It fell on the floor of the bus. Every passenger in my vicinity was picking up Nokia pieces and helping me piece the phone back together. Which I did, successfully, and without so much as a second thought.

So, Israel Phones sent their guy to deliver my phone. It was a drive-by, meaning, he barely pulled up to my place, switched the Sim cards and was OFF! I had luckily copied all of my numbers into my יומן / yoman / planner and then entered them, digitally (get it? into the phone and by hand!), one by one. I reveled when my phone woke me up by RINGING this morning. Woo!

How to describe the Israel Phones delivery mechanism...Some would say discreet, I say creepy.

...And then I got a text message. I tried to reply to it, but I couldn't really read the background, because the light in the phone was defective. I then realized I could lock and unlock the phone, to get the light to turn back on, but I couldn't fix it by going to the phone settings, so...I called Israel Phones, and they promised another cell phone, but this time, they taught me how to move my numbers digitally, not by hand!

And I got another drive-by tonight. Another new cell phone. And this time, they didn't charge me extra...even though I told the truth.