Twitter

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Saga of the Dogs, Part VIIII

I've kvetched before about my neighbor and his dogs. I have a direct line to the city vet (and he has me on his speed dial...as soon as I call, he says "hi Laurie"), have had 3 meetings with the mayor/his representatives about the problem, have written two letters (considering the effort that it takes me to write in Hebrew, it's significant) and have made numerous calls to various police and city workers, all of whom promise me that "they'll do something." Today's activities, however, reminded me how important it is to know people the right people. 

First of all, let it be said that I like both our mayor and our city vet (who runs one of the country's only municipal no-kill shelters). I believe that they're good people and that they have the best interests of the residents (and, in the case of the vet, of the animals) at heart.

The problem here is that everyone's afraid to break into this guy's yard to take the dogs. The vet, the police the city workers....he intimidates them all because legally there's not a lot of recourse to take a non-abused animal out of its home.

One of his neighbors, however, is a fairly well-known artist (Raphael Abacasis -- if I ever make a lot of money, I'd love to get some of his artwork....he's really great) and the other raises money for the poor of the city every Pesach and is friendly with the mayor. So today's meeting at the mayor's office, with these two gentlemen, seemed to move things along.   I don't know if we have a solution, but the mayor called in one of his assistants who is supposed to "stay on top of the situation" and his city manager who is supposed to push things along.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Taking Things for Granted

This month is, for Americans, Thanksgiving. While I haven't paid much attention to Thanksgiving in the past (don't like football and don't want to cook a turkey) I do appreciate the concept of stopping to give thanks every once in awhile.

This evening I attended a meeting of the Committee for Ethiopian Jews in Safed. It's headed by a long-time Tzfat resident, Dr. Sivan, who established the committee in the '80s when he realized that the new immigrants were struggling with many financial challenges that most of us never consider. 

The vast majority of Ethiopian olim came to Israel with the clothes on their backs and little else. Although their rent and living expenses are subsidized by the Jewish Agency and the Absorption Ministry for their first 2 years, they're expected to start self-supporting after those first two years. With minimal skills and, often, limited Hebrew, that leaves them with, if they're lucky, minimum wage jobs.

I don't know about anyone else but I would find it very hard to survive on minimum wage. I don't buy new clothes (second-hand only), don't travel or take vacations and buy basic food -- nothing fancy, though i do try to pack in a lot of fruits and vegetables.

But I'm lucky. I'm proficient in English -- a valued skill -- and have enough clients for my writing/marketing work that allows me to stay busy. Even with all of that, I barely meet my living expenses every month. What do people do who don't expect anything other than minimum-wage work, often physical, tiring and depressing?

I know that this situation isn't limited to Ethiopians but, as a community, they're probably the most vulnerable community in Israel. There are no family members around to give them a hand because their family members are generally just getting by week by week as well. When my son tutored Ethiopian kids as part of his volunteer work for his university studies he told me that the kids seem to have no hope. They're bright, but they look around and see no future.  

I'm a committee member for the Committee for Ethiopian Jews in Safed. I try to donate whenever I can but, listening to Dr. Sivan speaking about the need of so many families, it just feels like a drop in a bucket.

For instance, he mentioned the case of a mother who's studying at the Safed nursing school -- she lives about half an hour from Safed, so she has travel time and expenses and is working several nights a week, in addition to her studies, to bring some income into her household. when does that poor woman sleep? She obviously wants to build a better life for her family, but how is she going to do that with all of her responsibilities?

Those are the kinds of situations that exist within a 10-minute walk of my house. I feel horrible that I can't help more. It's true, I don't throw money around but I do have a roof over my head and food on my table. My bills get paid on time and if we need something, we buy it.

So maybe I will pay a little attention this year to Thanksgiving, even from 7000 miles away.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Out on My Own

This week marks my one-year anniversary of working from home as a freelancer. I have been trying to think of the pros and cons of my move, but to be honest, the only con that I can think of is that it was nice to work with nice people. I enjoyed working with a genuinely nice bunch of co-workers and bosses and I do miss that interaction.

Having said that, there is nothing like getting up in the morning, pouring myself a nice hot cuppa chico (like Postum -- coffee substitute, since i'm still on homeopathy and off coffee) and settling down for the day.

