The comforter – written on my newly dumb smartphone.

This blanket feels like a crushing cloud is sitting upon me, smothering me from the top but leaving me exposed on the sides to the cold stormy weather every time I change sleeping positions. It was bought from a shop a few streets away from my absorption center along with bed linens and a pillow last night when I arrived in the country. Needless to say, my packing style leaves something to be desired. Perhaps I should have started packing more than an hour before moving to a foreign country. Then again, then I could have fallen immediately asleep all warm and cozy in the embrace of large comforters and fluffy pillows. That would have been terribly boring after being awake for 24 hours. This is way better.

Of course it would have been nice to sleep on the plane, but thanks to American Jewish generosity it was populated by 18 year olds excited to visit that place with the camels that grandma and grandpa think is cool where stuff occasionally blows up. I was however entertained by the more sophisticated conversations of my two seatmates who were on a gay Birthright trip to Israel and were competing about who had ‘done’ more countries in the world while also discussing whether people graduate with stronger personal identities from Columbia or Brown. I learned that Chinese people don’t like tanning and that Columbia has a very strange core ciriculum. This was certainly more valuable than sleep.

I took comfort repeatedly during the flight in the fact that these Birthrighters have arrived right in time for a wave of cold weather and a massive storm which would ruin their experience. Somehow it did not register during the flight that I too was arriving into the same weather conditions but was not going to stay in a four star hotel with temperature control in each room. I suppose that gives them the last laugh. Have fun guys and act responsibly when you sneak out of the hotel to go party in Tel Aviv. I hope I didn’t give away your plans there bus 120. Oops.

My quest for a comforter set was not however entirely in vain. Had I not spent an hour walking around Ra’anana I would not have known that there is apparently room on a Ra’anana street for two Russian piano keyboard players sitting less than fifty feet apart competing for the attention of the public. People in this place must really love their depressing music played by depressed Russians. Some advice to depressed Russian street performers: a little pep goes a long way. Maybe wear a funny hat or something and learn to play some classic rock. Although, this does remind me of an old Russian Jewish joke. A Jew and a Christian are sitting outside a Russian Orthodox Church begging for change as mass is letting out on Sunday. Everyone gives money to the Christian and as they walk by the Jew they ask why he would be so stupid as to try to compete for donations with a devout Christian outside of a church. When they have all gone, the Jew gets up walks over to the Christian and says ‘Moshe, ok, time to settle up. Were they trying to teach us how to beg for money?’ So, in other words, what do I know?

There also seem to be elections coming up and according to the campaign posters around town there are two guys running. One is a tanned older gentleman with white hair that looks like a Republican senator from somewhere in Texas  and the other a younger gentleman with a shaved head and a kippa who looks totally harmless. The latter candidate has more posters around and I am assuming he must be either the prime minister or the head of the opposition trying to get into power. It is nice that the choices are so limited because having lots and lots of candidates and parties to choose from could get rather confusing.

Ok, everything above knocking the Birthright people is a gross exaggeration. They were actually pretty quiet and considerate and I could have gotten a full night of sleep but I just can’t sleep on planes. I also overheard nothing about a plan to sneak out of the hotels, but I think it is a safe assumption that such a plan will be hatched early in the trip. Here is my personal suggestion to every birthright bus on getting out of your hotel holding facility: send your best conversationalists early in the trip to corrupt the trip organizers. They are easy prey as long as they trust you to keep quiet and they shall lead you to the promised land. When you do go out at night keep in mind that you can probably sleep off much of the hangover on the bus and that your consumption of massive quantities of alcohol is a patriotic duty that could theoretically lower the costs of beer for everyone else in the homeland. Also, if you do strike up a conversation with an English-speaking guy with a shaved head who just moved to Israel it is an ancient local custom to buy them a beer. Tradition here is somewhat specific and there is a consensus Rabbinical view that the beer should be Belgian.

Oh internet how you were missed last night, spam and trolls and all. If only you were there with me last night to tell me where to buy a comforter set. Let’s never quarrel again. Internet, internet, now that we are back together where can one buy an inexpensive comforter set in the vicinity of Ra’anana?

About the Author
Boaz is a techie and a news junkie. Born in the Soviet Union, raised in New York and as of 15 months ago an oleh hadash in Israel. He has a hard time writing in the third person, but is persevering. Boaz has a technical background working in startups and an MA in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Currently working in a startup in Israel.