Archive for the ‘Everyday’ Category
The Election Conundrum
In Israel, elections can be held so frequently, they can make your head spin. In fact, we have elections coming up March 17, to be exact. Now, I do not enjoy politics and make a concerted effort to choose a candidate who for me, is the least problematic and whose platform mostly suits my values.
In spite of its young age, Israel has caught up with the US in one respect; it has managed to eradicate all true, visionary leaders and raise a crop of opportunist, shallow, empty, “petty politicians,” to quote the late Harry Rosen of the Jewish Agency for Israel. The one for whom I voted in the last elections is no exception and he is again running in the upcoming ones.
I “liked” his Facebook page and thought that his relatively younger age would give him a fresher approach. I was very wrong. After he wrote outright that people should register for his party, I sent him a direct message. Here is an exchange I had with “him” via his public Facebook page:
Conversation started December 22
Hi, I voted for you in the last elections and now you want people to join the party.
Practically speaking, I need a job and have a truckload of skills and abilities, so do you have a job for me?
After some time with no answer I wrote:
You can choose to ignore me and I can, in turn do the same to you, can’t I?
Chag Urim Sameach [Happy Festival of Lights, a Hanukkah greeting].
George Berns (not his real name)
Hello Orit. Jerry (not his real name) here. I respond to many of George’s messages because he gets 100s daily. Thanks for reaching out. It would be nice if you joined the party and influenced the next list but you don’t have to if you are not interested. We do not have any job openings at the campaign if that is what you are asking (pay isn’t anything to write home about). Perhaps you are referring to the government employment office? -Jerry
Yes, I can ignore George’s campaign and not join his party. I can also change the settings to not see what he wants to tell the public. For some reason, I doubt that this is what he really wants.
As for a job, I’m not clear to which government job, etc., you refer. I’ve been in Jerusalem for over 23 years and learned the hard way, that connections here have more weight than anything else. You mean to tell me that George Berns can’t help me from his position as Cabinet Minister? I do not buy that and I don’t mean at his campaign office.
I did vote for him in the last elections, or rather, his party. If that means nothing to him, I’ll live with that.
Orit, it sounds like you are pretty frustrated. Many Israelis are. I know because I respond to thousands of these types of messages every week. There is a law that prevents government ministers from officially getting involved at the level you are suggesting. These are issues that are supposed to be dealt with by ministry officials (clerks) and not political appointments. I believe today in the news we are all reading about a particular party that did not follow those rules. I think you made the right decision to vote for us last time, I hope you do again. I understand your frustration and feel that the person that cares the most about helping you within the legal framework is the guy who hired someone to respond to your messages. Wishing you a happy last day of Hanukkah. -Jerry
Aha. Well, does it occur to the ministers that if there won’t be jobs, Jews won’t live here? Do you know that my son never lived here for fear that he might not find a suitable source of income? Maybe George should chew on that one for a while?
For a party that is so nonchalant on whether people join or not, I just got an SMS from George’s campaign headquarters, which I resent, by the way.
Unemployment was actually the lowest in the history of the state before Operation Protective Edge so it is possible we happened to be going in the right direction. -Jerry
I found Jerry very inexperienced, spouting no more than the political rhetoric one can expect from any PR intern. Who writes a potential voter who did elect his candidate in the past “but you don’t have to [join our party] if you are not interested”? This to me would indicate that George is also too inexperienced and even mendacious.
I have sacrificed and invested in this country and, unlike much older and larger societies, here it makes a much bigger difference. If I’m recently unemployed through closing of our offices, is asking about a job a sign of frustration or optimism and perseverance? I think dear, young Jerry needs a reading comprehension course.
This politician’s platform uses the Jewish home as its trademark. Tell me readers, can any home be run with no income? How do you raise retirement age to 67 and not care whether people have jobs or not past the age of 40? Please, enlighten me.
The Darkest Hour
Between 2:00 AM and 2:45 AM this morning, I took my reluctant seven year-0ld dog down for her walk, before retiring for the night. On any ordinary night, I might see an occasional boyfriend heading to his car to go home, a taxi dropping off a young woman returning home after a party or date, cats in various locations on top of dumpsters, under parked vehicles or curled up in the bushes. However, this morning was the coldest in many years and NOTHING was stirring. A serious snowstorm failed to arrive; instead we had strong winds, freezing temperatures and freezing rain.
