The following is a list of all entries from the Easily Amused category.
Another Valentine’s Day trying to separate the happy couples from the sad singles. Oh, but in Tel Aviv this could not be further from the truth (and of course it is far from the truth anyways). It turns out, according to a recent study that a majority of women and men in their 20’s and 30’s living in Tel Aviv, are single. So, like any married Jerusalemite, I went to undercover the mystery behind this shocking new fact. And now I am here to share it with you. I hope you enjoy the results! Take that Valentine’s Day!
With Anthony Weiner running in the New York City Mayoral Elections, it’s hard (no pun intended) to remember there are other mayoral elections taking place all over the world—including Jerusalem.
Weiner, if you recall, was a congressman who admitted to sexting and tweeting pictures of himself (selfies with a twist) to women. The story was gold for late-night shows—you couldn’t come up with a better name than Weiner to make the weiner jokes that were to follow.
After the scandal, Weiner went to rehab and was cured. Hallelujah! Weiner then decided to run for New York City Mayor, which brings us to present day news headlines. Oh, and he wasn’t really cured of this sexting disease and more women and pictures have come forward in what appears to be his “Fifty Shades of Weiner.”
But as I said, there are other mayoral elections, and for this Jerusalemite, I’m focusing on the candidates here. Current Mayor Nir Barkat, will once again be running for office, and Moshe Leon of Likud will be his challenger. Leon, is only a recent Jerusalem resident, and hoping to garner support from the Haredi citizens of Jerusalem who do not have a candidate running in this election. In my opinion, Leon has no chance.
I don’t normally talk politics, and frankly don’t even like politicians, but I feel it is my duty as a citizen of Jerusalem and a blogger of the Internet world, to express my gratitude to Mayor Nir Barkat.
Mayor Barkat has renovated and reinvigorated the city of Jerusalem, and all for NIS 1 a year salary. I love that he wears gap sweaters, has perfect English, and runs to work sometimes. During his term he has worked hard on increasing tourism, entertainment and culture and beautifying the city. Thanks to his efforts, we now enjoy a beautiful new Train Station open-air mall with free morning yoga, delicious cafes and plenty of safe space for children to roam and play freely. Another outstanding achievement is the beautiful new Teddy Park which is home to a fountain that shoots water for a half-hour giving children and adults alike, the opportunity to run, dance and scream like maniacs through the closest thing to a free pool or beach in the city.
From the marathons to the food truck, and culture beyond, Mayor Barkat has taken Jerusalem to a whole new level and I look forward to seeing what he does with his next five years. I hope he will finally resolve the housing issues for young families, transportation and help us get our first coffee shop in Armon Hanatziv.
As for what I wrote above about the pictures; t’s true, I do have pictures. And it’s true they are not like Weiner’s. For the last three years I have participated in almost every city race, in which the mayor also participated. Every time I see the mayor I ask to take a picture with him. He has never said no, and always with a gracious smile, and kind words, he has taken time out of his busy schedule to say ‘cheese.’ That’s the type of photos you want your mayor to be taking!
He may not know it, but he has become my running buddy. We actually run a similar pace, and in the Jerusalem Half-marathon in 2012, during the last few kilometers, running through freezing hail, I saw the mayor, ran by him and said, “I’m going to beat you.” Although I was exhausted and cold, I was motivated by the sheer fact that I would have to now beat the mayor. And I did. Woo hoo.
I look forward to running many a race with my buddy in his next term and remind all of you to vote on October 22, 2013.
And while I love my line up of non-reality reality shows, comedies that everyone is watching; every now and then an Israeli show will make it into my line-up. Most Israeli TV has the same five recycled actors in different TV shows that I can’t stand. But, my friends, there is a show so fantastic, so funny and so well written that I just can’t keep it all to myself.
In honor of the Writer’s Festival taking place in Jerusalem right now, I would like to introduce you to the show Avoda Aravit (Arab Labor). Creator, Sayed Kashua, says he named the show Arab Labor because it is a well-known saying in Israel that any crap work is ‘Arab Labor.’ This kind of humor, tight scripts and incredible actors, makes for awesome TV watching.
