I got my gas mask ages ago

So it seems like the US might attack Syria. This caused a sort of panic in Israel and people are lining up to get their gas masks. These people could have gotten their gas masks ages ago, they just didn’t. damn procrastinators.

This is the scene in Tel Aviv, CRAZY:

For the article where the photo was taken from, click here.

48308960991094640360noSurprisingly enough, my facebook news feed is completely devoid of any comments/posts about the potential attack.

Personally, I’m not taking this seriously. Most of us never do until these things actually happen, huh?

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Remembering the Holocaust

It is  the eve of Yom HaShoah today, or in English, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

What does it mean to me?

When I was younger my parents worked in Yad VaShem, a museum and research center of the Holocaust. I grew up with it as part of my life. My grandmother, Chava Greenberg, didn’t talk about her childhood a lot.

She was born in Poland. In 1939 she boarded a ship carrying Jewish immigrants trying to enter Palestine (Israel’s name at the time). She tried to convince her family to join her. She was the only survivor. She later discovered that her family was murdered in Auschwitz and Majdanek. She lost all her belonging when the ship was attacked by the British.

I don’t know a lot about my grandfather, Yehoshua Goldshlager. I never met him. He was also born in Poland, and came to Palestine a few years before the war. As far as I know, he lost most of his family in the war. I think some of his family was in Lodz Ghetto at some point.

On my father’s side, they were luckier. My grandmother (Regina) fled Germany in time with her family, and my grandfather (Avraham) left Ukraine after WWI. Both of them fled to Argentina.

Tomorrow at 10am a siren will sound throughout Israel and most of us will stand in silence for 2 minutes.

My grandparent’s generation is dying out. It is important today, more than ever, to educate our children, and keep the story alive. These days, when people seem crueler and number to pain and suffering, we must remember what has happened, so it never happens again – I make an effort to remember everyday.

Making the best…

No truce yet. According to the news, Hamas says “maybe tomorrow”.

Via George Takei’s Facebook fan page. He’s the best :)

There was a siren in Jerusalem today. I was at work. The safe room/shelter was locked and full of crap. Love my job. And What the hell are they doing aiming rockets at Jerusalem? Isn’t it supposed to be holy? What about the Al-Akse mosque? Can you imagine what will happen if they actually hit it? They probably wanted to impress Ban Ki-moon.

I mentioned Tel-Aviv is a bubble. The sirens and the rockets are a sort of novelty. It’s not part of our everyday life, opposed to the people living in the south of Israel. I’m getting to the point now –  some people made a video called “Shit Tel-Avivians say while there’s a siren”. I think it’s funny, I don’t know how non Israelis will react to it. But the meaning behind the making of the video was to try lighten the mood. Nobody wants war.

It’s in Hebrew, but there are English subtitles. Turn on the captions!

Life goes on

Wow, it’s been a while.

Before I start. I try to keep politics out of this blog, and just discuss what’s going on from my point of view.

It looks like we’re at war. Again. Gaza (to be more specific, Hamas) firing rockets at the south of Israel – unfortunately, nothing new there. I live in Jerusalem, and visit my parents in Tel-aviv (where I’m originally from) most weekends. I was going to see a friend when all of a sudden an alarm sounds. In Tel-aviv. I can’t begin to describe how unfathomable this is. It’s a sort of bubble, and it’s burst.

Anyways, I was near a coffee shop, ran inside and went down one floor to where the bathrooms are. It’s so surreal. 10 minutes later, we all go back up. I go to see my friend and we watch a live show. Coffee shops are packed and the streets are full. You’d never know anything’s wrong.

When I think about war, I think along the lines of burning buildings, planes veering in the sky and bodies littering the streets. Maybe I’ve watched too many movies and it’s nothing like it.

Am I worried? I can’t say I’m not, because that would mean I’m disconnected from reality. But for the most part, I don’t see any point in worrying. I guess I can say that because I’m not in the reserve forces, many girls aren’t. Come to think of it, even if I was, I wouldn’t be of any good – I was in the navy. The air force is busier right now.

So in the meantime, life goes on.

And I love this song. and Nick Cave. and these lines:

Out of sorrow entire worlds have been built
Out of longing great wonders have been willed
They’re only little tears, darling, let them spill
And lay your head upon my shoulder
Outside my window the world has gone to war
Are you the one that I’ve been waiting for?

NIck Cave & The Bad Seeds, Are You The One That I’ve Been Waiting For?

Update: Apparently an alarm has gone off in Jerusalem as well – a first. So I guess it doesn’t matter where I go :P

Multicultural and Multilinguistic

I think it’s great blogging has become increasingly popular – you get to work on your writing skills, get to know other people and cultures that otherwise you probably wouldn’t have the chance to and get feedback on your thoughts and ideas – It’s all very positive.

I would assume that most countries have their own blogging platforms – and I’m assuming that because we have here, in Israel, where most blogging is obviously done in Hebrew. Now, I don’t have any official numbers or surveys, but most Israelis speak at least 2 languages, and many speak 3 and it’s not that hard to find someone who speaks 4 languages.

I’d say the most commonly spoken languages are English, Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Arabic is also the official language of Israel, but unfortunately, it’s not yet mandatory in all school systems. Not yet anyway. I think the ministry of education is trying to change that. (<= look at me skirting political issues!)

As for Russian, we had a number of big immigration waves from Russian speaking countries due to the right of return. Why immigrate? I guess a lot of it has to do with antisemitism and the hope of building a better future.

A lot of Israelis speak French as well. Some of them or their fathers immigrated from North-Africa (French colonialism etc.). Other French speakers obviously immigrated from France.

There’s also a very big Spanish-speaking community. During and after WWII many Jews fled to South-America. My father’s side of the family included. The same goes for Portuguese.

What about Yiddish you might ask yourself (or you might probably not). It was once the language spoken by Ashkenazi Jews (=European ancestry). Today it’s identified with Orthodox Jews, some of them are very closed off. I sometimes here it spoken in Jerusalem, but only on the rare occasions when I pass through their neighborhoods. It’s strange and funny at the same time, when I hear children talk in Yiddish, because I associate it with old people (my grandmother and parents speak Yiddish), as would a lot of secular jews.

There’s a lot more to say about the multiculturalism and multilingualism in Israel. I didn’t take into account a lot of variables and mentioned a few briefly (politics, history, nationalism etc.), the reason being It’s not my area of expertise. I started this post wanting to talk about my experience writing in a foreign language, and it turned into something completely different. I guess I just ran with it.

Does your country have a similar environment? Or does your country have more of a homogeneous society? I wonder how it influences everyday life in other places around the world.

I should also mention this is my first go at the Weekly Writing Challenge. Yay me!