The Aliyah Manifesto: School

Shavuot is here and it is tradition to make Aliyah for the holidays. So here is more background about the child who made Aliyah

Education has scarred us all

I went to school in a class of around 8 kids. My parents wanted me to learn the valuable lesson that there are no people in the world, other than Jews. Even in my class.  School was a love to hate relationship for me. I loved not being there and I hated going.

My mom thought I had problems because I didn’t like to wake up in the mornings. She would yell, ‘David, wake up… you are going to miss the bus.’ She was encouraging me to stay in bed. I would lay there every day, ‘Oh shoot- does that mean I am going to miss school. Oh no. Who knows? I might miss a test. I’ll have to watch TV all day. That sucks.’

I got suspended one day. That was supposed to be a punishment. The principal reprimanded me, ‘You skipped class today mister Kilimnick. You are not coming in tomorrow. If you try playing your skipping class games again, you are going to have a two month vacation.’ Not having control over me for a day bothered him, so he made up for it with a speech. My parents then gave me a speech about how I am not allowed to go on the bus. I loved it. I wanted to be suspended the rest of my life. I just didn’t like speeches. However, I did like being called Mister at a really young age. So I kept on causing problems. The more trouble I caused, the more they treated me like a grownup, and called me Mister.

I have no idea why I went to school. This is the psychoanalysis part of the book; building up Freudian reasons for my move to Israel, because Israelis look nothing like my parents. Whatever Israelis look like, is for another part of this book, where we deal with racial profiling of people who are from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Far East Asia, the US and every other native Israeli land.

Kids could be so mean. They would always sing these songs like ‘David and Karen sitting in a tree. K-i-s-s-i-n-g.’ That was mean. First off, I didn’t know how to spell. Second off, I did not touch women as a kid, I wasn’t a loser. I am 35 and I still don’t touch women, because I am not a loser. They would also sing the song ‘First is worst, last is best, middle is the one with the hairy chest.’ I liked that song; it was catchy. But it was offensive. How did they know I had a hairy chest in 3rd grade? If sending me to school was to have me learn the lesson that people could be mean, my parents should have just sent me to camp.

We had fire drills. I do not know why, though I learned a valuable lesson. I learned that fires stop when you line up, and they stay away from people who walk slow, in height ascending order. I got in trouble when I ran and jumped out the window. I was trying to save my life. I heard the fire alarm and I thought that is what you do when there is a fire. But the lesson was well taken.  I later noticed, there was no fire in the school building, because we lined up and walked in an orderly fashion and did not push.

Gym class was the most pointless of the classes and I liked it the most. Can I say, I love my gym teacher, and it has nothing to do with the shorts. He was the most dedicated man to his profession I have ever met in my life. He still lives gym and for that he is one of the most respected people in my life. He was so dedicated to gym class that he found a way to make basketball boring. I didn’t do the greatest in gym class. I found recess more fun. Recess was like an unorganized gym class, where you could drop kick somebody in the middle of a basketball game, and that was fun. I loved recess, because it gave us enough time to start a game. We would kick-off the game and stop in the middle of the first pitch. ‘Game over, don’t swing.’ Recess allowed me to dream. I had dreams that recess would last a whole day. I would be able to go home, make pizza bagels, watch World Wrestling Federation and make it back in 10 minutes. Pizza bagels were the one exciting thing in my life, until I started eating real pizza. Pizza bagels stink; they are too hot, and then they get too cold in a minute, the sauce is ketchup which I didn’t have to wait for- in a generation where the best things came from Heinz, and I wasn’t allowed to use the toaster oven. But I had dreams.  I was going to be in the World Wrestling Federation, and then one day they changed the name to World Wrestling Entertainment, and I could not body-slam my friends’ heads into the cement anymore.

I had dreams that school would not be. We learned too much useless information. They made us learn geography, science, history, math, all things you do not need in order to make it in America. We learned that we had to try hard because high school was going to be hard and we had to prep. I prepped for high school and then I prepped for college and then I prepped for graduate school. I spent my whole life prepping for graduate school, which was easier than elementary school. My teachers had me working my tuchis off for nothing. Then at the end of graduate school, after prepping for a job, they didn’t hire me. It was all pain and preparation for nothing; just to keep me out of my parents’ home when they were at work.

In Israel, people don’t prepare for anything. They finish high school and that is it. They don’t even take their tests. That is unless they finish the army. Once they finish the army and realize that you can’t make a living sleeping in Thailand, that is when they go to school; only if they want. I love this country. The army gets them out of everything. Parents can’t yell at you, ‘Get up and get a job.’ All you have to say is ‘I did the army.’ The excuse works for everything. Watch: ‘Can you please get me some ice and the remote control?’ ‘I did the army.’ You see. Those couple of years and you never have to do anything again. ‘Stop eating so much, you are getting heavy.’ ‘I did the army.’ Even if it makes no sense, you did the army and you have the right to not listen anymore.

