Jerusalem, Katamon: “Find me a Sephardi boy… that’s all I hear this time of year. Nobody asks if a boy is a serious learner, has good middos or if he has job prospects. All these girls want is for me to find them a Sephardi boyfriend before Pesach.” explained Malka A, known as the best shadchanit in Katamon. We had come to Malka’s with our friend Shevy, who was newly single.
“Nu? What happened with this last boy…the Moroccan?” Malka inquired. “I didn’t have feelings for him.” Shevy explained. “But it was so hard to break up with him before Pesach….I kept hearing about this delicious rice pudding his mom serves at the Seder….and the amazing Mimouna his sister always hosts. Do you realize how I spent every Motzeh Pesach growing up??? Standing in line at the pizzeria for undercooked slices!”
Malka comforted Shevy on the breakup, brought out her book of shidduch résumés and assured her that she would soon find a boy with everything she was looking for… and who would bring her favorite flavor of Doritos on Pesach Tiyulim. “What about this guy? He’s cute! What is he, Tunisian?” Shevy asked as she flipped through the book.
“Him? No, he’s not for you.” Malka replied. “You’re a brunette and he said he only wants to date blondes.”
“Disgusting!” Shevy yelled as she slammed the book shut and stormed out. “How can men be so shallow?“
Tel Aviv: “What am I doing for Sylvester? Am I supposed to know him? And why are we supposed to be doing stuff for him? I don’t understand!” complained recent American Oleh Alex P. “All my Israeli friends keep asking me what I’m doing for Sylvester…. and I literally don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Alex explained that this past week, all his workmates could talk about was this mysterious guy named Sylvester. “One guy said he’s making a Barbecue for Sylvester. Another guy is hosting a wine & cheese party for him. My supervisor said he’s going to the pub for Sylvester. He invited me to join, but I didn’t know how to answer. I like pubs, but is this Sylvester guy coming with us? Wait, maybe Sylvester knows that other mystery guy Alan?”
As the Daily Freier got up to leave, we suggested that maybe Alex would understand his workmates better if he invited them out to socialize. “Yeah, I already tried that…and it totally didn’t work.” he explained. “I asked the guys if they wanted to do something fun for New Year’s, but they just laughed at me and said to ask them in 9 months.”
Tel Aviv: “It’s a hate crime! Ethnic discrimination! Racism!” cried Mindy R. “These stores and their discriminatory practices that make the food I like more expensive. It’s just because I’m Ashkenazi, isn’t it?“
Mindy, a Passaic native who now lives in Tel Aviv, tearfully described her experiences shopping for food at her local AM:PM supermarket. “These cultural micro-aggressions have got to stop!”
“They’re charging 21 Shekels for a tiny bottle of McCormick’s seasoning, and like 10 Shekels for a kilo of some random yellow spices I’ve never heard of.” Mindy complained. “Their motives are pretty obvious; they think they’re better than me and are trying to force me to be like them…. maybe I don’t want to serve yellow chicken and yellow rice and yellow vegetables for Shabbos like every Israeli I know? That’s why they made the jars of duck sauce so expensive, because they don’t want me to buy them! And yeah, I tried Amazon and Target but they don’t ship here.”
We headed to Mindy’s corner supermarket with her typical shopping list: jarred gefilte fish, duck sauce, and cream of mushroom soup (You know, the essentials!) in order to get the whole story from Rami the manager. “Am I racist against her? No way! That girl is one of my best customers; she easily spends 4000 Shekels every month!”
We asked Mindy why, if she felt uncomfortable at her local grocery store, couldn’t she just go to another store like Osher Ad? “I would need a car to get to a supermarket like that.” she said. “I would totally buy one, but groceries are sooo expensive.”
UPDATE: Stay tuned for tomorrow when this crisis migrates to Facebook and morphs into an angry rant on the popular page “Living Financially Smarter in Israel”!
Jerusalem: “What politically important issue are they protesting? Bibi’s corruption? Unfair draft laws? The lack of Skippy peanut butter these days?” asked Jerusalem resident Tamar R. as she passed a large crowd gathered on Yafo Street this morning. Upon further investigation, the Daily Freier discovered that the mass gathering was in fact a lineup for the Fox Clothing Store, which was restricting admission to only four customers at a time. “Who would wait three hours for sweatshirts?” pondered Tamar… until she saw her neighbor Aviva in line.
