Furtive, Part 2

You may have noticed that the word “furtive” has disappeared from my slugline.

I finally managed to tell my family.  My mom said, “I’m surprised you didn’t tell me this earlier.”

*sigh*  Well, I’m glad it went the good way of the two possibilities I thought of.

On a completely unrelated note, I believe you could (if you felt so inclined) sing “Adon Olam” to the tune of “Amazing Grace.”

I’m not sure if that’s funny, offensive, blasphemous, or all of the above, but it does in fact demonstrate the wonders of common meter.  See, a degree in English is useful!

Kryptonite

Have I mentioned that food is a particular weakness of mine?  (This is why I’m portly instead of puny.)  Keeping kosher outside the home is going to be a big struggle for me, I can tell, because bastard smell molecules waft into the air like they own the place and make me hungry for things.  Today it was fries with gravy.  These may be the last fries with gravy I eat, given that I don’t have a deep-fryer and you can’t get decent fries in Israel unless an Arab makes them (Israelis seem to think cold, soggy fries are tasty, for some inexplicable reason; I blame knee-jerk rejectionism of anything British), and I’ve never seen fries with gravy available in Israel anywhere.

Which sucks, because they were bad fries with gravy, really.  But as long as I keep working here, and I keep having to go into the staff cafeteria to get cutlery to eat lunch (I’m fairly ideologically opposed to using plastic cutlery on the regular), this is going to keep happening.  I guess I’m going to have to start carrying cutlery back and forth with me in my work bag.  And hoping that rogue smells don’t ambush me.

Shabbat Recap — Wow!

I made it back to shul this week, after mostly recovering from the nasty virus that pasted me last week. I’m really glad I went, more so than usual, anyway.

I met a nice old lady named Janet, with a British accent and a penchant for Siamese cats, and we talked about her newest addition, a neurotic Siamese fellow who has taken up residence under her settee for the last three weeks and won’t come out (boy, I wish my friend Jan were still alive — she spoke cat quite fluently).

I had a long conversation with my friend MR about why I want to convert and how crazy I really am (at least marginally), which helped me to clarify some things and think about some others. It turns out that a Facebook friend of mine from a town about an hour and a half away is good friends with her. Small world. MR confirms that it’s really, really difficult to be Jewish here, as if I didn’t already know that. She says that’s part of the reward of it, and I can certainly understand that perspective.

As usual, the rabbi was on form, and I really enjoyed the singing. At the end of the haftarah, he gave an “insight” about a child who is dragged onto a bus and taken away to a harsh environment with barracks-style living, guards who restrict your every move, and bad food…which turns out to be summer camp, which is all worthwhile at the end. I laughed involuntarily, since I hold the (ignominious) distinction of being someone who ran away from summer camp at the age of nine, since I hated it precisely that much. (It wasn’t worthwhile, at least not at the time, but I made my friend Ed laugh so hard he had to pull the car over because he couldn’t see straight enough to drive when I told him the story, so I guess it came to a little bit of something after all.)

I made it most of the way home before they caught me, although that was really only about a mile and a half.

Anyway, I do want to write more, but I also want to go to bed. I didn’t sleep well last night, and really kind of dragged myself out this morning.

Flying While Feminine

So El Al is in the news because of Haredi men pitching fits about being assigned seats next to women on flights, and causing flight delays.

Disclosure: I’m the daughter of a commercial pilot, and I know exactly how this would have come out on one of my dad’s flights, because he told me about an incident where a man was causing trouble and wouldn’t get in his assigned seat for some reason or other — my dad had a male flight attendant escort the fellow off the airplane and had law enforcement waiting to arrest him when he got to the gate. I’m probably by nature biased against people who cut up cranky on commercial flights and give flight crew headaches.

Something like the incidents described in this story happened to me when I was coming back from Israel in April of last year. (I was flying on Air Canada, though, not El Al.) The Haredi guy in question did not want to sit next to me, even though I was prepared to respect his peronal space as much as is possible when flying in steerage, not talk to him, and generally keep to myself. (This doesn’t bother me; I figure anybody with that many issues isn’t worth talking to.)

A Brief Halachic Aside, Thanks to My Friend RH, aka the “Facebooker Rebbe”: Rav Feinstein dealt with this question in regards to trains and buses, with logic that applies to planes:a) it’s not a situation that can lead to intimacy and//thus b) if you have a problem with it fella, think Torah thoughts. c) if you still can’t keep your mind off her, don’t ride the bus/train. I paraphrase but I did read the passage on another thread. Hint: Rav Feinstein is someone you can rely on in most circles.

See the actual source quotation here, even though the paraphrase is funnier.

I think this is very sensible, since I figure that if you’re the one complaining, you’re the problem and you need to be dealt with, which involves moving you and not the person with the ostensible girl/secular cooties.

So this Haredi guy did what I can only describe as threw a tantrum — he was remarkably indiscreet about announcing to pretty much everybody on the plane in English, French, and Hebrew that he simply would not sit next to me. He saved the more insulting stuff for French and Hebrew, probably figuring that I wouldn’t understand him, at least until I announced to pretty much everybody on the plane, in Hebrew — to make the point — “You know, I can understand you…” Heh. (Underestimate me at your peril.)

If he’d really wanted to insult me behind my back to my face, as it were, he should have used Yiddish.

And that was how I wound up sitting beside a real live Auschwitz survivor and veteran of the 1948 Israeli war — 90 years old, still sharp as a tack, and a great conversationalist, even if we kind of did have to use a mish-mash of languages due to his poor English and my poor Hebrew.

I win.