Tag: Mark Levy

Oleh who actually converted his foreign Drivers License gives TED Talk

Daily Freier TED Talk

*Based on a true story!

By Emily Goldstein and Mark Levy

Last Updated 11/21/2017 at 2:20 PM

Namal Tel Aviv: Israel’s Olim Community turned out in their finest outfits at Tel Aviv’s upscale Namal Port for the event of the season: a TED Talk by a recent immigrant to Israel entitled “I converted my Foreign License and got a valid Israeli Drivers License”. Jeff Schwartz, an Oleh (Sorta) Hadash mesmerized the crowd with his story of personal courage and determination and the harrowing test of wills he experienced at Holon’s Misrad Rishui (Department of Motor Vehicles).

You see, back in the Old Days, Israel determined that somewhere on the Nefesh B’ Nefesh flight over here, Olim forgot the ability to operate a motor vehicle. Therefore, they needed to take a drivers test administered by bureaucrats who totally did not have a  lucrative side deal going with Israeli driving instructors. Anyhoo, thanks to the good people at Keep Olim in Israel, the law changed. And now it’s completely simple to convert your foreign drivers license to an Israeli one. HaHa! Just some “Only in Israel!” humor for you! The whole thing is still a total mess! And we love it! Because once again, this topic has rescued the Daily Freier from Writer’s Block! Here on Planet Israel, there are actually thousands of dedicated public servants in the Motor Vehicle Department. And each of them is very diligently observing to the letter of the law their own personal interpretation and philosophy as to what the rules “really” mean.

Before the speech, the Daily Freier was able to speak with Ada, the Clerk at the Motor Vehicle Department who gave Jeff his license. “We demand that you bring a valid foreign license as well as proof that you have driven for more than 5 years….. So he brought every drivers license he has ever owned from New Mexico, Florida, Oregon, and the American Military. He said he had kept them all “just in case”….. this man was a bizarre weirdo with clear hoarder tendencies….. I really respected that.

So by actually taking the bus to Holon and hanging out in the Motor Vehicle Department all day and leaving with a license… well Jeff is a bit of a folk hero now. And people want to know his secret to success.

He’s basically my role model” explained Grant, a South African Oleh as the crowds left tonight’s talk and stepped into the Tel Aviv evening. “I think he should be in some sort of  ‘Profiles in Aliyah Courage’ or something.

He’s so fearless!” explained an Olah named Melissa to the Daily Freier’s Emily Goldstein. “I really feel like I need to get to know him better.” Melissa confided as she absent-mindedly twirled her hair.

Due to the overwhelming success of his speeches, Jeff has several more TED Talks planned this winter, to include:

1) “I bought fruit in the Shuk without getting screwed on the prices”
2) “I have more than 2 Israeli friends”
3) “HOT cable returned my phone call”
4) “The cab drivers at Savidor Station don’t think I’m a freier”

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Dystopian Novel depicts a nightmare future Israel run by Anglo Olim

Dystopia Anglo OlimBy Mark Levy

Last Updated 11/12/2017 at 6:20 PM

Ra’anananadingdong: Israelis were frightened to their very core this week with the release of a chilling dystopian novel depicting life in a future Israel that is run by Anglo Olim. The novel, entitled “Lo Hevanti” (second choice: “Avshar Mayim?“), tells the story of an Israel in the year 2021 that is completely run by recent immigrants from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Australia. The story takes place two years after all the other Israelis got so tired of listening to Anglos tell them how much better we would run things if we were in charge…..that they all just threw up their hands and told us to have at it. And the whole balagan turns into “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. Except with better lunch options. Anyhoo, the Daily Freier sat in on a Literary Salon in Neve Tzedek as they reviewed “Lo Hevanti” and discussed how scared they were after reading it.

The Salon’s hostess started off the conversation. “So the Anglos rule that any argument on Secret Tel Aviv that lasts longer than 10 threads must then go to the Knesset for resolution…… and then the Knesset passes a law outlawing anyone from buying or selling dogs…..it just seemed so….so…. real.  Also, when they got Nefesh B’ Nefesh to amend the Basic Law so it now said that ‘Everything must be convenient.’….I couldn’t sleep that night.”

