The Jewish New Year 5772 began this week. It's a time of internal reflection, according to our belief, of repentance, of resolutions, if you must, and looking ahead. Is it a time of jokes? Well only if it's completely relevant such as this one….
A man died and went to heaven, but at the pearly gates, there seemed to be some holdup. St. Peter (ok, so it's not ENTIRELY in keeping with the Jewish tradition, but I'm allowed some license here, folks) was flicking and flicking through his book, struggling to find the man's name. Finally he found it. "You see," St. Peter explained," you haven't been all that bad, but you haven't been all that good either. Now if you can tell me about some good deed you did that could tip the balance…" (You see, I knew there was a connection with our Ten Days of Repentance somewhere).
"Indeed, there was" replied the surprisingly well spoken recently deceased. "I was once driving along the highway, when I saw at the side of the road a gang of punks picking on a young woman, defenseless and alone. So I stopped the car, and called out. Immediately the gang turned around, and began to congregate around me. As the leader – a big brute of a fellow – came right up to me, I told him to leave the woman alone, and, just to make sure the message got through, I pulled his chain that went from his nose to his ear."
"Oh about a couple of minutes ago," came the answer.
(Thanks to a friend of a friend for that one).
Now someone described my blog as "moaning". That is not true. Other people moan, you grumble, I make constructive criticism.
And just to prove it, here, in honour of 5772, for my family and friends, for my followers and fans, for my muses and consultants, and in honour of the State of Israel, I have prepared just a sample list of the wonders and joys that we should be grateful for here in
. So we thank Him for: Israel
۞ The good weather, the rain in its season, and the sun and humidity in its season too, for desert coolers, when absolutely necessary, but most of all for the sea breeze which comes as far as my living room even in August. ۞ For the Bauhaus school of the arts, and for that extraordinary timing, which saw the school close in 1933, sending freshly trained architects and designers to the flourishing new city of Tel Aviv-on-Sea, and which resulted in the densest collection of Bauhaus style buildings in the world. ۞ For the unsung heroes and citizens of Israel that make this country what it is, that have made deserts bloom, the sun produce hot water, and through sheer collective willpower have managed to drive down the price of cottage cheese by up to 10%. ۞ For the wonderful taxi drivers, who continue to put in a full day's work even if their meters are broken, but especially for the taxi driver who drops you off after a 40 minute journey to some wedding hall out in the sticks, but insists on not being paid until the return journey. This is a driver who does not know you from Adam, does not have your phone number, but he'll back later, on trust, to take you back home. ۞ For the truly beautiful Israelis. It's a pleasure to be allowed to ogle them, gratis. An ogle a day keeps the doctor away. ۞ For falafel, shwarma, for humous fool, and me'urav yerushalmi (that's a greasy mishmash of last year's favourite bits of meat, slowly cooked over a warm match, served in a damp towel). ۞ For Eliezer Ben Yehuda who took a comatose Biblical Hebrew and made it living again. ۞For a society so relatively free of crime, that the elderly can walk the streets and sit on park benches at night, without fear. ۞ For the 300,000 who turned out to protest in favor of social justice in Tel Aviv's Kikar Hamedina, the heart of the city's upper-class, luxury goods shopping circle, and yet did not lay a finger on even one shop window. ۞ For the outstanding Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and Zubin Mehta, its Indian conductor who can even charm his audience with ein bischen of Yiddish. ۞ For the best fresh fruit and vegetables, sold in vibrant outdoor markets. ۞ For Jerusalem's light rail system, which has eventually become a reality. For those waiting for the moshiach, apparently he's arriving on the Tel Aviv light rail, so keep praying. ۞ For the beaches, and for the mysterious workings of His hand above (or plate tectonics, depending on how you look at it) for pointing our coast exactly west so that we, who manage to get there after a day in the office, can feast our eyes on a beautiful sunset over the Mediterranean Sea.