Events and Life Mindsets Social Web

Jews, still trending after 2,000 years

Twitter_trends_-_Jews_and_IsraelisNow and then I look at the trending topics that Twitter presents me with. They usually have some variety based on current affairs in our region but two trending topics seem to be constant fixtures: #Jews and #Israelis.

Sure, Israel and Israelis are in the news a lot and have been for a few decades. We are a convenient target for a variety of organisations that are allied with Palestinians or just looking for ways to target Jews without actually referring to Jews.

The trending topic amazes me, though. Clearly some cultural fixations don’t wane. Despite numbering in the tens of millions (I believe there are less than 20 million Jews in the world), we remain a popular topic of discussion after more than 2,000 years.

That being the case, is it still appropriate to have as a trending topic on Twitter? If we are a constant subject of discussion and debate, surely we should be elevated to something along the lines of “Constant Source of Consternation” or “Given Topic of Conversation”?

If we have been trending for so long, surely we have transcended merely “trending”?

In the meantime, here is the latest news about “Jews” on Twitter. I’ve filtered out what Twitter regards as not being “Top tweets” in the hope of achieving some measure of quality control:

Events and Life Mindsets Travel and places

A tribute to Israelis

I came across this wonderful tribute to Israelis titled “An Ode to the People of Israel” featuring Chloé Valdary in the JerusalemU YouTube channel and had to share it.

Lines that stood out for me include these:

When they ask you why you are still here?

Tell them it’s where you belong.

I also love this tweet she published some time ago:

Mindsets People Travel and places

Too Israeli for Israelis

Israelis can be an acquired taste but is it possible for an Israeli to be too Israeli, even for other Israelis? We have a tendency to be pushy, argumentative and circumspect about people’s motivations, especially when it comes to commerce and politics.

Even though I’m still acclimating, I sometimes encounter Israelis who are too “Israeli”, even for born Israelis who are accustomed to our culture. Last week one of my colleagues had an experience that made me laugh (and cringe a little).

She received a sales call from an Israeli vendor. The vendor was especially pushy and condescending and pitched my colleague on a variety of services she wasn’t interested in. My colleague, a born Israeli, tried for some time to explain to the vendor that she wasn’t interested in what the vendor was selling, to no avail.

The vendor kept going. At one point the vendor pointed out that my colleague was clearly ignorant of the space she was working in and didn’t appreciate what she was being offered.

Eventually the call ended and my colleague, exasperated, commented that this must be how non-Israelis perceive Israelis to be. I laughed and told her that this is pretty much the reputation Israelis have outside Israel. At least for the general public.

I was mostly amused that there are Israelis who are too Israeli, even for other Israelis!

Image credit: Tel Aviv Carmel Market fresh fruits, licensed CC BY-ND 2.0

Mindsets People Politics and government

Whether to celebrate Israeli independence?

A debate about whether to wholeheartedly celebrate Israeli independence (it was celebrated last Thursday) has erupted on the Web. It started with Sarah Tuttle-Singer’s Facebook post on 9 May:

She qualified her post a couple days later:

Bat Zion Susskind-Sacks published a response to Sarah’s post on her Times of Israel blog, titled “Open Letter to Sarah Tuttle Singer” which was pretty pointed:

This morning I read a pseudo parody of Tuttle-Singer’s post published by Justin Amler and titled “Why I can wholeheartedly celebrate Israel’s Independence Day” which I enjoyed too (thanks to Rolene for the share on Facebook)

Update (2016-05-16): Also read Amler’s follow-up article on Israel Diaries titled “It’s wonderful to be a Jew on Yom Haatzmaut“:

Justin Amler: It’s wonderful to be a Jew on Yom Haatzmaut

I don’t particularly want to wade into this debate even though I align more with Amler than I do with Tuttle-Singer (who, by the way, I think is wonderful even if I don’t share her politics).

If anything, this debate highlights very different perspectives on Israel expressed by Israelis and Jews across the political spectrum. No surprises there. One of the traits that tend to stand out for new immigrants is how Israelis have a tendency to have what seem to be full-blown arguments with each other, almost routinely. It’s practically a national sport and they are rarely meant to be taken particularly personally.

What we share is a passion for this land. Our land.

Image credit: my daughter who loves ארץ ישראל

Events and Life Mindsets People Travel and places

Israelis gatecrash a quiet wedding

Israelis are a crazy people and have a reputation that isn’t always positive. What people often don’t see is how amazing Israelis are. I came across a fantastic story yesterday about how a group of Israelis gatecrashed a quiet wedding in Haifa that really highlights one of the reasons I am proud to be an Israeli.

According to Times of Israel:

An American Jewish couple who came to Israel to get married, but found themselves short on guests, were caught by surprise when dozens of Israelis joined them to make their celebration a little bit merrier.

Guests celebrating a bat mitzvah at an adjacent hall in Haifa noticed that Judd and Ma’ayan’s party was almost entirely devoid of attendees.

“We saw the hall was empty. We spoke to the owner and he said that they came from the US to get married,” Miri Shabat told Ynet news. “Some friends from central Israel were supposed to come to the wedding. They couldn’t make it and there were only 20 guests here. So we started running posts on Facebook.”

What happened next was awesome. Here is Miri’s post on Facebook:

:משהו בשביל חברים ישראלי

Yes, we can be abrupt, obnoxious and take arrogance to a whole new level but that doesn’t come close to a complete picture of Israelis. Israeli culture is, well, complicated. There are many aspects of it that I don’t particularly like and I’ve been taken advantage of more than once. Those experiences pale in comparison to all the times our friends and strangers have been unexpectedly and wonderfully generous to us and to people they encounter on the street.

I used to stereotype Israelis before I really met them, before we moved here. I really had no idea. The negative stuff people experience that informs common perceptions about Israelis is really just the thin surface, a superficial layer that sometimes obscures something amazing within. We’re definitely not perfect but, like Shrek said, layers.

Image credit: Pixabay