Friday, October 20, 2006


It sounded something like this:

He: Jibber, jibber, jibber ,jibber.
She: Jabber, jabber, jabber, jabber.
We would look at each other, smile and say 'Ozzie and Harriet.'

Picture this...Jerusalem 1970. I lived in a fancy flat with my two girlfriends from Detroit. A great flat on HaPalmach Street, exactly across from the Islamic Center. We watched it being built from our mirpesset (porch).

Of course, I should mention that that fancy/shmancy flat cost $200 a month which at the time was a month's salary in Israel and was 56 stairs up!!!

Who cared? We were young. We were in Jerusalem.

We didn't have a television. Few did. But we had a radio. I knew three words in Hebrew at the time...shalom and bli yadayim...Hi and Hands off!

In order to break the silence in the flat we always turned on the radio. It didn't take us long to be able to distinguish between the Hebrew and Arabic channels. Waller, waller, waller, waller was Arabic while Jabber, jabber, jabber, jabber was Hebrew.

We were looking for music to listen to while we learned how to make a sponzhah...a cleaning method dated from the Second Temple involving a squeeghi on a long handle and a shmatteh that never stayed draped over the squeeghi and a pail of soapy water which was supposed to make sure that your floors stayed clean.

First you have to pick up all the furniture, and pile it on the sofa which you then move from place to place as you wash the offending floor. Then, you pour the sudsy water all over the place, shmear it with the shmatteh, dunk in pail and squeeze before moving on to another spot on the floor. Next, dump the shmatteh in the pail of now dirty water. And with the squeeghi acting like a big window wiper, you gather up all the excess water, use the shmatteh to soak it up, and finally, yahooo with a dry shmatteh you go over the floor one last time!

Had to be a man who invented this.

Where I came from, first of all we had a cleaning lady twice a week and second of all we were civilized...wall to wall carpets...and a nice vacuum cleaner which, like a lawn mower, only needed a once-over to be done in that area.

During the course of that first year in Jerusalem, we went to Ulpan and learned Hebrew. Slowly, slowly we were able to understand more and more on the radio. More and more we were able to communicate with our neighbours. And slowly slowly we began making friends.

It was one of those years you savour and tuck away into a special corner of your heart. You know the place...when you think about it you get all warm inside and smile.

That was the first brave year of my life. I left home. Not only left home, but moved half way round the world to Israel, for God's sake!

I was five when we got our first television...yes dear hearts, I am that old. And I was twenty-eight when we got our second one here in Israel.

What a treat! Now we could watch Ozzie and Harriet. The brilliant skits featuring Yossi Banai and Rivka Michaeli, HaGashash HaHiver...Shaykeh Offir, were now enhanced with Mabat, THE NEWS. Two Israeli and the other Jordanian. Take your pick. Both showed movies. No subtitles. What was Friday night without the Arabic movie?

Since then my Hebrew has gotten pretty good. I read it, I write it, and watch out...I speak it.

And now, that I finally understand everything that they are saying, I can't stand to watch them any more. Our news is My blood pressure goes up every time Yossi Beilin or Yuli Tamir or Dalia Itzik speak.

Bubbie Channah can't stand Hanan Ashrawi or Sayeb Arakat, who at one time were on nearly as much as Yossi and Yuli.

So, today instead of watching the news, I read it online.

And CNN Alerts/Israel.

Here is what I just got in my email from CNN:
U.S. to
Israel: Ease up on Arab-Americans
10/19/06 07:34 PM, EDT
The State
Department has complained to the Israeli government about its
treatment of Arab-Americans traveling to the Palestinian
territories, senior
State Department officials said Thursday.FULL

Can you keep a secret? I am soooooooooo tired of Palestine Pity.

Give me Ozzie and Harriet any day.

Shabbat shalom.

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


At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhhhhhh, you and me both girlfriend! I'm so tired of hearing that my government continues to dictate to your government how you should be conducting the conflict with the P.A., Hamas, and Fatah terrorists etc., all the while failing to succeed in our own endeavors against the terrorist insurgency in Iraq!!! My government should leave you alone to do what you do so well....fight terrorists! It's mind boggling to me. Makes me feel like we are living in the "Twilight Zone" , it's so bizzare. I always believed men were logical thinking creatures, but there is no logic to these decisions, None! Ozzie would never have condoned any of this. Oh for the Ozzie & Hariet days, huh?
Love you my friend. Stay safe and keep the faith.

At 10:34 AM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

you got that right chavaleh...twilight zone...vey...shabbat shalom and thanks again for just being you...stay safe

At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i laughed when i read about our first year in israel....why didn't you include some of our other my little comb.....the hair dryer on the camping trip and good old moshe and yechiel...? It seems like just yesterday........what wonderful memories with a wonderful friend....i love you....shabbat chutzpah

At 11:33 AM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

CHUTZPAH!!! so good to see you...and i love you too...thanks for dropping in and please write more...i always love hearing from far as your list goes, ahem...shwaywh shwayeh...actually i had to fight not write about the day yossi came to tell us that the sign on the front of the building meant that they were turning off the water for three days!!! du gedenkst??? shabbat shalom...nishikot...i love you...stay safe chutzpah sheli

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, your first days in Israel. No personal computers back then, and phone calls were outrageously expensive, so we either wrote, or weren't in contact for months and months and months.

