Here’s to the Complanglos

Complanglo: The word amalgamating the phrase Complaining Anglos. It refers to English-speaking Olim to Israel who can’t seem to stop finding faults in the Jewish State they’ve moved to.

“…being Jewish isn’t a ticket into the in-crowd in Israel.” Sarah Tuttle-Singer

It’s hard to believe what the experience of being an Oleh entails. Picking up and moving to another country that speaks your mother tongue is hard. Moving to a country where the mother tongue is not the one you grew up with finds the equation of hard jumps exponentially. Suddenly that bright and cheerful surrounding is terrifying. The flowers that shine bright in the sun all contain thorns that weren’t there before. A person’s smile contains all the sharp instruments required to eat you alive. The sun itself seems to glower at you as you walk by. Getting out of bed becomes a chore just because the world seems so scary.

It’s late at night and I’m slightly hungry. I’m walking to the central bus station and pass the shuk on Ben-Yehuda St. The shops are closing up but I figure I’ll quickly walk in and see if there is anything I can buy before it’s completely closed. I pass by a fruit stand and spot a bunch of bananas standing next to a short wooden sign- in front of the sign- where 3.70 is written in black marker.

הבננות האלה שלוש שבעים (These bananas are 3.70?) I ask.

 לא (No) the seller responds. Then he raises his voice slightly and gestures to his nearly empty stand.
כל השולחן שלוש שבעים. כל השולחן ( The entire table is three seventy. Everything.)

{Aw man. Is he making fun of me?}

I didn’t wait around to find out. The central bus station was only 15 minutes away anyway. I’ll be home in a little over an hour. That shouldn’t be too long, right?

Thank god I have a wonderful support group.

First, Nefesh B’nefesh made it quite clear that they are there to help me.

Yet, as wonderful as Nefesh B’nefesh is, the friends I made in the immediate period before Aliyah are still far more important. All my questions about bureaucracy here and how I should get myself through the foreign machinery are explained by these English speaking friends who have done it all before. Nefesh B’nefesh would do this too, but different places in different parts of Israel have different regulations and different people working behind the counter. That makes all the difference.

Heard in conversation:” You guys, this couple just called me asking about places to live. They are moving from America with kids and they made it clear that they don’t want to live in an Anglo community because they want to socialize with Israelis and become part of the Israeli society at large. I told them they were crazy if they thought they could just pick up the language and avoid the Anglo community. What do you think?”

Before I wouldn’t know what to say. Now I know. The support group is what draws Anglos to live with Anglos and Russians to live with Russians when they move to Israel. We may not be on our home-turf, but together it seems less challenging.

But challenging it remains. And complaints are part of the story of challenge. Together we make more stories to share as we are overcoming the challenges.

אם אתה יכול להתמודד עם האתגרים, אתה יכול להתגבר עליהם
If you can cope with challenges, you can overcome them.
—A very good Israeli friend

So here’s to the Complanglos. The future of Israel is written with every challenge you overcome.

Happy Jan. 1st

2014 can only be better.

About the Author
Meir is a Political Science graduate of Lander College for Men (A Touro College branch in Queens NY) and a recent Oleh