How do you have stereotypes about Jewish mothers in a country where everyone is Jewish? Something I learned from my friend Ossy this past year is that here, they’re called “Polish mothers” (eema Polania?), describing the “classic” Jewish mother who lived in Poland a couple of generations back.
I spent this morning with a mother, a real estate agent who I hoped might help me find an apartment. We talked on the phone and she agreed to meet me a few minutes from where I’m staying. I met her in her office to find that she had a broken foot. After a few minutes of talking, I realized I was more likely to find this woman interesting than any apartment (calm down, she was in her 50s). In this small country, it’s easy to strike up a conversation with anyone, much more than in other places. Over the next 30 or so minutes, we shmoozed in the car to and from the apartment about my move here and whatnot (it always comes up in the first 2 minutes of conversation, it’s not hard to figure out that I’m new). She asked me what I thought of the recent war and a few minutes later, I got her to say “F*&% the UN!” or something to that effect which sounded even funnier to me because most Israelis don’t say the “uh” sound. It was more like “fahk”.
We drove a few blocks in her car to the apartment, stopping on the way at some kind of GNC health place so she could pick up a few things. Because of her broken foot, she called the guy in the store to come outside to her car and bring her groceries. Later, she stopped at the pet food store where the woman there came outside as well. In my August 11th “Friday in Israel” post, I know I said I was going to get over this stuff but I’m sorry, when someone inserts “Freeskees” or “Meow Meex” into the middle of a sentence, that’s pure comedy. To find parking on this small one-lane road, she parked her car on the curb. If you didn’t understand that, you read it correctly. She actually drove her car ONTO the sidewalk as people sometimes do here. I told her how I always found that funny and she explained it by saying “We are Levant (a label for Middle Easterners). We are pree-ma-teev!” That cracked me up.
Oh yes-she also had Easy Park. I went nuts, telling her it was ingenious, “kmo m’Einshtein!” She said “from now ohn, I em calleeng dees Einshtein. Geev me deh Einshtein.”
I guess she wasn’t so much the Polish mother as I was, offering to help her at each of the stops because of her broken foot. Everybody is so helpful here, I felt the least I could do was to assist this poor woman. She invited me over for dinner tonight but I already have plans (I guess that makes her Polish).
Postscripts: I saw two apartments. They were fine although I have no idea what the market is. Minor detail. These stories probably make my life sound far more interesting than it is. If you told someone you went apartment-hunting with a real estate agent while running their errands, would you envy them? Pictures to come!!!