Friday, March 31, 2006


Just heard from hubby. He's ok and overseeing security reinforcement for the yishuvim in the area.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Paradox

I was going to write a post titled "Typical Male" as hubby has managed to pull off miluim (reserve duty) until erev Pesach. Yup, he has done what every Jewish male dreams of - he got out of Pesach cleaning. Despite promises to do a few rooms before his departure, I dropped him off Sunday morning and he won't be home for 2.5 weeks. I was prepared to rant and rave about male foibles but a phone call changed that.

Hubby called, I assumed, to say hello. We speak 4 or 5 times a day when he is gone, as well as sending numerous text messages. I figured this was my evening phone call, which precedes the good night phone call. After we chatted for a moment, hubby asked me to turn on the news. He told me that there had been a terrorist attack right near his base and he wanted some details. Interestingly enough, he knew far more than I did, as the attack had not yet been publicized and none of news channels or internet sites.

Suddenly, I heard shouting in the background and hubby said, "I've got to go" and hung up. Now, logic told me that since he's a sergeant, he has a position of responsibility which would entail reinforcing the local yishuvim and setting up impromptu roadbloacks and securing the perimeter. But the little voice in my gut began to whimper as the sting of worry settled in my throat.

I'm no stranger to having loved ones in the army. My twin brother just finished three years of active duty a month ago, and my little brother was just conscripted two weeks ago. There were many mornings where I would be woken with a phone call from one of my parents, telling me to look in the paper, my brother's unit had been involved in a dangerous operation the night before. There was the ambush in Gaza a few years ago where 6 of his friends where killed when an armored personel carrier rolled over a serious amount of explosives set in ambush. I've been to funerals of friend's siblings and said more tehillim than I can remember. Last year's miluim entailed courageous acts carried out while I was blissfully asleep, and was regaled with by hubby the following morning (like the idiot army truck driver who accidentaly entered Ramallah and hubby's unit had to go get him before the locals did). This time I knew the exact moment that hubby was involved.

I've dealt with the danger in past years by not thinking about it. Worrying does little good, and I'm one of those who turns to chocolate and Ben & Jerry's to deal with stress, which does me little good. But it's at a stage where I can't go to sleep until I hear my husband's voice, telling me that everything is ok, he's fine and they are doing basic security in the area.

I am incredibly proud of my husband. Proud of the fact that he moved here based on ideological convictions, proud that those convictions have strengthened with the years, proud that he served in the army for a year and proud that he continues to serve our country. He enjoys miluim, the camraderie, the feeling of actively doing something for Israel, the M16... seriously, he doesn't dread it the way many do. But right now, I wish he was here, safe with me and not putting himself in danger to make sure others are safe. I am involved in the most selfish desires right now, I don't care about the other innocent civilians he's protecting, I know I would hate every one of them if anything happened to him. But that's life here in Israel. I am so proud of hubby, even if that pride has a price, one which I resent and refues to acknowledge for the most part.

I pray to G-d that I will never know.

Monday, March 27, 2006

An Unlikely Hero

This evening, I had the privilege to act as translator for a guest at speaking at the Rothberg International School at Hebrew U. His name is Azzam Azzam and he was freed last year from a wrongful incarceration in Egypt, partway through his sentence. I had followed his story in the papers when he was released, and have not thought about it since. However, I had the honor not only of hearing his story personally, but of being given the task to translate it into English for those in attendance. When I had been approached to translate, I was fairly apprehensive, as my Hebrew is decent but not perfect, and while I have no problem blithely mangling the Hebrew language in front of a few people, I was uncertain about making a fool of myself in front of an audience. However, flattery works like a charm (I was told that I was their ideal choice, since I act and know how to tell a story, not only translate) and I found myself onstage for close to two hours this evening. Granted, mistakes were made. My personal favorite of the evening was when I accidentally tranlated beged goof (undergarments) as body parts. I was tired and a bit distracted. The students enjoyed my recanting.

In brief, Azzam Azzam was working for an Israeli textiles factory which chose to open a branch in Egypt. Azzam is a Druse, and was sent to open up the factory due to Arabic being his native tongue. He was kidnapped by Egyptian intelligence two days prior to his departure, and accused of spying for Israel. He was tortured, forced to sign a false confession and then incarcerated after a farcial trial for 15 years. He was released after 8 years in a prisoners swap with Egypt - 6 Egyptian terrorists in exchange for Azzam. What I most enjoyed about his story was not his sense of humor, his dramatic presentation or his Power Point. Azzam Azzam is a patriotic Israeli in every sense of the word. In today's society and political climate, Israel is regularly bashed and denigrated by her citizens and millions abroad. Yet here stood a man who is a minority in Israel, but who was born and raised here, who served in the army and is the proud holder of citizenship. He consistently stressed how the government never gave up on him, never abandoned him and of how Ariel Sharon froze relations with Egypt contingent upon Azzam's release.

