Welcome to the Daily Freier’s new line of Young Adult Fiction novels! Today we tell the outlandish tale of an Anglo Oleh who decides to use the current Corona Lockdown as a gift, and truly learn Hebrew! That’s right, he has some children’s books in Hebrew along with his old notebooks from Ulpan Gordon. Too Easy! So let’s take a look!
Hmm, how about we study “Eeti, Eet-ha, Eetah, Eeto”, and….
Wait a second. Is that a crow outside? Hey, and it’s carrying an empty tub of hummus in its beak! Isn’t that awesome? Also….
OK OK OK, let’s stay focused. So the notebook says that some nouns are masculine but they actually have feminine endings because…
OMG OMG OMG I think your neighbors upstairs are doing it with the windows open!
Hey! Let’s pay attention to the task at hand! ….OK maybe we can work on our future tense verbs before we…
….Wait, are you trying to say that the redneck with the handlebar mustache and the mullet …..he’s Gay? …..and he hired a Hitman? ……to kill the crazy cat lady? ……because of baby tigers?????
STOP! Turn off Netflix! ….now, let’s look at the Pay-Gronit Verb Form. It’s interesting because…
Whoah, did you see the video that Madonna just posted online? CRAYYYY-Z! I know, right?
NO! We have stuff to learn! Maybe we can just review vocabulary words…
Tel Tzion: As more and more olim are realizing that they really don’t want to walk to the Makolet and speak Hebrew, the Israeli postal system has become desperately overwhelmed. “I walked out of my building and a guy in a van yelled at me: ‘Are you Leora Cohen?’ Umm…what?” said Tel Tzion resident Hadassah C. After Hadassah explained that she wasn’t Leora but that she was Leora’s upstairs neighbor, the guy threw a parcel at her and sped off shouting “So, you give this to her when you see her.”
Strangely enough, many Amazon shoppers in Israel are finding that just because something comes from an American company doesn’t mean that their Israeli counterparts are remotely sorta halfway holding to the same level of American service. “My parcel was late. And the box looked like it had been taped together. .. and the sweatshirt I had ordered for my husband smelled a bit like arak and nargileh smoke.” complained Chani D., another disappointed shopper. “I’m not going to stop buying from Amazon (chas v’shalom!) but I complained on about 22 Facebook groups, including the one where the guy said he just ordered 16 boxes of Kleenex because and I quote, ‘I’m kind of a tissue snob.‘ Yeah, that one too.”
The Daily Freier tried to reach Amazon customer service staff in Americaland to provide some constructive feedback. A customer service representative in Omaha replied “Yeah, yeah, we heard this already. Honestly, we didn’t expect Israeli delivery drivers to be so…Israeli. Wait, you mean, they’re still doing that after we told them not to? But…but… we told them not to!“
Ramat Beit Shemesh-Mem Sofit: “Is it a fast day? Some kind of holiday? There is some religious reason why people aren’t shopping now, right?” asked Israeli-born makolet owner Rami K. as he stood outside his mini-market in Ramat Beit Shemesh-Alef. Rami dragged on a cigarette and wondered out loud exactly why his business has come to a dramatic slowdown this past week. “I sell everyday things that people need: toilet paper, trash bags, tissues, laundry soap. These Americans living here still use the toilet, right? So, if they aren’t buying toilet paper in my store, where are they getting it from…. America?… hahahahaha. I make joke, yes?“
The Daily Freier had to gently inform Rami that the downward turn of his business was in fact due to Amazon.com and their recent free shipping offer (stop us if you’ve heard this one before). After a few glasses of Arak and an hour on Facebook, we managed to convince our Israeli friend that Americans were indeed buying their trash bags, toilet paper, and laundry soap from the United States. “You Americans are crazy.” said Rami as we showed him that in the great tradition of Jews building community, there are now multiple Facebook groups dedicated to shipping Amazon to Israel… and they can’t stand each other.
The Daily Freier then set out to ask RBS-Alef residents exactly why they were shopping online for their basic necessities. “It’s just easier to buy on Amazon and wait a week for delivery” explained local homemaker Esty C. “If I need to buy from Israeli stores, I actually have to… you know…. speak Hebrew. I thought I was done with all of that… are we still in Hebrew Day School or something?”
As we left RBS-Alef, we asked Rami if he had ever considered taking his makolet business online and creating a user-friendly website for Americans to buy his products online. “Yeah, My daughter said I should make a nice website, but then I woud actually have to… you know… speak English.”
Bet Shemesh: The Anglo Israeli Community was paralyzed with fear today over rumors that Amazon Israel had been hacked… and turned into a website selling a poor selection of overpriced Israeli products. The eagerly anticipated launch of the online retail giant in Israel only fueled confusion and disappointment among Olim.
