The Big Felafel

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Trying to fit in category.

Stand up: My name. Aliyah. Bureaucracy. And a faxypack.

It’s not everyday you have a captive audience of 400 Israelis willing to listen to your trial and error approach to living in Israel. So, after winning a stand up contest that the New Israel Fund and Bet Hillel hosted in May, I decided to make my five-minute debut about just that: the new immigrant on the block. I was honored to take part in the stand up night, with the other five outstanding and hilarious women that took to the stage. Even better was the fact we were opening for the famously talented Orna Banai. What I also appreciated was how warm the audience was, even though I did my stand up in English. They listened and laughed, and I think they also could relate, even if they are not new immigrants. Bureaucracy is still bureaucracy.

It was a night I will never forget. And an opportunity I hope to have again in the near future.

To see the other ladies click here

I'm the one in pants, and Orna Banai is the the last black dress from the left. Please keep in mind I was 6 weeks after having my second child here...

I’m the one in pants, and Orna Banai is the the last black dress from the left. Please keep in mind I was 6 weeks after having my second child here…


The Israel Election: What, Who, What? (VIDEO)

The Israeli Election is just a few days away and the campaign ads won’t let us forget it. That said, many people on the streets of Jerusalem don’t know who they are voting for and what’s the point. In my latest Hahafuch News Update, we take it to the streets to hear what the people have to say. 

Click here to check out the post on Times of Israel. 

50 Shades of Blue and White

50 Shades of Blue and White

Thanksgiving in Israel: I Know How to Give Thanks. Now Get Me My Pie!

Get in my belly.

Thanksgiving in Israel is just not the same as in America. The truth is, in America I was thankful for the week off and to eat a lot. But in Israel, every Friday I manage to stuff my face with a Thanksgiving style meal. In Israel when I celebrate Thanksgiving, especially this year, I know what I am thankful for.

I am thankful to the soldiers that protected me for the past week. Leaving their homes, some still with diapers on at the age of 18, these men and women put their lives on the line to serve their country. These are the people I normally try to push ahead of in line on a bus, or fight with in the supermarket, but this week they weren’t there for me to attack, because they were under real attack.

I am thankful for the people that live down south and their example of strength and courage. They have had to deal with the rockets for the past several years. No one should have to experience this, and yet they have on a daily basis. How do they do it? How are they so strong? I experienced two sirens and one loud boom, and I am still shaken up. So how do they do it? I am thankful for them and their courage to try and live normal lives under these horrible circumstances. I admire them and can only hope the rockets are part of their past and they can now move on into a quieter future.

I am thankful for Israel.

I am thankful for my friends.

I am thankful for the amazing healthcare system.

I am thankful for old Israeli women that can make loud jokes on the bus in a time of fear.

I am thankful for family.

I am thankful for the delicious Israeli food.

I am thankful for quiet.

I am thankful for Jerusalem Fashion that makes no judgment on my crocs when I ride my bicycle.

I am thankful for the war jokes that get us through the harsh times. That makes us laugh when we are falling a part.

I am thankful.

This one-week of terror makes you realize how simple and quiet can be so good sometimes. This week has made me appreciate what I have here. It has made me realize I don’t want to be anywhere else. It has made me thankful.

Now enough sappy crappy, I am ready for my turkey, pumpkin pie and a belly full of yummy.


How to watch Srugim Season 3

I just finished watching Srugim’s third season. The Jerusalem crew of Nati, Yifat, Amir, Hodaya, and Reut are back with another depressing yet must-watch season of Srugim. For all of you wondering if they brought Stacy, the Anglo, back on the show, they did not. But, the third season does indeed have a few English-accented Hebrew speakers.

I feel like I had to watch the show in case I run into any of the characters, I mean actors, on the street in Jerusalem. I really love that Jerusalem itself is practically a character on the show, and I love seeing it filmed in places I go all the time. I think my favorite part was when they go to Shilav, a baby store, in the Talpiot area of Jerusalem and they filmed the real sales guy who works there. I remember him from when I was searching for strollers!

If you need to catch up, you can watch Season 1 and Season 2  (the links may only work for people in Israel, not sure)

So, without further ado, click on the links below to see what happens in season three.

Thanksgiving in Israel! It can be done!

Thanksgiving in Israel?It’s almost turkey time. I love Thanksgiving. And what’s not to love, dinner at 3pm, turkey that isn’t sliced lunch meat, stuffing right from the turkey’s butt, mashed potatoes dripping with gravy and cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Lots of pumpkin pie.

This used to be my reality every November for as long as I can remember. But for the last 3 years I have been living in Israel and those Thanksgiving days have turned into memories of my past. Oh, stop being so dramatic, the truth is you (as in me and all other American immigrants) can still have Thanksgiving in Israel.

