Tel Aviv: So I found a Shul really close to my new place in the Kerem. I know, FINALLY! It’s walking distance, and best of all, I can stop by the Shuk on the way home! Isn’t that great? And even better? They keep this really bright green light on when it’s dark out. No more getting lost! Too easy!
But I have to admit, I am like TOTALLY lost during the services. Last night at Arvit? It was like they were speaking a totally different language or something. I mean, I get used to people here making fun of the way I pronounce my “T” as an “S”. You know, “tushb’chasa v’nechemasa”. But these guys? I mean, they were polite enough, but they kept staring at me when I turned around and faced the door for the end of Lecha Dodi (at least that’s where I thought we were). Finally I caught up with them during the Aleinu when they all started bowing down. But get this, they stayed bowed down for, LIKE, a really really long time. I don’t know, maybe it’s a Moroccan Shul?
But everything was pretty chill. I mean, until I tried to do Kiddush at the Oneg afterwards.
Tel Aviv, Sderot Ben Gurion: Citizens of Tel Aviv who decided to saunter on Sderot Ben Gurion on a recent sunny afternoon encountered multiple handmade posters explaining directions to a very specific spot. As for the women of Tel Aviv, the meaning of the poster was quite obvious and their reactions varied from laughing to blushing. But for most Tel Aviv men it still remains a mystery.
The Daily Freier couldn’t miss an opportunity to speak with the city’s baffled male citizens. First, we approached Tal, a married father of two, who was pushing his twins in a stroller. “I’m not sure what this poster means. Is that a new campaign for Waze? They keep coming out with new updates!”
Nadav, who was hauling a few bags of beer from the AM:PM store, stopped and joined our conversation. “I’m not quite sure what it is either but I think it’s…well, you know…emmm…a map of Shuk HaCarmel”. Nadav put his bags on the ground and removed the poster from the street sign in order to add it to his, as he said, “collection of funny stuff”.
Recent Tel Avivi Guy corroborated Nadav’s concerns. “This is so familiar! Yet it’s still a mystery! I know! Let’s post it to Secret Tel Aviv and let the entire city crowdsource the answer!” (SPOILER ALERT: THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED)
As we walked down Ben Gurion, we caught alert local Ronit S. in the act of putting up one of the posters on the corner of Ben Yehuda. “Okay Okay, now you know. I can’t keep the secret any longer. I drew the poster. My ex lives on Ben Gurion and that was my message for him….and also my three previous ex boyfriends.”
Tel Aviv, Bialik Square: With the Passover holiday only days away and preparations in full swing, Tel Aviv police executed a pre-dawn extraction operation, moving the giant carp that lives in the pool on Bialik Street to a place up in Ramat Aviv an undisclosed location. The move, dubbed “Operation EYN GEFILTE” serves to protect the well-being of a prominent citizen of Central Tel Aviv, Yoel the giant carp. The Daily Freier spoke with Yoel by Skype as he adjusted to his new circumstances.
Yoel explained his predicament. “I really like my neighborhood. The old city hall is gorgeously backlit at night. And the jasmine flowers in the summer time smell amazing. But right about now, things just aren’t OK. I’m starting to get a lot of unwanted attention. This Russian speaking lady comes by every day with her grandson. And the grandson really likes it and sometimes throws bread in, which is great. I mean, no complaints. But lately, the portions have gotten suspiciously bigger. And soaked in chicken fat. Also, yesterday as I snatched the breadcrumbs, she held a measuring stick up to me and then held it up against a metal 4 liter pot. And get this….the whole time, she never broke eye contact with me and never stopped smiling.”
Despite Yoel’s willingness to speak to the media about his fears, key questions remained unanswered. When asked the secret to how he was able to get so big, Yoel suddenly got very quiet. Also, we noticed that none of the other fish seemed to want to pass near him.
Ramat Gan: Israeli interpretations of traditional Western dress codes can … umm… surprise uninformed business partners or wedding guests. Fashion experts at Ramat Gan’s Shenkar College have decided to solve this problem and provide visitors with detailed explanations of how one should dress for any given occasion in Israel.
The Daily Freier met up for a late breakfast with Moran H. from the Faculty of Fashion and Design, in order to get the “word on the Derech” on this important topic for society. Moran explained some of the local nuances. “So, let’s start with smart casual: business usually black shoes, white shirts, blazers for men and knee-length skirts or dresses, blouses and closed-toe shoes for women – these are the absolute fanciest outfits most Israelis will ever ever place in their wardrobe….Especially men.” Moran rolled her eyes while mixing sucrazit into her soymilk hafuch. “You can wear those for business meetings if you want to look swanky. But smart casual in Israel includes but is not limited to tank tops, shorts, rompers and of course flip-flops!” As Moran spoke, The Daily Freier uncomfortably tried to hide our 40-shekel flip-flops that we got from the Shuk.
