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Turning the Dude On

When we rented our apartment, the owner gave us a tour and told us how things worked. We have lots of keypads in the apartment that control the electric blinds and lights and such. He pointed to a button and said, “When you want hot water for your shower or washing dishes, turn the “dude” on.” If you read Hebrew, you can see on the keypad a word that looks like “dude”. Everyday before our showers and baths we mention we are going to “turn the dude on”. Or ask, “can you please turn the dude on?” And of course, the dude is only turned on when we need it. And yes, we love turning the dude on. Being more conservative about energy consumption is one of the differences we experience here. Everyone

No one Wants to Steal Your Children in Israel

They say that my generation grew up with repeated news stories of horrific kidnappings and murders of children, so we all believe that people are lurking everywhere trying to steal our kids and do bad things to them. In the States, I worried all the time that someone was waiting for their chance to snatch up my kids wherever we went. I wasn't alone, most parents around me shared something of this collective anxiety. We teach “stranger danger” to make ourselves feel better, even though this is proven to cause more harm than good for children who often need to ask adults for help. Here, kids rule the country. They are independent and straightforward, getting themselves to school, then after sc

Minutiae

I love this poem, Tourists, by Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. I wish I could read it in Hebrew. Here it is in English. Tourists by Yehuda Amichai Visits of condolence is all we get from them. They squat at the Holocaust Memorial, They put on grave faces at the Wailing Wall And they laugh behind heavy curtains In their hotels. They have their pictures taken Together with our famous dead At Rachel's Tomb and Herzl's Tomb And on Ammunition Hill. They weep over our sweet boys And lust after our tough girls And hang up their underwear To dry quickly In cool, blue bathrooms. Once I sat on the steps by agate at David's Tower, I placed my two heavy baskets at my side. A group of tourists was standing

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