People in Israel do stuff they have to. And school is not one of them. I needed to be someplace where it made sense to let down my parents, and not work in the profession that they spent their whole life prepping me for. My parents sent me all the way through a masters in social work and rabbinic ordination. My comedy routine cost my dad $150,000. He doesn’t find it very funny. He has to justify, ‘He is not a mess up…not my fault…we tried…he is a comedic engineer. He constructs jokes.’ A little side note, I looked into a job in social work when I made Aliyah and begging is a better profession. If I can master sleeping on cardboard, near Ben Yehuda, I will be rich. It was pointless to get that degree, it was a financial liability to begin with. In Israel, as I have realized after taxes, I should have not done school or tried.

Gym class had me moving a bunch. But for what? We had the athletic achievement test, which consisted of the sit-n-reach. We would touch our toes and that was it. Anybody could do that. The whole year we would work towards this physical test to see if we were alive. He is alive, he passes. And who cared? I was a decent athlete but how could my parents get mad. ‘David…you got a C in dodge-ball, we have to talk…now we have to practice…stand against the wall. This might hurt…get the baseball…we are going to whip this at you so that you can Ace that gym class and feel comfortable running around in short shorts…we are a gym family, so stop focusing on science and buckle up mister- you run into that ball.’ This is too fun. That never happened. My parents didn’t care about gym class. They only cared that I did well in things that I hated, like all of the other classes in school. If I enjoyed it, there was a problem. That is what I learned as a young religious boy, never smile and stay away from girls.

Art was the only other subject I enjoyed, because it was also futile. Papier-mâché? Everything I made looked like a balloon. A dog balloon. A balloon of a house. I brought back papier-mâché and my mom used it as an ashtray. It wasn’t even pottery or ceramics. It was paper. She didn’t even smoke. She felt so bad, she took up smoking because she had no idea what to do with my non-artistic abilities. She even tried putting it up on the fridge as a buffer, to stop the door from hitting the wall. She had no idea what to do with it. I told her it was a jewelry box, but there was no opening anywhere, and it was a circle balloon.

It was just balloons and they called that art. At least art class gave me a reason for the use of my dad’s hand-me-downs. That was not a gift my dad gave me. It was a 1950’s, paisley that the Salvation Army didn’t want. The shirt only looked normal backwards. At least the paint just looked like a new layer of paisley.

Once school stopped, I had no reason to be Jewish. I could have as many vacation days as I wanted. Then I got a job, and I was once again a believer. I got to take days off of work because of my religion. Then they started making me come in on Sunday because of the holidays I took off. I realized, I have to move to Israel- a place where that holiday is everybody’s’ vacation, a place where nobody enjoys Sundays, a place where that holiday is only one day and everybody works on Sunday.

If they just would have taught me that the Kotel is the retaining wall, I would not have looked like such an idiot. I cheated on March of Dimes. I didn’t read the whole books when we did the fundraiser. I only read the last pages and the cover. I raised money for those kids, and cheating was right. I was a slow reader in first grade and that is what led me to Israel.

I hope my justification for Aliyah is making sense.

About the Author
David Kilimnick: Jerusalem's Comedian performs at his Off The Wall Comedy Basement- Jerusalem's first comedy club, every Thursday in English and every Wednesday in Hebrew, in downtown Jerusalem. David may also be contacted to perform for tour groups in Israel & Synagogue fundraisers around the world, and for your private parties. Contact: 972(50)875-5688 David Kilimnick, dubbed Israel's father of Anglo comedy by the Jerusalem Post, is leading the new pack of English-speaking stand-up comics in Israel . At his Off the Wall Comedy Basement club in Jerusalem (the first of its kind), Kilimnick has been offering up penetrating observations of life in his turbulent adopted country. Tourists and native Israelis alike have been flocking to his cozy, intimate club and raving about his unique ability to transform the daily chaos and aggravation of Israeli life into an evening full of laughter. Kilimnick's material covers the rocky transition from his "New York Cocoon" to his new life as an "Oleh Chadash" or Israeli newcomer. Still single, Kilimnick touches on his religious upbringing, his rabbinic insights, the injustices of Jewish grammar school and Jewish summer camp, and the looks he gets from his Jewish mother because he isn't married yet. Meanwhile, Kilimnick's universal humor takes you on a tour of funny through the Holy Land. Incorporating routines from his shows 'The Aliyah Monologues Classic 1 & 2','Find Me A Wife,' 'Frum From Birth: Religious Manifesto', his music show 'Avtala Band' & more, David Kilimnick justifies his Aliyah (move to Israel), while taking you through the reality of life as a single immigrant, Israel experiences, holidays & family left behind. You are sure to walk away entertained, enlightened, or with David. David has recently appeared on "Bip" Israel's comedy network, צחוק מעבודב and has been hailed by the tough Israeli media as a rising star who possesses Seinfeldian charm when he takes to the stage.