I enjoy the challenge. I have several permanent clients so i know that I have a steady income and I have enough leeway that I can take small jobs in-between for some interesting variation.

I enjoy the freedom. Two years ago my doctor advised that I take vitamin D supplements because I had, in her words, almost no vitamin D in my body. These days, after a mandatory morning walk in the sun, my vitamin D level is just fine. And I love the walks (as do my dogs who have also benefited from the new arrangement). .

I take total responsibility for everything that I do. If I screw up, it's me, myself and I to blame. On the other hand, no one blames me for something that I didn't do.

I like writing, which is what I mainly do. And as I do more, I get better (I think, anyway).

I can have some fun, like with this blog. I always tell people that it's therapy, and that's true (cheaper than a therapist) but it's also fun to share my thoughts and hear people say "I like what you have to say."

I can dream a bit. My dream job would be to have someone subsidize my living expenses for a year while I write a book about the people who end up in my little town. It's an eclectic group of -- as my son calls them, "alternative people"  -- but they make for a life that's never boring.

And now, off for my morning walk in the sun........

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Leaves and Tzfat



I do miss my Michigan autumn leaves but I guess that this is as good as it's going to get for Israel. Thought that it was pretty. Next to our city hall.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Only in Israel

Had something for the Only in Israel FB page


Think about it....where else but Israel would there be a FB page called "Only in....wherever?"   Only in Michigan? Well, maybe the weather, but that's about it. Only in Holland? Really? Only in ...where?

One of my favorite stories (this is a little off the subject, but there's some connection, so bear with me) is told by a friend who just celebrated her 50th anniversary in Israel. She came in 1961, back in the days when there was no Nefesh B'Nefesh organizing pilot trips and group flights and waiting to direct olim to their new apartments, ulpans and jobs. I don't think that the Jewish Agency was even involved in aliyah at that time, except if you were running for your life from the Iraqi or Libyan rioters.

Anyway, this lady, who was 18 at the time, lived in Washington DC, so she went to the Israeli Embassy and told them that she wanted to make aliyah. The secretary, who was processing her forms, said to her "why do you want to go live in Israel? It's dirty, the politicians are crazy, it's hot, everyone is always on edge, there's not enough food (this was in the days of tzena-- rationing), the people are rude....."

And then the secretary started to cry. My friend asked her "why are you crying" and the secretary sniffed "I miss it so much."

Bingo.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Only in Israel

Ever since I first came to Israel, I've always heard the phrase "only in Israel." Never by Israelis, you understand, who take these idiocincricies of our country for granted, but by olim who never fail to be amazed at the ways that this country is so special.

I've lived in Israel for 30 years and I still get choked up when I think of the unique ways that the people in Israel express their Judaism, their love of Israel and their relationships with each other.

Evidently I'm not the only person....I just came across a Facebook group today with that exact title, "Only in Israel." And there are multiple posts every day.

I come from America and Americans are generally thought of as a friendly and easy-going group, but there's no way that any of these things would ever happen in America. We have a unique place here.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cats and Mayors

'Nuff said. I used to think that it was a big joke, calling the fire department to get a cat out of a tree, but when it's YOUR cat, it's a different story.

We got this cat when she was a kitten in the dead of winter -- someone plopped a box with her inside right next to our gate. She was tiny and I kept her inside for the next few months, but I guess that a certain self-preservation instinct disappeared because she keeps running up trees and getting stuck. My daughter has, up until now, been the designated tree-climber to save her skin (fur) but this time she was so far up the tree that I didn't know what to do.

I also didn't want to call the fire dept since I thought "that's silly, they don't do that any more." But a neighbor had pity (I kept thinking "naw, she'll come down one way or another) and it turns out that, at least in Tzfat and at least when it's a slow day, they do.

So, kudos to the Tzfat fire department! I don't know how they are at putting out fires, but when it comes to acts of lovingkindness, they're great.
Post trauma lunch


In other local news, today the municipal elections are being held. As my cousin noted (he's a new immigrant and these are their first elections), he expected a somber New Zealand-style election process and, instead, he fell into a carnival atmosphere.

It is kind of a carnival. Hundreds of adults revert to their adolescence. they plaster their cars with stickers and posters, honk as they drive around town and generally create a complete zoo-like atmosphere.

