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Hello everyone:

Although the time stamp on this post and the preceding one are not far apart, I wrote the majority of the last one 4 days ago and only had time to post it today.

First and foremost, I wanted to note the oddest difference in food culture that I have encountered 4 times now, and it only struck me today how out of place it really is. Many of you will realize that Israel has many strong cultural ties to the US for a variety of reasons, and that affects how the culture of Israel changes over time as well. Well, in the Forum (the Hebrew University analogue for a Student Union building of sorts) there is this one food stand with really good shewerma (rotisserie-style meat in a pita with a variety of vegetables, sauces, and spices added) and falafel. I have eaten there, and after successfully getting all the components I want put into my pita im shewerma, I am asked if I want chips. The first time, I asked how much (thinking a bag of chips); I was told they come free, and they just put them into the paper wrapping on top of the pita. They meant fries, yet oddly use the British expression for them. I intend on finding out how that specific colloquialism got put into place, because it baffles me.

I got my credit card yesterday, albeit with a bunch of additional hours spent on the phone. Its great that I got it, and if my phone bill rivals my food bill for this month, its a sacrifice I have to make I suppose 😉

And, as an update to the ebb and flow of Hebrew language courses, I am still taken aback by the speed at which we are going. Today was the last day of our second full week of Hebrew courses, and yet we had a test today on Units 1-7 in the book (100 pages out of a 500 page book). It ended up being easier than I imagined it would be, probably because although the teachers insist on going very, very quickly, the sheer amount of homework they assign plus their tendency to test on major concepts rather than the minutia of the language (as was my experience from French IV in high school on up to Advanced French II at AU) makes the tests doable.

As one might imagine, phone numbers are done differently as well. For instance, my phone number is 052-6163341, and that is written in the Israeli style. The first three numbers are the area code, which is based on of the cell phone provider. It is also possible to have an area code based on the location, so Netanya is 09-… for example.

All of the Israeli and Arab students on my floor definitely make a habit of smoking indoors: in their rooms, in the common area, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, and even in the shower. That has not been the case back home for a long, long time, so it is quite a different living situation.

That’s it for this post; stay tuned for more updates on obscure/unlikely cultural differences. Same Bat-blog, same Bat-channel.

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One Comment

  1. Remember Mike, the British controlled Palestine from WWI – 1948.

    I don’t know when french fries were introduced to Hebrew language, but if it happened pre-1948, that explains it.


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