Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Only In Israel #13: Why did the truck driver cross the road?

So I was walking down King George St one day when I spotted a lady crossing the street. She had a bag over her shoulder and was wheeling a stroller while a toddler was pushing his own riding toy beside her. There was nothing unusual about that. She was crossing the street perpendicular from where I was waiting at the red light. (A policewoman recently warned me not to cross against the light just near this intersection so I wasn’t going to press my luck.)

Right smack in the middle of the street the toddler apparently resented his mother holding his hand and became very uncooperative. This forced mom to pick him up with one hand, and wheel the stroller with the other, all while still having the bag over her shoulder. Inevitably, that yellow riding toy was left behind right in the middle of a very busy intersection. The red light that kept the long line of cars from smashing it to pieces was about to turn green.

There was nothing the mother could do, as she wasn’t about to abandon her children for this toy. As I was about to cross against the light to help her out, policewoman’s warning or not, something truly unexpected happened. Sitting in front of this long line of cars that were waiting for the light to change was a delivery truck. The truck’s driver side door flew open and down jumped the truck driver who happily rescued the riding toy from its precarious position and deposited it safely on the corner. With a wave, nod, and a smile he jumped back in to his truck.

As I stood there watching I was awed. I was wondering what exactly would happen if the same scenario played out in New York City. Would any NYC truck driver ever abandon his vehicle to help a mother in need? Would any NYC truck driver even bother driving around the toy rather than simply running it over?

Who knows? But one thing I know. Here in Israel when people see that help is needed – they help! Because after all, we are all part of the same family.


Monday, August 24, 2009

What's in your backyard?

There was a small news bite in the Israeli media which most people may not have even noticed. Today, there was a court hearing to decide the fate of a grave that was recently discoverd.

The story goes something like this. Mitch Pilcer owns a bed and breakfast in Tzipori in the lower Galilee. Business was going well so he decided to expand the hotel. But when they started digging in his yard they discovered something extraordinary.

Right there in his backyard was the grave of none other than Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi ! It's still being investigated to see if things pan out and it really is the grave of the important Amora sage. But it just goes to show you that when you are living in a land that contains thousands of years of our history you'll never know what you'll discover right in your own backyard!