Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How To Live In America, I Mean, Israel

I know I'm rather slow on the uptake, but I recently went to visit the new (okay, rather old, but new to me) Mamilla shopping center (should I rephrase: strip mall), next to the Carta parking lot that the entire charedi public is up in arms about (since the government wants to open it on Shabbos to aid those who are non-Jewish or secular who want to visit the Kotel.).

The streets were rather busy, (Maybe cleaning up from the protests?) but I got there in one piece. It's right next to the Kotel- so you can go right from your shopping (or place of no Kedusha) to one of the holiest places on Earth. (I'm not so sure that is a good thing.)

And what a strip mall it was! Rolex, Chanel, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, even the first Israeli GAP opening up soon. They've got Burberry and FOX, Nike and New Balance. Honestly, there was not a single thing lacking. It was beautiful too, with white Yerushalmi stone arches next to little outdoor cafes chock full of diners. Their logo is also quite classy- three arches with Mamilla in Hebrew and English, shaped to look like an ancient coin.

I stopped in their SuperPharm- quite a sight, as they were selling Chanel and Loreal Paris, to pick up a few things, when I noticed that they have my contact lenses.

Interestingly enough, I only use one brand of contact lenses, since I've tested all the others, and nothing fits or works as well. But, I thought I was doomed to forever ordering them from America and shipping them here, as I haven't found a single store that carries them. Yet, in this SuperPharm, somehow, someway, they were sitting right on the shelf, albeit for 50 % more than American prices.

Do I really ever have to leave Israel again? After all, what could I possibly be missing?! They've even invented Israeli cream cheese! (Okay, so it has an Agudas Yisroel hechsher, which I don't eat, but still....)

Is that what living in Israel should be? That everything is available, if you have the money to pay for it. I thought that Israel was meant to be removed from the total forms of physicality that are available in other places- sort of like a make-do with less environment. Yet, somehow, I can still get my MAC makeup right here in Yerushalayim. Should it be this way? Is it a good thing?
I'm not sure.


chanie said...

Just for the sake of the uninitiated...Agudas Yisrael is one of the better ones. She'eiris Yisrael is not.

nmf #7 said...

Really Chanie?
There is a website- also check my blog for my post on it, called Kosherinjerusalem.com- and if you look, you can see that different people hold different things.
Example: Belz only eats Belz. Easy as pie. Sephardim eat Beis Yosef and Machpoud.
So I'm not so sure if there is a 'better' or 'worse'- more like, what do people eat according to their own rabbis.

Patricia Batton said...

"I thought that Israel was meant to be removed from the total forms of physicality that are available in other places"

By who?

NMF you should at least find out WHY people don't eat Aguda dairy if you are going to go that way. It has something to do with what they hold with cows, milking, shabbos and more. (don't know the details I eat anything with enough hebrew lettering and symbols to be convincing)

NMF, you can buy badatz shamenet, salt it and strain it for a couple of days and if you close your eyes tight or put some lox in that sams bagel it does taste like cream cheese and it really IS cream cheese.

nmf #7 said...

When people move here, I assume they know that they are moving towards a rougher lifestyle. Not everything was available in the 'olden days'- and now, suddenly, it is. That's what I meant.

I know why I don't eat Agudah Dairy. Although some people cite the fact that they use the milk that they milked on Shabbos as the reason, our rav told me the other reason is that they use video cameras instead of live people to watch the milk, making it a question of Chalav Yisroel, which I keep.

I just was stating to Chanie the fact that there is no 'better or worse' in hechsher matters.

Oh, and I've tried the hosiery method- but I still prefer good old cream cheese from a supermarket.

Patricia Batton said...

NMF. When I was in sem it was already all (depends how you define all...) available and while that was only a mere few years before you you did not move there like those did in 1967.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

"I thought that Israel was meant to be removed from the total forms of physicality that are available in other places"

Have you seen some of the outlandish Chareidi homes in Har Nof...or housing prices of Chareidi Neighborhoods in Jerusalem?

There's nothing wrong with materialism in Eretz Yisrael, provided there's no "keeping up with the Schwartzs" type of mentality.

When I made aliya eons ago, a cab driver asked me, "Why did you do something so STUPID as to make aliya?! And from America?!"

I answered, "Dont worry, I'm only here long enough to earn enough money to put my children through college, and then I'll go back to the USA..."

He almost smacked into a lamp post when he heard my answer :-)

nmf #7 said...

Jameel- No kidding. That's what's depressing me. And there IS keeping up with the Schwartzes.

Ha. I love your answer to the taxi driver. Although, shouldn't it be the other way around?

Patricia Batton said...

And obesity shouldn't be a problem in Israel because people should eat right there.

Men shouldn't push woman on line at the post office.

No one should ever worry about anything-complete bitachon.

People should be happy all the time because that's right and everyone should give as much money as they possibly can to Tzedaka.

What does this all have to do with living in Israel? You're in galus there as well.

Are you quoting something or is this one of those shining lihgt holy feelings?

lvnsm said...

Pat, I agree that golus is all around. Maybe that's why there's a great amount of materialism practically everywhere. We know it's not the best, but we're still drawn to it because we're not immune to the desire. However, eventhough we are in golus and materialism is desirable, we should still try to improve, especially in Israel

In regards to bitachon and emunah, I was just listening to a lecture about that. Yes, this is also something that is hard to do but is important.
Just want to share a snipit of it with others since the topic was brought up. The message was about that we shouldn't think that people decide what will happen. We should understand that it is Hashem who decides what's going to happen. And even when things look hopeless, things can still turn around, with emunah and prayer.
And he mentioned Psalm 27 where it says, "hope to G-d, strengthen yourself and He will give you courage, and hope to G-d"