Gefilte Fish Out of Water

Israeli Crack Epidemic
August 30, 2009, 8:03 am
Filed under: Cultural Differences, Published Columns


Man, is this post true!  If you think there is just WAY too much ass crack hangin out all over this country, then you’re with me, and you should click here.


August 26, 2009, 5:40 pm
Filed under: Cultural Differences, Identity


Right before the morning break today in school, our teacher crammed in one more lesson, where we had to read various numbers in our textbook and say them in Hebrew.  The textbook didn’t just pick random numbers, for the larger ones it picked numbers that had some significance to Israel’s history.

One of them was 1967.

This is a MAJORLY important date in Israel’s history.  It’s the year of the 6-Day War, in which Israel launched a pre-emptive attack against Egypt, which had amassed 1,000 tanks and almost 100,000 soldiers up against the border.  Israel wound up gaining a lot of territory – including the West Bank and Gaza, which if you watch stuff besides The Hills, you know is totally relevant to Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and is a factor in the stability of the entire Middle East.  It’s a date you can’t escape – from current events to history books, the shiz is mayjah.

And so it is in America, too.  But for totes different reasons.  1967.  The Summer of Love, man.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Hippies, LSD, The Haight, sexual revolution, peace.

I just thought for a moment and took notice of how that year holds such incredibly different significance for two whole populations and cultures.  I’m deep like that.

Suck Dust
August 26, 2009, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Funny Hebrew


There are many more words in English than there are in Hebrew.  It’s something like one million words in the English language to only about 80,000 words in Hebrew.

As someone who’s very expressive, this totally makes me prefer English.  I want more ways to say stuff, not less!

However, the upside to this equation for Hebrew is that it ends up often being a more poetic language.  It’s graphic and simple.  What it sometimes “loses” (compared to English) in preciseness or specificity, it gains in directness and common sense clarity.  An example:  in English you could be super precise describing the onset of a storm coming out to sea – a low pressure system on the north end of the sea brought on high winds and swells to thirty feet – while in Hebrew, you might say what translates to – a storm was “thrown” to the sea, and if the storm got really bad you would translate it as – it came and “stormed” against them.  There are much better examples, but you get the idea.  It’s less descriptive…but less diluted, too.

Where am I going with this?  Actually to a funny place.  We were learning the word for vacuum cleaner this week.  It’s a smichoot, which is a Hebrew noun structure that combines two nouns to make a third word.  For instance, the way you say “hospital” in Hebrew is to take the words for “house” and “sick” and put them next to each other.  It becomes basically “house of sick.”  A coffee shop is “house of coffee.”  A school is “house of book.”

So, how do you say vacuum cleaner in Hebrew?

שואב אבק

Know what it translates to?  SUCK DUST.

That means that when you’re asking someone for the vacuum cleaner in Hebrew, you’re saying, Can I please have the suck-dust?  Our suck-dust is broken.  We need to go to Best Buy and get a new suck-dust.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think this is funny.

I Have a Notion.
August 25, 2009, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Cool Things, Friends, Identity, Pop Culture


Tonight I went to a screening of Were The World Mine, a musical, LGBT-themed film that has won many awards, been compared to “Hedwig & the Angry Inch” by The Advocate and gotten great writeups in New York Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, and many others.

It was a fundraiser to help The Aguda rebuild after the horrific hate crime committed there in which two LGBT youths were shot to death and many others injured.  I mistakenly thought it was last Friday night, and I showed up to the sound of crickets.

But luckily I didn’t miss it.  For a guy who has pretty much done nothing but study and work full time in Tel Aviv for the last 6 months, and who was active in the LGBT community in New York in many ways (e.g. singing in the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, volunteering at God’s Love We Deliver), I was feeling very enthusiastic about doing something for My Community here and if I wound up with a Date out of it, that wouldn’t be so bad either.

25608528I did “The Secret” on the bike ride over there, and declared to the Universe that I was going to meet my future Husband there.  I planned on putting myself on display in the lobby of The Cinematheque, but actually I was preoccupied Tweeting  about it (and was siked when I did my first ever Tweet with both  Twitpic and TinyURL links in it [ wouldn’t work on my BlackBerry]).

I forgot that in Israel, your ticket gives you an assigned seat, so by accident I sat in someone else’s seat.  He tried to explain to me, and I was just like, No, no one’s sitting next to me, thinking that was what he was asking.  Then, I figured it out a few minutes later when I watched someone kick him out of his seat, and I realized he probably thought I was a dick by not moving when he asked (in Hebrew).  I apologized and went to my own assigned seat.  Oops. 