The SchnitzelWith the flu that has plagued me for over a week now, I have trouble eating anything. I must eat to take medication and then it haunts me all night with demons such as acid indigestion, burping and a sulfur taste with the threat of vomiting just a hair’s breath away. Apparently and ironically enough, what my system does manage to tolerate and keep down is schnitzel (breaded chicken cutlet) that I buy at the local butcher shop. I bake it in the oven so there is no added oil and then just pour some lemon juice over it with no other condiments. While serving the oven baked schnitzel into my dish, a smaller piece fell unnoticed into the sink. When I went to wash my dishes, I saw the piece, rinsed it off and while bending to put it in my dog’s bowl, made a sudden decision to put it in a container and take it down with the uneaten green beans, for the street cats.
Where the Cats Live
I learned from years of living here that if I want the street cats to get the food, the only place to set it out for them is near the trees and bushes in the parking lot, otherwise very mean spirited and primitive neighbors will throw away the food. This means that, setting out with the container of food in a bag, a stick for balance and my dog in tow, practically being dragged every step, I turned left towards the parking lot instead of walking straight into the labyrinth that connects the entrances to my building.
Flashing Red Lights
No sooner did I turn and begin to tentatively negotiate the steps while balancing against the protrusions of the stone facade of the outer wall, did I see flashing red lights and then a Magen David Adom ambulance.
A second later, it moved forward and a second ambulance appeared. The paramedic asked me where 243 Hanofech Street was. I approached him and explained how to best access the building with a vehicle. They thanked me and went to answer the emergency call for assistance.
Not One But Two?
Although the neighborhood is regularly patrolled by police, when I first saw one ambulance, I thought it might be a routine sweep, just in case people fell or got stuck in the freezing weather. I then thought that perhaps they already picked up whomever needed assistance and were on their way out of the cul de sac of the parking lot. When they urgently asked where the address to which they were headed was, I had to wonder what terrible thing happened that two units were dispatched.
What, No GPS?
A close friend asked how it is that emergency services didn’t find the address via GPS. I can say that people consistently get confused among the buildings in this area, for various reasons. I did not question or criticize. I was glad that without any other living creature in sight, I was able to direct them and please G-d, enable help to reach he or she who was in need.
Friends have often asked why I go out when I do. In truth, I don’t know how to answer that. It depends on my dog and when she eats. Early this morning, I felt that there was a definite reason and purpose and was happy that at a time when there was no other sign of life on the street, I was able to help in some small way, even if I might never know the details of the emergency call.
I’m no hero and I don’t think I’m special but, thank G-d, I have faith and let faith guide me; things happen.
As I sat writing this entry, I heard a siren. I only hope that the good people survive this storm.
Tonight will be even colder and the snow that failed to fulfill the meteorologist’s promise is expected to show up and accumulate, so be careful and take precautions. My dog and I have already been out and are in for the night, until tomorrow.
I recently sent my granddaughter a package of gifts chosen with great care and oh soooo much love! The package contained two books, one three stories of classic children’s literature, the other with children’s songs, along with two audio CD’s. I also sent her a dress and package of three pairs of underpants. On a religious note, a teeny Book of Psalms.
Sending this package entailed overcoming one obstacle and then another hurdle. First, I had no box. Let me explain that I usually pad the contents thoroughly in bubble plastic and then put in a box to protect in shipping. In this case, the boxes I had or found were either too big or too small or too heavy or WHATEVER. I improvised with two bags of sturdy, brown paper, which I taped and covered with adhesive wrapping. I waited until the Canada Postal strike was over, then the lockout and then waited yet another week and a half so that my package would have better odds at not ending up in some forgotten corner in the backlog of post strike and post Canada backed up deliveries. This strategy might have helped slightly. I went even farther and actually phoned Canada Post.
Finally, the package was picked up yesterday and I was told that my granddaughter loved all the gifts but what she loved the most were the underpants, because they were purple.
As a fellow female, I totally understand this logic!
This day began well. I took the bus, still aided by my cane but before I could get into a seat, the driver stepped on the brake and I lost my balance and fell backwards. Thankfully, I did not land on the floor; a male passenger grabbed the front of my coat to prevent my fall and I managed to grab hold of a pole. My leg, however, still mending from a break not too many months ago, took a beating and even now, at night, it still hurts.
Once I got to work, the day went well, with the usual pressures. In the evening, I had an appointment to work with one of the doctors from Hadassah on some of his lectures. Before we began working, we ate dinner, during which one of my teeth broke.
