Friday, October 5, 2007

Israel My Kind of Place: Living the Life

Okay so a friend of mine in NY named Moshit asked me how things are going here in terms of going out. She also asked for more pictures. I keep saying I am going to take more and simply forget. Also, there are some people who don't take well to have their photos taken in some places. It is a modesty issue, but now I just found out that my viewer in my digital camera is broken and I have no idea how it happened. So any pictures I take now, I won't know the results until I go home and download them.

The Night Life

I'll be honest I don't get out much, because of my schedule and because where I live in Maale Adummim is made up of mostly familys. The night life scene is more like a suburb, which is more of what I wanted after living in Manhattan, NY for about 4 years. There are places that I could go, but I am at the point in my life where it is more fun to go places with someone rather than alone. Also, between work, trying to get my apartment setup, and martial arts there isn't a whole lot of time. I am also not sure what I like to do anymore outside of the being around family and joking around or debating different issues.

Ben Yehudah Street in Jerusalem

I could always go hang out in Ben-Yehudah square in Jerusalem, but it is hard to find free parking in that area. It is also a younger scene so I would be simply sitting at some coffee shop typing away on my computer. I am 32 years old, at the time of this post, so that is not a scene I am into anymore. It is especially busy there on Thursday night. I guess people like to go out before Shabbat and this is like Friday night in the US. Here in Israel many of us work from Sunday to Thursday or some people work Sunday to Thursday full day, and half a day on Friday. It is great to get all the Jewish holidays off without any kind of hassle. When I worked in the US for my last company I always felt like it was being treated as a hassle when I needed days off for Jewish holy days such as Passover, Yom, Kippur, etc. I like how it is federally something that I get without having to ask for it.

Shops in downtown Jerusalem

What Do You Do?

So how do I spend my time you ask? The better question is how do I want to spend my time once I finally get settled. At the moment I still have to put together some of my furniture and I also have to buy some furniture. I want to go for more of the Moroccan and Iranian look with my living room and bedroom. Maybe Ethiopian in one room, and one room has to be blue. A throw back to my old Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity days. Now that all of my belongings have arrived from America I have more books to read so I definitely need to get that book shelf together. So once I get the apartment issues settled that is when I need to work on my Hebrew full time, and continue practicing martial arts.

Me with my friend Avivit in Petach Tikvah, Israel

Outside of that I haven't really thought about how to spend my free time. I have also visited a few families that I have made some connection. I prefer to do this since I am at the age where people are either married or looking to be married. For me just sitting around and talking to friends is good enough for me.

Shidducks Anyone? i.e. Matchmaking Anyone?

I went on two dates, if they could be called that, since I have been here, but I knew that both situations would not go far. The first one was okay, but I just didn't get the impression that I should call back. It was set up by the woman's mother, but what the mother mentioned about her in terms of her religious views were different than what the woman actually told me. I got the impression that she was more into the hanging out life than I am and she also was a vegan, where I eat meat. That alone would have its problems. She was a nice woman, but my manly radar simply said this isn't going to happen. She also lives in Tel Aviv and I live near Jerusalem. So I never called her back.

The next woman I went out with was set up by a woman named Tzipora that I met during a Shabbat (Sabbath) lunch. I was a little reluctant to take on this date because the woman I was being set up with was Farsi i.e. she was Iranian Jewish. For those who don't know Persian Jews (Iranian Jews) normally don't marry non-Persian Jews. I once heard that they have less than 5% intermarriage rate, even with other Jewish ethnic groups. The reason is because several times the Jews of Iran were forced to convert to Islam. In order to keep the children secretly Jewish, they married them off to other Iranian Jews before they were born. There is more history on this, but that will have to wait. Tzipora mentioned that the woman was here temporarily and was going back to the US, but maybe if the right guy presented himself she would stay.

So I met the woman and she was really nice. The conversation was good, and she was fun to be around. Yet, I got the feeling that what she hated about Israel outweighed what she liked about Israel. I also didn't get the impression that she was very passionate about staying in Israel, and it takes a certain level of passion to want to stay here. So I kept this and a few other things in the back of my mind. There was also the issue that since she was Iranian there was no realistic way for anything serious to take place. So after two weeks, I didn't hear from her for a few days. I took the initiative and called her. That is when she asked me, "Didn't Tzipora call you?" I said no. She then said, "You are a nice guy and all, but I don't think we should date anymore." Quickly, I responded with, "Oh okay. Well have a good night."

She said good night to me and then we both hung up. I felt better that this was out of the way. I have since gone back to my rule no match making from people who haven't known me for about a year. I find that some people, who don't know me, try to put me on what I call desperation shidducks (match-making). The concept for these people is that I am desperate, which I am not. The other side of this coin is that they sometimes try to put me with women who may be older and are having a hard time finding someone. So since they are desperate they decide to put them with, maybe from the idea that I will never find someone. Some may believe that because I am religious that I may somehow influence a girl that they know that is not religious.

This is all well intentioned so I can't knock it much. The good thing is that Israel is a real marriage minded place and I like that. Yet, for myself I need to stick to women from the communities I am most comfortable around. Yemenite Israeli, Ethiopian Israeli, and Sephardic Israeli. So now my response to the whole shidduck thing from people who don't know me well is, "Thanks, but no thanks."