The film was in English with Hebrew subtitles.  You could tell that most everyone understood the English, b/c of the way the laughter sprung in all the right moments where there wasn’t any dialogue.  (Sidenote: I’m becoming a little bummed that I don’t pay for cable TV here, b/c if I were to watch films and shows the other way around – in Hebrew with English subtitles – this is supposedly a really good tool for learning Hebrew faster.  So is listening to Hebrew talk radio, but I’m not doing that either.  :-/  )

Well, it was a faNtaSTic film !!!  Really got me in the mood to find True Love.25607810  Afterwards, I got to say Hi to both Yair Hochner, who runs the TLVFest and was responsible for tonight’s screening, and Anat Salomon, who programs TLVFest.  Both of them are filmmakers.  I met Yair during the Gay Pride Parade in June, and I indirectly worked with Anat when I did PR for the film Abomination back in 2007.  It was good to reconnect with both of them tonight.

HU005439I felt very happy riding my bike home, singing Ambrosia’s “Biggest Part of Me” on my iPod in the empty street with no hands!  (I’d been testing that out, remembering that I used to be able to do it in my bike-riding-kid days of the early 80’s, but tonight I just full-on went for it, and had sort of my Rocky/King-of-the-World-Titanic moment.

One last thing:  at one point in the movie, a character said, “C’mon follow titanic_king_of_world_dicapricrowme. (and then all dramatically Shakespeare-like), “I have a notion.”  Right after, I overheard someone a few seats away explaining what the word “notion” is, b/c the (native Hebrew speaker) thought the actress said “ocean.”  This was a total reverse moment of what it’s like for me right now (with Hebrew); all the time, I mis-hear and misunderstand words, b/c my vocabularly is so small.  I was a little comforted by the fact that it happens for the Hebrew speakers with my native language, too.  😉

Unka Scotty No More ??
August 24, 2009, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Amerijones, Feelings, Identity, Published Columns, Struggles

blog me

So far, I’m childless in this life, yet I love kids.  My niece was going to be IT for me.  Within the relationship limit, I was going to give her EVERYTHING I GOT…only now I’m kinda MIA, not that she would even know this.

*le sigh*  Wanna hear more?  Click here for this week’s column at iGoogledIsrael.

Dinner Party
August 23, 2009, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Friends, Yum


I was invited last week to a nonShabbat Dinner.  It was Shabbat in spirit, in that we were relaxin’ and goovin’ and mixin’ it up/feeling good, and it was definitely a good dinner.  But not so much with the prayers or candles.

My friend Jeremy from Ulpan and his gorgeous fiance Samadar invited me for this dinner, which also had several other Ulpan friends in attendance, as well as Samadar’s Israeli friends.  It was really fun.

They cooked some scrumpsh garlic bread, followed by salad and spaghetti.  Luckily, I did not spill any sauce on me.  I overdressed a little – only a buttondown and slacks, but T.I.I., man, and peeps did shorts/T’s or maybe jeans – but racked up the compliments, so it was almost worth it.  I say almost, b/c the pants were definitely a little snug, if you know what I mean.  Guess all those pints of Ben & Jerry’s Creme Brulee had to go somewhere.  They weren’t unwearable; my ass did look fabulous in them.  But they just weren’t comfy.  Or as Alicia Silverstone as Cher in Clueless once said, I know aliciasilverstone-cluelessit sounds mental, but sometimes I have more fun vegging out than when I go partying. Maybe because my party clothes are so binding.

Total digression, sorry.  Anyway, Samadar is an actress and one of her actress friends totally looked ally_sheedy043008_nclike Ally Sheedy, although apparently she gets told more often that she looks like Sigourney Weaver, which I also saw, but she prefers the Ally comparison.

I got props from Samadar at the end of the night on my mingling skills.  Sure, it was totally easier to hang w/ my Ulpan Peeps, but you never know who you’re gonna meet, right?  So, I made sure to mix it up with her very nice Israeli friends.

Uh, what else?  Not much, except we really had fun laughing it up and talking.  Didn’t stay too late – maybe until 11:30 p.m.  Really enjoyed myself.  Such nice people.  Oh, also Jeremy has a big, beautiful dog.  His name is Merlin, and I think he’s a labradoodle.  Are they big?

One more thing, I brought an apple streudel and some chocolate balls from a bakery called Cake Art.  They were really good, but even I got wrapped up in the napoleon cake that Steph brought.

y’all, שבת שלום 

AnnaBecker & Steph

AnnaBecker & Steph

Eric laughing at something.  The painting in the background is of Jeremy's grandfather.  He painted it himself!  Wow.

Eric laughing at something. The painting in the background is of Jeremy's grandfather. He painted it himself! Wow.

The Preferred Dishwashing Liquid for Israeli Gays
August 22, 2009, 7:23 am
Filed under: Identity, Just Sayin'


C’mon, you just know every gay guy in Israel buys this dishwashing liquid.