These and Those

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

[Alumni Guest Post] Three Stories

Posted on April 10, 2013 by The Director of Digital Media

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Daniel Shibley (Yr. '11, Fellows '12) shares some anecdotes:

eOccasionally, I witness events that I think are funny, but I am unsure if others will find them humorous, this week witnesses three small incidents that I think most will find humorous. Enjoy:

  1. Early Sunday morning I was standing at the bus stop in Jerusalem, awaiting the arrival of the first of two buses that would take me back to yeshiva. Despite the early hour, the non-bus lanes were already clogged with traffic, and the lines at the red lights grew longer and longer. Suddenly an ambulance required immediate passage through the gridlocked lanes. Some drivers attempted to move their car into a more favorable position for the ambulance, others did not budge. A man standing next to me at the bus stop, sees this unfolding, and begins pacing the line of cars, yelling at the drivers to get out of the way, no luck. Then, as the ambulance nears us, close to crossing the intersection, the same guy begins yelling at the driver of the ambulance for being in the public lanes instead of the centrally located, and virtually empty, bus lanes. After finally passing, he turns to me to, in a loud over-excited voice, explain how wrong the driver was, and what he should have done. Of course, he also did not miss an additional opportunity to call the operators of the private vehicles all sorts of unpleasant names.
  2. Moments after story number one, I witnessed two Egged drivers get into an argument over who was supposed to drive which bus. It is not an uncommon site to wait a few minutes on the bus when one shift ends and the other begins. The outgoing driver collects his things, usually a lunch bag and maybe a coat or a newspaper, lets himself out of the driver’s cubicle and the new fellow enters, taking a moment or two to arrange his belongings. I am not really sure why a shift was ending since the bus I was on was just the second bus of the day on that particular route, and had not yet reached the end of the line. So the two drivers begin arguing over whether it was that bus or the upcoming bus of the same route number that the relief driver was meant to board. I was sitting almost out of ear shot, but there were at least three rounds of, “It’s this bus!” met with, “No, it isn’t!” I am not sure exactly how the dispute was resolved, except to say that the original driver remained in the driver’s seat. I was a bit surprised that none of the passengers attempted to intervene, revolt, or offer to drive the bus. Then again, it was early and most were half asleep. Who knows what could have resulted if everybody had been fully awake.
  3. Unsolicited advice or critiques from strangers is fairly common on the Israeli street. The critiques are always draw a laugh when they are slightly hypocritical. On Monday I was standing in the middle of an articulated bus, trying to maintain my balance as the floor swiveled beneath me. Four Hareidi boys, about 10 years old, boarded the bus and decided this was a great area to play. They were noisy and disruptive. A non-religious woman, who was scantily clad for her age (think Madonna), concluded a loud cell phone call, half of which the entire bus was privileged to hear, and began admonishing the children. She asked them if they new about “Kiddush Hashem” (the sanctity of The Name, practically it means acting in a way that honors God). Of course, being good Hareidi boys, they said yes. She then delivered a scathing review of their behavior, whilst trying to prevent some of her body parts from escaping her less than immodest clothing. The boys, whether frightened or shocked, listened to every word, stood quietly and at attention for the remainder of their ride, then disembarked. After their departure, the woman answers phone call, where she begins a loud, profanity laced, intimate conversation.

    Sometimes the best thing to do is laugh.