I don't know what it's like in the big cities, but Tzfat elections are very personal....each party personally calls every voter that they think might be voting for them, at least once. They like social media and Internet campaigning in theory, but in practice, they want to do it the way that their grandfathers did it.....person to person.  




Monday, October 21, 2013

Election Time

The city elections have arrived and everyone seems to be either completely involved with their chosen candidate/party list or apathetic. I'm too American to leave the voting to others...civic duty is deeply embedded in me....but I understand those who have opted out. One sometimes feels as though nothing's going to change anyway, so why bother.

Case in point. I live along a small, narrow lane. One car can drive in at a time and reverse out, but there's no room to turn around and there's no through exit. For some reason, the GPS tells people that it's a through street and it's the way to exit to the southern part of the city. So we often have people driving down the street, assuming that they're on a one-way street that has an exit at the end.

The last little jaunt of the street is curvy and by that time, when it's clear that there's no exit, it's extremely difficult for people to back out, especially those with a large car or van. I've called the city hotline numerous times to ask them to put in some kind of warning so that drivers won't go too far but it's like talking to a wall. They say "we have your call from last time" and, to them, that's the end of the story. They've passed it on to the appropriate city department and they don't need to worry about it any more.

This time I'm vaguely involved with one of the parties that's running -- at least, I showed up for an info meeting and they assumed that i'm going to support them, so much so that i've received numerous calls to ask me to remind my friends to vote, to ask for names of potential supporters that they can call and to ask me to pass on their message. all of which I've done (I figured, since I'll vote for them, I might as well help them out a bit) so after the elections, if they actually get in, I will have a live body that I can talk to.

In the meantime, one of the major candidates seems to have disappeared and the others have supporters standing outside of their headquarters, passing out fliers, to the sound of the songs that they've recorded with their candidate's name. I kid you not -- several of the candidates have created little jingles that say "xxxx is the one. He's going to put Tzfat on the map. He's going to make Tzfat something special......"

Do people REALLY vote based on these jingles? Or based on the candidate who has the most posters plastered around the city? Or whose fliers are the jazziest? Or who smears the other candidates the best? If there's one thing that says to me that, at least, our present mayor has a little bit of class, it's that he hasn't created a jingle for himself.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Hardim, Elections, Jewish Unity and Tzfat

If I had a dime for every time I've heard someone say "the Haredim (Ultra Orthodox) are taking over" I'd have a nice little savings account. Ditto for the comments about the high Orthodox birth rate.

What most people don't seem to understand is that The Haredim are no more of a block than any other Jewish group. Less, it seems.

Just read an article yesterday in the media about two groups of Lithuanian Haredim who are supporting different candidates in the upcoming Jerusalem elections. One faction has been extremely outspoken in their disapproval of the other faction, going as far as to say  that anyone who votes for the opposing candidates “is supporting criminals and, whether deliberately or by accident, is desecrating God’s name.”

So now, not only are the Litai'im (Lithuanian, non-Hassidic Haredim) and Hassidim not in agreement, and not only are the Ashkanazim and Sepharadim not in agreement, even within their own block, there are problems.

I don't think that the people who are concerned about "The Haredim" taking over have much to worry about.   The Jewish people, however, should be a bit worried.

Elections were on my mind when I walked through town today. I noticed, several days ago, that one of the biggest pro-candidate shops had switched and was not displaying the banners of one of the rival mayoral candidates. I approached the shopowner, who I know, who told me that he switched alliances because his first choice didn't have as many supporters as the candidate had indicated (mostly referring to how many rabbis are standing behind him) so the shopowner switched to the second candidate.

He then proceeded to tell me that he couldn't support the present mayor because of "all sorts of reasons that he didn't want to go into here." He did tell me that the mayor had given 22 million shekels to one particular religious group in return for that group's support -- I find that rather difficult to believe. I must say, the whole conversation didn't put this particular shopkeeper in a very good light, no matter how much of an insider he may be. (Someone told me that, before coming to Tzfat to open his shop, he'd been a high level operative in the Mossad and had been involved in spiriting Jews out of dangerous countries).

I live in a crazy place.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Talented Dog

Some people who have dogs who are quite beautiful and win prizes (and money) at dog shows.

Others have dogs who are unusually fast, or perform tricks, or service people or save lives.

