One People

Achdus is Hebrish for “unity”.

N’ah Alitalia

I just hate it when people don’t bend over backwards to help older people.  I must be getting older.

We took a trip to the Holy Land a couple of weeks ago.  My m-i-l, the one who is always nagging about derech eretz (manners, see previous posts) did not like our dates on EL AL and took the Italian airline.

“I’ll try it,” she said.  She likes to try new things.

Our flight was unremarkable but we had a great time those first few days, settled into an apartment in Bakaa and rented a car, tooled around the country to our old stomping grounds.

M-i-l caught up with us in Petach Tikva where my s-i-l and her considerable (K”H) sized fam live.  “I had a simply TERRIBLE flight,” she exclaimed in her most British of British accents.

Why so bad?

“Oh, you would think I had to pay extra for water.  WATER.  I approached the galley. CLOSED.  I asked for a blanket.  We have no blankets.  Well, we’re short on blankets.  A pillow?  I might as well have asked for silver or gold.”

Sorry, mom.

“Oh.  And breakfast.  Because I ordered a kosher meal, they gave me salami.  SALAMI for breakfast.”


She got over it.

A few days later I remembered that a cousin of mine had just moved to Catamon, so I visited him, too, and he had an even better story about Alitalia.

“We were going to Rome and had ordered a kosher meal.  They said they didn’t have one.  We argued, but no meal.  After we landed we were arrested for harassing the flight crew.  If I hadn’t been EXTREMELY solicitous, I’d be in jail today.”

Would you say it’s anti-Semitism?  I have no idea, honestly.  But I can tell you something for sure.  No water, no Torah, no derech eretz, and for me, no, no, no Alitalia.

Unapologetically yours,


August 8, 2007 Posted by | Alitalia, derech eretz, EL AL | 1 Comment

Derech Eretz and the Parking Garage

A kabala is a receipt.  My S-O, Mordechai (we’re married over 30 years) and I were in an Israeli parking garage at a hotel the other day.  We arrived before Shabbas and had quite a few packages and suitcases. 

We also had taken ourselves on a fantastic tour of Bet Guvrin, the huge bell shaped caves above ground, and the naturally air-conditioned caverns under-ground.  It was a hundred degrees in the shade.  But the caves were nice.

 More drama on that another time, also about derech eretz.  I’ve explained elsewhere the meaning of Derech Eretz, but basically, for our purposes, it means common decency.  Manners

Anyway,  it was hot.  A really, really hot day.  When we visit Israel the weather’s always weird.  It’s like G-d telling us, Don’t come to Israel for the weather.

Finally back at the hotel (it was a simcha), M. parked the car and I checked in.  He never got a receipt at the parking garage.  The attendant didn’t give him one, and he didn’t know he needed it to get out.

After Shabbat we wanted to go out to get something called hot chocolate cake.  It’s apparently amazing at that bakery behind the gas station in Bakaa (Jerusalem).  That is an amazing bakery, it’s true.

But the parking attendant wouldn’t let us out without the receipt from the day before.  Big argument, big drama.  In the end, the guy told me, in rapid fire Hebrew, that if we wanted to be thieves, so be it.

No one has ever called us thieves before.  We may not be perfect, but that’s not an adjective I’d use to describe us.

 I gave him a look to kill, one of those, Unbelievable Chutzpah looks, shaking my head, as if to say, You should be ashamed of yourself.   He literally stepped back.  I’m not so young. My look said, How could you call us that?  His face told me that he knew he’d over-stepped.

Remember, Elul is Derech Eretz month.  Pass it on, please.  Tell everyone that every Jew has to be nice.  All the time.  It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

 Appreciatively yours,




August 1, 2007 Posted by | derech eretz, Derech Eretz Month, Elul, midot | Leave a comment

My Mother-in-law and Derech Eretz Month

The quick and dirty on this is that she is the idea person in the family. She’s also our moral compass.

The other day she said, We need people in the shul who will drive elderly people to their appointments if they need assistance.

I said, Well, make the suggestion.

She said, I did. The Rabbi said, Write it up. I don’t write things up.

Hmmm. Maybe. . .

Then she continued: Nobody has derech eretz these days.

Derech eretz is common decency, manners.

What are you getting at?

Well, there’s a new couple in my building.


And I’m waiting for them to come up to me to say hello.

Why wait? Go say hi!

No, that’s not right. I’m older. They should come over to me first.

That makes sense.

You know what we need?

What, Mom?

We need derech eretz MONTH!

I agree.

Elul. The month before Rosh HaShana. That should be derech eretz month. The whole shul should try to observe it, be especially nice to others. THINK before they open their mouths.

Great. But why stop there? Why not tell the WHOLE WORLD to observe Derech Eretz month?

Sure, why not.

So I’m telling you.



June 6, 2007 Posted by | chesed, derech eretz, Derech Eretz Month, Elul, Elul is Derech Eretz Month, helping older people, manners, moral compass, mother-in-law, rabbi | Leave a comment