This friend is someone I’ve known and been friends with since 1997. Today, he has a beautiful house in a suburb of Jerusalem and his wife and son are abroad until the summer. The man was so sad. When I asked him why this was so, we talked and he said the only thing that matters in this world is money. He has friends who are multi billionaires and when I asked him about them, he said that it was them who taught him that – that he’s been fooled all his life into thinking differently. I suggested he find other friends and be less sad and feel better about himself.
My friend doesn’t sit in his living room or invite anyone to his house because it is an icebox. He can’t afford to heat the 450 sq. m., since he’s supporting 2 homes; one here and the other abroad. He showers in hot water and then wraps himself in what he described as a plush terry or velour (I don’t know) robe and then gets into his bed where he said he has an electric underblanket (sheet) to keep him warm.
When we finished working, I returned to my humble home. I felt very fortunate that I felt warm and even though there is clutter, for lack of enough closets, furniture as well as other reasons such as time constraints, my house looks and feels like a HOME. I have homemade cookies in a jar and cook for myself when I want and/or need. For these things I thank G-d (don’t worry, I still ask for those OTHER things).
I went to Ne’eman in the Jerusalem Mall to buy some pastries known as bourekas. Another customer and I were at one register while all the employees were standing around, laughing at the other register. I called out and said “Excuse me but we would like to pay.”
A very young girl came over and with her face screwed up to show her annoyance said “You could have paid over there!” I told her that when the place is open for business, the employees have to give service if customers are in the store; that they can joke as much as they want but not have people just standing and waiting for them to be good and ready to do their jobs.
She shoved my change into my hand with a look of disdain to which I responded by demanding to speak with the manager. This guy saw it coming and IMMEDIATELY came over and introduced himself. I told him what happened and added that I really don’t care who her father, uncle or brother is (this comment hinting she might be related to management, which is all too common). I told him that her attitude stinks and that she should not serve customers in that way, unless he wants us all to go elsewhere.
Since that day, I have not seen her, which doesn’t mean she’s not there anymore. Granted, these people are paid the lowest salaries but hey, I also got minimum wage at her age and for that kind of work! I got paid minimum wage as a research assistant at a university hospital and I was grateful to have income!
I don’t know what kind of weirdos are raising this crop of people with no work ethic. Even if they do not want to do this work for the rest of their lives, they should give their all while they are doing it. Most people want to be the boss but to do that, they have to learn somewhere and with attitudes like that girl’s they will get NOWHERE.
Seriously, I speak as a parent of an adult child of whom I am proud.
The question arose as to why so-called professionals can get away with being unprofessional? My response was as follows.
I think older adults have brought this on themselves. Before you attack, read my theory.
I think that when older adults deny they’re getting older and continue to try to dress and behave like the youngers, they lose their dignity and status and no longer set an example for younger people; whether in personal or professional life. On the one hand, they might be able to “connect” with them to some degree; on the other hand the younger sees nothing that commands respect and rejects the older.
When we were younger and just began to learn about the world; in both the personal and business realms, there were older professionals from whom to learn. We would not have gone to a bar after work to “hang out” with them but when we were faced with tasks and projects we were able to get advice and direction from people who had been there and done that long before us.
By denying getting older and not wanting too much responsibility, more mature people have also put a lot of power in the hands of younger people regarding computers. Computers became a household item and people would call or wait for the neighbor’s kid or their own children and/or grandchildren. Computers have also done away with higher level literacy. Too many Blogs and websites are out there with poor grammar, bad spelling, icons and chat abbreviations. Too many parents working “out there” and not giving enough time to raising and parenting their own children.
Every maturing generation pooh poohs the younger people.
Hahahahaha! I just changed the template on my blog and have singlehandedly disabled the links that connect you to the rest of my website!
Oy, oy…now there’s more for my Webmaster to do. I hope he won’t mind!
I feel as though, what’s the point? Why always owe so much to so many? Is this what’s left? G-d forbid, I sure hope there’s more than debts! Holidays are hard being alone. I especially miss my son and his family at these times moreso than on regular days. I’m invited to a family for Pesach that I’ve never met. The man who invited me seems to strongly fear or dislike dogs, yet my dog is also invited (to stay in the playroom). I think I better make certain that it’s alright with his wife, as well and that there REALLY is no problem with bringing Pnina. If it’s a big problem, I might make my own Pesach Seder and stay home. Sad.