Sunday, September 03, 2006


So how come we don’t have a two day weekend? I know, I know… ‘And G-d rested on the seventh day.’

And we have the Original Cast. Adam and Eve and all the rest. I still don’t know how they did all that ‘begatting’ but, hey, who am I to question the sages?

Wait…wait…I take that back. I do know how they did all that begatting, blush, blush, but what I don’t know is who they begatted with. Never mind.

Back to our weekend. So how come everyone else gets a two day weekend?

When I first got to Israel, all the stores closed down in the afternoon for ‘siesta’. From two to four every afternoon tighter than a spy’s lips were the doors of the stores downtown.

‘Of course,” they told me. They, being the old timers. ‘We are a poor country. And we only work a half day on Friday. Shabbat, you see. So if you add the half day on Friday plus the two hour break every other day you get a two day weekend. More! Ten hours a week the stores are closed. Then half a day on Friday makes another four hours. See, actually you get all day Saturday off plus another fourteen hours. You owe me a day.’

I loved the old timers. My favourite was Mr. Zickman, AH. He passed away years ago and the city isn’t the same without him.

Mr. Zickman was my neighbour in the first apartment we owned in Givat Mordechai. He and his wife fought like cats and dogs. One day I was standing with them across from our apartment while we waited for the number six bus to arrive.

When the bus finally came, Mr. Zickman got on. The doors closed and Zickman hollered down to his wife, ‘Why didn’t you get on? I paid for you?’

As the bus pulled away we could hear her hollering back, ‘Who asked you toooooo?’

Another time, Mr. Zickman joined me on the bench in front while my babies played outside. When it came time to go back upstairs I started rummaging through my purse looking for my keys.

‘What are you looking for?’
‘My keys.’

‘In the old days, no one locked their doors,’ he began. ‘Everyone trusted everyone. If you needed a cup of sugar…make that half a cup, sugar was very dear in those days. If you needed a little sugar, the lady across the hall gave you a bag full. Children walked in and out so often that you could have five for dinner or fifteen. A few olives, a hard boiled egg, a shtickle herring. There was always enough. Those were the days. Good days. Everyone smelled like herring.’
‘So what happened, Mr. Zickman?’ I asked as we made our way to the elevator.

‘Happened? I’ll tell you what happened! The Polacks came, that’s what happened. And since then everyone locks their doors!’

In all the years that I’ve been here, I don’t miss a lot. I miss family and friends who are far away. I miss the trees turning colour in the fall and the deep, white Canadian snow in winter.

I miss my two day weekends. And I miss you, Mr. Zickman. God bless you wherever you are.

A sweet shavuah tov.

Have a great day…stay safe…and thanks for dropping in.


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