Thursday, October 21, 2010

Swirling Thoughts #171 – Accepting that “First In Line” is a meaningless title will take you a long way here

Hebrew Word of the Day:
Chutzpanit – someone who has over-stepped the boundaries of accepted behavior with no shame.

I should have known better but how could I have known….
That when you visit Hevron during Hol Hamoed Sukkot that more than a thousand other people will also be visiting (okay, no problem), that you will have to park your car in a field somewhere in Kiryat Arba (reasonable) and take one of many available buses in (easy, so far), but that when you want to leave you will suddenly be involved in a struggle with more than a thousand other people to board a scarce bus back to the field somewhere in Kiryat Arba (very orderly, everyone waiting patiently in line, respecting the order and the line, oh, wait a minute, no, THE OPPOSITE of that).

After 3 failed attempts at boarding a bus with my children (each time I was first in line – a relevant fact only in my mind) I decided I had two choices. Become Israeli or wait until the last of those thousand plus people left at nightfall and then pray a final bus would come for me and my family. Was it really even a choice?

I threw 3 of my girls onto the next bus. Literally. Rosie’s feet didn’t touch the steps of the bus. She landed next to the driver.
GO GO GO! I shouted. IN IN IN!
Barbara asked if she should climb in under someone’s legs.
Rosie, Becky and Barbara disappeared inside. The bus driver got up to tell me and the throngs of people amassed behind me,
Meleh, Meleh (full).
With feigned dismay and pseudo-shock I said:
Aval ha yeladim sheli befnim! But my children are inside!
As I pushed my way onto the bus I looked the driver in the eye.
As I made my way to the back of the bus, found ample space for me and Rosie, and discovered Bob, Asher and the Baby had all boarded as well, I heard Becky asking Bob:
Aba. What is chutzpanit?
Why do you ask, Becky?
The bus driver said Mommy is chutzpanit!

How do you know your ‘klita’ (absorption and acclimation into the Israeli way of life) is progressing? For starters, you start using words like ‘klita’. You wish people a Horef Tov, literally, “happy winter.” And if you’re really making strides like me, when an Israeli bus driver calls you 'Chutzpanit!' you smile and wear that label like a badge of honor.


  1. I am in love with this new word. Chutzpanit! I can't wait until I need it . . . perhaps soon, as I have a friend currently being sued by crazy people. :)