Saturday, September 16, 2006

Three Days of Non-Stop Movement

I'm just trying to keep up with the backlog of blogging I've missed because I've been SO BUSY, but here goes:

The technician from HOT, my internet connection, was scheduled to come by, "Sometime between Noon and 10 PM" they told me (thanks a lot.) Given my experience with the Bezek guy showing up 3 hours early, I decided to stay put until they arrived. While waiting, I began unpacking my things and scrubbing my walls, kitchen, and shower, and I got the place looking pretty nice. It's unbelievable how much stuff I've already got here, between what I brought, what I've been given, and what I've found in the street. I have my folding table and second-hand chair already, so I was able to set up my computer. The HOT technician showed up at 2:30 PM (not bad!) and had my internet connection up and running in minutes. I tried to plug in my vonage router and get my phone up and running, but no dice. I was dreading calling technical support to get it running, since they're all Indian. I had to call long distance on my cellular phone using my credit card. After about two hours, we almost had the system working. Ramon and I (these Indian guys are getting more and more creative with their American names) were scratching our heads until finally we figured out that my phone cord was dead, so we replaced it and now my Vonage connection works. In fact, it works BEAUTIFULLY! I have the same phone number I had when I was in the states, and the connection is far clearer than using an Israeli land line. I immediately called my boss and all of my project managers back in California and told them that they can now call me before noon. They were all impressed with the quality too.

This is a MAJOR weight off my chest, to finally have my virtual office up and running smoothly.

Just as I got the line up and running, the cops came over and took my fridge. Sagi, the ex-tenant here, is a cop, so he sent some of his head-shaved tough-guy buddies over to collect it. I brought what I could up to Rafi and Galila's house and stored it in their fridge, but I think I'm going to lose my tomatoes and cucumbers pretty soon.


I meant to spend Friday working. I really did. Instead, I had to run to the post office. Avi the landlord was coming out of the house just as I did.
"Hey, Ephraim, did you get the internet running?" he asked me.
"Yup. And the phone is clear as a bell."
He scratched his head, trying to translate the metaphor.
"Well, do you need anything else?"
"Um... do you have an ironing board I could borrow for about twenty minutes this afternoon? I need to iron my clothes for shabbat."
"No problem. Just ask when you're ready," he told me, "And do you need a ride anywhere?"

I hopped in and he took me up to the top of the Pisgah, ran to the post office, then hiked up Moshe Dayan street (the main street which connects Pisgat Ze'ev North, South, East, West, and Center) buying various items on discount. Picked up a mop, ice trays (I WILL have a fridge again some day,) bowls and plates, a rug, and a two-burner electric range. Hauled it all back to my place, grabbed my checkbook, and caught the six downtown. Jumped off at Mea Shearim, the ultra-super-orthodox stronghold in the city, where I found second hand appliance stores, and began pricing refridgerators and beds. The prices were surprisingly high, so I walked away disappointed, without buying anything, thinking I had just wasted two hours. It was very frustrating, because I was on such a roll. Every time I had come to the bus stop Friday, the bus had pulled right up within 45 seconds (usually a 20 minute wait,) and I had accomplished so much so far.

"Well," I figured, "as long as I'm in the city, I could walk to the Kotel (Western Wall) and daven Minchah (afternoon prayers.)" At least then I could justify my time, as davening at the Kotel is never a waste. I found a minyan and pleaded with the one on high to release our captive soldiers in Gaza and Lebanon/Iran, asked for some shidduch guidance, and threw in a request for some furniture.

On the way home I remembered that Steven (the American) had told me about some extra shelves he had. I called him from my cel phone and he told me where to get off the bus in front of his house. He showed them to me, I graciously accepted, and we threw them in the back of my car. The shelves will require some drilling of holes in the walls, which will require the landlords' permission, but I think it will be okay since there are already plenty of holes.

As I was laying the boards out on the floor, Ehud, my landlords' son, stood in the doorway holding an ironing board.
"My father said you needed to borrow an ironing board. You can use this one for as long as you want, until you move out."
"Also, you should know that I'm going to yeshivah in Atzmonah."
My mind drew a blank. Atzmonah was one of the towns destroyed in the disengagement last summer. Then I remembered, most of the towns, communities, and yeshivahs are rebuilding themselves from the ground up in the Negev desert.
"My yeshivah," he continued, "is replacing everything, so we have a lot of stuff. Microwaves, blankets, beds, everything. If you let me know, I'll see if we can donate to you some of the things we are replacing. Just tell me what you want."