The show pokes fun at all of Israeli society. The story and characters are based off of Kashua’s life experiences, which you can also read about in his Haaretz columns. The premise is an Arab family who moves into the Jewish Jerusalem neighborhood of Rehavia. What’s it like to be an Arab living in West Jerusalem? The neighbors make up most of the rest of the cast and include all the stereotypes you would want to see (although I must say I haven’t seen any episode with the token new immigrant, a flaw most Israeli shows make…in my humble opinion). The show has no boundaries and touches upon all those uncomfortable subjects most politicians avoid in their well thought out peace speeches. Make fun of religion? Sure, put an Arab family at a Seder table. The show makes fun of everything from our different religions, cultures, politics and even the level we speak at in a conversation. It’s brilliant. It’s bold. And, yes it’s beautiful.
This is the first Arabic speaking show to be on prime time TV. Don’t worry there is a mix of Hebrew, Arabic and even sometimes some broken English (one of the best episodes which features the BBC and my running buddy Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat).
There are so many hilarious incidents that I want to summarize for you here…but come on, they won’t sound as funny and why waste your time with me when you can watch the real thing?
Do you watch the show? We want to hear from you what you think? And if you want to hear from the creator himself here’s your opportunity this week at the Writer’s Festival. Click here for more details.
We at The Big Felafel like to think we are super cool people. You may agree. You may not agree. And we might not care. Who are we kidding, we would care. But when my friend Shira Katz asked if I would be interested in writing about a documentary film she is producing called ‘Unorthodox’ I had a moment of awe.
I felt cool. Really cool. Because this film is amazing. ‘Unorthodox’, a feature documentary, tracks the lives of three teenagers from the modern Orthodox community as they spend their post-high school year studying in Israel. The film follows the teenagers through their journey in Israel and America. The documentary tells this intimate story with personal video diaries, giving us those real life moments that are both raw and profound.
As well as the story of these three teenagers, the documentary weaves together Anna Wexler’s own story. Wexler, the woman behind the documentary who left her modern Orthodox community, reveals her own life story adding a very private layer to the film.
In this exclusive behind the scenes, check out our Q&A with filmmaker Anna Wexler herself and a special Vlog from Producer Shira on the Kickstarter Campaign!
Q: Why did Anna decide to do this documentary?
A: In a sense, this documentary tells my own story. I grew up in the Modern Orthodox community in New Jersey, and as a teenager, I broke away from the religion. I watched as many of my friends graduated from high school and went to spend a year studying in a seminary in Israel. These friends had also grown up in Modern Orthodox homes, but like me, they had rebelled, and were not religious by the time they went to Israel. When they came back from their year in Israel they had completely changed: some of my male friends no longer spoke to me since they didn’t want to get “distracted” by women; others now wore black hats and spent their mornings learning in yeshiva. My friends who were girls were suddenly wearing long skirts and long sleeves. And everyone strictly adhered to Shabbat (no more going out on Friday night) and kosher.
I wanted to find out what happens over this year—what makes people change so drastically, and why do the changes happen so reliably, year after year? Originally I wanted to write an article or thesis about the “year in Israel” but I met a producer who suggested that I make a documentary film about the experience. So as a sophomore in college, I got my close friend Nadja Oertelt on board. We taught ourselves a bit about documentary film and together we set out to follow three teenagers through their year in Israel.
Q: How, if any, has the goal changed throughout the process?
A: I think the goal has always remained the same—to find out what happens over the year in Israel. What changed was that I became a character in the film. All throughout production people told me that this was my story and that I should be in the film, but I stubbornly resisted. It was only many years later, in the editing room, that I realized how much richer the story would be if you watched the teenagers travel to Israel through my eyes, and if Orthodox Judaism was explained through my childhood experiences instead of using onscreen text. In addition, I saw that my story—of leaving the community—could add another layer to the film, and thus the film could encompass a broader variety of personal experiences with religion.
Q: Why did Shira become an Associate Producer?
A: I met Shira when I moved to Israel, and we’ve been close friends since 2009. When I was working on the full-length rough cut this summer, she provided helpful advice and feedback, and when I was working on the trailer this fall, Shira was there at all hours of the night. I would share my screen on Skype and she’d help me tweak the individual cuts. Nadja and I have been thinking about bringing on a third person for a while now, and Shira was always the front-runner in my mind (I don’t think she knows that). When we launched the Kickstarter campaign in December and were overwhelmed with responses, Nadja and I decided that it was the right time to bring on a third person and we made Shira a formal offer. Lucky for us, she accepted.
Shira also has a personal connection to the film—she grew up in a religious home and has been through her own struggles with the faith.
Q: What’s it like filming in Israel as oppose to America?
