The Big Felafel

Category Archive

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

What? People live outside of Jerusalem?

Guest blogger Rachel currently lives in Haifa and gives The Big Felafel a new perspective on living in Israel. Did you know that busses run on Shabbat in Haifa? Did you know that the anglo group is called Hanglo which sounds a little funny? Just some of the things I imagine you would need to get used to, living all the way up there.

I am that girl who walks around looking a little lost. I am that girl you come up to and ask if she needs help. I am that girl that sits in a lecture taking copious notes, and taping everything with her brand new digital voice recorder. I am the one who comes home and tells her husband they told us this crazy thing X and it was either 9% or 90%, I couldn’t quite catch it, but isn’t that amazing?

Before I began my MA in social work in Israel I knew it would be different than America, and I knew it would be difficult but I still didn’t know what to expect. So far, it is different and it is difficult, but there is a lot of good too.

I moved to Haifa to go to school and I am surprisingly among the minority of people in my class who live in Haifa . Most of them commute, even some from Jerusalem , my former safe haven of English speaking olim. Haifa is great for olim, if you are from Russia. Continue reading this entry »


A girl’s right to shoes

gazith.jpgAs Carrie from Sex and the City says, a girl has a right to shoes. So how come I couldn’t find a single pair in my size at Jerusalem’s biggest mall.

I was on a mission to find no-heeled, moderately comfortable black shoes under 300 shekels to wear to many social networking events this month (Deva, idrink, and wordcamp). Not an easy feat (ha).

I went to many stores and didn’t see anything I liked, because there’s basically 2 options- platform or wide Israeli style or some combination of the two. Things looked up when I entered Gazith and mustered up the courage to try on the sexiest shoes I might possibly ever own. They were perfect for under jeans, a decent price, and most important – no heel. (the boot featured here).

So, when the salesman asked for my size, Continue reading this entry »

My heart is in Jerusalem, but my hairgel is in America

It’s so awesome when parents come to visit for the holidays, bringing with them hugs, delicious meals, and the inevitable requests from America. Oh America, the land of toiletrees from Target and Costco. I think it was David Kilimnick, a Jerusalem comedian, who said something like,”We may have made aliyah, but we’re the only Israelis that live in this country and use toiletrees from another.” Touche.

Here I am, three years into living in Israel, but my superficiality refuses to let me use anything other than Crest with Scope toothpaste, Fructis hair gel, Ziploc bags, and the list goes on. Then there’s books, which are just so much cheaper coming from online sites like I’m psyched to start reading Bringing Down the House and Business2.0. And finally- clothes. I’ve tried the Israeli malls, but unfortunately, clothing in Israel falls into two tragic categories: the scandalous or the bag. Half the clothes are too skimpy to even figure out how to wear them, while the other half are so modest that I’ve lost any femininity I may have possessed. So, for the first time, I ordered clothes online and they came out pretty good. Continue reading this entry »

Bargaining – no one wants to be a sucker

In Israel, there is a very strong mentality not to be a sucker (friar). Tangent: When I first got to Israel I thought the word friar meant the religious guys in robes that I saw in Italy, but really it means sucker here. No connection that I’m aware of.

In Israel, every minute of every day people are trying not to be a sucker.

So they bargain. Bargain, yell, curse, growl, and make ‘yo mama’ jokes. And then they bargain some more. Until neither side feels like a sucker. Or until one’s body odor overpowers the other’s.

Apparently, every single purchase (maybe with the exception of the supermarket) is subject to bargaining. As Baka Diary points out, everything from kitchen tiles to a scoop of ice cream don’t have fixed prices.

Is it wrong to disagree with the whole bargaining culture? Is this something that we’re proud of? Is this exciting for people?

Making a new purchase can be stressful enough without thinking that someone is trying to rip you off. Not everyone can have a smooth talking Israeli by their side.


For every frustration, there is an entrepreneurial idea. Someone should offer their skills as a professional bargainer. Especially for homes, appliances, furniture, and cars. They make a little money, and you pay less.

Or, alternatively, let’s abolish the whole bargaining business and just sell things at normal prices. Yeah right.

What’s your mazal? The Israeli obsession with zodiac signs

I thought discussing zodiac signs was only done within the presence of the latest Cosmo magazine. You could see if your crush was orbiting Mars or the stars would make him go after your mom. I don’t mean to disrespect, but I never could figure out the point of a horoscope. But apparently, this makes me an outcast among my Israeli friends from the graphic design course I’m taking.

After the second class, three of us were waiting for the bus together and getting to know each other. The first question after where do you live, was, what sign are you? I said Virgo. One of them said, “ooo, same as me”. Well, now that that’s settled, I guess we can be friends.

On another ride home, my friends were talking about getting set up on a date. But, what sign is he? This seemed to play a big role. Possibly enough to not even try a first date. I was really surprised.

Whatever happened to just going with the flow and letting life happen? Since I’ve been in Israel, I’ve been asked my mazal way more than when I was in America. Go figure.