Friday, December 16, 2011


Comments on:  It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

1. Will Christians lower their voices in Israel?

2. I am always glad when it's over.....I get "Happy Holidayed" to death from people I don't know...and I have to be cordial by saying the same thing....a bit ridiculous but the season at least tends to bring out the best in
people which is a nice temporary fix. That's my random thought of the day!

3. I see you came out
of closet and admitted freely and voluntarily the you watch FOX News. Watching your tiny TV in the closet must have been a drag( pardon the pun!).

4. Happy Hanukkah, My friend, to you and your family!!
5. And Happy Holidays to you and your family! Love your posts!

 6. Israel sounds great for Hanukkah for sure, and for all Jewish holidays for that matter; but I have to say that America is looking pretty perfect up against Spain. One Fox News nativity scene is nothing compared to what it's like here. EVERY public place, EVERY bank, store, and public school sets up a nativity scene "un belén" as it's called here. If I could find an actual Spanish Jew here, I would love to ask them how they felt about this.

In fact, last week I had an hour free during my teaching schedule and I was asked to help set up the nativity scene with another teacher.

I'm sure I could have said that I didn't want to, but I instead decided it would be funny to try to help and pretend I knew where Mary is supposed to stand/sit/lay? and where to put the camels/horses/baby jesus. I ended up just being the person to hand the teacher the scissors when she needed them so it was a pretty important job. Then it was time for lunch which was obviously some form of sausage stuffed with ham and cheese.

It's been ridiculous trying to get these people to understand Judaism, when I finally explained that in addition to not celebrating Christmas, we also don't celebrate Easter, one teacher (who I actually really like) commented to me "well I guess you should have to come to school that week we have off then, won't you?". He was kidding of course but I was just thinking how this type of comment absolutely would not fly in a work/school setting in America. "The Jews have to come to school during spring break because they don't believe it was when Jesus was resurrected!" But they are all so blunt and racist here I've just grown accustomed to it. There is a show on tv called "Yellow Humor" making fun of asians, all small stores here that are run by someone asian are called "Chinos" and the people are called Chinos as well, and there is another tv show where it is perfectly acceptable to paint on black-face to imitate a black person. In America this would NEVER happen, but here it's totally acceptable and they think we are overly sensitive; I think the truth is actually somewhere in the middle. On the subject of discrimination here compared to the U.S., I could go on for days to talk about how hard it is to be a girl playing soccer here as well, but I won't.

The point is that while Jews are the minority in America, at least the culture is somewhat open minded and the people are in general somewhat educated in that there are different religions, backgrounds, holidays, and traditions. It's just absolutely not like that here. I'm sure I told you when I gave a presentation last year on Hanukkah, told them the story, showed them a menorah, and brought in a dreidle...and it blew their minds. I am the first Jew that everyone here has met. It's insane.

While public schools in the US do give students art projects around Christmas to decorate a Christmas cookie or whatever, there are also alternatives which absolutely doesn't exist here. All students in public and private schools here go to Religion class once a week. But Religion class isn't "learning about all religions" as it is in the states, it is just learning about Catholicism. The students' parents can opt them out of this class and then they go to a class called "Alternative" which is just reading a book for an hour, but very very few kids do this. So compared to Spain, in this regard, I'm pretty happy with America.

Humous and Cranberry Sauce--Thanksgiving in Jerusalem, received several comments:

1. Sounds like u had a neat thanksgiving. Congrats on citizenship. Hope u can still vote in 2012 election.

2.. Thanks for letting me celebrate Thanksgiving with your family in Israel — vicariously. I was able to enjoy everything but your food. You owe me a dinner!

3. Well done, Alan! Hope you don't mind, but I've shared this message with a whole bunch of folks---some are world travelers, some are just interested in world politics and cultures. Thanks so much for always including me in the bright and informative notes.

4. Thank you for sharing your story. I find it very admirable – and brave – to essentially uproot yourself from the comforts of American society. We all have a need to fulfill our individual sense of community. You seem to have found it in your ancestral homeland.

5.  Dreaming also. Give us a few more years and we will see you there.
6.  Alan, great post. I've spent two Thanksgivings in my entire life out of the US and away from the family and they were both in Jerusalem. Unfortunately we couldn't watch any football back in 72 or 74 when in Jerusalem. Could only listen on Armed Forces Radio.

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