A: People react to the camera differently. In America, we felt that people tended to be more suspicious—Americans have a deep-seated sense of privacy and personal rights, and they are sensitive to potential violations of those rights.
When we filmed in Israel, we often encountered the opposite issue—people were so enthusiastic about being on camera that they’d wave their hands in front of the lens or stick their faces right into the camera and shout random things. Fortunately, Nadja—who was doing the filming—doesn’t understand Hebrew, so whenever they yelled at her, she was able to block it out pretty easily. I found myself clearing the way and trying to fend people off as Nadja was shooting.
Q: Why should people see this film?
A: First and foremost, it’s going to be a great movie with a fascinating narrative! By weaving together the very different experiences of four characters, the audience will really get a picture of the varied personal struggles that people undergo with fait. This is something that is not really openly talked about, especially in the Orthodox community, where on the whole, it’s not okay to seriously question. Unorthodox will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will definitely surprise you—there are plenty of plot twists.
Also, I think that Unorthodox will bring up important discussions about the year in Israel and the Modern Orthodox educational system. On a personal level, I’d really like the film to spark conversation about attitudes towards people who seriously question, or outright reject, Orthodox Judaism. We’ve gotten so many emails from people who are not religious but who are afraid to “come out of the closet” for fear of losing their families and social networks. Right now the approach is largely black or white: you’re either religious or not. The reality is that religious beliefs are fluid—it’s a journey, not a two-sided coin.
Don’t just look forward to the film, make it happen and join their Kickstarter Campaign.
So it’s shameless self-promotion…so what! I’m just trying to get you to come to the Hahafuch Comedy Variety show this Thursday, July 7th at 8pm. I just want you, person living in Jerusalem, to have a good night out. I want you to laugh, drink some beer, enjoy music and maybe meet some cool people. Is that really so bad?
I hope to see you there. There will be comedy sketches, improv, music, beer and even stand-up with the very talented Benji Lovitt.
For details click here.
Update on the Sarah Silverman Be My BFF Campaign: It worked! That’s right; I will no longer just be Molly, but the Molly that met Sarah Silverman. The Molly that used her social media tools and connections to become a little bit of a stalker in her pursuit to meet someone really funny while in Israel.
How did it all happen.
Well, for background on my campaign you can read my first post. Basically after facebooking, tweeting, spreading the words among friends and random strangers at bus stops or waiting in long bathroom lines, I managed to find someone that knows her sister, Susan Silverman.
Susan Silverman lives in Jerusalem. I got in touch with Susan and did my best to explain that I am not really a total weirdo and just want to meet Sarah. She, being super nice, said she thought we could arrange some sort of coffee date. As I read her email I jumped up and down (first I took the lap top off my lap, smart thinking).
I had to keep it a secret. It was hard. I am really good at keeping secrets, but I wanted to share the news with all my friends that helped me out. Still I patiently waited for the day to arrive.
By Tuesday the President’s Conference had officially started and I knew Sarah Silverman must be somewhere in Jerusalem since she was supposed to appear on the first panel. Sitting a few rows back in a large conference hall, I watched Sarah Silverman give her interview. From the high of watching her from a short distance, I decided to call her sister a few hours later to check in about our coffee date.
My skinny friend and co-blogger, Rebecca, stood beside me as I tried to sound as normal as possible when scheduling my big moment. It was decided that I would meet Sarah at a family BBQ the next evening – just me, Sarah, family, friends and my husband and baby (should’ve asked if I could bring the dog too).
As the hours ticked by I got increasingly nervous. It was almost like a blind date. I asked for advice from some of my friends and they told me to be myself and just enjoy the meeting.
So that’s what I did. Almost. I got to the BBQ and walked in, felt a rush of heat go over my whole body, and walked back out. I got super nervous. I just had to tell myself she is a normal person like anyone else. My G-d this is the woman that talked about poop on stage yesterday at the President’s Conference, she is just like me!
I met Susan first and thanked her for the opportunity. Like any Jewish mother she encouraged me to eat and have a good time and then she brought me to Sarah. It was awesome. Sarah gave me a big hug as I introduced myself to her as the semi-stalker she had heard about from her sister.
