Thursday, December 3, 2009

Swirling Thoughts #91 – when Hanna Montana is but a distant memory…but only then

Dudu Fisher – an acquired Israeli taste
At some point during the 10 months we spent preparing for our aliyah someone involved in the education of my children (a teacher? a principal? I can’t recall) recommended we purchase and watch the video “Gan Shel Dudu”. “To help with the Hebrew.”

Basically it’s a musical video in Hebrew with a jolly guy named Dudu Fisher (okay so he’s a little scary looking at first but clearly he’s jolly) who has a gan (playgroup) for kids who are clearly too old to be in gan (think about the kids on Barney). They skip around singing all sorts of songs about the Jewish holidays, which bracha to make over cakes, the weather, you get the picture.

I made a special trip to Sifrutake on Avenue P. I’ve always wanted to walk into this store and buy something but since it’s a store with only Israeli videos, books and music (read: nothing in the store is in English AT ALL), I never before had any occasion to do so. I hurried home with my Dudu Fisher DVD and popped it into the machine. After about 2 minutes and some clever commentary (“It’s all in Hebrew, Mom.”) the kids were gracious enough to ask if they could watch it a different time and by the way could they please watch Hanna Montana if I was going to let them watch TV on a weeknight? That was the end of Dudu Fisher. Or so I thought.

Dudu reappeared in our lives once we arrived here and started getting sick. Our doctor – the one with the strange hours (of which I am starting to get the rhythm) – has a TV in his home office waiting room that plays Gan Shel Dudu every time we are there.

Recently someone told me that Olim chadashim (new immigrants) are referred to as “CHOLIM chadashim” (new sick people). It’s not that Israel is crawling with sick germs. At least not any more so than Brooklyn. It’s that our kids (and even us) are not used to the germs here. Every germ is a new germ. Hence the frequent visits to the doctor (and the ensuing strategy of getting cultures to the kupat before the lab guy comes at 10 and catching the pharmacist before he closes at 1).

Yesterday, I stumbled across our copy of Gan Shel Dudu and popped it in to keep Rosie and Becky happy while I combed through their hair (lice prevention is a bit of an obsession here). Within minutes 4 of my kids were crowded onto the couch. There was excitement and more clever commentary (“We have this? How’d we get this? The doctor has this!”). At some point after I sent Barbara and Asher up to bed (they resisted, wanting to stay and watch more) I realized Becky and Rosie had fallen asleep on the couch but Bob and I were still watching the video. I was transfixed by the Hebrew words on the bottom of the screen. Bob was mesmerized by Dudu’s big puff of hair. Gan Shel Dudu – who knew?

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