Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Verbal snapshots of Israel

Sorry, folks. I know you were hoping for real photos. But, as you can see, I haven't even figured out how to set up a sidebar yet, much less do anything as high-tech as posting pictures. To be honest, it's a matter of priorities: I'd rather write my own posts and read everyone else's than take several hours to learn HTML. Maybe I'll give it a try when we return from driving our son back to college. In the meantime, I'm posting a few observations, including some new Hebrew words--and one Arabic one--that I picked up on this trip (and a few from before). So, on with the show. Yalah--let's go. (Yep, my nieces and nephew confirmed that that's an Arabic word, just as I thought.)

Update: On my way through the dashboard, I noticed a link for "how to add photos." I'll try that when we return from taking our son back to college.

I also enabled the adding of "word verification" to my comments. Since I recently received my first "comment spam"--some idiot posted an ad in my comments--I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to do one of those "read this word and type it" things--apparently, computerized automatic spam can't follow those instructions, so it's a spam-blocker. I'm sorry to ask you to add an extra step when you post comments, but I have no desire to have my comments used as someone's billboard.

The Hitnatkut

Since, unfortunately, we arrived in the middle of the disengagement from Gush Katif, the first thing I noticed was that everyone was listening to the news. No music, just news. In the monit (taxi) to Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). On the bus, where drivers frequently play their radios loudly enough for everyone to hear. In my parents' dirah (apartment), where we watched an English-language TV station.

My Israeli brother, S. (I also have a brother in California), who served as our tour guide for two days and with whom we spent our first Shabbat (Sabbath), told me that he usually uses his drive time to meditate, but he, too, listened to the news that week. He had to turn it off every 15 minutes or so, though--it got him too upset.

My nephew, A. Y., who's entering his second pre-Tzahal (Israel Defense Force) year of combined community service and study, spent a few days this past week playing with some of the Gush Katif kids whose families are currently being housed in hotels.

Bal Tashchit

The second thing I noticed were the solar water heaters. Israelis obey the prohibition against wastefulness because they don't have much choice. N., my ex-sister-in-law, who was our tour guide for two days and with whom we spent our second Shabbat, told us that solar water heaters don't save homeowners money, but that they're required by law because they reduce Israel's oil consumption by 5%.

On a related noted, S. told me that Israelis drive manual-shift vehicles because they use less gas.

Shir HaMaalot--A Song of Ascents

The third thing I noticed were the madrégot. They were pretty hard to miss, since the apartment my parents' friends had lent to us was up several flights of them. So up we climbed, madrégah after madrégah. Sometimes it seemed that everything in Israel is komah l'maalah (a flight up), never komah l'mata (a flight down). Everyone climbs stairs in Israel, for lack of an alternative: We were in Israel for four days before we saw our first maalit.

More about madrégot later.

I also joked with my younger niece, L., that Yerushalayim is the San Francisco of Israel because of all the hills. N. later joked that the hills of Yerushalayim only go up, never down. :)

See part 2 for the continuation.


Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Shira, blogger's been updated to allow direct incorporation of photos into your posts. After you download your pictures onto your computer (from the camera), start writing a post and click on the little picture icon. You'll be prompted to browse for a picture on your computer and it will upload.

Wed Aug 31, 05:35:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Thanks for the tip. Check out the photo that our son took. :)

Thu Sep 01, 10:38:00 AM 2005  

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