JWR The schmooze
Jewish World Review / March 2, 1998 / 4 Adar, 5758

By Ibn Ezra

Who-is-a(n) ... Israeli?

FOR SOME time now, the Hebrew-language Ma'ariv newspaper's weekend edition has been asking readers to submit answers to the question, not Who-is-a-Jew?, but Who-is-an-Israeli? Some replies:

"An Israeli is someone who knows what's good for you better than you do."

"An Israeli is someone who always looks for someone to blame instead of looking for a solution."

"An Israeli is someone who sits in his living room and uses his cellular phone to call his wife in the next room to tell her to bring him some ga'areinim (sunflower seeds)."

More Definitions

A STRIKING feature of many of the answers, clearly, was a robust -- some would argue, excessive -- streak of self-criticism and sardonic humor.

"An Israeli is someone who hopes for the best and prepares for the worst."

"An Israeli is someone who will do anything to get out of reserve duty in peace and yet will do anything to serve during war."

"An Israeli is someone who'll curse you at a stoplight, cut in front of you in the [supermarket] line, recognize you from the army if you bump into him abroad, and strike up a conversation with you if you're sitting across from him at the Kupat Cholim [clinic]."

Stevie Wonder

WE ADMIT it. We love naches stories about movie big Steven Spielberg and his mom, Leah Adler. The latest is that Steven has bought his mom a shul. Or at least he's helping to pay for the site in the Pico-Robertson area of Los Angeles. To be called "Beis Betzalel," or "Bernies Place," in memory of Bernie Adler, Leah Spielberg's second husband who died last year, it will replace the rented space above a school that used to house the Adlers' neighborhood minyan.

Beis and Besser

SPEAKING of "Beis" and "Bess" and "Bet" and "Beit," staff at Melbourne's Jewish Community Services were somewhat puzzled recently to receive a message from their call monitoring service to ring the "Best Inn." When they phoned back, they were put through the Beit Din.


New JWR contributor, Ibn Ezra, is a columnist at the Australian Jewish News.

©1998, Australian Jewish News