I have a dog who stops in her tracks every few months and has an epileptic attack. Does it attract attention? You bet.

 Generally Mica is kind enough to have these attacks in the privacy of our home where I don't have to explain to every person who walks by that, no, i haven't been beating her, she is just "funny." But today on our morning walk Mica was kind enough to have not one, but two attacks, the second right on the side of a main road.

Nothing seems to trigger the attacks, which begin (when I'm around) with her coming up to me and gluing herself to me (this time she actually walked under my legs and stood there) and after they pass (usually 5 minutes) she's right as rain. But even though they've been going on since she was a pup, I always have a moment of panic....maybe this is the end?

We're back home now and she's blissfully shedding her summer coat of fur all over the house. It's hard to live with a talented dog.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dreamin'

As mentioned previously I'm doing a course of homeopathy. Homeopathy involves taking remedies that include trace substances that are similar to what ails you. The theory behind homeopathy is, basically, "like treats like."

To find the right remedy and dose the homeopathist does a whole intake which involves learning about your entire medical history as well as your emotional state of mind. In my case, my homeopathist, after much digging, told me that she thinks that my problem (I have a benign growth, called a mycrogynomia, on my brain which is pressing on my optic nerve, causing me to see double) is caused by repressing certain feelings and emotions. (Maybe that's the reason that I let loose on my daughter last night, after, for the umpteenth time, she left her dirty dishes in the sink?)

Anyway, there are a number of side "effects" of homeopathy. For one, homeopathists believe that if you don't....um...poop...at least once a day, you're "constipated." So the remedies are designed to help you move things along. Which can make it quite difficult to take a long walk.

Another side effect is dreams...homeopathic remedies often cause you to have vivid dreams. I don't know if that's the reason but last night I had a VERY long and vivid dream which involved a woman who I knew 30 years ago (so she's in her late 50s now) having a baby, and then they all came for Shabbat and I didn't have anything ready.

There was more, and other people from my life were around as well, making it a crowded Shabbat table (or it would have been if there had been anything to eat).

Interpretations?

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The World of Gluten-Free

I was speaking to a homeopathist recently who told me that my difficulty in losing weight was likely due to the presence of several triggers in my diet -- wheat, dairy, corn, soy and sugar.

I don't have the time or budget to create a diet for myself that doesn't have any of these elements, but I decided that I'm going to try to reduce all of them and eliminate gluten for awhile and see what happens.

Since store-bought gluten-free products are so expensive, I'm going to try doing some home-baking. I bought a bag of "gluten free flour" at the store, all ready to get moving on this project, but once I was home I saw that it's basically corn flour. That didn't seem to be very healthy, even if I wasn't trying to avoid corn.

Spelt flour seems to be the most accessible, so we'll start with that. I found an interesting website, Breadtopia , that gave an overview of spelt flour, and then a recipe that looks pretty good. So as soon as I can find some spelt flour, I'll get started.

The recipe that I found is made with yeast, but there's another one that I saw that is made with some sourdough starter, so perhaps in the meantime I'll put some starter out to...um...start.... and try another batch in a week or two.

In the meantime, I'm Weight Watchering it. Bummer. 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Be Persistent

Several months ago I received a call from Netvision, my internet server. The guy convinced me to sign up for their land-line phone service. He'd give it to me for 10 shekels/month for the first 3 months so that I could test it while I kept my Bezeq line, and then it would cost something like 60 shekels/month.

Part of the procedure involves getting one of their netboxes, which is a router through which the phone works.

The router turned out to be a disaster and I've had numerous calls to the server and to Bezeq for my troubles, as well as several visits from Netvision's technicians who keep coming out to see what's happening. Seems that Netvision is VERY interested in making sure that they don't lose clients.

Finally, when I had just about had it, one of the support guys at netvision told me that
1. he would reduce my landline to 10 shekels/month forever
2. I should just unplug my router for a few seconds every time the internet cuts out, and then plug it back in.

His advice worked and, although it's annoying, it works. In the meantime, on my last bill, my landline payment hadn't been reduced, so I was back on the phone with a Netvision rep yesterday.

Now, here's the interesting part. She re-reduced my payment to 10 shekels/month (I hope -- will check on the next bill) AND, "for my troubles" reduced my internet payment to 60 shekels a month (from something like 100 shekels/month).