Local artist Tzvi then interjected with his scariest moment in the book. “When the entire economy breaks down after Lone Soldiers start going door to door asking for free shit to furnish their apartments….. I actually stopped answering my door for 3 days.

“I really liked ‘Dudi’, the Sabra hero of the book.” explained Ido. “Like when he hacks into “Keep Olim in Israel”…… in order to try to keep Olim from staying in Israel.

Finally, Florentin poet Meirav spoke up. “Hey! No spoilers! I’ve only read up to the point where the Prime Minister orders MK Tuttle-Singer to stop blogging while a motion is up for debate on the Knesset Floor.”

 

 

Just for Aliyah Day, I drive you to airport even though my taxi meter is broken

The Daily Freier celebrates Aliyah Day(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

By Mark Levy

Last Updated 10/25/2017 at 2:30 PM

Tel Aviv, Kikar Rabin: Hello! You speak English! Where do you want to go? The airport? No problem. No problem.

What? You want me to drop you off at the train station and go to Ben Gurion by train? No. No. Very bad, the trains today. Very bad. I take you all the way to Ben Gurion. No problem.

So where you from? Los Angeles? My sister lives in Miami. Next time I visit her, I want to see Los Angeles, Yellowstone, and the Alamo. Rent a car. How far from Miami? Six hours?

Oh yes! Happy Aliyah Day! So why did you move here, you Big Shmuck? HaHa! Just kidding! Not Really! Anyway, Happy Aliyah Day! Olim are so special for me! You are Zionism, you know what I mean? That is why I keep working today even though it’s my day off. Also, even though my taxi meter is broken. Just for you, my friend. How much for the ride? Ehhhh…. You tell  me what you think a fair price is. You said 150 Shekels? I think 200 Shekels is more fair.

Happy Aliyah Day!

‘Why has G-d forsaken us?’ Israelis calm after Target’s mass order cancellation

‘Why has G-d forsaken Us?’ Israelis react to Target’s mass order cancellationBy Chava Ewa and Mark Levy

Last Updated 9/4/2017 at 3:30 PM

Beit Shemesh: Target just cancelled all of its orders to Israel, and Israelis, especially the ultra-resilient Anglo Olim Community, are collectively LOSING. THEIR. MINDS. According to those Anglo Olim “In the Know”, the cancellation of 20,000 Target orders is an event sufficiently catastrophic to legitimately be described as a Nakba.

We are weeping, we are praying, we are fasting. Surely this is a sign from HaShem to repent.” lamented Rabbi Shlomo K. of Efrat. “It’s like Tisha b’Av, only here and now. Hashem gave us something amazing and miraculous and suddenly he took it away.  And it’s no coincidence that this catastrophe happened right before the High Holidays …. it’s a sign!

So to the best of our knowledge, here is what happened:

  • An affiliate of Target offered free shipping to Israel.
  • Apparently, they have never shipped anything to Israel.
  • Within 15 minutes, every Israeli had told every other Israeli about the great deal.
  • In order not to mess this up for everyone, Israelis prudently placed small ord…. JUST KIDDING! They went nuts and tried to ship swingsets! Also plastic sheds!
  • Israeli Customs saw this as an opportunity to levy new taxes, including a “Snack Tax” (really!).
  • Target, no doubt feeling a lot like someone who just got talked into buying Dead Sea products at the mall, pulled the plug on the whole thing.
  • The Jews went insane on social media.
  • The full force of 20,000 Jews complaining crashed the server used by the Facebook Page ‘Living Financially Smarter in Israel’.

Despite the majesty and wonder of Startup Nation,  Israelis do not yet enjoy access to the plethora of consumer goods which Target offers. “Whenever my mom comes to visit, I ask her to bring me just a few small things …. you know, like 8 boxes of pumpkin spice k-cups, a new car seat, and 3 kilos of Lawry’s seasoned salt.” explained Rivky B., a resident of Beit Shemesh. “But when my Facebook friends started posting about this free shipping offer, I thought it was a miracle …. surely Moshiach was coming …. or something!”

Rivky’s Israeli-born neighbor Aviva was sympathetic but not surprised. “They really should have been more suspicious, that offer sounded too good to be true.” she said. “But these Anglo Olim, they’ll believe anything. We have a word for that in our language… I don’t know if you’ve heard it, but it rhymes with ‘Tire’. You know, that would be a great name for an online newspaper.

