Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Buses in Israel

Last night as I went to sleep, I suddenly realized that those of you who do not live in Israel may not really understand my last post. People in America do not interact very much with each other of buses. For people not to have commented when I corrected Ricki would be expected.
Oh, but in Israel, it’s not like that. Riding buses in Israel is an experience.
First of all, Israel is a small country. And people care about each other. Remember when that lady was killed in the US (in the early 60’s) and cried out for help for half an hour, and no one called for help? That would NEVER happen here.
First of all, when you get on a local bus, you are very likely to meet up with a neighbor, friend, daughter’s former teacher, etc. And even on a non-local bus….occasionally you meet that old neighbor that moved away, your neighbor’s sister, etc. And of course, these “meetings” on buses are often not just acknowledged with a cursorily nod. People will gladly exchange places with you so you can spend your ten minute (or more) bus ride “catching up” with what is new in your friend’s life.
And even if you don’t know anyone on the bus.… well, people here have no qualms about expressing themselves. If you would go on a bus with a baby in a sweater in the summer (maybe you just came from an air-conditioned building), people would tell you “Lady, can’t you see that your baby is hot? For G-d’s sake take the sweater off!” New young mothers hate this off course, but it IS because people care.
And if you think that you can have a private conversation with your daughter in a foreign language (not Hebrew), think again! Whether it’s French, Spanish, English, German, or Portuguese, you are likely to get a tap on your back. “Excuse me” someone will comment in that language, “Where do you hail from?...... Oh, from __________? Maybe you know my Aunt So- and So who lives there?” Now “there” may be a huge metropolis, and you have a better chance of winning the lottery than knowing her Aunt Tessie from wherever…… although, amazingly sometimes you actually do!
And, in Israel, people actually DO stand up for the elderly and the infirm, and for pregnant women. It’s because it’s a mitzvah (good deed), and besides, someway, somehow he is probably related to someone you know……. and gosh, wouldn’t YOU give your neighbor’s 2nd cousin’s granddad a seat?!?

1 comment:

FAB said...

Sounds lovely, we're so disconnected from one another here. That's something I miss about living in England. If I make it to Israel next year I will be usre to hop on a bus!