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Booze on the bus and going postal

Booze on the bus and going postal

The Jewish Week caught up with Sharon two months into her aliyah journey. To read about her adventures from the beginning, click here.

Riding the #13 bus this morning to ulpan, I blinked my still groggy eyes to verify what I just saw – a passenger drinking a bottle of Carslberg beer at 8 in the morning.

Totally out in the open, the bearded and sidecurl-clad man touted his green glass bottle and slugged a few gulps back every now and then, with no brown paper bag to conceal what he was drinking.

Coming from New York, I didn’t realize that public alcohol consumption was legal here. Or, perhaps it isn’t.

Speaking of New York, yesterday a makolet (convenience store) salesman took it upon himself to tell me that "no one with half a brain leaves NY for Israel." Thanks? I replied.

Right now I am sitting waiting in the cramped post office on 217 Yafo, where I may be able to find the package my mom sent me almost three weeks ago. The package that was supposed to take six to 10 days to get here, mind you. Luckily, I checked the tracking number last night, and allegedly after a failed delivery to my apartment on October 12, the package was brought here.

No notification was left for me, naturally.

So let’s hope, I thought, as I waited there with 19 people in front of me, that the package is in fact there as well. Well, at least there’s an adorable little curly-haired girl running around to entertain me – a small Arab-Israeli child who was way too young to have any perception of conflict.

Meanwhile, the gentleman next to me, who was born in Israeli and whose parents I think immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia, informed be that Israel is "bad" and that I should return to New York because he has to have two jobs here. As usual, I told him ‘thanks.’

Finally my number was called, and I stepped up to the postal teller and spoke a combination of Hebrew and English. I feel like right now my knowledge of Hebrew can actually get me farther in a post office than in any other place. The postal teller, of course, answered me in English and at first did not want to help me at all because I couldn’t supply him with a package notice. But then when I pulled up the tracking number on my iPhone, he finally directed me to a package room upstairs and said that I could have skipped that 40-minute queue.

Oh well.

When I arrived upstairs, the clerk spent a few minutes finishing her personal phone conversation before helping me, and when she finally did acknowledge my existence, she did so begrudgingly. She too at first refused to give me my package without the so-called "notice" that she insisted the deliveryman had dropped off in my mailbox. No matter how many times I reminded her that I had never received this notice, she assured me, that yes, I had.

Finally, however, I somehow convinced her that my tracking number plus my Teudat Zeheut (my Israeli ID card) were sufficient, and she dug through some completely disorganized shelves and handed me the missing package.

Everything that my mom and dad had worked so hard to collect for me is safely in my possession. I guess we learn that next time, we just use Fed-Ex, or we don’t ship at all.

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This entry is cross-posted on Sharon’s original "Sacred and Insane" blog. You can reach Sharon at, or follow her on Twitter.

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