“Informal or business attire is rare in Israel. I guess you could wear a suit and tie to a wedding, but don’t make a fool of yourself wearing a bow-tie or Oxford shoes.” chuckled Moran as she cut into her gluten-free vegan pancakes. “For women there are much more options from your strapless summer dress with floral prints to a beaded evening gown from Allenby Street or whatever you wear to Clara on Thursday nights. And don’t forget to put a pair of flip-flops in your bag if you are going to be wearing high-heels.”
“How about Black Tie, formal wear?” queried the Daily Freier. “Do you mean tuxedos or ball dresses? Leave them for Purim!” Moran waved away dismissively.
Tel Aviv: The Israeli Municipal and National Police have put out a National Alert for a missing American tourist, last seen 72 hours ago. According to the Police Report, the missing person’s name is Sarah [insert another initial here]. Sarah, described as 21 years old, brunette, 5’2″, was last seen by friends on her way to locate “The Best Hummus Spot in Tel Aviv”.
“Yeah, I have no idea where she could have gone.” said David R., a friend of Sarah’s and a fellow team member from one of Israel’s countless and easily forgettable MASA programs. “The last thing she said to me was that this really nice Israeli guy told her about an amazing hummus spot in Tel Aviv (‘much better than all the others’) near the Carmel Market and that she was going to check it out…. And that was the last I heard of her.” David stared at the floor with a worried look on his face, “I mean she should have been back days ago, not to mention the fact that clearly the best Hummus place is Falafel Gabay on Dizengoff.”
Israeli Police who searched for Sarah since early Tuesday say that they have yet to find her but have identified several witnesses throughout the city who have claimed to have spoken to a woman who matches that description.
Yossi L., a long-time resident of Tel Aviv of 5 months claims to have spoken to Sarah that very day. “Yes, emmmmmm, I saw the American girl, she came up to me asking for directions. She was looking for the best hummus restaurant in Tel Aviv and it was supposed to be located the Carmel Market. I realized immediately she must have been lost and confused since the best hummus is on Pinsker Street and I quickly redirected her.” Yossi smiled and continued his story. “I mean Hummus HaCarmel is okay I guess but the real stuff is obviously Hummus Mashawsha.”
Police scoured Pinsker Street for clues but soon discovered that Sarah had already left the area. Another witness, Chaim T., seems to have spoken to Sarah as well, “Yes I saw her but she seemed very dazed and confused, looking for the best hummus on Pinsker Street when she should have been in Yafo at Abu Dhabi.” adding quickly with a broad smile, “Obviously I gave her directions … only 5 different buses with Moovit, not Waze!”
UPDATE: Relieved residents learned this morning that Sarah is alive and well. While wandering Yafo yesterday, Sarah suffered from heat exhaustion and alert bystanders rushed her to the nearest medical facility, Doctor Shakshuka. She is still sipping Limonana and looking at the menu because “there are just so many choices“.
Tel Aviv, Allenby: The City of Tel Aviv just took deliberate steps to safeguard a critical aspect of its culture and “Brand” today: that smell of dried pee that permeates every sidewalk, especially Allenby Street. Early this morning Tel Aviv registered as a Trade-Mark the smell of dried urine on a hot and dusty sidewalk that makes Tel Aviv so special. Municipality Cultural Affairs Chairperson Safir H. took the Daily Freier on a walking tour of Central Tel Aviv this morning as she explained the City’s endeavor.
“We had to act quickly” explained Safir. “We heard that Athens and Rome were trying to muscle us out of the industry. And ever since Greece sued other countries that made feta cheese (NOTE: This really happened), we knew that they meant business. Rome and Athens are fine I guess. But I’m sorry. It’s just not the same as smelling a Tel Aviv sidewalk on a hot summer afternoon.”
The Daily Freier asked Safir how Tel Aviv’s streets were different from other countries where the sidewalks smell like pee. “I can’t quite explain it., but not all sidewalks that smell like pee are the same. Some say it’s our Mediterranean diet. Some say it’s the coffee hafuch. Some say it’s the hummus. Some say its the chutzpah. All I can say is that if you have never experienced Tel Aviv in the Summer, you need to come smell the Excitement!“
As Safir walked us around, she stopped at one particularly bad-smelling alley between Allenby and Shuk HaCarmel and started looking at the sidewalk. “Wait….. there is a hint of sunflower seeds and bamba in the aroma here. I think I know the artist who created this!” Safir then turned toward a middle aged heavyset man reading a newspaper at a nearby taxi stand. “Shlomo! Was this you????” she asked in mock anger, at which point the man grinned sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders.
