Gefilte Fish Out of Water

Farewell Post
September 4, 2010, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Feelings, Friends, Petey
It’s been 3 months since I’ve posted to G-Fish, and I was starting to slow down before then, too.  Time to admit, it’s time for Gefilte Fish Out of Water to be retired.

It was my 2nd blog, after briefly doing an environmental blog on a stinky Yahoo 360 platform that nobody could see unless they joined, and I started it within a day or two of arriving in Israel.  There were so many new & crazy experiences being thrown at me, I’m so glad I had the dedication to chronicle them here.   

G-Fish helped me tell my stories to all my family & friends back home.  And now, I’m glad it will live in cyberspace indefinitely for those future queens googling “gay” AND “israel” AND “blog” etc. to find out what life might be like for them here, because they are considering making Aliyah.  Seriously, it is very gratifying to get random comments from gay Jews on this blog – men & women I don’t know, but who are searching for specialized information about gay life in Israel.  It’s a huge step what I did (making Aliyah), and I love that I’ve left a trail for men & women excited about taking the same step, and that I continue to help them through my stories’ echoes.  

I also had to get a farewell post up, so that the first thing people see wouldn’t be Helen Thomas’ broom hilda mug on my homepage for all eternity.  I was rightly incensed shen she made her anti-Semitic comments last spring, and I’m glad I posted my reaction to them.  But, G-Fish was never an issues-oriented blog.  It was always just about my new life, adjusting as an Oleh Chadash in Israel.  Helen was not respresentative of what G-Fish was all about, at all.  Deleting her post was one option, making a farewell post was another.  

There are so many stories to tell from my experiences between last May and now – everything from the huge steps I’m taking professionally here, to continued good times w/ friends here to Petey stories and random small stuff.  But, frankly – who has time for all that?  So, I’m just gonna post some pics & vids instead.  

If you’re LGBT and considering making Aliyah to Israel, just know that my experience so far has been great.  I’ve been here a year and a half and am succeeding in starting my own business, have moved into my own great apartment in Tel Aviv, and have had my cute dog Petey for almost a year now.  Still no boyfriend (or really, very much dating or sex, even) – but if you think you could change that, please leave your information in the comments, lol.  Love ya!  -S  

Newton (dog), Yossi, Racheli, Nir, Hilla, Angel (dog) - in our dogpark, Spiegel Park


Anna, Taco & Me (don't ask)


This is what my new website is going to look like ! (


Pete, after I left his harness on overnight, and he chewed through it (2nd time this happened).


This is the sunset I watch every day in the dog park. Can you believe this is my backyard?


Here is the last year and a half (since I made Aliyah) encapsulated in 3 pictures: 

Here I am happy, enjoying my great life in New York & Philly...


Me at JFK doing something totally crazy, moving to Israel only six weeks after I visited for the first time...

Me, a year and a half later, enjoying my life in Tel Aviv.


Check out my website, which I expect to have up before the end of the year.  It will be mostly a professional site, showcasing my work in PR, social media strategy & implementation and copywriting.  But I’ll also have a smaller personal section on there, too.  

Shalom, Bitches !! !! !!


Shotgun Pharoh
June 5, 2010, 6:27 pm
Filed under: Friends, Outside TLV, Yum | Tags:

To show you how behind on stories I am, this one’s about Pesach, which took place back in March.  So, I’ll zip right through it.

I’m not religious, and I’m always working.  So, when I didn’t receive any invitations this year for Seder like I did last year, I was totes nonplussed; I was like – great, an extra day to catch up on work. 

But the day before Pesach my friend Debra called about a work matter, and when she heard I would be alone on the holiday, she flew into action and got me invited to her friends Andy & Tanya’s Seder in Jerusalem.