A Visit From A Good Friend

On a better note I recently went out with an Ethiopian Israeli friend of mine, Dorit, from New York. She is here in Israel for a few weeks to visit her family. We spent a day together going to Ikea since I need furniture. I met her father that day and I helped her grandmother get home since her grandmother walks on a cane. Later that week I called her to see if she wanted to go and walk around the beach at Tel Aviv. When I came to pick her up I met one of her younger brothers and one of her younger sisters. They were watching American cartoons that I used to love watching before I left America.

Beach line between Tel Aviv and Yaffo

Dorit and I also went out to the beaches at Tel Aviv and Yaffo.It is interesting how much has changed since the last time I was in that part of Tel Aviv. There are now three Ethiopian restaurants around Allenby and Ben Yehudah streets. These weren't there the last time I walked around that area. It was so nice to go out with someone who was down to earth and where there were no higher than normal expectations. I also like going out with women who were born in Israel or lived most of their lives in Israel, since I have always felt more comfortable with them. Dorit was born in Ethiopia and when she was 9 her family, along with other Ethiopian Jews, were airlifted out of Ethiopia and brought to Israel.

It was so nice to just sit at the beach and talk with Dorit, laugh with her, and be around her. I never had a chance to really get to know Dorit when we both lived in New York, but I really must say that I wish had. She says that she most likely will move back to Israel soon, so who knows what may come of this.

Sunset in Tel Aviv

Both of us forgot to bring cameras so there are no pictures. The pictures in this section are from my previous stays in Tel Aviv. Next time we go out before she leaves I promise you all I will take pictures.

The Tel Aviv market

My BIG Problem With Israel

One problem I do have with Israel, besides the bad drivers, is the number of people I see wearing pants that either don't fit or that sag. I can't stand that whole sagging pants thing, and I see so many people doing it. I feel like starting a campaign to run behind people and pull up their pants. Could you imagine the public service announcement for the Ehav Ever says - Pull Up Your Pants Israel campaign and the Ever Foundation's Put On Some Cloths That Fit You Fund.

The sad thing is when you see soldiers doing it, it makes me want to volunteer for the IDF again and try to get to a commanding officer post so I can order soliders to pull their pants up. It is also bad when you see a woman who is wearing pants that don't fit her and a shirt that shows off her belly and love handles. A friend of mine called this muffin tops because the love handles hanging off the pants that are too tight look like muffins. I have even seen older women dressing this way, and I had to say, "Ugh and yuck!" One day at the post office I saw a women who was wearing pants that were in the middle of her bottom so that her panties showed. Ahhhhh!

I can't stand sagging pants!

I almost want to dress up as a masked super hero who swings down from the roof tops and pulls up the pants of offenders. What makes it sad is when I see grown people, above the age of 35 doing it. Darn those gangster rappers, look what they have started. Some people don't know that the whole pants sagging thing in the gangster rap genre was a throw back to prison culture since in prison people aren't allowed to have belts. Now to walk around Israel seeing this really tacky way of dressing makes me really sick. (By the way I have never been in prison, but I knew a few people who have been.) It must also be noted that I am all into free-will and freedom of choice, but I have seen some real tacky ways of sagging and wearing cloths that don't fit out here worse than some of the stuff I saw in America.

At the end of the day I simply plan to get married have children and then show them how silly people look when they dress that way, and then hope that they choose to be different by wearing cloths that fit. So for now this is my life. I'll let you know when something more interesting happens.


Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi ehav,

That was another interesting post. I enjoy learning about daily life in other parts of the world.

About finding someone, I think the best way to find someone is to simply do the things you like to do. That way you have a good chance of meeting someone who shares an intrest. I do envy the matchmaking though. I read a lot about Indian culture and I like certain aspects of arrainged relationships. (some things I don't like so much).

Also there are a few cities here in the U.S. that are considering laws banning wearing pants that are not fitting around the waist. (lol) Sounds like you would vote for a law like that.

Take care

Ehav Ever said...

Hey MDC,

As always welcome. I agree with you in terms of finding someone. In Jewish culture it is somewhat complicated the older you get. This is why the match making is preferred by some. The problem I have with it is when people try to do it and they don't know me.

People who come from the European Jewish communities normally have a slightly differently outlook on match making than Jewish communities from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. I prefer to remain in the Middle Eastern, African, and Asian Jewish communities in this regard. I have always felt more comfortable with this.

Yeah, I heard about those cities in the US that want to do that in terms of wearing properly fitting pants. I am not one to say that laws need to be passed. I am all for democracy and free will. I just think it looks so tacky, but if that is what people want so be it. I do think though it shouldn't be allowed in the military though.

Some Israelis are doing it, sagging pants, because they think they are acting American by doing so. There are a number of Israelis who want to act American so what they see on TV from America they do.

rivkayael said...

I haven't had time to read through the entire post, but I get your annoyance about desperation shidduchim. There is a lot of social pressure to "change yourself" to make yourself more marketable on the shidduch circuit (if they set you up with women older than you or not frum...well I get set up with guys who didn't go to college and are 15 years get the idea). I like your compromise--it's something I decided too--that, and I'd be far more open to dating good male friends of mine (who have already established their best friend credentials) than a read shidduch, with some kind of perfect resume (someone calls them resume boyfriends). Yech.