A remarkable ride
Huffington Post blogger Jim Higley called it the best cab ride of his life.
Just moments after pulling away from Terminal C at O’Hare, on the final leg of his journey home, Higley noticed the signs posted in the taxi he had grabbed.
“ATTN: JEWISH & MUSLIM PASSENGERS
“If you are hungry because you were unable to find kosher or halal food in the airports & airplanes, there are containers of kosher snacks under the back bench seat…”
There was more.
“ALL OTHER PASSENGERS: If your airline treated you like a peasant, fed you scraps and you are hungry, PLEASE help yourself. Do not be afraid to eat kosher food. You will not catch kosheritis.”
And then the closing line.
“(This) IS NOT AN AIRPLANE. NO CHARGE FOR SNACKS OR WATER.”
Higley searched for a catch, but there wasn’t one.The driver told him that travelers were arriving hungry, and this simply was his way to help.
Higley told him he was an inspiration, and then continued the ride.
“Another fare in the backseat,” he wrote. “Nourished with kosher kindness.”
Follow the beat
The latest stars of Israeli TV’s hottest talent competition are wowing audiences with covers of “Hotel California” and “The Sounds of Silence.” Audiences scream with glee, judges give them thumbs-up, and viewer approval tops 80 percent.
The duo’s long hair and beards might not seem out of place with the music they play, if not for the side curls, kippot and long black overcoats that go with them. Welcome, if you will, The Amazing Rabbis – Arie and Gil Gat, middle-age ultra-Orthodox guitar pickers who are rockin’ reality TV in the Jewish State.
While performing favorites from The Eagles’ playlist live on prime-time television might appear to clash with their image, let alone their devout beliefs, the brothers – who are street performers by day – told the Associated Press they are doing nothing at odds with Jewish law. Granted, few in the Beit Shemesh community Arie lives in know of their sudden fame, and it is extremely unlikely many are casting votes, since hardly any Orthodox Jews there – the brothers among them – own or watch TV.
“We checked out the whole issue of participating in the show in Jewish law,” Arie told the AP. “It’s not like we jumped into rumbling waters without checking the temperature. … From the perspective of Jewish law, there’s no problem with what we are doing.” It even is acceptable for them to perform before women, he said, as long as the women don’t dance.
The contrast between their music and their lifestyle actually mirrors the arc of their life stories, AP reports.
They grew up secular, loving modern music. Arie learned to play guitar and, at one time, was a professional drummer. Gil used to perform at jazz clubs and blues bars in New York. It wasn’t until later that they turned religious.
As for blending the ways of the modern world with the traditions and mores of his chosen community, Gil Gat said, “Music brings down all barriers between secular people, religious people. There is this kind of love.”
A tip of the hat
The Israel Defense Forces is well-accustomed to meeting the specialized needs and concerns of its highly diverse ranks. Its soldiers are religious and secular, male and female, immigrant and sabra, kosher and not, drawing from the cultures and peoples of many lands.
And now, the IDF has found a way to address yet another special need: vegan-friendly berets.
The beret is part of the army’s uniform. But the standard-issue version is 100 percent wool, according to Israel Hayom, and that is at odds with the beliefs of those who shun the use of animal byproducts, whether eaten or worn. Vegan soldiers asked for an alternative.
"A vegan beret is a beret made of synthetic materials, none of which are animal products," head of the IDF's Clothing and Footwear unit Maj. Dimitri Romnatzov said.
Black versions of the headgear became available last year. According to the article, several hundred already have been issued. By next year, green ones will be offered to those who need them.
The city of Brussels nixed the request by an Israeli couple to name their infant Jerusalem. The pair – born in Jerusalem but working in Belgium for the past three years – said they thought the clerk was pulling their leg, but were told they would need a letter from the Israeli embassy attesting that the name Jerusalem was not out of line and “wouldn’t harm the child.”
Adding insult to injury, the Belgian clerk suggested the Jewish couple name their kid Bethlehem instead…