“I put off my yerida for this!” explained Ramat Bet Shemesh resident Dassie S. “I stopped myself from publishing an angry rant on Keep Olim In Israel announcing my departure. I let my brother come and visit from America without bringing me a suitcase of Ziploc bags! They told us Amazon was opening up here, so I decided that I could tough it out. But when I opened my computer and typed in Amazon.co.il and just saw stam overpriced Israeli products, I was sure they had been hacked or something. Why does HaShem hate us?”
The Daily Freier then went to Amazon Israel’s Headquarters in Haifa to demand answers. “No, we haven’t been hacked.” replied an exasperated Customer Service rep named Yuval. “It’s not a prank. Yes, it’s supposed to be like that. And no, I haven’t heard about your special steak spice. Can’t you just buy your spices at the Shuk? I’ve had this conversation a million times today.”
Sadly, this was indeed not an elaborate prank. After several email exchanges with Amazon Israel customer service, the Daily Freier confirmed that they do not intend to stock Montreal Steak Spice, Neosporin, or the snack-size Ziplocs that you can’t even find at Osher Ad. They do, however have t-shirts from Adika (um… whoever they are) and dishes from Naaman. We caught up with our friend Dassie to get her opinion on this business model.
“So, like instead of going to literally any Israeli mall to buy Naaman dishes, I can pay extra on Amazon and still have to wait for the Doar?Yeah….no.”
“These spoiled Americans, they expect too much.” laughed Yuval. “They want cheap prices, they want fast delivery, they want cheerful customer service reps. Who do they think we are? Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting their parcels delivered by flying robots. Hahahahaha.”
“If you don’t think I’m going to complain about this in my Aliyah Blog, you’re in for a big surprise.” warned Dassie. The Daily Freier admonished Dassie that as we approach Yom Kippur, it’s imperative not to spread malicious gossip. Yet she was adamant. “It’s not Lashon Hara if it’s true.”
Tel Aviv, Derech Yigal Alon 51: The city is buzzing with some exciting news. Israeli sports legend Tal Brody has recently opened his own Ulpan, a place for recent immigrants to master the Hebrew language and truly integrate into Israeli society. Mr. Brody, who has himself sometimes struggled with Hebrew, is excited to make a difference in the life of Olim. The Daily Freier visited Ulpan Tal Brody to find out more about this exciting new development.
Principal Brody greeted us in his office and explained the School’s philosophy. “Here at our Ulpan, we like to mix things up.” explained Mr. Brody as he casually crumpled a piece of paper into a ball and sunk it into a garbage can 5 meters away. “Some days a noun is masculine, and then, ‘Boom!’ It’s feminine! It helps keep our students on their toes! Welcome to Israel!”
We then accompanied Principal Brody as he gave a pep-talk to a class of Olim entering their 6th month of studying past-tense verbs. “!אנחנו בכיתה ב’ ואנחנו נשארים בכיתה ב’ – לא רק בדקדוק, בהכל” Mr. Brody explained, as the audience looked on in various states of confusion. After the speech, the Daily Freier was able to speak with some of the students about their experience at this exciting new Ulpan.
We then spoke with the Daily Freier’s very own Emily Goldstein about her time at the school. “So I wasn’t sure about which Ulpan to choose, but then I met this really cute guy from Argentina named Esteban at the open-house, so here I am!” Emily explained. “It’s really great here, I mean it doesn’t even feel like school!” Emily then looked silently into the distance for half a minute before continuing. “So, I don’t know how other Ulpans work, but yesterday we spent all morning setting picks and running Zone Defense. Is that normal?”
Ramat Beit Shemesh: Israelis are performing their annual ritual of forgiving those who have transgressed against them. Yet there are some things they just can’t forgive. Roger Waters? Sheikh Nasrallah? That Idiot from Code Pink? No, No, No. We’re talking something much more serious: the Customer Service Behemoth known as Amazon, which gave Israelis free shipping for a few days and then took it away from them. The Daily Freier spoke to one of Amazon’s victims to hear her story of betrayal and loss.
“It’s been a difficult year.” explained Rivky G, an immigrant from New Jersey. “I’ve had PTSD (Post-Target Stress Disorder), you know, from Target’s Chillul HaShem last year.” Rivky, like so many of her Ramat Beit Shemesh neighbors, had her Target orders cancelled a year ago. “It wasn’t just that I didn’t get my Pumpkin Spice k-cups, it’s the principle of the matter! They make promises and then the deal just disappears! Who do they think they are? Golan Telecom?”
“I could never forgive them.” Rivky complained. “It was Erev Yom Kippur and I had forgiven my crooked landlord, my roommate who chipped my iPad screen and even that rotten boyfriend who cheated on me with some frecha from work. But this was too much! And seriously, they should have begged for mechila properly.” Rivky was crestfallen and resolved never to trust anyone ever again.