The City of Tel Aviv claims that it will begin marketing the scent at those kiosks that sell Dead Sea Products all over the world. They also plan on marketing automobile air fresheners that make your car smell like the Number 5 Sherut.
Tel Aviv, Derech HaYarkon: The concerned family of an American Olah Hadashah flew to Israel early this morning after receiving no indication that their daughter Sarah had started a Blog about her life in Israel since arriving on Monday. Sarah, a recent graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, arrived on a Nefesh B’Nefesh flight and has yet to create an online platform to describe her interactions with the juice guy on the corner, how to buy fruit in the Shuk, or how silly the ‘newbies’ on the Birthright tour look. Her parents, Leah and David P. of Lexington, Massachusetts, met with Consular Officials before holding a joint press conference at the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv.
“We’re just looking for a sign that she’s OK, like maybe a really, really, really long story about the kindly Russian-speaking grandmother who stopped to help her when she was lost and crying in Shuk HaCarmel before Shabbat.” said a despondent Leah P. “I’m not saying I would actually read it, but it would still be a relief.”
“I just wish she would do an “Only in Israel” entry like her Cousin Melissa always does on that Blog she writes.” stated her father. When The Daily Freier pressed David for details that would indicate such an entry, he admitted that he had never actually “read” any of Melissa’s entries, but rather subcontracted the task to Dylan, his 12 year old son. Dylan, who would read the entries and provide his father a typed “Cliff’s Notes” version suitable for feigning familiarity with the blog when Melissa Skyped them, was currently charging his dad $10 per Blog post or $15 in credit for Minecraft upgrades.
Dylan, who described his cousin Melissa’s Blog as “Lame“, “Stupid“, and “Eat, Pray, Love only whiter” vowed that if his sister was OK and started blogging, he would charge his dad “Like 20 Bucks or something” to read any of Sarah’s future entries. Dylan smiled and turned to his father on the conference room podium. “And every time she posts an entry that says ‘OMG breakfast in Israel is A-MA-ZING’ I’m charging an extra 5 Bucks….. 10 if she also Instagrams the food.”
UPDATE: A U.S. Embassy spokesperson happily announced that Sarah is alive and well and “hanging out at Mike’s Place”. The spokesperson went on to explain that Sarah failed to start a Blog because she was busy creating a new Facebook page dedicated to Israel Advocacy and pictures of her new life here to include documenting the coffee hafuch she purchased from Aroma yesterday, a guy on a bicycle walking 12 dogs on Ben Yehuda Street, and a matkot game on Metzitzim Beach. Her relieved parents promised they would check it out. But they were lying.
Tel Aviv, Shuk Ha Carmel: Recent immigrant Zachary F. is tired of getting hustled at the Shuk every week when he does his shopping. It seems that Zachary may not be necessarily getting the best prices when he shops, and he believes his American-ness is to blame. “So when I got here this Summer, the cheese guy would smile at me and tell me I was getting the ‘special price for Americans.’ …… I believed that line for at least two months. But in a way I guess he was right. I WAS getting a special price. Double.”
Zachary is fed up with this experience at the Shuk and he’s looking to make a change. “I’m sick of it. They treat me like I’m some dentist’s kid from Long Island. I mean, my dad is an actuary. And I’m from Rockland…….There’s a difference.”
So Zachary has hatched a plan: pretend he’s Russian while shopping. “Have you seen the bouncers along Allenby Street? They’re all Russian. And they get respect. And since I took two semesters of Russian at school, I think I can pull it off.”
Zachary’s attempts so far have been decidedly mixed, with some of the vendors at the Shuk providing critique and feedback to the Daily Freier. “Ten points for trying, but maybe he should have left his Birthright tote bag at home.” noted a bemused Motti from the vegetable stand halfway down the hill on the right, before the beer kiosk. Yet Motti is reluctant to call an end to Zachary’s charade. “We let him speak his Russian every week for about ten minutes. According to Illya the herring guy, his Russian isn’t half bad. But tomorrow Illya is going to tell Zachary that during last week’s conversation he agreed to marry my sister. That oughta be fun.”
While Zachary’s resilience and resourcefulness to date have been commendable, a sign of just how far he has to go was evident in his last conversation with this reporter: “So your newspaper is called the Daily Freier??? What the heck does that word even MEAN anyway???”
Live from Tel Aviv. This is like Satire and Stuff.