Tel Aviv Startup designs Bike that’s too shitty to steal

Tel Aviv Startup designs Bike that's too shitty to steal Daily FreierBy Aaron Pomerantz

Last Updated 8/26/2017 at 6:10 PM

Tel Aviv, Ibn Gavriol: Startup Nation does it again! A new company has done the impossible: designing, testing, and marketing a bicycle designed especially for the Tel Aviv market. Specifically, they built a bike that’s “too shitty to steal”.  You see, here in Tel Aviv you can keep your bike outside for as long as 20 minutes and still have a good chance of seeing it again when you come back.  Not surprisingly, the new bike, named the Bal-a-Gan, is flying off the shelves.  The Daily Freier stopped by to talk to the development team and some of their happy customers to find out more about the buzz.

When we arrived, none other than the Daily Freier’s very own Mark Levy greeted us. “This is my seventh start-up so far in Israel, so I’m kind of hoping this one works out. But some of my previous start-ups really paved the way for the Bal-a-Gan, especially the App that allowed you to plan the time and location when your bike gets stolen. Mark then went on to explain the unique marketing factors that made the Bal-a-Gan possible. “I guess the biggest factor that created a niche for us is that the police seem to devote just as much resources to combating bike theft as they do for investigating the Binary Options Industry. So we really lucked out.

The Daily Freier then had the chance to speak to a new owner of a Bal-a-Gan. “OMG this bike SUCKS! This is just the best!” exclaimed happy owner Sarah D. Confident that she now owned a bike too crappy to steal, Sarah rode it to the Central Bus Station, left it unattended, and went inside. A man quickly approached the bicycle with bolt cutters, looked at it for a moment, and turned away.”This bike is an insult to my craft.” he noted disgustedly. Then he went back and removed the seat “just on principle.”

 

So you’re an Oleh converting a foreign drivers license? My mother’s brother’s former roommate’s boyfriend’s vaad bayit has all the answers!

Israeli Drivers license Daily FreierBy Mark Levy and Aaron Pomerantz

Last Updated 8/17/2017 at 12:30 PM

Tel Aviv, Kikar Rabin: So in a surprise move, the Israeli Government passed a law making life easier for Olim. Now, you can update your foreign drivers license without making a hefty contribution to the totally-not-corrupt Israeli Driving Instructor racket  Industry! And this being a country run by Jews, the entire process is being conducted with a sense of efficiency and transparency that can be compa….. Just Kidding!!! The whole thing is a total mess! And we love it! Because it just cured our 2 week case of Writer’s Block! The Daily Freier loitered outside of various Motor Vehicle Departments and trolled Keep Olim in Israel in order to get all the facts. For you. Our readers.

While standing around at the entrance to the Misrad HaRishui, the Daily Freier ran into our very own Emily Goldstein, who was also waiting to convert her Maryland Drivers license and shared her knowledge to-date of the process. “So remember that guy from our MASA program? The one from London with the really cute accent? No, not that guy…… The other one. So I saw him at Frishman Beach last week and…. OMG he had a totally flat stomach and I could see all of his abs! Wait, where was I? OK. He told me that his Ulpan teacher’s dad owns a makolet, and last week the guy who delivers energy drinks told him that you need to bring your old license, your new license, a bag of bamba, and a piece of green paper or something. I’m totally excited to start driving!”

As we spoke to Emily, Alert Local Ronit S. overheard our conversation and offered to share her knowledge on this vital subject. “So I was going out with this guy in Florentin? But not really going out. He’s kind of an idiot. But whatever. Anyway, his roommate’s mom goes to the same doctor as a woman who works at the Misrad HaRishui in Ramat Gan. And she said that in order for Olim to convert their license, they need to bring a letter from their High School Principal, a picture in which you’re wearing eyeglasses, and a Rav Kav. Also, you should do the whole thing by Fax.

We were starting to despair from the conflicting information, so we decided to just drink coffee hafuch and scan Keep Olim in Israel for a few hours…. and, miraculously, we discovered all of the answers that we have been seeking! Here it is….

