Monday, September 16, 2013

Only in Israel

Yesterday I put up the following post on my Facebook page

"only in Israel....does the army give a soldier a day off to help his mother put up the family succa"

Which got 80 likes. Meaning, as I felt when I put it up, that the fact that we live in a unique, Jewish country, even with all of our quirks, resounds with a lot of people. 

One frequently sees these kind of posts..."only in Israel." Only in Israel does the bank clerk say "have a good Shabbat" as she's telling you where your overdraft stands. Only in Israel would perfect strangers stop a mother in the street to tell her that she shouldn't have her baby in a stomach/backpack because it's not good for the baby's neck (i used to tell such people "well, her head hasn't fallen off yet"), the baby should have a hat, the baby shouldn't be drinking whatever-it-is in the bottle, the baby looks pale, the baby..... Only in Israel does traffic on our main street come to a halt during the days before succot as people dash out of their cars to buy the Four Species that  vendors sell along the side of the road -- and generally, no one complains because they expect that a trip on the town's main street will take longer during these pre-Succot days for exactly this reason. .

Anyway, it occurred to me that there's really nowhere else in the world -- as far as I know -- where you'd have whole lists of "...only in Israel..." (or, in the case of my locale, "only in Tzfat.")

I mean, can you imagine such a post in Boston? Really? "Only in Boston." It would never occur to anyone because, although Bostonians definitely are known for certain character traits, the place itself isn't unique. Same for New York, Taskent, Mongolia and almost every other place that I can think of. (Well, maybe not Berkeley ). 

A 10 minute perusal of the web shows plenty of "only in Israel" moments
But I think that Benji Levitt sums it up best in his annual Times of Israel blogpost for Israel's Independence Day. 

By the way, as my cousin Geoff noted on my FB page, the succa is up, thanks to my soldier-son who was given leave from his base to come and help his family. Happy Succot to all!

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