These and Those

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

Driving Lessons

Posted on September 12, 2011 by Shibley

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Since arriving in Israel last July, I have repeated numerous times the phrase, “The only thing worse than an Israeli driver is an Israeli driver in training.” They fly or creep down my street with the big lamed on top of the car. Sometimes multiple students are in the back seat. The instructor often has a scowl on his face and a cigarette precariously wedged between two fingers as his arm hangs out the window. Perhaps even more amusing are the bus drivers in training who drive large buses with an equally large lamed gracing the side of the bus. Whether buses or cars, they practice stopping, nearly sending their instructors through the windscreen. They practice the dreaded parallel parking maneuver, often bumping hubcaps, bumpers, and the sides of tires against the curb, other vehicles, and the like. Lest you think that I’m picking on Israelis, this is no doubt a world wide experience. However, the lamed somehow seems more infantalizing than “student driver.”

On a serious note, today I saw a driving lesson that gave me hope. A very religious Jewish man was tutoring a car full of young Arab girls. There they were, representatives of two very different, and often at odds peoples, working together. If only fixing everything else in this region of the world was as easy as a driving lesson.

Hebrew word of the day; Nahag(et) Hadash(a) (New driver)

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