I gave her a present, some Jewish stuff, but the main gift was a pair of super Israeli pants from Bazaar Strauss. Wrong in all the wrong places, the turquoise MC Hammer pants are known in Israel as, “Aladdin pants,” or “poop pants.” I explained to her that there was no right way to wear them. As she stood examining them she asked how high up they are supposed to go. I told her I really didn’t know, but I guess up to the boobs if possible. I wanted her to have a quintessential part of Israel and something funny to remember us by. I told her if she ever doesn’t feel funny enough she should definitely wear these. She took them and thanked me.
After grabbing a plate of food and making my way into the circle of chairs on the balcony, I proceeded to hang out with Sarah and her friends. I introduced her to my baby boy, who of course was wearing his ‘party pooper onesie’. But like any good party pooper, as soon as she held him he started crying. Thanks kid. But she took it well, and later in the evening when he cried with her again, she posed with him for some sad face pictures. Nice.
We talked about all the things you would talk about when you introduce a Diaspora Jew to Israel: cats (they are the squirrels of Jerusalem), cottage cheese prices (through the roof and boycotts throughout the country) and how the old city is really old. All the important stuff.
It was a great night. I saw her as a real person. She and her sister are very close and they sat there reminiscing about funny childhood stories. She loved hanging out with her nieces and nephews, was open and friendly with anyone that walked through the door, and seemed so comfortable. I loved hearing her talk about comedy, since I am also a comedian (if only to myself) in my comedy troupe Hahafuch (had to plug it). It was fun to hear her and a few other comedians talk about that world. I have never been in a conversation like that. And when I say ‘in’ I mean I was on the sidelines listening to them talk about stand up and just taking it all in.
And that’s what I did with this campaign. I took in the whole experience, from the first idea of ‘what if I could meet Sarah Silverman while she is in Israel’ to writing a post, and in the end actually meeting this incredible comedian. I would like to thank all the people that helped me in my campaign and in my success. As Sarah Silverman says, ““Guess what, Martin Luther King? I had a (beep) dream, too.” Thank you to Sarah Silverman for making this Jewish girl’s dream in a far away land come true.
Here are some useful updates about living in Israel that I’ve tweeted or put on Facebook in the last 2 months. And now that I’m posting the links here, I’m not limited by the Twitter 140 character limit and can sit in the peanut (Bamba?) gallery and offer additional commentary! For more Israel-related real-time updates, you can follow The Big Felafel on Twitter, Facebook, or by blog updates via email.
- Watching Am Segula – Mah Kashur’s new comedy series. Verrry similar to their previous series, Yisraelim. Well, it is the same guys, so it makes sense.
- Join the Koby Mandell Foundation FB page and double your chances of winning 2 free tix to @comedyforkoby.
- Site-specific art installations by Bezalel students transform downtown Jerusalem’s bars Oh bars. I think those days are pretty much over for me or is it cool to bring a 7 month old with?
- Festivals and More Festivals in Jerusalem (via @janglo) I think Israel has set a world record for most amount of festivals per capita or per season or however it is that we measure festival records.
- Contest for Design of New Banknotes in Israel. Weird set of qualifications: graphic design AND certified bookkeeper. Good luck with that, State O’Israel.
- Israeli family names their baby “Like” There was also an Egyptian family who named their baby Facebook. And they say we can’t get along with our neighbors. We have weird names in common. Isn’t that enough?
- Fox pulls Israeli sitcom Traffic Light after 13 episodes Ramzor, the Hebrew version, was such an Israeli-type show, I was wondering how that would work out. I guess it didn’t.
- ISRAEL21c invited to global cancer fellowship Impressive.
- Intern in Israel program gets boost from U.S. firms I went to this Masa event and met some awesome recruiters from Urban Outfitters, Citibank and other big names. Great job Masa for really putting in lots of effort to run successful internship programs in Israel
- Love the @benjilovitt 63 Reasons why I love Israel As usual, Benji outdoes himself with his Israel love.
- Ayalim, a nonprofit in the Negev and Galil building sustainable student housing village. Inspiring for Yom Ha’atzmaut
- New Yom Ha’atzmaut video by Aish. How many people do you recognize? I counted 2.
- Huge Naked Art installation to be in the Dead Sea or Mea Shearim. Hope no one gets angry…
- Way off track / Fast train to Jerusalem will have to wait Originally, the Tel Aviv – Jerusalem fast train was planned to be finished by 2017. But since that seems too close.. they’ve now postponed it until two thousand and never. Oh well. It’s the thought that counts, right?
- Anglodeals Amazing! All the daily group deal sites in English!