The lessons that I learned from this are:
1. be persistent
2. check your bills (actually, something similar happened with Bezeq, and when I called them, they offered to put me on a cheaper plan)
3. These companies are making money hand-over-fist and they can easily reduce your payment plan if you find the right way to approach it.

In local news, this post takes Shabat Avidah -- the mitzvah of returning lost items to its owner -- to a whole new level.



Monday, October 07, 2013

Two by Two


In case you've been hiding under a chair for the past few days, the PEW report about the status of the American Jewish community was released last week. The report, titled "A Portrait of Jewish Americans" (not, as one might note, "American Jews," which is what they would have probably written even 20 years ago) was not wildly encouraging for anyone who would like to see Jewish identity thrive in America.

Almost every American Jewish family that I know of has the same story. The grandparents/great-grandparents came to America in the late 1800s/early 1900s as committed, religious Jews. Their children, who attended American public schools, maintained their identity as Jews, with varied amounts of religious observance thrown in. They strove, however, to attain the American dream of education, professions, good work and economic stability and that became their goal.

The following generation built on that foundation. More education, better jobs and moves out to farther-flung communities in which families were physically and psychologically removed from the core Jewish community.

Well, the years have gone by and, to no one's great surprise today's generation of American Jews (Jewish Americans -- potato, potatto) is less connected to their heritage than ever. All the programs, stop-gap measures and money that's been thrown at the situation hasn't made much difference. Six out of ten people surveyed believe that being Jewish is mainly a matter of culture or ancestry. With that kind of belief, why in the world would they search out a Jewish partner and raise their own children as Jews? It's like being an American Indian (with all due respect to Native Americans)...it defines where you come from, not where you're going.

Over the last several months I've been collecting Linked-In friends to connect them with the online Jewish education program that I work with. I can assure you that there are literally tens of thousands of Jewish professionals, lay leaders and teachers out there. All of whom make their living by, in one way or another, transmitting Judaism.  So what's happened?

I want to start my own program. Guess what -- it won't cost the Jewish community a dime. It's called "Two by Two" in honor of this week's Torah portion, Parshat Noach.

Noach couldn't save all of mankind from the flood, or even all of the animal kingdom, so he (at God's command) brought two of every kind of animal on the ark. From those pairs the world was renewed and repopulated.

So let's all aim towards "Two by Two." Each one of us who knows something about Judaism and wants to share that passion can do one thing every week to strengthen the next person. No matter how little you know, you probably know more than someone else. (and if you don't, its your responsibility to find a partner and explore together).

If you "do" Shabbat, invite a friend to share it -- someone who otherwise may not have access to a Shabbat meal.  

If you read something meaningful that expresses Judaism, pass it on.

If you hear about a good class or project (yes, there are some great projects out there) take a friend, or at least share the information.

If you're not satisfied with your local Jewish congregation or Hebrew school, get involved. Submit your own ideas. Form a "chevre" -- a group -- that will advocate for the type of Jewish interaction that you want to see in your community.  If you can't do it, find others.


Don't judge. Don't assume that your way is the best way....it's a lot better to let someone go on their own way than to turn them off completely from Judaism by your insistence that God wants us all to do things in a certain way. God will probably be a lot more impressed by your openness and outreach than your adherence to a certain style of Judaism.

Keep your friends and family members in mind when you hear about a program or opportunity that might be of interest to them -- a subsidized trip to Israel, an online Hebrew School program, an article. You never know when a penny will drop.

Each one of us has the ability to make a difference in the life of an individual. Let's do this, two by two.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Proposal: Yearly Elections

Our mayoral elections are scheduled for October 22nd, in another 3 weeks.

Is it coincidence that the street cleaners are out every day, from early morning to late at night?

Is it coincidence that the city workers are like busy bumble bees, cutting down overgrown branches, replacing old trash dumpsters and generally keeping things hopping?

Actually, I like our present mayor and intend to vote for him. But really, does he actually think that no one in town has figured this out? This is, I believe, my fifth municipal elections in Tzfat and every single election, it's the same charade. Oh well, it's a town rooted in tradition.....

