Our BS, eh?

A Canadian's musings on life in RBS-A (Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph), Israel and whatever else I feel like writing about.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Things

At Musings From Israel, my wife writes about our children, referring to them as Things 1-4. This story should go there, but since it happened to me, it's here.

This morning, Thing 3 asked if I could give her some cottage cheese. As I was spooning some into her bowl, she informed me that she knows how to make cottage cheese. "Really?" I asked. "We learned when our class took a trip to a farm."

"They take a goat and lock his head in one of these things," she says, wrapping one arm behind her head, "but it's not dangerous for them." (Whew!) "Then, they distract it by giving it lots of food. " Now her voice goes very quiet.

"Then they go behind it, and pull on those things and squeeze the milk into a pitcher." "Udders?" I ask. "I don't know what they're called, but cows have them too, and they have more of them, behind... over here," she says, pointing to her behind, "with a pink circle..." She's snickering at the fact that she's discussing a cow's privates.

Now pay attention, here's where it gets complicated:

"Then what?" "And then, blah blah blah blah. And blah blah blah blah blah." (Yes, she's saying the words blah blah blah.) "And blah blah blah blah...and that's it!"

"That's it? Where's the part about how they make cottage cheese?" I demanded. "That was part of the blah blah blah."

So there you have it, folks. Make your own today!


Thursday, June 21, 2007


Much as we wish that all Jews kept Torah and Mitzvos, we all know the reality is that some Jews are more observant, and some are less. I can deal with that, by which I do not mean it's ok with me. I mean I understand that this is the way it is, even if I wish it were different. But this is not an essay on kiruv, so I'm moving on.

What gets me is when I see inconsistencies in a person. I'm not even thinking about the cell phone guy I wrote about previously, who is a well known g'vir and osek b'tzibbur, yet doesn't care whose davening he disturbs.

I'm thinking about the guy sitting next to me on my return flight to Israel on Air Canada (the movies were not nearly as bad this time). He was a cool looking young adult, probably early 20s, longish dirty blond hair, possibly with a short pony-tail if I recall correctly. But he was wearing a kippah and he said Tefillas HaDerech as we were taxiing. No problem so far, I see lots of kippah + pony tail wearers. Just go to any Carlebach minyan.

But when he got back from a washroom visit, his kippah was gone and when they served the meals, he had the standard airline meal, not a kosher one. Remember, Air Canada, not El Al, where one can argue that all the meals are kosher.

So what do I make of this inconsistency?

A) Right then on that flight, ba'derech to Israel, is when he decided to go off the derech. Hmm, maybe that's what his Tefillas HaDerech was all about.

B) He's slowly coming onto the derech, but not all the way there yet. He forgot to order to a kosher meal and rather than starve, decided he would eat the regular meal. Not wanting to be seen eating a treif airline meal with his kippah on, he took it off.

C) I don't need to understand everything everyone does. That's why he didn't consult with me first.

D) Do you think you're consistent 100% of the time yourself, mister? We all have our quirks, don't be so judgemental.

I dunno, I guess C. And D. Maybe B.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cell Phones During Davening

Today I saw the worst display of cell phone ettiquette during davening.

It's bad enough when someone's phone rings during the silent Shmoneh Esrai. Most of us have been guilty of this at least once. But if does ring, we rush to silence it as soon as possible, trying our best to prevent it from ringing a second time.

The offender grabbed the phone from his hip holster, I assumed, to silence the ringer, but didn't make it before the 2nd ring. So he was a bit slow, cut the man some slack, I thought. He returned the phone to his hip, and I thought it was all over. But the phone kept on ringing, for a total of 10 times! That means he looked at his phone, and put it back, intentionally allowing it to continue ringing. Chutzpah!

I can understand why people don't keep their phones on vibrate only - in case you misplace it and want to call it from another phone in order to locate it. But most phones have a setting called Vibrate then Ring. To me, this is the ideal setting, at least for daveners.

As for this offender, I didn't have the guts to say anythinig to him. Maybe I should have, but he was the boss of the office which hosted the minyan. I was just an outsider, not looking to dis the achsanya. Maybe I should have...


Thursday, June 14, 2007

An open letter to Air Canada

June 13, 2007

Air Canada - Customer Relations
PO Box 64239
5512 4th Street, NW
Calgary, AB, T2K 6J0

To Whom This May Concern:

Re: June 10, 2007: AC # 085, Tel Aviv - Toronto

I am writing to express my utter shock and disappointment with the in-flight entertainment on my last flight 3 days ago. Since there were no individual seatback screens on this ancient 767, we were all subjected to viewing the movies chosen for this flight.

The first film was Music and Lyrics which featured a sexy young female pop star who grinds her hips and rubs against others on stage wearing practically nothing. The second film was Austin Powers – The Spy Who Shagged Me. In addition to being unbearably stupid, this movie also flaunted nakedness and frivolous sex. Both these films were rated PG -13.

The Motion Picture Association of America does not determine what is appropriate for my children’s viewing. But even if I followed their standards, PG -13 means that some material is not suitable for children under the age of 13. So how could you show these films on a big screen? It’s one thing if the aircraft had individual seatback screens where parents could control what their children watch. I think it was unconscionable for these films to be shown to all audiences on a big screen. Thankfully, my children were not with me on this flight.

But unless you either enter your fleet into the 21st century and provide individual seatback screens or change your policy on what films are shown on big screen flights, I will not fly Air Canada with my children.


Wanna Saab

P.S. British Airways goes even further. In addition to individual seatback screens, the flight attendant came over to us and asked my wife which channels she would like to have blocked from our children’s screens. I was very impressed.

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