Maybe one blog soon, you'll describe a 1970 Israeli laundry/linen day as seen through the eyes of a bachelorette. Or, perhaps you could let your readers know what it was like to live right on a tourist bus line. They would just LOVE those stories. They'd laugh and laugh and would share the tales with countless others who don't, or won't, read your blog on their own.

I KNOW they would do that, because, way back when, I would use those very stories to amuse and enchant audiences of my own. Hundreds of people who didn't know you personally, knew your name and all about your adventures on the Jewish frontier. Honey, in other words, your Israeli experiences gave you housemaid's knees and they turned ME into a North American star !!

Wait, I just realized that, despite computers, cheap phone rates and much larger audiences, not much has changed. You're still doing all the hard work, and I'm still making like a performing seal.

But, hey, it works for me.

The Guv

At 11:55 AM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

ahhhhhhhh have been my biggest fan forever and ever...i will be happy to share those stories as we go along...but today i will remind you of my best ever (well i think it is anyway)...i had been married about three months and was busy getting out of savta's place where we were sleeping five in a room!!! and finding work...and finally i went to the central post office on jaffa road and bought a bunch of airmail notes...remember them? paper thin and you lick up the sides? is the note i wrote to you around pessach 1971...Dear Guv...sorry i haven't written...been too' busy and vice versa!!! love marallyn...ahhhhhhhhh the good old days lol

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OF COURSE I remember that brilliant piece of mail ! In those days, that was THE Marallyn bit that always brought down the house. My audiences LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it !!! Do did I. But, I remember also that I was royally pissed that I couldn't be as brilliant, in as few words.

So glad you decided to share today. While I once recited that brief letter to hundreds of strangers, nowadays, I would NEVER EVEN THINK of offending people I don't know well.

I've become too much of a f--kin' lady !

The Guv

At 2:37 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...wait...wait...i have to go get a shmatteh to wipe the coffee off my are good guv...very good...shabbat shalom and stay safe forever

At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

loved your reminiscence of your apartment----felt like the guv and I and everyone else were there at the same time---on to get things done---will go back later and catch up---have a great day

At 2:50 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

of course you were...all my life i knew that you were there and would be...what a gift that is...take care my are the only person i know who i don't think ever said the 'f' word...ever ever...oy does that mean that the rest of us are friends with streisand???noooooo, i don't think i ever said shut the f... up...nope...ptew was worried there for a sec...shabbat shalom sydonia...smooches

At 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

looked in my stationery 'library' and still found a couple of aerogrammes--(maybe I have a hoarding complex????)---or maybe just hanging on to a few good memories---letters from Geneva, sent to friends and family, were either on those aerogrammes, tiny writing and all, filling in every space and continuing up and around the edges---- or eight pages of aimail staionery, front and back, then on the back of the envelope for last minute thoughts---and now I write in interjections, rarely composing a proper sentence---for shame---as to the 'F'???: writing it takes too much time and space but, verbally, there have been moments where it has saved eight pages, front and back, to describe frustration and anger over some issue------next time I'll call you :)))

At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hagashash, Yossi Banai, Shai K Ofir - ah, the good old days when there was Israeli culture, at a level that even "charedi lites" like myself could enjoy albeit maybe semi-surreptitiously (not that there isn't an Israeli Chabadnik my age or older who cannot quote at least one Gashash skit!).

Yossi Banai is no longer with us, one of the Gashash blames his inability to perform on the Israeli Right - and where is Azoulai Hashoter a/k/a Shai K Ofir?

At 9:41 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

itzik_s...thank you soooooo much for dropping in...chabadnik it...i think of myself as flexidox :)))...seriously, i personally blessed the chabad for six months this year as my youngest travelled through south america...friday nights...pessach there were a thousand people at a chabadnik seder in machu my heart chabad is a 'home away from home' of the gashash can't perform because of the israeli right??? noch ah's my fault? tell you a story...years ago uri geller (you remember him the man who bends spoons?) was sued by a woman...emmess...she claimed that after watching him on television her IUD bent and she got pregnant!!! oy i am so tired of the fineshmekkers...stay safe and thank you so much for visiting and posting...hope to see you again...shabbat shalom...stay safe

At 9:47 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

hiiiiiiiiii sydonialamseyetc...hahahahahaha...
call honey anytime...i hope you have a wonderful delicious marvellous weekend...stay safe

At 6:42 PM, Blogger Leann said...

memories memories where would any of us be without them.being young and out on our own,we live life o the fullest and enjoy every thing.its a easyer and more fun time.but all too soon we grow and life becomes life.stay young at heart and you will always enjoy your self.I enjoyed your story.I could say some of what I think about the terrorists but my langage would change and so I will just say this.they have crap for one would believe the lies they do without being dumb.op,s did say the crap word yes guess I did.but when you see the things going on in this world that only a idiot would do you say some thing.70 virgins.have you looked at some of these woman in her right mind would give them the time of day.let alone anything else.can you believe it?well I could go on but don,t want my apartment ran into if you get my drift?salom and God bless.

At 7:18 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

yeah leann, i couldn't have said it better myself!!! crap for brains...brilliant!!! thanks for sharing and caring...stay safe


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