Sarah Tuttle-Singer
A Mermaid in Jerusalem

So this is what happens when your pipe bursts in Israel

Your neighbor calls her friend, who is married to a woman whose uncle's son's girlfriend's father is an electrician

So this is what happens when your pipe under the bathroom sink bursts in Israel.

You turn off the water. But the water was already off, so that doesn’t help.

You grab a towel. And then another. And then another. And then you say F#ck it and dump your entire dirty laundry basket on the floor. But THAT doesn’t help.  And now the water has turned the 51st shade of grey.

So, you yell at the pipe. It appears to spurt more water, or maybe that’s just because tears of frustration are filling your eyes.

And the water level is rising. And there ain’t no TIME to build an ark.
So then, you call the landlord (who lives next door.) He comes over and tries to staunch the flow of water with his hat which he wears instead of a yarmulke.

“God will understand,” he says, but he murmurs a prayer anyway.

Except he can’t get close to the sink because the water is boiling hot, because, obviously.

Meanwhile, your bathroom is full of steam, as water gushes out of the pipe beneath the sink… And all you need is Charlton Heston to stroll on by and wave a staff so the waters will part…

movie clips

… but no such luck.

But it’s all good because your landlord has turned of the main water supply.

Then, the neighbors converge because he turned off the main water supply.

“What happened to the water?”

“Why aren’t you calling a plumber?”

“Does anyone have any hummus?”

And your kids are sitting up in bed, cartoon eyes match-match, long past their bedtime.

The landlord and the entire neighborhood (including two cats and a chicken) go outside to debate. It’s like something out Chelm, people. There is shouting.  There is yelling.  There is Discussion with a capital D.

“We have to leave the water off!”

“But how am I supposed to shower?”

“Can’t you patch the pipe with hummus?”

Meanwhile, you’re standing there alone with your sponga-mop and the water is lapping around your shins.

So, as their voices fade down the dusty road, you turn on Taylor Swift “Shake it Off”and start poll dancing like a sea monkey with the squeegie mop thingy as you flush the water out of your house.

“And the pipe’s gonna break break break break beak…”

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to you, the Landlord and the Wise Men and Women of Chelm  are back in the living room, while you’re mid-twerk.

Shake it off, shake it off.

The landlord clears his throat.

They tried to shut off YOUR water, but that didn’t work, so the whole neighborhood will have to do without water until the morning, Ba’ezrat Hashem.

Then, the woman who lives on the other side of you, says “no, that won’t do,” so she calls her friend, who has a brother Pinkhas, who is married to a woman who’s uncle’s son’s girlfriend’s father is an electrician, so maybe HE knows someone.

“Anyone want wine?” you say as you feel water slosh around your ankles.

No one does.

You think about your mantra:

“God grant me the coffee to change the things I can, and wine to accept the things I cannot.”

And since you’re out of water, and there will be no coffee, you uncork the wine and drink deep.

And then you remember: #StartupNation. And from the bedroom you hear your son say to your daughter “Don’t worry, Mama always succeeds.”

So you text your Wolf Pack on Whatsapp….. And of course, Leanne Ravid to the rescue.

She asks someone, who asks someone, and voila, you have the number of a plumber who works 24/7 (“Pipes break on Shabbat. God understands.”)

Your other neighbor’s son calls the plumber, who is a real mensch — instead of taking the two hundred million shekels you’re ready to pay (because showers! And flushing the toilet!) he walks him through it on the phone because (again) #StartUp nation, and… it’s fixed!

That’s it?

It’s fixed?

It’s fixed!


So, you finish off the wine, offer a tray of sweet Turkish delights to everyone.

Then your landlord holds the plate high above his head, and he says:

“Blessed are you, Eternal God, Ruler of the Universe, by whose word all things come into being.”

And we all say: Amen.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer is the author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel. She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems, and she now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors, talks to strangers, and writes stories about people — especially taxi drivers. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.