Walk into your favorite optometrist and just hand them some money. Then go to your nearest motor vehicle department. Unless you live in Beit Shemesh or Ra’anaana. Then you should go someplace else. Once you’re inside, Look for the smartest person you see and give them  your old eyeglasses, your Teudat Oleh, and your Biometric Passport. Or a letter from your Rabbi back home. Wait 5 days, then bring your teudat Zeut and your latest water bill to your nearest post office. Cut the line and tell them that you know Moti. Your license should then arrive in the mail within 5-6 business days. Unless it’s Chag.

Philadelphia man celebrates 6th year of being “just about to make Aliyah”

Philadelphia man celebrates 6th year of "just about to make Aliyah" Daily FreierBy Mark Levy and Aaron Pomerantz

Last Updated 4/28/2017 at 3:30 PM

Bucks County, Pennsylvania: With Yom Haatzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) right around the corner, Israelis are celebrating another milestone: the 6th Anniversary of Philadelphia-area resident Jeremy S. being “just about to make Aliyah“. Jeremy, a 29-year-old technical writer and musician, has been “like almost ready” to make the return to Zion since attending a Matisyahu concert in April of 2011 “that like really changed the way I look at life“. The Daily Freier spoke with Jeremy about his on-again/off-again longing for Eretz Yisrael.

“So I’m still like super-stoked to do this.” Jeremy explained, as he ate lunch at a hummus place near Cherry Hill. “But at first it was like, Wait. The Army??? I don’t want to peel potatoes for three years. Maybe if I was promised Intelligence or something. But then there’s my Hebrew. And Ulpan just seems super hard and not really like focused on my needs, you know? Like my friend says it’s full of the French and Ukrainians. So maybe when a lot of Americans start to make Aliyah it will be better for me? I would even do a class with some Canadians.

Jeremy is already on his 3rd Aliyah Counselor, with his first Aliyah counselor rapidly approaching mandatory retirement age. Additionally, half of the people in his original planned Aliyah group have already integrated into society and become so Israeli that in the Spring of 2015 they moved to Berlin for economic reasons.

Jeremy’s Rabbi in suburban Philly has so far written six letters to the Israeli Government attesting to Jeremy’s membership in the Covenant of Abraham. Rabbi Stanley Green, of Congregation Agudath Israel, has become so exasperated with the process that for the latest request he simply took a sheet of Synagogue letterhead and scrawled with a pen “Not again! He’s still Jewish!

Jeremy’s gutsy almost-decision has affected his family as well. His mom Linda joined us via Skype after we helped explain “what all of the buttons on the computer do” and shared her concerns. “As a parent, you never stop worrying about your kids.” Linda explained. “So with the crazy situation over there in the Middle East, and Jeremy almost sort of moving there, well you can imagine my almost sort of anxiety. I’m just concerned that if Matisyahu’s band or those nice girls in A-WA tour the East Coast again this Summer, that Jeremy might take the next step and schedule another Aliyah appointment in Manhattan with Nefesh B’Nefesh. But I’m pretty sure Nefesh started screening his calls some time in 2014.”

Reaction to Jeremy’s slow-motion-Aliyah within the Greater Tel Aviv Community have been rather mixed. North Tel Aviv resident Mark S. explained. “So he subletted my apartment in July 2015 because he was ‘this close‘ to moving here for good.  And at the end he asked if he could leave a bag in my apartment because he was ‘like definitely making Aliyah after the High Holidays.‘ I guess the joke is on me because he didn’t specify the exact year of the High Holidays after which he would make Aliyah. Also I checked the bag last week and it contains parts of a tent, a tea set, a pair of drawstring linen trousers, some old vitamins, and spices from the Shuk.”

While Jeremy remains on the fence in terms of Aliyah, he has not allowed his cold feet to limit his social activism on behalf of the Almost Maybe Possible Future Olim Community. He started a Facebook group called “Keep Almost Olim Almost in Israel” dedicated to the unique needs and issues facing Almost Olim, to include the lack of support provided by Nefesh B’Nefesh for those who have been about to make Aliyah since Obama’s first term. Jeremy is also contemplating going onto Secret Tel Aviv and asking for future free stuff for when he becomes a Lone Soldier.