Azzam, tonight you became a hero of mine.
I have a strong Zionist identity, but was strengthened and humbled by Azzam's story. I have a right to this country by my birth as a Jew, while Azzam's Israeli identity was due to accident of birth. Yet he whole-heartedly embraces Israel, loves it and was supported in return. He spoke of the numerous visits he received from dignitaries on a regular basis, of how Israsel supported his wife and family during his incarceration, how the government arranged food parcels, blankets, pillows, little things which made his incarceration in a 3.5 square meter cell a little bit easier. I cannot count the number of times he reiterated how Israel never deserted him and how he knew the entire country was behind him. His blatant love and gratitude is a rare sight these days.

Thank you Azzam for giving me strength, for sharing your tale and for reminding me why I love this country and how lucky I am to be living here.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Oh, The Irony...

One of my vices is to vegitate in front of trashy TV. We're not talking soap operas, but usually E! or some fairly mindless sitcom. Granted, some of my current favorites are not exactly brain exercises, but there is some true sludge out there.

Back to the point. I was relaxing after a fairly stressful day by staring moronically at the television. I channel surfed and found a show called "Price of Fame - Starved" where E! explored the lengths celebrities go to in order to conform to the societal pressure created by Hollywood regarding body image. While I may be double-majoring in Theater and Communications, my real interest for a profession is psychology, with an emphasis on eating disorders. I drove of of my t.a.'s crazy last year because every media research paper I wrote in her class attacked the media's portrayal of the female image, whether it be on television, film or other medium. I was intrigued to see what the show would say, especially since it was being broadcast on a channel whose sole purpose was to report on Hollywood. I was impressed at the critical perspective of the show, but felt that not enough blame was placed on the producers and directors who continue to demand and use women whose bodies are nowhere near the female norm. But what really got me was the ensuing program. One would think that a show of that nature would cause people to ponder the farcial state which American film and media has reached, but not, E! stood true to its fluffiness.

Are you ready?

The next program was Dr. 90210, a reality show which traces 3 plastic surgeons and their patients. That's right folks - an hour special on the unrealistic expectations created and demanded by Hollywood, followed by 45 minutes of watching women complain about how ugly they are and paying thousands to be "fixed". Mind you, this show is only possible due to the media images being perpetrated by the female figures in the media and one would think that the responsible thing to do would not be to broadcast images of so-called imperfections being fixed after a show documenting an obsession with an assumed image of perfection, but hey, that's just me.

Much as I wish there would be no work in the field of eating disorders, with shows like Dr. 90210 and actresses getting skinnier and skinnier, it looks like I'll be busy for a long time.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Come On Baby, Light My Fire...

The hubby and I were at the brit milah (circumcision) for one of hubby's best friend's new son. We were given the honor of passing the baby from the mother to the father, a segula (a good luck thingie) for a married couple without children. All went off without a hitch, we smiled nicely for the cameras and dealt well with the overprotective 4 year old brother who went slightly beserk when he saw his new sibling being handed to adults other than family.

After the ceremony, which my friends and I spent wincing in the back, as the males gathered around the mohel (cicumciser) unconsciously crossing their legs and placing their hands protectively over their genital region, we all walked to a hall a few minutes away from the shul for a lovely brunch. I'm a big fan of Israeli-style catering, and feasted well on a variety of cheeses and roasted vegetables.

As the event drew to a close, hubby and I made the rounds to say goodbye. I leaned over a table to hug one of the new grandmas, and make some small talk. Suddenly, smoke began to blow in my face, and three women to my left began to simultaneously shriek and wallop me. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I was the cause of the smoke and panic. My hair had caught fire. I have blonde, curly, butt-lenght hair and it had come close enough to a tea light on the table to act as kindling. Not much was burnt off, i.e. no emergency dash to get a pre-shabbat haircut, but it definately was the cause of some decent conversation on the way out and made for a somewhat singed ride home.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A New Type of Hangover

I know what you're thinking. And no, it has nothing to do with experimenting with the affects of mixing various alcoholic beverages. No, no - this hangover is a beautiful thing.

Folks, for the first time in my life, I would like to announce my ...MEAT HANGOVER!!!
A what?! you may ask. Let me explain: a meat hangover is the residual effects which linger the morning after a serious night of meat eating. The family was celebrating - one brother getting out of the army, one brother going into the army, and my dad leaving a job which he has hated for the last 6 years. We went to Papagaio, and all you can eat Brazilian style restaurant. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

I am an avowed carnivore. It began when my dad would take my twin and I to the zoo at the tender age of 2 and give us a lesson in meat cuts.

Dad: Kids, do you see the cow?

Aliza and Bro: Yes Daddy.

Dad: Now listen carefully. That's steak, and that's ribs, and over there is entrecote...

Aliza and Bro: Yes Daddy.

Daddy: Let's go look at the lambs...

