Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Student Life

In case you were wondering who to vote for on the JIB Best Student Life section....

Jewlicious wrote this about me:

"Seth Feldman is a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He runs a blog called Judenstadt. As you can imagine, the blog centers around his daily life in Israel and in Jerusalem. Far from being a ccollection of posts about who he has a crush on today or what cereal he ate this morning, Seth puts us in the shoes of a student studying for a year at Hebrew U.’s Rothberg School for Overseas students. For those of us who have been, the opportunity to relive those glory days is awesome. For those of you poor suckers who haven’t, well… you get to kind of see what that’s like. Seth also has the good taste to link to us and that guy on his site davening by the beach in a colorful talit? That photo was taken by laya. Consequently, I like Judenstadt!"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Stone Throwers

Us throwing rocks:

Them throwing rocks:
We all do it. But what really matters is what you're aiming at.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


There are a few things that happen here but never happen in the US.

For example:

As an introduction: It is common for most American toursists to refuse to ride a bus when they get here - especially in Jerusalem.

This was true for our friend who came to visit yesterday. Luckily for us, after minimal convincing, we were able to persuade him that riding the bus in Israel is more than just a cheap convenience - it is a cultural experience. And with that we pushed him on the bus.

We weren't lying either. It really is a cultural experience. You get to see the everyday life of average Israelis. I'm talking about the ones that don't own two hi-tech company cars or take cabs everywhere they go. Nor am I talking about the ones who won't leave their houses because they too are afraid of public transportation.

I'm referring to the average Israeli who is able to overlook the scary thought of what can happen on a bus and can continue his daily life as a normal citizen who needs and takes advantage of the affordable transportation system.

However, we were especially lucky this time.

On this occasion, on our way back from Har Herzel, there were about five teenage boys in the back of the bus with us. As we were leaving Har Herzel and passing the central bus station, one of the boys noticed something on the car next to us that must have indicated where the car was from. Immediately he began banging on the window while trying to mouth to the passenger in the car that he needed a ride to a specific kibbutz.

The passenger of the car did his best to understand, but couldn't quite get what the teenager was saying. The teenager was trying to form the word "TRAMP" as clearly as he could, but it wasn't sufficient. Eventually the passenger in the car wrote down his phone number on a large pad of paper and showed it to the teenager on the bus. The teenager called the number and asked if he could get a tramp (hitchhike) to a specific kibbutz. The driver said "of course" and the kid screamed with joy and gesticulated his gratitude for the car next to us by clasping his hands together and making a kind of bow to the driver while smiling from ear to ear .

That alone is something that does not happen outside of Israel - a random teenager asking a strange car from the outside of a bus if he can hitchhike, the passenger giving the kid his cell phone number, and everything working out as if they were family friends.

But there is a second part as well.

We were stuck in traffic, so immediately the teenager ran to the bus driver and asked if he could get off since we weren't moving and he needed to catch his ride. The bus driver, as is typical of Israeli bus drivers in Jerusalem, strongly refused. This was actually a sad moment because the teenager had gone from looking like a prisoner set free from the long agony of a prison sentence to resembeling a puppy that was just smacked in the nose for being too annoying. The bus driver was the only thing holding him back.

However, the other four teenagers in the back began chanting "O-PEN!! O-PEN!! O-PEN!!" Maybe it was the peer pressure, I don't know, but the bus driver did open the doors, and the teenager got his ride home.

Four things happened here:

1.The boy hitchhiked with someone he did not know.
2.The car was open to letting the boy hitchhike.
3.The bus was screaming "OPEN!" to the bus driver without being threatening.
4. The bus driver saw this as a valid reason to open the bus doors in the middle of the street to let the teenager out."

Now, you can understand why the intimacy of Israel is a major factor in what keeps people here. I would link to the article that explicitly says this, but I can't find it right now....

Monday, January 09, 2006


Vote for me!

