Israeli Bank Hapoalim Wants Me to Get Married Already

Signing out of my online account at my bank, I was just shown this ad boasting a package of benefits for the bride and groom. Now my bank knows my age, and knows I’m single – so I guess the Jewish urges took over and they just figured it’s about time they asked: “Aren’t you going to get married? I’m not getting any younger”
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Just FYI, the advertised package includes:
– A gift of 360 Israeli Shekels
– A loan for the wedding ceremony
– A wedding timed deposit
– VIP wedding checks depositing
– Waiver on all service charges
– Attractive mortgage terms

The Chamber Quintet – Dachau


A: Hello! What’s up?
B: Hey! What’s up?
A: Long time no see.
B: Months…
A: Are you coming to the party tonight?
B: The party?
A: The party. Come, it will be fun
B: I don’t know. I just got home from work. I have to shower and change clothes.
A: So, go and change. It will be fun.
B: Where is it exactly?
A: The party? It’s on ‘Gallows Martyrs’. You go by ‘Dov Gruner’, and take the second left. The first is ‘Eli Cohen’ and the second is ‘Gallows Martyrs’.
B: Can I turn left on ‘Eli Cohen’?
A: Are you coming by car? Listen to me, Drive on ‘Warsaw Ghetto’, make a U-turn, enter ‘Concentration Camps
Avenue’ and park on ‘Dachau Square’.
B: Is it nearby?
A: Dachau? It’s here, just around the corner.
  א: הלו! מה העניינים?
ב: אהלן! מה העניינים?
א: לונג טיים נו סי.
ב: חודשים.
א: אתה בא למסיבה היום?
ב: ה-מסיבה?
א: ה! תבוא, יהיה פאן.
ב: אני יודע?! רק עכשיו חזרתי מהעבודה, אני צריך עוד להתרחץ, ללבוש משהו, אני כולי…
א: נו, אז תעלה תתרחץ, תלבש משהו ותבוא. יהיה פאן.
ב: איפה זה יוצא?
א: המסיבה? זה בעולי הגרדום. אתה עולה בדב גרונר, השני שמאלה. הראשון זה אלי כהן והשני זה עולי הגרדום.
ב: יש לי שמאלה באלי כהן?
א: אתה בא עם אוטו? אז תשמע מה תעשה, סע בגטו ורשה, תעשה שם יו-טרן, תכנס לשדרות מחנות הריכוז ותחנה בכיכר דכאו.
ב: זה קרוב?
א: מה, דכאו? זה פה, מעבר לפינה.


Additional reading: Critical laughter – humor, popular culture and Israeli Holocaust commemoration by Eyal Zandberg – PDF in English or Hebrew

Hagigit and Jerusalem’s Train Theatre Present: Purim Shpiel in the Circus

Purim Shpiel 2010 at the Train Theatre in JerusalemThe artists collective I am part of, Hagigit, has joined the Train Theatre once again to celebrate Purim. Just like our cooperation last year, we set up a photography studio and took pictures of well-costumed kids. The parents were obviously delighted since these were their kids, but I was anxiously waiting for that one photo to transcend being cute into being really interesting. This doesn’t happen often, mind you, but it did happen before. Photos captured today can be found on Hagigit’s Flickr page.

The first day already gone, you can still join us today and tomorrow in Jerusalem. Admission is 30 NIS including the play “The Cubes Circus”. More details here.

Israel Tax Authority Presents: Government Funded Jewish Mother

Is marriage really something that should be incentivised? And where the hell are all the small government conservatives when we’re talking about Washington getting into the yenta business?
   – – President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) – The West Wing s03e20

Israeli Income Tax Form Addressed to the Registered SpouseSunday will be the last day for submitting your income tax report in Israel and this gives me an opportunity to point to the government’s annual act-like-a-Jewish-mother ceremony: On its form numbered 135, the government insists on referring to the person submitting it as ‘The Registered Spouse‘ (Ben HaZug HaRashum). This appears three times just on its initial page, with an additional footnote explaining this ‘registered spouse’ term includes unmarried and separated people.
Take a moment and meditate on that: Through its official form the State of Israel looks at its citizenry and only sees couples: a ‘registered spouse’ and his or her partner, or a ‘registered spouse’ with no partner. As far as my country is concerned, it’s not that I am single as much as I haven’t paired up yet.