“I don’t mind waiting” explained Aviva. “We really built up a great community here in the past few hours. See that cute engaged couple almost at the door? When they started out at the back of the line, they didn’t even know each other!“
When the Daily Freier asked Aviva why she didn’t just shop online, she was confused. “You mean like Amazon?” she inquired. “That’s silly, they don’t sell Fox sweatshirts! Besides, they stopped their free shipping. And isn’t online shopping what I’m doing right now?… I mean, I am standing ON LINE….for Fox.“
As the Daily Freier waited and observed the Fox queue, a contingent of Peace Now activists descended on Yafo street, suspicious that this large gathering of people was trying to establish a new settlement outpost. “It’s not like that.” Tzvi, the Fox lineup leader explained. “But look, if establishing ourselves as am official community can get us some representation in the Knesset, then maybe it’s a good idea. You know, our numbers are growing every day.“
As the Daily Freier got ready to leave, we spotted Svetlana, our old Ulpan teacher standing in line. “Are you here to buy a sweatshirt or maybe some pajamas?” we asked. “I don’t even know, I just jumped in when I saw how long this line was.” Svetlana exclaimed “Look, I know enough from growing up in Russia that if you see a bunch of people standing in line for something, then it must be good! That’s what Communism taught me and it’s true!“
Jerusalem, Rasko: “After years of complaining about America, my cousins made Aliyah…. both the far-right and the far-left one!” gushed Jerusalem resident Chana N. “It all happened so fast, I didn’t even have time to ask them to bring me a suitcase full of Q-Tips, Montreal Spice, and Ziplocs.They arrived yesterday and immediately started their Aliyah blogs!”
Chana scrolled through her Facebook feed looking for each cousins’ posts. “Every time President Trump did something she didn’t like, my cousin Leora would write ‘That’s it! I can’t stay in America, I’m making Aliyah!‘ ….So far so good, right?”
“But with my other cousin, Miri, it was the exact same thing except it was Obama and Pelosi…. They’ve been saying it for years.”
Of course, when pressed about actually making Aliyah, each cited some vague excuses about ‘Parnasa’ and asked when Target and Amazon were going to start shipping to Israel. But after spending years as “Almost Olim“, America’s current Bi-Partisan Balagan helped make up their minds!
The Daily Freier reached both Leora and Miri on a Zoom call at their Quarantine Hotels. After politely listening to their gripes about the hotel food, we asked each woman why she made Aliyah: was it because of their Zionist ideals, a sense of religious duty, or were they escaping antisemitism? Miri chimed in. “First week of September my cousin in Israel is sending her kids to school and our old school district is closed! I’ll do anything to escape from a year of distance learning… Anything!”
In a show of solidarity and unity, both Leora and Miri vowed to wear their Nefesh B’ Nefesh hats until Moschiach arrives.
Jerusalem: A recent spate of COVID-19 infections has drawn suspicion of health department officials as several young religious men infected with the virus are insisting that they have not been participating in illegal minyamin, shiurim or attending weddings, but have in fact, caught the virus at a local gym.
A GYM in Jerusalem? What’s next? Actual Nightlife? At first, we thought it was an urban legend (much like the affordable apartment in Nachlaot or all those high-paying jobs where you don’t need to speak any Hebrew). But upon further investigation, we discovered that indeed there was a gym and that it has been a hotbed of COVID-19 infection.
We asked Yossi D, a young Charedi man from Bayit VeGan, how he found himself in a gym in the first place. “My Hebrew isn’t so good, I saw a sign that said “חֲדַר כֹּשֶׁר” and thought it was something religious… kosher room, right?”
Yossi described how he had the virus for days but didn’t realize. “I was a bit tired, feverish, and the food had no taste. It took a long time for me to notice because I’m Ashkenazi and I’m kinda used to it.“
In order to get all sides of the story, The Daily Freier stopped by the gym (which is now closed but somehow doing classes over Zoom. It’s complicated.) and we were greeted by Sasha, the burly ex-Soviet fitness coach. “Yossi? Yes, he is good kid. But I had to yell at him when he smoked cigarettes in between sets on the incline bench. Also, he kept asking where the coffee machine was.“
The Daily Freier asked Sasha if the Fitness World could accommodate a group of people who had their own lingo, were distrustful of outsiders, and strictly observed a long list of rituals.
Sasha put down the kettle bell, thought for a moment, and replied: “You mean like CrossFit?“
Lakewood: A pair of undercover policemen disguised as Religious Jews had their cover blown at this week’s protest in Lakewood after they said ‘Excuse Me’ when they bumped into someone exhibiting extremely suspicious behavior that immediately identified the men as outsiders to the Community. The Daily Freier has a bit of experience in writing about Undercover Gentiles, so we rushed to the scene to find out just what the heck was going on.
“Their phones were manufactured after 2004.” complained Nachum as he described the undercover cops. “Also, the one guy said he just came from a Simcha but he didn’t have any food wrapped in a napkin stuffed into his pockets.“
“I asked the guys for a cigarette, but they said they didn’t smoke. Crazy, right?” noted local Yeshiva student Moshe. “After neither of them tried to pull me into some kind of Multi-Level Marketing scheme for vitamin supplements, I ran away and called my Rosh Yeshiva.“
Moshe’s classmate Avi then joined in the conversation. “When Moshe asked for a cigarette, the cop accidentally dropped a membership card for…. for….. what’s that place where the Goyim lift the metal bars up and down until they’re sweaty?“
“A Gym?” added the Daily Freier helpfully.