Nominated on JPost for best: Student Life Blog, Life in Israel Blog, New Blog, Jewish Culture Blog


Sunday, January 08, 2006

I got what I asked for

I ended up posting on a Jerusalem list-serve that I am interested in an internship dealing with law, goverment, advocacy, etc. Well, I got some really generous offers, in fact I kind of feel bad about posting them, but they weren't exactly what I'm looking for.
It's funny what "legal internship" can be translated into.

Some examples:

"You're welcome to work at our office.

International Shipping and Shopping Since 1979"


"Hmm. Well I'm not sure if we'd have what you're looking for, but we were just
discussing today the idea of bringing some interns in - I work at apublishing
house, we publish fiction, for the American market (it's anAmerican company). We
were thinking of getting interns in (unpaid) towork on marketing/sales areas of
the business. Does that sound like thekind of thing you might be interested in
doing for a few weeks?"

As well as....
" What kind of an internship? What kind of activity? If by
"internship" you mean volunteering to work with kids, we
could use some help!"

And finally...

"We're a non-profit agency that runs day care centers for Alzheimer's
patients. We might be able to use an intern in either one of our
day centers, or in our public relations office."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


So I have been trying to find an internship in law, government, business, advocacy, basically anything besides the typical "Arabs-and-Jews-should-live-together-in-harmony-always" internship.

I tried the Jewish Agency and it was anything but helpful. They said I am useless to them unless I commit to four months and 20 hours per week even though I attend university here. I asked them if they have any suggestions of places I could start searching and Vered (the woman heading the internship program) said "yeah, the internet."
Thanks, Vered, as if the Jewish Agency was my FIRST choice to begin my search....

Anyway, I need suggestions of places to look into. The only requirements are of those listed above and that it is in Jerusalem.

Monday, January 02, 2006

A Wonderful Country

I hope everyone saw this article in the New York Times about "A Wonderful Country." It's the popular satirical show strictly focused on Israeli current events. The article takes specific note of recent shows:
" The character playing his rival, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, appears taken aback by Mr. Sharon's recovery and mutters under his breath, "I'm going to sue the Western Wall," referring to a note to God, apparently not containing good wishes, that he had tucked into the holiest site in Judaism."
"A cartoonish version of the former far-right politician Geula Cohen, wild-haired and hysterical, recently chased her politician son, Tzachi Hanegbi, around the studio with a shoe, berating him for leaving the Likud Party for Mr. Sharon's new Kadima Party. "You had to become a leftist?" she shouted. "You couldn't just be a murderer or a homosexual?""
as well as...
"In a recent episode, Mr. Sharon is shown with an equally portly Omri bent over his knee. The prime minister repeatedly spanks him, blaming him not only for the recent corruption scandal but also for everything controversial in his own career, including his role two decades ago in leading Israel into war in Lebanon."

Too bad I couldn't understand 3/4ths of it when I was watching it on TV.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


"That's what Rocky is all about : pride, reputation, and not being another bum in the neighborhood."
-Sylvester Stallone

There is something really cynical about New Years in Israel that I love.
I've spent the past four years celebrating this holiday here and it hadn't hit me until tonight that even though New Years is not as built up of a day in the Jewish state as it is virtually everywhere else, it still has something about it that you can't witness in any other country.
Unlike the US, everyone went out tonight. But more shockingly, and without thinking twice, everyone will go to work or school tomorrow.

Israelis don't call it "New Years." There's already a new year celebration and it's called Rosh Hashana. In Israel "New Years" is known as Sylvester. And that's where the cynicism comes in.

Saint Sylvester was an anti-Semite who wouldn't allow Jews into Jerusalem. In Israel this day is called Sylvester, not to honor the anti-Semitic saint, but to remember his end.
Yep, the guy died on December 31st, and we consider it celebration-worthy.

Ironically, I spent my Sylvester in downtown Jerusalem. I wasn't sure what to expect because Tel Aviv was a bit low-key last year, but Jerusalem proved itself to be pretty lively.
Unexpected ethnic sing-along on Ben Yehudah: