Sunday, August 27, 2006

still a couple booms left

I got home from shul on friday night and all of my children were still up, to my great surprise. My wife said that she was upstairs with the boys and she heard a big boom and the house shook. There were no sirens, no warnings, no nothing, so the kids stayed up for the entire friday night dinner (and behaved excellently) and there were no more interruptions so they went to sleep in their own rooms and we weren't sure what it was. The next day we ate lunch at our neighbors and in the middle of lunch there wasn't so much a boom as a rumble which caused the house to shake. We're still not sure what it was, but the general feeling is that an unexploded katyusha got exploded.

I was thinking about one of the big culture differences between the north and the center of the country, especially Jerusalem where we lived out the war. In the north, if you speak to someone in accented Hebrew, even in broken Hebrew, they will smile, help you out and reply to you in hebrew, probably slower then they would have spoken normally. This is true even for Israelis who speak perfect English. They like to help immigrants integrate and they even expect it of them.
In Jerusalem, if you speak to someone in Hebrew with an English accent they immediately switch to English. It doesn't matter how good your Hebrew is.

There are probably a lot of reasons for this, one of them being that big city life is just so busy that they don't have time for language issues.

Whatever the reason, I prefer the north.


Unknown said...

May be the people in Jerusalem just switch to English, because they think that it's easier for you and they are just trying to be nice?

rockofgalilee said...

I'm not trying to bash Jerusalem, and the people there can be very nice and friendly. The reason I gave may not be accurate.

It is a large cultural difference, and along with it, or maybe as a good part of it, English speakers in Jerusalem don't generally try to speak in Hebrew. You hear people walking into stores or asking questions on the street in English. I met an older couple that have lived in Jerusalem for 45 years and cannot carry on a conversation in Hebrew.

I am not saying that it is a bad thing, in fact it makes Jerusalem and Israel so much more accessible to English speaking people. But it is a huge cultural difference.