It was a fabulous Seder!  One thing that was really special about it, was – OK, normally when you’re more than 1/2-way through the Haggadah (story of Passover + prayers to sing & say), you break to eat the meal, and then continue for a bit more after.  But for our Seder, we took another break: during the first half of the Seder, the super host Andy (who’s got *such* a fun personality!) announced that because the Haggadah doesn’t really get into the important story details or what really happened – the miracles God made that allowed the Jews to escape slavery in Egypt – we would get up from the table and act out a play for the kids (there were 6 kids at this Seder).

So, Andy, w/ his awesome personality, begins narrating the story.

One day, Moses' mother set him in a basket in the river...

...and then God spoke to Moses through the Burning Bush...

Anyway, when it came time for Pharoh to enter the story, – whoosh! wha- wait, whatsat! – Andy outfits me w/ headdress and neckware, and guess who’s Pharoh!

Anyway, you know what a ham I am, and I got totally into it – ordering the kids to make me sandwiches and do pushups.  It was hysterical.

Last thing I want to say here, is that we had four kinds of charoset on the Seder table.  One was a Turkish recipe with cardiman and ginger in it – yum!

I had a wonderful time and was so glad I was invited.  I made some new friends in Andy & Tanya, and also Debra’s husband Aaron.  Tanya’s family from the UK were wonderful, too.  A very belated, very heartfelt thank you, Debra!

Wild & Crazy Comedy


A couple of weeks ago, my friend Leah and I rode a sherut to Jerusalem to see a sketch comedy & improv show by a new English-speaking group called Hahafuch. (Join their Facebook group!) 


Cafe Afuch is a type of hot coffee drink in Israel.  It means “upside down coffee,” but it’s basically just a cappuccino.  So, Hahafuch is a play on words on that – like “haha funny” – get it? 

Anyway, the show wasn’t held in a bar or club like we expected.  It was held in the theater of an old “absorbsion center” for American Olim (place for new immigrants in Israel).  Sad story.  The place used to be thriving, but the owners lost everything thanks to Bernie Madoff.  For realz.  #sad  Anyway, after the sherut, Leah and I hopped in a taxi, and we were kind of like WTF when it dropped us off on a quiet, residential street.  We were on the right path, b/c we saw a Hahafuch sign, but we were like, climbing over fences and walking past abandonded buildings and whatnot.  I was ready to start making Friday the 13th/Jason noises (ch-ch-ch-ch…kill-kill-kill-kill), but finally we came upon the theater, and all was normal again.  We paid for tickets and entered an already packed theater, as the show had already started.  My friend Debra had saved us seats. 

The first act was improv.  Some very funny stuff, with contributions from the audience and without a net for the performers. 

Then, how much did I love the fact that two very talented women came out and did an acoustic set of Madonna’s 1999 top 20 hit (and one of my favorites), Beautiful Stranger!  Honestly, this made the whole trip worthwhile on its own. 

After intermission, the performances switched to sketch comedy.  We liked this even better!  Some *very* funny stuff!  Like this sketch, “Benyamin Netanyahu’s Speech as Translated by a Struggling First-Year Ulpan Student.”  Benji Lovitt played Netanyahu.  Benji is part of this social media savvy Israeli crowd of mostly Olim I’m getting to know on Twitter.  Benji was the straight guy in this sketch, doing a really authentic and kinda angry/passionate Netanyahu.  The student would translate a few sentences right, and then botch something to comedic effect.  (Like you can imagine Netanyahu was talking about keeping Jerusalem our undividied capital, and the student would say something obviously wrong, like, “So we can have more onions!”  Then, Bibi would give him an awesome stink-eye, and yell the word in Hebrew again, and the poor student would repeat it incorrectly again, making it worse (“Onions!”) 



Another sketch I really enjoyed was one called “Aliyahonics Anonymous.”  It was a bunch of Olim like me bitching about the often incredulous and rude behavior from native Israelis directed at immigrants. 

Here’s a shot from a “Weekend Update” style segment, complete w/ video still shots on a screen for added effect. 


Here’s two funny videos the group prepared in advance to add to the show as multi-media elements.  This first one’s a travel commercial spoof about taking a trip to the “real” Israel, where Israelis try and make tourists look like “friars” (suckers). 

