My Go-to Move….and ISRAEL’S NEW MATZAV

Hello, my loyal readers-excited for Shabbat? I sure am-it’s been a busy week and I need to relax…and maybe write a few more posts. I know, I only gave you the ridiculous t-shirt this week. I feel bad about it too.

With so much going on with work, Ulpan, and other things, I’ve not had much time to follow the news or do much in the evenings (and therefore, find anything to write about.) It’s time to go to my go-to move.

But first, let’s recount some famous “go-to moves” in history:
1) The Dream Shake: This was Hakeem Olajuwon’s patented move under the basket where he faked and twisted his way to NOTHING BUT THE BOTTOM OF THE NET!

2) Jerry’s move: George borrows it, Puddy steals it, you know the rest. (By the way, this week, one of my Israeli co-workers exclaimed in a heavy accent “Helloooooooooo, Newman”. A funnier moment there has never been.)

3) Crane technique: “If done right, no can defense!” In case you missed it the first time…what a scene

Back’s against the wall…not a lot of time to write…what to do? Gotta turn to my go-to move…ULPAN!

  • I love when Israelis throw a random English word into conversation. How do they decide when to do this? It happens at least once or thrice a class. “Zeh lo pehr-fect! Zeh KEN beeg deel! Zeh lo mamash soo-prize!”
  • You know how British singers lose their accents when singing? (Or at least we Americans think they do.) I sit next to an Australian guy who loses his accent when speaking Hebrew. Then again, some Israelis think I’m French or English when they hear me speak Hebrew so what do I know?
  • When using our new word “likrat (before, preceding)” in a sentence, my favorite teacher Daphna chose a familiar line: “Lecha dodi, likrat Shabbat.” Read that line again, Jews. Anyone see anything wrong? Strike one against the future of Israel as a religious state.
  • Yours truly was the first volunteer to choose a newspaper article to present to the class. I chose something of major geopolitical significance: the Israeli cable channel HOT‘s recent purchase of season six of “American Idol.” I found myself giving an interesting explanation (in Hebrew, not easy) of America’s current infatuation with reality TV and, more specifically, laughing at others’ misfortune. (Ech omrim “she bangs“?)

Benji: “Does anyone know Kelly Clarkson?
Jenny from Sweden: “Unfortunately.”

  • I’m not going to discuss the Benny Sela saga (although in a major development, he was just captured). However, during the initial days after Sela’s escape, we learned many relevant words which showed up in the papers. For example, “mirdaf“-a pursuit, chase. Or as Daphna put it when speaking to us like seven-year olds, mirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-daf! Holy Jesus, I think she just summoned a flock of hummingbirds. I’d pay money to have a resh like that.
  • For those of you who don’t follow the Middle East, at some point during the last intifada, the word “matzav” (situation) became synonymous with the conflict, as explained here. The matzav was responsible for incredible tragedy: the loss of thousands of lives, incredible pain and suffering, and the final death blow to Oslo. It became a very emotionally charged word, referenced by Jews in Israel and across the Diaspora. A few days ago in Ulpan, one of my classmates used the word “matzav“, to which Daphna replied “ayze matzav (which situation)?” As evidenced by Daphna’s response, we seem to have arrived at a point in history where the word has been returned to the Hebrew language for general and personal use. For this reason, I feel the need to snatch it up, like a web surfer seizing a domain name which has just become available. I’M CALLING IT NOW: going forward, the “matzav” will now refer to my ongoing status as a 32 year-old single man in a country of gorgeous Jewish women. The matzav is serious, has lasted too long, and needs to be addressed for the betterment of the world (and by “the world”, I mean me.)

Let us all pray for a quick and final resolution to this very serious “situation”. Thank you.

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