These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

The Gever

Posted on August 19, 2011 by Shibley

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I originally posted this on my blog on August 17:

In Israel, one social role is occupied by the gever. The gever (literally, man), is a mythical man who exudes machismo and confidence. A man who wears sunglasses indoors and/or at night, who unbuttons at least two buttons on his shirt. A gever shows very little emotion, and can usually not be bothered with others. He will use any and all ways to prove his gever status over other rival gvarim. Today after my arrival in Israel, I had three gever encounters before putting my head on the pillow for the first time.

The first: My sherut driver could not have cared less about his passengers, their luggage, or the fact that many of them were arriving on international flights that were longer than 8000KM. I never expect patience in Israel, but I do expect mild assistance from a service industry like the nesher (super shuttle equivalent, although much more of an adventure). Of course, I was the last customer to be dropped off. The second to last, a young Israeli woman engaged the driver/gever in an argument about why he didn’t help people with their luggage out of the back of the van. She says, we’re paying 60 shekel, you could at least help. He says, they’re heavy suitcases and I don’t want to help. By the way, he had the requisite amount of unbuttoned shirt.

The second: I needed to grab a quick bite to eat. So went to one of the old stand-by schwarma places. The gever in front of me was sure to ask for extra spicy and double meat on his schwarma. He let out a laugh. Then proceeded to order two more of the same, one for his son, and two for him. The employee said, you’re a big man to eat so much spicy (loosely translated from the Hebrew). He patted his son on the back and handed him one of the three schwarmas. Gever in training. I wanted to laugh, but I dared not.

The third: Shortly after, the gever from above moved on to eat his doubly meaty doubly spicy food, it was my turn to order. My voice is still a bit raspy and not so strong after my recent and ongoing encounter with strep, as well as the 11 hour trip breathing bone dry airplane air. The man (not a gever) behind the counter told me to be a man and speak up.

There you have it, three gever stories before the day was out. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.