The Daily Freier then reached out to Rivky’s native Israeli coworker Anat for further perspective on this ongoing tragedy. “It was cool to see her all cynical and jaded.” she chuckled. “All of a sudden, Rivky began to suspect that everyone was out to cheat her and lie to her. She would yell at everyone…. ‘I think you’re lying! I’m not a freier!’…. she said it so convincingly, you know, like a real Israeli. I was so proud of her.” It seemed that, sof sof, Rivky had learned the secret to being Israeli.
But then it happened… Amazon. “I heard about this free shipping promotion and I couldn’t risk missing out, so I made an order… just one.” Rivky said. “OK, maybe more than one, but not like a lot of orders which would cripple the Israeli postal system or anything.” And then the inevitable happened. Amazon, like Target, had miscalculated Israelis’ appetite for American products and stopped its shipping promotion. “I can’t believe I fell for it.” Rivky cried. “Now I need my parents to visit me so they can bring everything I ordered online for Chanukah…. Oh and also Ziplocs. Next time I hear of another American company offering free shipping, I won’t trust them… never ever!… not a chance!… ummm… I mean, unless it’s like something really good?”
Tel Aviv, Dizengoff Street: Some say the world would end in fire, some say in ice, but when it finally happened, the world ended because a Tel Aviv bar owner asked a Native English Speaker to proofread a menu from his establishment. Pub owner Motti S. (well, he’s one of the 12 co-owners actually) asked his friend Jeff, a not-so-recent immigrant from the United States, to help perfect the English on his bar’s menu. The Daily Freier was able to Skype with Motti as we hurdled through time and space. (this happens to us more than you would think, so we were pretty relaxed about the whole thing.)
“I guess I just wanted a professional looking product.” explained Motti. “And as I asked him to review the menu, the earth began to crack open and swallow up cars and benches and things. Then it started to rain a lot. And thunder and lightning. Then I think I heard the voice of HaShem saying that it’s all over. And then we had chasers.”
Needless to say, the reaction to Motti’s stunt from the Tel Aviv pub community was less than positive. “I don’t understand why he did this.” wondered Danny, a bartender at that place on Dizengoff with the long tables, tall stools, and disinterested waitstaff (No not THAT one. The other one.) “Tourists come here all the day long to sit on beer and I never need a translator…..Hey, would you like a plate of laziness?” The Daily Freier didn’t know what a plate of laziness is, but looked at the menu and we think he meant to write lasagna.
As the Universe continued to implode on itself, somebody went on Secret Tel Aviv to ask if this would affect the bus schedules, “I mean, is this going to be like a Chag, or what?”
Jerusalem: Israeli non-profit Nefesh B’Nefesh is speaking out today to denounce published reports that every woman who made Aliyah in 2017 was named Rachel or Sarah. Or Sara. Or Rakhel. Or Rochel. Or Racheli…. Anyhoo, they are not happy about that rumor and are now setting the record straight.
“This is just ridiculous.” admonished Sarah B., a Nefesh B’Nefesh spokesperson from the Jerusalem office. “You really shouldn’t believe everything you hear.It’s like you’re totally ignoring the Leahs. And the Devorahs. And the Devorah Leahs.”
In order to get all sides of the story, the Daily Freier reached out to members of the local community to get their take on this important story.
“That just doesn’t even make any sense.” mused Rachel S. as she walked her dogs on Bograshov Street. “Like how do people come up with this stuff?”
Oddly enough, David’s friends began to leave supportive comments about how he shouldn’t put up with such nonsense…. and asking whether he was planning to take his stereo, futon, electric bike, and yoga mats with him when he went back to Toronto.
“Maybe I’m just being paranoid.” confided David. “But my best friend Avi saw my post, so he came over with beer. He was very supportive when I was complaining…..maybe too supportive….. He kept telling me that I don’t deserve such abuse, that maybe I’d be better off back in Canada. When I went to the kitchen to get some napkins, I thought I saw him measuring my couches…. that’s weird, right?”
“They’re lovely couches.” Avi admitted. “The last time I saw such nice couches was at Phillipe’s moving sale. Phillipe? He was my best friend until he moved back to France after a clerk from Bituach Leumi yelled at him….. really nice guy though. You see that bookcase? That was his….also the coffee maker. Oh and that area rug, which really just pulls the whole room together.”
Avi admitted to the Daily Freier that he may have encouraged Phillipe to go back. “Look, if someone treats you badly, you gotta boycott! The only way government agencies will make a change is if Olim stop using them… you know, complain on Facebook and then leave the country in a huff!”
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”
Live from Tel Aviv. This is like Satire and Stuff.