“Yeah, that’s it. A Gym. No way were these guys for real…. well, that and when I said I was single he didn’t try to fix me up with one of his cousins.“
As news of the embarrassing Law Enforcement failure reached the media, the New Jersey State Police were rumored to be stockpiling black pants that don’t actually reach your ankles along with old beat-up minivans.
Editor’s Note: “Lakewood Undercover” would be the World’s Greatest Cop Show.
Modiin: “It’s about time I get what’s Magiya Li! All the people with kids, seniors, disabled, small business owners and atzmaii people got grants from the government… now it’s my turn!” said Gefen H, olah chadasha and owner of an illegal catering business, after hearing about the government’s announcement of Corona stimulus grants for Israelis running under-the-table businesses.
Gefen explained that she saw a posting on Facebook, which led her to the Bituach Leumi website. “It wasn’t difficult to apply….I just had to provide a few details. Like, you know, what kind of business I was running, how long I’ve been doing it, how much I made, and where I deposit the money.” Her roommate Anat was suspicious, but Gefen insisted that the site is genuine. “It’s a government website. They don’t lie!”
“I’m not saying Gefen is gullible, but when she was here on Birthright, she hooked up with that soldier who told her that he would never ever spend the night with a girl he just met, but that she was special because of her deep commitment to Zionism.” observed Anat.
The Daily Freier visited the Bituach Leumi office in Jerusalem (because we needed an excuse to buy candy at that American supermarket across the street) and met Dudi and Yossi, the two clerks responsible for overseeing the grant program. “Look, Bibi has been giving away so much taxpayer money, we had to find a way to drum up revenue.” Dudi explained. “It was my idea to catch tax cheats with this phony grant program. Yossi thought people would see right through it, so I bet him a Shwarma meal that he was wrong…I got my Shwarma.”
Meanwhile, we spoke to Gefen as she was taking a break from complaining on Facebook about how the government doesn’t care about her, is ignoring her needs, et cetera, and is awaiting her grant money. “I just heard a knock at the door!” she exclaimed. “Maybe they sent a courier with my check. That’s so nice of them!”
Jerusalem, Baka: As Israelis find themselves under lockdown, people are learning all kinds of new things about their neighbors.
“I called the police because I thought my upstairs neighbor Ruchie was running an illegal Gan. Turns out she just has nine kids.” noted Malka D, a retiree living in Baka. “I heard Uncle Moishy songs blasting all day, constant yelling, and every week the Makolet guy delivered 10 boxes of Cheerios, 12 packages of yogurt and 8 bags of frozen corn schnitzel.” confided Malka, who insists that she doesn’t meddle in other people’s business. “Who needs so much frozen corn schnitzel except someone operating an illegal gan during lockdown?” (Writer’s Note: I need that much)
When asked why she had jumped to conclusions and didn’t maybe consider that her upstairs neighbor had a large family, Malka explained. “I met her when I moved into this building, she’s a preschool teacher and her husband works in a grocery store. They don’t have money! Who would have a bunch of children if they didn’t have money? That’s just ridiculous!”
Ruchie, of course, forgave her neighbor for the misunderstanding. “I’m learning about my neighbors too!” Ruchie admitted. “I just learned that my next door neighbor is Sephardi! All this time, I thought she was from overseas and that’s why she mispronounced Hebrew words… you know what she calls the Koisel? You know, the Western Wall? She says “Koh-tell”… that’s crazy, right?”
Ramat Beit Shemesh: “I’m not saying I want to catch that virus (chas v’shalom…tfu tfu tfu) but do you know if the breakfast buffet at that corona hotel is any good?” Speaking under the cloak of anonymity, several religious mothers of large families have been making some not-so-discreet inquiries about the Corona Hotels, asking about the facilities, (separate men’s and women’s hours at the pool, right?) kashrus (better hechsher than the Chiloni Corona Hotels, right?), and whether they would provide non-kitniyot Pesach food.
“We could never afford to go away to a hotel for Pesach, but imagine if we happened to catch this virus? (chas v’shalom…tfu tfu tfu) I wouldn’t have to cook for Pesach, or clean, and the kids would have a break from being cooped up at home.” said Gittel F., a mother of 11 wistfully. “But yes, I would stay in that hotel… I consider it a civic duty. Don’t ever say that we wouldn’t do our civic duty!”
Another segment of the population is also eagerly eyeing the Corona Hotels. “Do you think there might be single girls there?” Jerusalem resident Raffi R. inquired. “I’m not saying I want to catch the virus (chas v’shalom…tfu tfu tfu) but girls these days have been so weird you know… like they don’t want to go anywhere near me or touch me… it’s been soooo hard to get a hookup. At first I thought they all got religious and were Shomer Negiya or something!”
Live from Tel Aviv. This is like Satire and Stuff.