Monday, May 24, 2010

You cannot suck and blow at the same time

Oh, the hypocrisy of it all. Yesterday I read in the newspaper that Rahm Emanuel, yes, Obama's Chief of Staff who is Jewish but anti-Israel, is in Israel for his son's bar mitzvah. I'm sorry, but for the life of me I can't figure out what his game is.

Let me get this straight. The guy spends his days in Washington finding new and increasingly sly ways to screw the Jewish State yet when it comes time to bar mitzvah his son, he hops on a plane and comes to the exact place that he is trying to shut down for Jews. All I can say is: Why bother? Are you in or are you out? Where, exactly do you stand?

We aren't here for your sporadic pleasure you know. Why don't you bar mitzvah your son in the holy land of Washington?

Rahm Emanuel is an excellent example of why Jews shouldn't hold high-profile offices in other countries. I do not believe that those Jews who do are "good for the Jews". In fact, I think it is the exact opposite: those high-powered Jews in other countries spend most of their time trying to demonstrate that they do NOT have divided loyalties when in fact, they probably do -- or should. Or if they don't, their families do and they are expected to tow the line. It's a no win situation.

When a Jew reaches a position of influence such as chief of staff for the president of the United States, we Jews have expectations that he (or she) will remember where they came from. And of course, that is never the case. If such a person did show any loyalty to their roots the rest of the public would probably go ballastic accusing the high-office achiever of being predictably (fill in the blank here with your favorite ethnic or other diversity group).

Which brings us to Rahm Emanuel. He is living proof of my theory. No matter how hard I try, I just can't think of anything nice to say about him. I would like to say some really bad things about him but my Ad Hoc Legal Committee gets anxious everytime I look like I am headed in that direction. After all, regardless of what a lowlife I think he is, he IS the president of the United States' chief of staff.

And as a result he is proving to be as anti-Israel as his boss -- yet another guy in high office insisting to be supportive of little democratic Israel, but in reality being anything but that.

I read somewhere that Rahm Emanuel volunteered during one of Israel's many recent wars. Clap, clap, clap, clap. Applause. Applause. What does he want? A parade? Well, I am not giving him one because while he may have done the right thing once, when he was finally in a position to do the greatest good, he chose not to.

That's not much of a role model for a bar mitzvah boy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Is that three weeks in dog years?

Immediately following Passover 2010, which ended on April 6th, we began work on the landscaping and deck-building in our backyard. We hired all the contractors before the holiday began in full belief that they would finish the work in three to four weeks.

Now, in the off chance that you doubt me, let me tell you that the time frame was theirs -- not mine. When I initially said to the deck guy: "I have a bar mitzvah in June" he just laughed and said: "it only takes a week and a half to two weeks to build a deck and a pergola." And considering his snarky tone when he responded, I couldn't help but doubt my own self-made anxieties.

Well, excuse me for being smarter than I look -- at least on the odd occasion. It is now May 20th and my yard looks like an industrial waste facility. I have an almost completed deck, a partially built pergola, a partially built stream that leaks, and that's about it. Oh, I forgot, I also have tons of partially used wood, electrical wire scraps, leftover coffee cups and lunch wrappers, rubber tubing and old branches lying amidst a pile of very expensive -- yet unused -- wood.

No trees, no beautiful stepping stones, no fancy lights. Zippo.

And on top of all that, my son's bar mitzvah is now is five weeks. Am I in a panic? Oui. Oui grande.

I think that besides the obvious concerns what gets me most is that I am at a loss to explain how people make money in this country. I don't mean the Israeli Wall Street types who go to work in big offices in Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan and Jerusalem every day. But rather the tradesmen who start at 9:00 a.m. (even though they said they would be there at 8:00 a.m), and who take a 10:00 a.m. snack break, have a siesta from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and then work a little until 6:30 p.m. Yes, them.

Maybe it is my Calvanist work ethic -- well, my old Calvanist work ethic -- that is unrealistic in the Middle East. Now I work on the internet at times that suit me but at least when I say I am going to get a job done by a certain date, I actually stick to the plan.

Maybe it's the heat. I couldn't work outside in this kind of weather either but of course, as native born Israelis who are not menopausal, they don't seem to notice the relentless sun.

Maybe they don't need the money. Although they always arrive on time on the days they want money. THEN, they are immediately available and diligent. THEN they have a sense of urgency.

Maybe this is not just an Israeli problem even if I seem to think it is.

Maybe I should just move to a new house and not tell them. Of course, I have to be moved in to my new pad in five weeks.