Despite my mother's protestations that we were going to end up in psychiatric care for being taught to view the cow as dinner and not as a mooing mamal, we've turned out alright and retained the valuable lessons my father taught us.

But back to the present. After the true decadence of dinner, during which my admittedly limited stomach protested numerous times and was studiously ignored, hubby had to take the wheel as I was lapsing into a fairly comatose state due to the serious digestion which my body had embarked upon. I rolled into bed and woke up the next morning feeling a little worse for the wear. I'll spare you the details of the nausau, etc, but suffice to say I didn't eat a thing that day. Since it was Friday, I was busy shopping and the hubby and I cooked up a storm. True to our love, we prepared 6 kilos of corned beef, and almost all of it was eaten by ourselves and our guests that night.

One day, when I'm older and my cholesterol just ain't what it used to be, I suppose I'll have to pursue chicken in liue of beef. But until that day comes... Vive la boeuf!!!

Monday, March 13, 2006

I Feel Violated

My happy pseudo-suburbian lifestyle has been shattered. My home, privacy and personal space have been invaded, and there is little I can do about it. The police are of no help, it is up to myself and hubby to defend ourselves. Yes folks, we're on our own.

My friend Adam, who was mentioned 6 posts ago, slept over on Saturday night, as he does not live in the city and had an early start on Sunday morning. While he was making himself breakfast, he opened the cabinet under the dairy sink, slowly turned to me and said, "Do you have mice? I really think I just saw something move down there." I poo-pooed him and said it was probably the grey pipe in the corner, he hadn't had a morning cup of coffee yet, etc.

Last night, as I opened the cabinet to take out a rag, I said to hubby (who was doing the dinner dishes - yay!), "Adam thought he saw a mouse here yesterday-oh sh*t!!!" For on top of the rag bin was a LOT of mice poop. I recognized them from the time there was a mouse problem in my work place a few years ago and it was solved when the darling creature decided to drown itself in my tea mug which I had left half full when I left one evening. Anyway, back to the present, I went into full-fledge female mode, shrieking and doing the little "ewww, there's a mouse, ahhhhh!!!" dance as the brave hubby went in. We found its, the half-chewed roll of paper towels which it used to make its nest and a variety of other little, ah, clues as to its presence. The irony of it is, mousie decided to make its home in the cabinet with all the cleaning fluids and the faily toxic bug sprays. Go figure. Hubby blocked up the small entrance that mousie had been using, and cleaned the area, while I threw all of our rags into the wash, saying "ewww, ewww, ewww" the entire time.

The funny thing is, I've never had a problem with rodents. I had a hamster for years, and a childhood friend, Rachel, had a cute pet rat. Had I been living in an apartment with other girls, I probably would have been the one to deal with it. It's odd how the presence of a man turned me into a shrieking, girly...thing, something which had not previously been part of my persona (when it came to bugs, mice, etc.) But for now I'll just thank hubby for stepping up to bat and taking care of our little intruder.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Echoes from the Past

Following the shameful attack on a church in Nazareth over the weekend, the Arab community has reacted in a tried and true style: let's see how much propaganda and nonsense we can get into the press, as well as blaming Israel to boot.
The individuals responsible for the attack were a Jewish Israeli man and his Christian wife and daughter. It should be noted that this individual personally requested asylum from Yasser Arafat a few years ago. In a number of statements released since the attack, the perpetrator has repeatedly stated his motives for the attack were to draw attention to his family's economic situation. In not one of the statements has he claimed that his motives were nationalistic or racial. It would suffice to say that we are not talking about a right wing fanatic in this circumstance.

Not so, according to MK Ahmed Tibi, who had the gall and audacity to make a statement to the media claiming" …In the State of Israel there's a unique disease that hurts only right-wingers and causes them to attack mosques, churches, and the Arab public," he said. "The disease is not known in the world and I, as a doctor, haven't encountered throughout my history."

Excuse me? Is this not the representative of a people who routinely have been blowing themselves up across the world in the name of their god and a bevy of other causes? I should think that Tibi should be more concerned with trying to discover the disease which causes thousands of young men and women to willingly blow themselves up and murder thousands of innocents, not just in Israel but in Iraq, America, England, Spain and Jordan, to name a few. This comment is problematic not only in the case of the pot calling the kettle black, but for the distinct racial overtones it contains. Not that long ago, a man accused the Jews of being a disease. His name was Adolf Hitler. Need I say more? These sorts of comments are so incredibly dangerous, as they needlesly draw up antiquated and anti-semitic images, which flourished in a Nazi Germany and have unfortunately found a breeding ground amonst the Palestinians. These remarks also connect to the cartoon incident. Iran chose to react by hosting a Holocaust cartoon competition, the obvious choice to deal with the Mohammed cartoons (ahh, how I love sarcasm). Once again, a regrettable incident occurs, but instead of dealing with in in the appropriate fashion, the reaction has been a vitriolic condemnation and attack of Israel, instead of focusing on the actual cause of the event.

Who really has the disease here?