This one’s sort of a “man on the street” style news package segment, making fun of Israeli’s without their consent, in the style of old school Letterman, or Billy Eichner’s Creation Nation

[Damn, sidebar!  Billy Eichner is just so damn funny !!] 

Anyway, so is Hahafuch, and I will be going back to their next show – and trying to get my friend Anna Becker Barkin to audition for them!

Painting Party
May 8, 2010, 10:53 am
Filed under: Friends, Infrastructure | Tags:

Sometimes I stupidly forget how good God is to me.  It’s not enough that I’m blessed w/ the best friends a Scotty could have in America (Eyes, Al, Aim, JR, Tony, Park, Sheila, Karin, Chip, Ell, Babs, Lys, Marko, Justin, Jeffrey G aned many, many more) – but now I can add some of the best people in Israel to my friend list (and not just on Facebook, I mean): Anna, Eric, Leah, Jeremy, Rebecca, Danny, Ariel, Felicia, Nir, Debra, Russell, Liron, Abi, June, and many, many more).

Jeremy, Eric, Rebecca and Leah made moving in so much easier when they came overa few weeks ago and helped me paint three accent walls in my apartment.  I had loaded up on supplies at ACE Hardware and we got together (on Shabbat !!) and had ourselves a big ole’ Painting Partay!

I took the boys out to breakfast first, and then we got started on a big wall in the bedroom/living room, painting it chocolate brown.  Leah joined us, and boy am I glad she felt really strongly we do a wall in the hallway the same color.  Then, we did a wall in the kitchen baby blue.  (Actually, when I was deciding among the final custom color choices w/ the paint mixer at ACE, the final deciding factor was the names of the colors.  “Expresso Brown” (since I have a client that sells coffee) and “Little Girl Blue,” b/c – well, everyone should have at least one wall painted in that color.

We did the first wall, then broke for lunch.  Rebecca joined us, then we returned to bang out the next two walls.  Here’s some pics and one video from the day.

Thanks, Besties !!!  I love you.


Eric getting started on the big, first wall.

Leah, Jeremy & Eric - making progress on same wall

Me, attempting Butch...

...And failing miserably!

Leah and the boys at work on the 2nd wall

A Class Act in front of their Masterpiece

Rebecca & Jeremy crack up about him giving her a ride in his new wagon bike-attachment

And b/c you were so good, here’s a little bonus vid of Jeremy pulling Becks (daringly shot by me as I rode parallel to them on my own bicycle).

Hey, Sis !!!
April 17, 2010, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Amerijones, Friends | Tags:

Well, this was just the treatiest of treats!  My sister-in-law Jill (her sister is married to my brother) is in Israel the next two weeks.  Her Israeli boyfriend’s brother is getting married, and they are here for that.

We had a late dinner at a cafe I like near where she is staying.

OMG, you guys, I can’t tell you how awesome it was to see and spend some time w/her.  Other than my cousins Jennifer and Susan and my Aunt Bobbi & Uncle Jerry – none of my family has ever been to Israel, like ever.  My Dad’s side isn’t Jewish, and my Mom’s side is suuuuuuper assimilated.

We’ve been in Philadelphia for five or maybe even six generations (like since the 19th century, we are talkin).   We identify as Jewish, practice Reform, and everyone in my generation was Bar/Bat Mitzvah’d.  But think about it: we lost no one in the Holocaust, and have been in Philadelphia longer than the Phillies.  We are totes American.

But now that I’m here, I’m like, Come ON !!! But it ain’t happenin.  My brother’s got a young family, my mom says she can’t afford it, my Dad’s not a traveller.  So, anyway, my sister-in-law came first, and it was just so awesome to see her.  We caught up on everything, and she is just cute as a button (see above).

Plus, I got to totally show off about how practically nothing much Hebrew I know!