- J’lem haredim find gentile hametz buyer has taken it! Hilarious! Bet you never thought someone would actually come and get your chametz.
- @hebrewU and eTeacher Group Offer Aramaic Language via Online Program (via @religion_state) I totally think there should be Aramaic Ulpan. Sign me up.
- New Noise Laws in Israel (via @ahoova) No more loud car alarms. Huh? Isn’t that the point of car alarms.
- New Jerusalem Culture site launched (on Drupal.. in case you’re as nerdy as I am and wanted to check) Good source for upcoming cultural events like the Light Festival and Opera Festival and even the Festival Festival. Bet you never heard of that one.
- Funny shorts about Pini, an Israeli living in London Really short episodes which is great for someone with a short attention span like me. I just watched all of them straight through. The series is in English and Hebrew and could be a good ulpan tool – just read the subtitles the whole time.
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to visit Rabbi Lau in Israel What a crazy story. Turns out that Kareem’s father was in the army during WWII and liberated Rabbi Lau. Why do I keep thinking about the movie Airplane?
- Gevalt! Israel launches a cellphone in Yiddish Reminds me of my college days and my semester of Yiddish. Now I see where that knowledge could be useful again!
- Oldie but a goodie Matzah Ball Rap A great Passover video that doesn’t get old. And it stars my old kitchen… and friends!
- Answers.com being sold for $127 million Wow. Kol Hakavod. Answers.com is such a great part of the local Jerusalem community, sponsoring events, hiring Israelis, etc.
- Hilarious report on the English spoken by service providers in Israel (thanks @felafelballs) Reads like a comedy script for a sketch by… hahafuch (Jerusalem’s comedy troupe)
- Artists coming to perform in Israel 2011 featuring Megadeath, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias via @igoogledisrael.com
- Vanessa Mae is coming to perform in Israel via @igoogledisrael.com
- In Latest Discovery, Have They Found the Nails Used to Crucify Jesus?
- 50 things to do in Jerusalem this spring – GoJerusalem.com
- ‘Amazing Israel Race’ Kicks Off in Boston. It’s not happening in Israel, but such a great idea, I wish they would do something like that in Israel.
- In Israel, a check of supermarkets shows consumers should stick to stores they find most convenient, and leave paltry price differences behind.(via Haaretz)
- Al Gore invests $10m. in Israeli solar energy projects Israeli solar on a roll! First Google then Al Gore!
- Google invests $168m in Brightsource solar project – Globes
- Bieber visits the Western Wall
- iPhone app by @rustybrick gets rid of chametz (via @janglo)
- Four Israeli divas serenade traffic from atop Jerusalem bridge via Haaretz
- Justin Bieber performs tonight in Tel Aviv. Won’t get to meet Bibi.I was so hoping that Bibi would meet with Bieber. But what would they talk about?
- Donald Trump sues Israeli co selling “Trump Vodka” – Globes I’m so surprised this is the only Israeli counterfeit being caught. What about stores in Israel that are called Best Buy and Versace that have no connection to the real brands?
- Israeli App Testing Company Turns From Google And Microsoft To Startups (via @NoCamels)
- New Glasses from $6.95! – Janglo (link no longer available)
- Payless ShoeSource arrives in Israel Petach Tikva and Beer Sheva. avg price for shoes: 100 NIS (via @janglo)
- 5 day program in Jerusalem this summer to help residents improve their neighborhoods and green the city
- Tel Aviv University @telavivuniv Computer Project Funded By Google featured on @mashable!
- Regional C’ttee approves Jerusalem’s Cinema City – Globes
- Really? Tel Aviv ranked Israel’s greenest city – Globes
- Ophir Tours offers $95,000 space trips – Globes
- Such a nice video about Shir Hadash! Feat. Rabbi Pear
- The Bezalel Art Fair now happening every Friday from 9am – 3pm
- Mirs and Xfone win wireless tender (Source:Globes). New cellphone numbers will be 058 and 053 (Source: israel Hayom)
- Cellular competition starts today for 2 new providers in Israel Reminds me to watch this video again
- VIDEO: “Ya’alili” by 8th Day: The official music video (via @janglo)
- Google Exodus – very cute Passover video from Aish.
- Jon Stewart’s Hilarious Eruv Video
So funny! The Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac goes to Long Island to investigate the Eruv controversy and finds a solution by creating the Eruv hat! Love! Continue reading this entry »