We went through my list. A bed, washing machine, refridgerator, shelves, tables, kumkum (a little water heater), fans, everything.

"I'll see what I can do. We'll talk on Sunday."
So there's some good news.


This is my first Shabbat in my own place, without Rafi and Galila, who had gone to Hertzeliyah (near Tel Aviv,) as Rafi, aside from being my cousin's husband, also happens to be a famous chazzan (singer at the synagogue) and he had scheduled a shabbat there.

Shabbat started at 6:30 PM. I went to Pisgat Moriah, the Ashkenazi shul with all the Americans for Ma'ariv (evening prayers,) where Rabbi Levine, the local Rabbi, had invited me over for dinner afterwards. The entire conversation over dinner was in Hebrew, but I was actually able to follow some of it, and met some new, friendly faces. I left at about ten, but wasn't tired. I was walking by Rafi's father's house (his father is the Rabbi at one of the local sephardi shuls) and heard people talking inside, so I strolled in and walked right into a Torah class. I was invited to sit down and stay, to enjoy various forms of alchohol and ice cream while listening to the lesson, which I did. I got home around 11:30 PM and crashed.

Shabbat morning, I raced over to Rafi's father's shul, which, as I mentioned, is very sephardi. I was able to use my Chabad siddur (prayer book) and follow along just fine. Rafi's brother Shmulik just had a baby girl, so I wanted to be there for the kiddush. Afterwards, I ran up to Pisgat Moriah, where I intercepted Elie, a local Anglo I had met through Steven, who had invited me over to his place for lunch. We had another local Anglo with us, who also happens to be a producer for Arutz 7 (the famous right-wing contraband settler radio station.) More friendly faces, and this time the conversation was in English. I went home and crashed again, but got up in time for Seudah Shlishit (third meal), again with Rafi's father. I davened Minchah at a local Moroccan shul, then hiked all the way back up to Pisgat Moriah for another Torah class with Rabbi Levine. After Ma'ariv I solicited an invitation from Rabbi Levine to come over for Havdallah (the ceremony marking the conclusion of Shabbat.) Afterwards, while hiking home, I found a laundry bag and a laundry drying rack at the side of the road and hauled them home.

Which brings me to now. Whew! And now, back to work.


WaspWannaBe said...


1. Why don't you call Steven "the American" Steven "the Anglo". I am a bit confused. Can one use the word "Anglo" and the word "American" interchangably??? Because later you refer to Elie as an "anglo" and not as an "american"

So can you please clarify one one should use "anglo" and when should one use "American"

2. In the appliance store in Mea Shearim--did the itmes have price tags on them?? Or was the store owner just making up prices as he went along??

Ephraim said...

1. "Anglo" is short for "Anglophonic." An American is an Anglo, but an Anglo isn't necesarrily an American.

2. No marked prices. I could have haggled and maybe brought it down. But then again, I walked out of the store, and if they're willing ot make you a lower offer, they will usually do it while you're walking out the door. Besides, I wasn't in the mood. And the stuff was a bit nasty, so I'm considering just buying new.

Nonamefornow said...

The reason I was asking about whether the prices were marked or not is because, at least based on my observation, shop owners tend to make up the prices as they go along, hoping they can sell it to a sucker.

There are many free newspapers in Jerusalem, and on the intenet that advertise second-hand goods for free.

Also, craigslist has a jerusalem site, which might help you (and all the other "Anglophonic" (both americans and otherwise)

So if there is a Russian Jew that imigrated to the U.S. and than moved to Israel--does she qualify as an Anglo?

Ephraim said...

Thanks for the links!

As far as the question, "So if there is a Russian Jew that imigrated to the U.S. and than moved to Israel--does she qualify as an Anglo?"

Well, that's a very talmudic question! Unfortunately I don't have smicha, so I would refer you to a more competent halachic authority. :)

Nonamefornow1 said...

If you can not define the word 'anglo" and when and in under what circumstances do you use it, so maybe you should not use it, because it creates confusion in the mind of the reader.

While one can recognize that many American Jews, who suffer from extreme inferiority complex in America, when moving to Israel begin to refer to themselves as "Anglos" at the expense of an unsophisticated and naive Israeli population, you should not not do so.

Your futile attempt at avoiding the question has been noted.

Ephraim said...


Dude, chill. It's just a blog.