Yes, just like The Simpsons’ Are we there yet routine, the Jewish state forces me to a yenta dialog that goes something like this:

– It’s 2008, are you married yet?
– No.
– It’s 2009 already, are you married yet?
– No!
– It’s 2010, are you married now?
– No! Stop asking me that!

It’s a Free Trip to Israel – So Why Aren’t You Already Here?

I have written before about Taglit-Birthright Israel       , a beautiful program that sends young Jews from all over the world to visit Israel for the first time for free. Yes, free! There are no strings attached, and no hidden agendas: the goal of the program is posted on its website: “to diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world; to strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry; and to strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people.”

I am not sure people need much persuasion to get a free 10 day trip, but if you do you can check out this video, summarizing an evening of solo performances of monologues, spoken word and hip-hop inspired and performed by past participants, and directed by Vanessa Hidary, a.k.a. The Hebrew Mamita, of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam:
Make sure you check out the schedule for upcoming performances.

Obama: Our Stock Will Rise High!

Now, I realize the White House may have been busy with the whole FlickrGate thing these last couple of days, but can we agree posting the following photo on the official White House website was not the brightest idea?
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I’m not sure if this image offends all Jews or just this one, but after 27 months and scores of Obama photos, I think this is the first photo I have seen that does not compliment him.

Due to recent comments left on my blog, I feel I need to explain these kind of observations:
My beef is not with Obama, as he is free to raise his hands as much as he likes.
My beef is not with White House photographer Chuck Kennedy, as he is free to take as much photos as he likes.
My beef is with the editor who exhibited poor judgement by posting this photo which does not flatter the president and does not convey the right sentiments towards his constituents.

Kosher for Passover Fried Calamari

No, calamari is not kosher, but now that you got your answer you might want to read this rather funny post:

Israel is a home for Jews in all their forms, but while Orthodox Jews adhere to every law of the faith, most Israelis consider themselves ‘Secular Jews’. Seemingly an oxymoron, a secular Jew would observe certain religious laws, while completely ignoring other laws. Most Israelis would get married by a rabbi, circumcise their sons, and when their time comes get buried in a religious ceremony – completing the cycle of life while ignoring pillars of the faith like Shabbat or atonement.

Kosher for Passover Fried Calamari: Fried squid, covered with Matzomeal and seasonings, served on a bed of green leaves with Cajun mayoMost Israelis do not eat Kosher and have no problem enjoying a pork meal or a seafood platter, but on Passover most of them do keep the holiday’s dietary laws and do not eat bread or foods made out of flour. This is the rational behind a Kosher for Passover fried Calamari offered by restaurants like the one I visited today. An Observant Jew wouldn’t be caught dead eating Calamari, as it is made out of squid which is utterly forbidden, but in the DIY-Judaism world in which most Israelis lead their lives they have no problem eating Calamari on Passover, just as long as it is not breaded – as that would be an abomination.

Happy Passover to all my Jewish readers!


Yes, while blogging makes you do a lot of good things like read and learn, from time to time it does take you to the edge and makes you do strange things like stealing a menu from a restaurant.

The Train Theatre Featuring Hagigit Present: Purim Spiel at Lilliput

It’s the Jewish holiday of Purim, and Hagigit, the artists collective I am part of, cooperated with Jerusalem’s Train Theatre for a Purim Spiel celebration for kids. The events started with a show called ‘Gulliver – The Journey to Lilliput’ by Amit Drori, based on the classic book by Jonathan Swift – and continued with us. We designed and erected a photography studio to correlate with Swift’s ideas of big and small, allowing the audience to experience being as tall as buildings or feel tinier than usual. We photographed the costumed kids and using our lean mean printing machines granted them a moment frozen in time.

Here’s a small selection of the photos taken today:

Jerusalem’s Answer To Magritte: das ist nicht a chazer

[singlepic id=146 w=320 h=240 float=right]The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo received new guests last week, called Collared Peccary, an American mammal whose looks resemble those of a pig. This would not matter much, only that in a city that is sacred to three religions, two of which consider pigs to be unclean animals who should be avoided – in a city like Jerusalem, a big is a pig deal a pig is a big deal.

That is why the zoo management put up a sign, which includes the regular informative stuff every visitor should know, but also the sentence “This is not a pig” in four languages: Hebrew, Arabic, English, and (get this) Yiddish for the Orthodox Jews. In Israel, even a walk in the park is no walk in the park.

Jerusalem Biblical Zoo sign: das ist nicht a chazer - Yiddish: This is not a pig