JWR Wandering Jews

In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 27, 2004 / 10 Elul, 5764

A fair fare

By Chayyei Sarah

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A reminder of brotherhood — in the unlikeliest of places

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | JERUSALEM — The Central Bus Station here could be called Israel's crossroads. From its hub on the city's main thoroughfare, Jaffa Street, one can catch a coach to virtually every region of the country at almost any hour of the the day and late into the night. During the week, it's a whirl of activity, as tourists mix with locals coming into and out of the city. But on Friday afternoons, the pace increases. With the Sabbath approaching, there is increased pressure to get to one's destination on time — before the entire bus system shuts down for the weekend.

On a recent Friday afternoon, I found myself at the Central Bus Station. I was headed to the home of old friends who live a half-hour drive from Jerusalem, in the settlement of Hashmonaim. As soon as I arrived at the station, it became evident that I had missed the last bus to their area. I silently cursed myself for not confirming the bus schedule on the Internet that morning — and immediately began making calculations.

If I rushed, I could make it to my local grocery with just enough time to prepare some food before the Sabbath. Dejected by the thought of spending the Sabbath alone, I hailed a cab and directed him to take me to my home in Jerusalem's Katamon neighborhood.

The driver turned on the meter, and I sighed and explained that I'd planned to visit Hashmonaim for the weekend, but had missed the last bus.

"I can take you there, no problem," was his response.

I wasn't so sure. A trip by taxi to my friends' home was quite a bit more than I could afford.

The driver pulled over and called the dispatcher.

Driver: How much is the fare from the Central Bus Station to Hashmonaim?

Dispatcher: It's next to Modiin.

Driver: I know that. How much is it?

Dispatcher: 140 shekels.

The amount was indeed the going rate, but a ridiculous sum for me to spend for a weekend trip that I could easily postpone. I mentally calculated that based on my finances and desire to get to Hashmonaim at that moment, I was willing to pay a considerable amount, but not quite what the dispatcher was quoting.

Driver to Sarah: See, it's only 140 shekels.

Sarah: I'm sorry. I really can't pay more than 100 shekels.

Driver [thinking I'm trying to bargain]: I'd do it for 130.

Sarah: No, really, I can't pay more than 100 shekels for this. It's too much. Sorry.

At that point I called my hostess on my cell phone to tell her that I'd have to come another time. The driver started talking to someone on his cell phone. Just as I was apologizing to my friend for not being able to make it, the driver said "No! You can go! 100 shekels is OK!"

At first I thought that I'd successfully bargained without even trying. But it turned out that he'd found another driver who was willing to take me to Hashmonaim for 100 shekels. I was confused. Why would any driver take only 100 shekels to go to Hashmonaim, when the going rate was 140? And why was this driver willing to give up the fare he'd otherwise earn for taking me to Katamon?

The driver explained, but I just couldn't wrap my mind around what he was saying.

We pulled up at a bus stop a couple of blocks from the Central Station, and called the other driver to tell him where we were. I started to get out of the taxi, to wait for this other guy.

"You stay in here," the driver said. "You won't recognize which taxi is your new driver. I'll stay here with you to make sure you get on your way all right."

Sarah: Thank you very much. This is very nice of you.

Driver: I want to make sure you have a nice Shabbat with your friends. Not everything in life is about money.

So, this middle-aged driver sat and waited with me for a good five minutes while we waited for the other cab. Meanwhile, some people from the bus stop came over to inquire about taking the taxi to their destination, and the driver told them "I'm not available." To make sure I had a nice Sabbath, he not only gave up his fare to Katamon, he also gave up these other fares.

Finally the other taxi pulled up, and my driver wished me a "Shabbat shalom".

"Let me pay you something," I said, "for the time you spent."

He said "OK, whatever you think is reasonable," and I gave him 15 shekels, a little more than half of what he'd gotten had we gone all the way to Katamon. I wished I could give him 100 shekels, too. I thanked him profusely and said "tizkeh l'mitzvot [may you merit many good deeds]."

The driver in the new taxi was a young guy. I sat in front, hoping he was talkative so we could converse on the way. It's a good 25 minutes or so to Hashmonaim.

The new driver's name was Yaron, and he was indeed a talkative, friendly fellow. He explained to me what had happened. It's still hard to believe.

Yaron heard the first driver ask the dispatcher about the fare to Hashmonaim, and when Yaron heard the answer on the radio, he knew that probably the passenger wouldn't want to pay that much. But Yaron lives in Modiin and would have to drive home pretty soon for the Sabbath himself, anyhow. He's not Sabbath observant, he told me, but his wife is.

He went on to explain that it's against taxi etiquette to offer a lower fare over the radio, since then the passenger would hear that another driver wants the fare, and it would start a bidding war. So he used his cell phone to call my driver, and privately offered to take me to Hashmonaim for whatever I was willing to pay.

"Wouldn't you earn more by staying in Jerusalem for another couple of hours?" I asked. "There are all those people there who need rides before the Sabbath. I don't understand how this is cost-effective for you, going home early."

"It's nothing," Yaron said. "I want to get home early to see my kids. They've been in Be'er Sheva all week visiting their grandmother, and I can't wait to see them. This way, you have a nice Sabbath and I get to see my kids earlier."

Yaron and I spent the drive talking about the differences between how Israelis view religion versus how American Jews view it, our conversation punctuated by phone calls from his 6-year-old on the speaker phone. It was one of those great discussions where what matters isn't that you agree or disagree, but that both people in the discussion are nice, and respectful, and want to learn more.

Yaron drove me straight to my hosts' door, where their 11-year-old daughter came out to welcome me and give me a hug. Yaron smiled.

"How much did you and the other driver work out that you'd pay?" Yaron asked.

I realized that he'd never heard me offer 100 shekels. He'd really meant it when he said that he'd take me for whatever I was willing to pay.

I took out two 50-shekel bills and gave them to Yaron.

"Shabbat shalom," I said.

"It was very nice to meet you," Yaron replied. "Shabbat Shalom."

Yaron drove away.

And I did indeed have a very nice Sabbath.

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The author, who blogs at chayyeisarah.blogspot.com, recently moved from New York to Jerusalem. Did you enjoy this dispatch? Tell her by clicking here.

© 2004, by the owner of chayyeisarah.blogspot.com. Reprinted with permission of the author.