I know it isn’t the same as sitting around the table in America, staring down at your food baby (this is a term Shira taught me which refers to the ridiculous amount of food you just ate that now makes you appear five months pregnant) and going around the table saying what we are thankful for (I am always thankful there is a toilet near by)—but friends, we are not alone and Thanksgiving can still be the best holiday ever! The gravy bowl is half full! Continue reading this entry »

Overheard in Israel

Gonev overheadnyc

I’m sure you’re familiar with Overheard in New York, a blog that lets people post the bits of conversation that they hear in the streets, at the office, wherever, so long as it’s funny. As with most trends, Israel is catching up, slowly but surely. Once again, thanks to Keren, I discovered the Hebrew version of Overheard called Gunav L’oznai, Tzitutim Shel Tzitutim, which Morfix tells us roughly, very roughly, translates to “found out about, quotes from eavesdropping”.


Here are some recent “overheards” that I picked from the Gunav site.



Officer 1: Tell me, how do you say pistachios in English?

Officer 2: I don’t think they eat them in English…



Can you come over her for a second, like for 10 seconds, for a second?

What funny things have you overheard lately?
Check out Israel’s version of Overheard – Gunav L’oznai

Kitzur: Find definitions for Hebrew abbreviations and acronyms

My friend Keren let me in on a secret Hebrew weapon called Kitzur, which gives you the definition for thousands of Hebrew acronyms and abbreviations. I immediately went to the slang section and was amused by all the ridiculous abbreviations like “Gvinatz” for Gvinah Tzehubah (the ambiguous but ever popular Yellow Cheese). Um. Can’t remember the last time I heard someone order using either of the 2 shortened varieties. But if you try it, good luck, and let me know how it goes.


The phrases in the slang section are especially helpful in the following situations:

a. You want to pretend you are/were in the army

b. You want to be an ars (punky, annoying Israeli teenagers)

c. You are easily amused by just how many words and phrases can be shortened into ridiculous combinations that would have an Israeli get his/her whole family together to point and laugh at you if you decided to actually use some of them.


Use these phrases with caution. Some will help you fit in, but others could be disastrous for your post-Ulpan departure (but I would love to hear the outcomes). So, only start using one of the phrases once you’ve looked up the definition in English (you can use Morfix) and actually heard it used in context.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find Zabaj in the listings…

P.S. For those of you still in abbreviation mode, I found a site, Abbreviation that gives definitions of English abbreviations and acronyms. (Thanks, Make Use of)

Yatzpan – apparently you’re not cool till you quote him

My friend Orly in my graphic design class made it clear to me – if I want to pretend to be Israeli and be her friend, the first thing I better do is catch up on my Yatzpan / Yazpan / Yatspan watching and quoting. She couldn’t get over that I didn’t know who he was. Then, other people started mentioning him – you know how it is, once you hear something, you start hearing it left and right. I realized I had some catching up to do. And fast. So, I did a handy dandy search on YouTube and started to watch Eli Yatzpan, the famous Israeli comedian/imitator/joker. You can watch him on Tuesday nights, on his show, “Shalom and Good Evening”. He does mock interviews, like the clip below, that reminds me a little of Borat/The Daily Show. Glad to know the Israelis have gotten on board.

Here’s my favorite so far – Yatzpan goes to Texas and interviews a KKK member, keeping a straight face as he reports his true feelings in Hebrew to the camera. And here’s his interview with Jerry Seinfeld.

How I Faked It: Breaking Into The Media

dscf0194.JPGI faked it. While the Americans brought their top security guys from America and Israel posted police on every street corner- I managed to sneak into the Press hotel and pretend to be one of them. It amazes me just how lax security was- so much so that I even had a taste of the White House Press-ONLY Buffet.

Besides being an awesome experience, sneaking in made me realize why the Press don’t report the truth. Indeed they are much too busy making friends and networking in the hotel lobby. Add to that complimentary food and drink and you’ve got a group of people that are never going to do their job well.

How did I do it- you ask? How could I have made it past security and not get caught once? It was simple- I faked it. My backup plan was saying I needed to go the bathroom but I never even needed to talk to anyone. Continue reading this entry »

The Coolest Anglo Immigrant of Israel- You Need to Know Her!

lisa.jpgThis girl has me obsessed. She is beautiful, but that’s not why. She is an awesome dancer, but that’s not why.

I am crazy about Lisa Oberman because the girl has guts. If you don’t know who I am talking about then keep reading until you too become a fan.

Lisa, 21 years old, made aliyah from Canada after going on birthright when she was 18. So big deal, there are a bunch of us now with a similar story: from birthright to aliyah.

Lisa is just learning Hebrew yet she is a contestant on one of Israel’s most popular television shows, “A Star in Born: Dancer,” a spin off of American Idol with an Israeli twist and the competition is for the best dancer instead of singer.

The girl is brave! She is surrounded by Israelis, everyone speaks Hebrew, there are even more Israelis in the audience and the whole of Israel gets to vote if she continues in the competition and becomes the next big time Israeli dancer. Continue reading this entry »