Monday, February 1, 2010

Swirling Thoughts #109 - bob's the only smoker in efrat anyway!

Our tree planting field trip has been cancelled in anticipation of snow.

I’ve been busy responding to congratulatory emails regarding Rav Riskin’s ruling on the sale of cigarettes (2 out of 5 stores in Efrat have agreed not to sell cigarettes in light of Rav Riskin’s ruling) while Bob has been busy trying to figure out where the fifth store in Efrat is.

A lesser known rite of passage specific to olim from the Gush is the experience of getting lost in Talpiot - the industrial/shopping zone of Jerusalem.
Densely concentrated (read: stores piled on top of stores, signs all in Hebrew), the allure is that you could find just about anything (carpet, groceries, power tools, paper goods). If you know where you’re going.

For some (read: Bob) it’s less about getting lost (he’s mastered the maze of kikars (traffic circles) and malls (old and new) on three parallel streets with a few streets cutting through and then several streets that appear to cut through but do not) and more about parking. There always appears to be parking right in front of the store you want. This is a dangerous illusion. Once you enter the lot, which is most certainly full (and in Israel, full means every spot is taken plus cars have gratuitously parked in “spots” they’ve created on the sidewalks, behind the dumpster, and wedged into corners), exiting the lot becomes a physical impossibility. Bob’s first trip into Talpiot was a three hour adventure. Two of those hours were spent parking.

Shopping with one’s husband for paper goods is a sure test of the strength of one’s marriage.
In preparation for Rachel’s Kiddush I made my way to Talpiot for paper goods. Thinking I knew where I was and also that I knew where I was going, I circled and circled. And circled and circled. 40 minutes into circling, Rachel woke up to let me know it was time to go home. Empty handed. I returned the next day with Bob and map. We arrived, parked, shopped and paid. Did I mention shopping with one’s husband for paper goods is a sure test of the strength of one’s marriage?

Before the Kiddush my dear friend Michal warned me – when you have so many people in your house, expect things to get a little dirty. (I thought of the eggs). Even gross. “Like what?” Barbara looked worried. With twinkling eyes, Michal answered in a solemn voice. “Cholent on the walls. Expect shmears of cholent on your walls.” Barbara looked mortified. Probably she was contemplating the effect of cholenty walls on her upcoming birthday party. “If the walls stay clean you will be pleasantly surprised,” Michal added. Barbara, lost in her own swirling thoughts, didn’t hear her.

All that circling was not for nothing
When I needed to return to Talpiot to find the ‘dollar’ store for Barbara’s birthday party projects, I knew exactly where to go. Except that it’s a ‘dollar thirty-four’ store (I’ve taken the liberty of renaming the ‘five shekel’ store). The five shekel store is where you go to buy little projects for kids, rejected paint colors (read: burnt sienna), and made in China toys that don’t meet the safety requirements to be sold in the USA (read: bite sized parts, deafening volume, choking length strings).

Sure that I would embarrass Barbara with my dropout level Hebrew I forged ahead and hosted a birthday party for 32 girls – 20 of which speak only Hebrew. We dined on pizza (mi rotzah od pizza?), played Star Wars Bingo (Milchama Cochavim!), passed the polish in every color (yarok, cachol, katom, varod), entertained each other with impromptu skits, and created lovely (5 shekel) art projects. After the party Barbara told me the party was great and she wasn’t embarrassed by my Hebrew at all(!!!). As I was cleaning up paint and polish from my floors and walls that night I came across a crusty patch of something dried on the wall. Closer inspection revealed cholent as the offending agent.

Bob was busted smoking outside a bar mitzvah today. Soon you won’t be able to buy those in Efrat, a familiar voice told him. It was the unmistakable voice of Rabbi Riskin.


  1. hilarious

    but your egg story yesterday was even better.

    jordan now buys organic eggs which are wrapped and clean! (but alas, stamped in hot pink)

  2. Maybe we could get Rabbi Riskin to extend ruling to the Duty Free shops and El Al, "no transporting of smokes"....then unto healthy living.