In other local news, I finally got the city vet to agree to come over last night and listen to the dogs who bark all night at the top of the stairs. He promised that as soon as they start barking (which they do intermittently throughout the night) he'd call the police and they'd cart them away.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I mean no harm to any animal, but I don't think that it's right that the neighbors should be terrorized like this. The dogs' owner is a jerk who once told me "I prefer to hear dogs bark than people" as he justified leaving his dogs outside throughout the night.

Anyway, by 11:00p.m. I noticed that it was unusually quiet so I walked up the stairs and, for the first time in years, the house light was on and the dog's owner (or crony...there's some young guy who lives there part-time) was telling the dogs to be quiet. Coincidence huh? I'm sure that someone tipped the owner off, but I have no idea who. (Actually, I do, but it's not nice to speculate).

Now what? At least I notified the vet not to come before he showed up and stood around while I looked like a fool. 

 

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Only in Israel, Only in Tzfat

I started this list last week to mark my 30th anniversary in Israel. I see that it's endless, so I'm going to publish it and invite anyone to add any "only in Israel" or "only in Tzfat" additions.

Only in Israel:
  • does your cupboard fill up with little honey pots in september as everyone and their mother gives you a "shai l'chag" (holiday gift)
  • does the mailman commiserate with you when a letter arrives from army reserves
  • does the municipality do its yearly tree-pruning right before the Succot holiday
  • does the clerk at the Interior Ministry greet you by name and call you "sweetie" when she finishes processing your documents and wishes you a good new year
  • do you take your dogs for a walk along the road below your house and come across some archaeologists in the middle of a dig -- before the next apt building is dug they want to make sure that there's nothing of archaeological interest (as per the law of Israel). The head archaeologist notes that they've found Mameluke-era artifacts from the 14th and 15th centuries, "but that's all." Subsequent walk found the site covered over and builders ready to start building. Guess that they don't have to worry about foundations.
  •  do perfect strangers stop you on the street to ask directions and ask you about your life story
  • does the army send a soldier home for a day to help his mother put up her succa
  • do unit commanders of the army provide their personal cell phone numbers to their soldiers' parents (my third soldier-child is about to finish his service and I've never used this service, but it's good to know that I can)
  • does a tattooed, mini-skirted woman standing stop you in the street to ask in a conspirable whisper "where's the mikve?" (or, for that matter, any woman)
  • does the bank teller ask you if you'd like him to set you up on a date
  • does wine go on sale before Purim, cleaning supplies go on sale before Pesach, dairy good go on sale before Shavouth, wine (again) before Rosh Hashana and candy before hanukah
  • (speaking of which....) do donuts appear for two months before Hanukah (and then disappear again for the next 10 months)
  • do Jews use tinsel for decorations in their Succas
  • would you not blink an eye when your 20-year-old brings his M16 home "for Shabbat" (ammo clips and all)
  • can your kids speak comfortably about the various characteristics of Jews from around the world -- Persian Jews have a reputation for being "tight,"  Moroccan Jews have a reputation for being loud, German Jews have a reputation for being obsessively neat and clean -- with no hint of prejudice, since they're friends (and, often, spouses) of Jews from all these different backgrounds
  • will you be blessed when you get in a cab, blessed when you get out of the cab, blessed when you buy something from a stall owner, blessed when you accidently dial the wrong phone number......
Only in Tzfat
  • does the librarian pull out a book that she's been keeping aside "just for you", even though you didn't put in a request for the book. She just thought that you'd like the book. 
  • does the mayor invite you to a private meeting in his office (with 6 other Anglos) to review his successes, hear your complaints and press his case for re-election.
  • will you find yourself waiting an extra few minutes to pay for your bakery goods while the store clerk puts on tefillin with the local Chabad guy during his morning rounds of the shopkeepers
  • do the kids roaming the streets at night wear Breslev Hassidic kippas
  • do the local candidates for election include more rabbis than not (or so it seems)
  • do the local candidates for election include NOT ONE WOMAN (that I've seen, anyway)
  • do absolutely all commercial enterprises close down between Friday afternoon and Saturday night
  • do the local Friday night services (in some shuls) include secular Jews, modern Orthodox Jews, traditional Jews, Hassidic Jews, soldiers and new Ethiopian immigrants who have just arrived in Israel within the week
  •  can you be 80% sure that if you are short on cash, or forget your wallet, the storeowner will tell you to "take it and bring me the money tomorrow"