Friday, April 3, 2009

Everybody's Business

It should come as no surprise, that in a land full of Jews, everyone is involved with everyone else's business. The sense of community here is great - it feels like everyone is part of a giant extended family. But it's a Jewish family. So while almost everyone is willing to give you a hand, they're also more than willing to give you their unsolicited advice and get involved.

  • I have a friend who sometimes cycles or rollerblades to work. Neither is recommended and the drivers he encounters are sure to point it out. They shout out of their window "You're going to die!".
  • I was in the supermarket the other day with the same friend. We were buying a bagel each. Only two of the five cashes were open and each was processing a multi-basket order. As typical Canadians, we quietly waited as the cashiers scanned the mountain of goods. One of the customers, a woman in her forties, started (what sounded like) giving the manager a piece of her mind in Hebrew. She made some comment to us but when we responded with a dumbfounded look on our faces, she switched to English and translated that it was crazy that they don't have more cashes open. She then continued barraging the manager, now in English; "These nice young men only have a bagel - how can you not open another cash! They'll be waiting in line for ages!".The manager promptly opened another cash and we were on our way.
  • I was in a small grocery store by the market. I was looking for pureed tomoatoes in a can. When most of the products are in Hebrew it can be difficult looking for something specific. I walked up to an employee and asked him to help me. His English wasn't up to the task so he screamed out in Hebrew to another employee at the other end of the store. He then looked at me and indicated that in turn, I should yell out to his colleague what I wanted in English. "Pureed tomatoes!" I yelled. I instantly got a reaction from five different customers all pointing in various directions, simultaneously yelling out the Hebrew translation. I did eventually find what I was looking for.
There's many more stories like this. Every time it leaves a big smile on my face and I chuckle to myself.

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