My Pushers
March 27, 2010, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Friends, Struggles | Tags:

I kinda love ’em, kinda hate ’em – I’m speaking of a certain type of Israeli friend – The Pusher.  I like these women – two dog friends from the neighborhood, Tali and Fanny – but sometimes when I see them coming, I’m like Ugh! 

Why?  Because they always speak to me in Hebrew.  They know I’m an Anglo and struggling with my Hebrew, and that’s precisely why they do it.  It’s totes done out of a desire to help me succeed. 

But I just kinda hate it.  Look, my attitude is – I’m doing fine w/ my Hebrew.  I’m only here one year.  I worked hard in language school my first six months to get a base in Hebrew, and even though I’ve forgotten quite a bit of it, it is just under the surface and will quickly come back (I think) when I continue w/ Hebrew night school later this spring.  I’m surprising myself by being able to speak whole sentences to people sometimes.  I’m at a level where I prefer that you let me speak “Hebrish” to you, and you answer me in English. 

But when Tali and Fanny speak to me full-on in Hebrew, the perfectionist in me just hates that I have to struggle like an idiot speaking with them for a few sentences in Hebrew before totes lapsing into English.  It’s really that “giving up” part that I hate; I hate failing.  So, I feel like – Ugh! Why are you bothering!?  We both know I can’t really do this – converse fluently in Hebrew – , so you’re just making me feel bad about myself.  So, stop !!

Today I started a new practice at the dog park.  While Pete plays, I’m taking vocabulary from last year’s Hebrew notes and writing them into a blank address book.  I’m filing them under the English word, and then writing the Hebrew word below it.

Honestly, for only beginning to learn this very different language, I think I’m doing just fine after one year.  ליאת, ליאת.

Samaderemy’s Wedding
March 27, 2010, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Friends, Outside TLV | Tags:

Scotty P Israeli Inner Circle mainstay Yoda Jeremy and actress extraordinaire and friend Samadar tied the knot last Tuesday in Jerusalem.  It was a really fun party w/some of my closest friends.  And the affair was the most extravagent I’ve seen yet in Israel.  (The above image is from their wedding invitation – Jeremy drew it !!)

I got a ride w/ the Becker-Barkins, and my friends Leah and Rebecca.  The wedding was in a hotel called The Sequoia, which is on a Kibbutz.  There wasn’t an exact street address, but I typed the kibbutz addy into Google Maps on my BlackBerry, and it totes got us there!

I’m a little stressed at the moment, so my writing’s gonna suck for the next couple posts.  Rather than struggle w/ posting masterpieces, I just wanna get some new stuff up.  So, I kind of said all I really need to about this.  You get the gist.

OK, a few more things:

  • Jeremy’s speech was great.  He even gave our table of mostly Ulpan rejects students a shout-out.  And I love shout-outs !!!
  • Samadar sang a song for Jeremy – Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man.  She has a beautiful singing voice.
  • Samadar’s family is part Yemenite, and there was a lot of, like, Middle Eastern music at the beginning of the party
  • This was the first wedding in Israel where we actually danced in a circle and did the hora and stuff (the other two I went to, we didn’t do this for some reason).  Is it more of a Diaspora Jewish tradition?  (Samadar’s mom is American.)
  • The desserts were insane!  Like four giant tables of different ones – my faves were this berry/merengue pie and this hot chocolate fondue stuff in a cup


Jeremy beams as he's walked down the aisle by Samadar's father and his bestie Aziz (visiting from Toronto)

The chuppah was alighted for the evening ceremony. White flowers abounded. It was beautiful, but it also reminded me of the way the sidewalk lit up in the "Billie Jean" video.

The room!

I pulled out all the prepster stops for this great new Facebook profile pic! Thanks, Anna.


Inneresting. Yemenite tradition? Peeps grabbed hold of Samadar's gown and lifted it up as they twirled around her. (She had another layer underneath, you pervs.)

Team "Route 425" Gets Down!

Think anyone'll notice if I smuggle one mini dessert out in my pants pocket?