Monday, October 18, 2010

Touchdown boy II

Action shots

* Landed on Ben Gurion and as I started to walk out of the place a see a woman holding a sign with my name on it. She takes me through customs, a few corridors and sits me down in front of a very thin greyish file clerk who looks like a depressed Russian. The Clerk gives me a bunch of papers and 1200 shekels in cash and a Taxi voucher.

* First Shabbes. Quentin takes me to Shul and I meet Rabbi Nissim for the first time. Pavlova sits across from me at the Shabbes table and gives me dirty looks and asks his son in Spanish whether he believes I'm Jewish or nor, and whether I'm Ashkenazi or not. Then he starts on a monologue of how everyone in his family are Jewish, Sephardi, except his former wife who is Ashkenazi. When we walk home he tells me in Spanish that dressing white and black for Shabbes is not a Jewish thing: "You have no idea why you do that!! You understand nothing! You think you so religious, you think you are better than me??? I'm Sephardi, Ima sheli Sephardi! Mi Turkia, entiendes??"

* Arriving in Beer Sheva with a shitload of luggage, after the cab driver finally has got the directions right. And I'm met by the guard who has no idea where I'm supposed to live. At the same time there is another Commotion going on - to cops are called to the scene to help a tenant against her flat mate who has assaulted her. Morris - The Big Boss of the Merkaz - is angry at the assaulted girl for calling the police and forcing him off his ass and having to take responsibility for one of the many crazies he gives room and board. I finally get my room. The heat is like a burning wall, and I'm soaked through in 5 minutes.

* Galina works at the Absorption office. The absorption office is to sign for me so that I will get my monthly Oleh allowance, and is supposed to help me to an Ulpan Hebrew class. Everyone in the absorption office speaks to eachother in Russian, I might as well have been in Moscow. She supposedly speaks English so she calls in a translator and then we conduct the interview in Hebrew. She tells me my Hebrew is too good, so "Sorry, but we can't help you, we only have Kita Alef in Beer Sheva." I try to suggest that there might be also a Kita bet, but she is very sure of herself. The translator takes pity in me and tries to say that it's actually "Our job to try to help the Olim, maybe there is a course at the university?" Galina shruggs her shoulders and looks a bit taken aback. She gives up a big sigh and looks miserable.

4 weeks later after having chased the director of the Ulpan for a while I find myself in Kita Alef after having done a diagnostic test. And I'm informed that there are indeed Kita Bet in Beer Sheva. Galina has, as is very common here, not a clue to kak, or even the basics of her work. She is just employed.

* The apartment gang. Seeing as my flat mates are nice and social people, our apartment is becoming a meeting point for an assorted bunch of people who converge here during the day, and whose primary members are: Tweety, whom I described above and who is responsible for making up most the nicks used in this blog, Vibe, a south-african bearded dude who got his nick from his belief that one can enter the vibe of ones internal organs and get good advice from them (he made aliya based on their advice), Batia, a very kind South-African lady with two kids, Hotlips, a former pole dancer, David who bicycles everywhere and is constantly worried about his learning skills, although he also is learning quite a lot, Noddy, who sadly has a virus infection and is in and out of hospital, and Ester, Irish-South-African Hypnotist who once put Quentin under hypnosis.

Part of the gang...

The Vibe is having fun....
Explaining his good vibe....

Dave is being studious...

* The supermarket. Supersol in Yeelim, Beer Sheva has the most disorganized, inefficient cashiers on the planet. Even if you are first in line it can take ten minutes to get to pay for your 5 items - they speak on the phone, with each other, or just run away as soon as a problem occurs with one of the other cashiers, to argue, help our, or just hitch a break. And you are never first in line in any case - as soon as the number of customers diminishes, they close all cashiers but one. Still, they are mostly nice and you can buy 95 % alcohol for no money at all (nope, haven't tried it).


  1. "The supermarket. Supersol in Yeelim has the most disorganized, inefficient cashiers on the planet. Even if you are first in line it can take ten minutes to get to pay for your 5 items - the speak on the phone, with each other, or just run everyone as soon as a problem occurs with one of the other cashiers."

    Hahaha! Sounds just like the Supersol on Rehov Agron in Jerusalem!

  2. I'm really looking forward to follow you here, and take part in your journey, hoping for you to thrive and prosper in your new life my son!

  3. Hilarious! Very entertaining..and soooo recognizable! It's really like this! Keep on writing like this about living in Israel..
    Kol haKavod for taking this step to go alone to Beer Sheva, to live actually in Merkaz HaKlita, and to try to build a live. Good luck!