Life Is Just A Bus Ride
omething I like about living in
Israel is that the little blessings in
life seem so clear. Things we might
take for granted, not notice, or not
even experience in the United States seem
to jump out at me every day.
An example: Last week, Shalom and I got
on the bus. He bought a monthly bus pass
and asked the driver if he had any of the
WANETIK special plastic cases that Egged, the bus
company, created for them. It's a huge thing
Jewish News for us to have one of these green, folded
plastic holders with clear windows so that
you can get on the bus, flash your pass and
proceed. No work to find it in your wallet, bag or pocket.
No ripped or wrinkled passes. Very practical. Very cool. Very
The bus company gives away the plastic holders, but its
not so easy to find a driver who has one. This was the sec-
ond driver we'd asked since the month began and it wasn't
looking good for Shalom and his monthly pass.
The driver fished around in his black attache case. More
people boarded the bus, flashed their pass holders and
squeezed by Shalom, who was holding out for good news
next to the driver's seat.
Finally, the driver pulled something from the bag. It was a
green monthly bus pass holder, but it had things in its see-
through windows. He removed the papers and handed the
holder to Shalom.
The bus driver had given Shalom his own plastic holder!
If that's not a clear sign of Ahavat Yisrael and that we receive
wonderful little gifts called blessings,
s I don't know what is.
Another special bus experience: One morning I got on the
bus, heading for work. I didn't have a monthly bus pass.
Mine gets punched each ride. I handed the pass to the driv-
er, who promptly returned it to me, letting me know I had
no more punches. I apologized and fished around in my
pockets for money. Nothing.
I apologized again (I'm one of those people who apolo-
gizes to tables for walking into them, so this was a big time
"I'm sorry" moment for me). I told him I'd get off at the
He asked where I was going and I told him. He said, "It's
fine, you can pay me next time. I took you and your hus-
band home last night. I'm sure I'll see you again soon."
Out of control. As much as we tend to envision Israelis as
mean, yelling and pushy (which I'm not saying is entirely
untrue), the bus driver gave me a free ride.
Once I saw the same scene unfold for another commuter,
but the bar mitzvah-age traveler didn't feel it was right to
take a free ride and was about to get off the bus when
another boy, who looked about 7, had the driver punch his
pass twice so that the first boy had no choice but to stay on
the bus — the card was already punched.
I guess what I'm saying is that next time you hear a story
about the hard life in Israel (which I'm not disputing either),
remember that there are lots of tiny blessings being passed
around on the way to work. ❑
Devra Wanetik, daughter of Leonard and Ann Winetik of
West Bloomfield, was recently married to Shalom Leib Stark.
They live in the German Colony area of Jerusalem.
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of as important as Christianity's
Trinity, Judaism has its "threes."
Can you name any?
"Many Israelis have tended to take their fellow Jews
for granted. Now they are forced to sit up and
think about the meaning of Jewish nationhood —
because so many non-Israeli Jews are so visibly and
vocally troubled by Israel's matsav [situation]."
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— David Landau, a member of the editorial board
of the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, as quoted in the
story, "What's In a Word?" ins the February issue of
"I myself am sometimes astonished to see that
Arab doctors are treating Israeli soldiers. But you
simply cannot do it any other way."
— Eyran Halpern, newly retired medical director at
HaEmek Medical Center, a 435-bed hospital with a
staff and patient mix of Jews and Arabs, in Israel's
Central Galilee region, near the Palestinian city of
Jenin, as quoted in Ron Dzwonkowski's column
"Hospital's Mission Is to Save Lives and Break Ethnic
Barriers" in the Jan. 28 Detroit Free Press.
Mom's health regime's really a riot ...
Ahz ich zog dere* crazy, just buy it!
She thinks eating dishes
Of kishkeh** and knishes***
With lo-cal pop makes it a diet!"
— Martha Jo Fleischmann
* When I tell you ...
** stuffed derma
*** baked dumplings filled with potato,
meat, barley, etc.
"Torah is not a wisdom like medicine and math.
It's primarily a self-developed science."
— Rabbi Alon Tolwin of the Birmingham-based
Aish Center; at a lunch-and-learn held at the Jewish
News in Southfield.
"What I read makes me angry, so much so that I
want to go up to the people who write these
books and the parents of these children who teach
them to hate, grab them, shake them and yell:
`What could you possibly be thinking! How could
you hate your children so much so that you would
teach them such horrible things?'"
— Rachel Rosenthal, a 2001 University of Michigan
graduate from Franklin, living, working and study-
ing in Israel with Project Otzma, in an e-mail about
Palestinian society, which teaches children to hate
Jews as a source of evil.
"I feel that I will be safe for the rest of my life under God and that
I do feel much closer to God, too. I feel blessed to be a Jew and
that I am special and unique in my own way."
— Laura Nedorezov, 10, Rochester Hills
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