Thursday, February 4, 2010

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Posted by Colleen (bits by Eric)

Well, we are getting lots of questions so I’m going to attempt to answer them. Keep in mind we have been here just under 2 weeks so there is much to learn still.

Compared to U.S. how does the costs of things differ in Israel?

It seems on average the cost of living is probably 25% higher in general. You can buy just about everything here that's available in the US, but American things (Diet coke, Raisin Bran, etc...) are just more. Also the American things are sometimes not exactly the same... the Diet Coke tastes like its made with Saccarin, and the Raisin Bran is made with yellow raisins instead of black, and the flakes are much sweeter, like their coated in apple juice.

Some of the things we haven’t been able to find are cheddar cheese, salsa, and ground coffee. We use a cheese similar to Swiss but stronger, to replace the cheddar. We are eating a soft cheese similar to cream cheese but not as firm. It’s good though. Also, it is hard to find ground coffee. Almost everything is instant. Yuck! Coffee is not an Israeli drink. I have been told to ask for expresso or Turkish coffee when I am eating out. The lady at JUC gave me the name to look for in the super market that should be ground.

Groceries you buy at the suk (market) are the same or cheaper than US but you buy different items from different vendors. Candy at the candy vendor is sold bulk and seems very cheap ($1.50 for a pretty good sized bag of it), but American Candy bars sold at the store are about $1.50 each.
We don't drive anywhere, but gas is VERY expensive, like $8.00 /gallon.

Does it take longer to dry your clothes there than it did here?

Just a little longer but the dryers are smaller and their electricity is at a different voltage and frequency. Saving electricity seems to be a city-wide goal. Most people hang out their laundry. Also, it seems like laundry services are common.

Does the school have clothes driers or are you using a clothesline?

Yes, they have washers and driers but hanging your clothes out to dry is encouraged. Because of the hills, you have to get them hung early because you lose sunlight earlier than you expect. Once it is over the hill, it gets cold. 

How to send messages on your blog?

At the bottom of each blog you can click on “comment” and it will allow you to post a comment. It then comes to Eric and he “posts” the message.

Who is Karen?

OK, Follow this…

  • Robin is a friend in Buda who homeschools with us and whose family is in karate with ours.
  • Robin introduced me to her friend Karen, also a karate and homeschool mom.
  • Karen grew up in Jerusalem and as a teenager babysat Dror.
  • Dror’s mom is Lida.
  • Dror, now a grown man, works for Intel and travels to the states once a year.  Just so happens he was in the US shortly after I met Karen, and I got to then meet Dror.
  • Dror got me in contact with Lida (his mom) who looked at our apartment for us before we arrived and has shown us around the town after our arrival.

The World just got smaller.

Now more about Karen…

Karen lived in Jerusalem from 6 till the age of 13. As we were learning our Hebrew, I would try out my new words on Karen who speaks beautiful Hebrew. When here, Karen even shopped at the same super market that we go to here in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is HUGE and to think we are living in the same neighborhood that she lived in is cool. She continues to give us great suggestions and shares wonderful memories with us as we are feeling our way around.


What is a Kippah?


Ok, kippah is what we hear people refer to the yarmulke. A yarmulke is the round small hat that the Jewish men wear. It is a sign of submission to God.

How can a Big Mac be kosher?  

More generally, what is kosher?

Kosher is the religious dietary restrictions of the Jewish people.  Most simply, it requires that dairy products be kept separate from meat products.  This means, for example, no cheese on your hamburger and no meat on your pizza. 

You can put vegetables on meat, you can put vegetables on dairy, you just cant mix the dairy and the meat, so if you’re having a meal with both, you use separate plates and utensils.

There are also other restrictions such as the types of meat you are allowed to eat.  No pork, no horses, most insects, etc…. It can get more technical than but that’s the basics. 


What is  Yemin Moshe? 

Yemin Moshe is the “road” at the end of Jabotinsky that leads down to the bottom of the Hinnom Valley. I say “road” because its on the map, but it contains 227 steps and is only wide enough for foot traffic.



Click the Map for Details

More about Jeruselem Protestant Cemetery

Go to the map above, and look below the flag for JUC.  You may need to zoom in one more level to see it, but it’s right below the school.

Interesting tidbit:

The science of archeology is only about 100 years old.  Before that, it only entailed digging stuff up with little to no method, with the intent to find relics and treasures. 

Along came a fellow by the name of Petrie, a rather eccentric young man from England who learned to read hieroglyphics as a teenager and later travelled to Egypt and was instrumental in organizing many of the digs going on.  At that time in early archeology, the potsherds (bits of pottery) that archeologists found were just discarded as junk. 

Petrie later travelled to southern Israel and found a tell (a mound made up of layers of civilizations each layer representing a different time period in the mounds history).  This tell had been worn away on the side by a stream and he saw the layers and noticed that the pottery was actually different in each layer and he recognized that some of it looked similar to the that which he had seen in Egypt. 

He made the discover, through this process, that the pottery that is almost always present at these finds is very important for helping to date the different layers.  Now, by looking at the pottery you can tell just how old that layer is. This was huge!

Anyhow, Petrie was rather proud of himself. He knew he was a genius, and had this crazy notion that his head must be expanding to fit his ever increasing brain. So before he died in the 1940’s he willed that his head be preserved for scientific study. 

Guess where his body is buried?  Yep, Jerusalem Protestant Cemetery, right behind the school (you actually have to walk through the school’s gate to get to it).

His head?  It was put in a bottle and sent off to England. Problem was, it was WWII, and the Germans were bombing England.  Well, the building that had his head was bombed and his head was lost, until recently someone discovered it and realized it was Petrie’s now shrunken head.  Ironic isn’t it… he had it cut off because he thought it was extra large, now its extra small.  That’s rich.


What is the Talbieh?

Talbieh is considered one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in modern Jerusalem. It is also one of the older neighborhoods of West Jerusalem (West Jerusalem being anything this side of the Hinnom valley) and is where we live along with the Prime Minister and the President.

Are you able to watch TV?  or see a  newspaper in English? 

We have cable—something we didn’t have in the US. We like to watch Fox News and the children’s channel where you can see the same episode of Zach and Cody 40 times. We would really like to see local news but it is all in Hebrew. Our Hebrew is not good enough to follow them. We are able to pick out words and phrases but nothing more.

What does your new apartment look like? 

We will get a video soon of the apartment and post it. It is smaller than the first one and lacks the picture window. However, we have a wonderful garden out back with a picnic table. It has 2 bedrooms. Eric and I in one, Celine and Lillian in the other and Tally sleeps on the sleeper sofa. It has 1 bathroom with a shower big enough to stand in and no tub. The water is heated by a solar panel on the roof so on cloudy days and in the morning there is no hot water. In both apartments there is a button you can put to have the water heated electrically. Propane gas stove, no dishwasher.

We really like it and with our suitcases unpacked, it feels like home. The bonus to this place other than the extra security outside : ) is we have our personal Piano Man. The man who lives above us plays the piano every night and sometimes in the afternoon. He plays very nice, pretty music. It’s enjoyable.

What are you eating?  Israeli food or American?

We mostly eat American food because we eat at home. But nothing with American labels because it is expensive. Everything is made fresh. We do eat Israeli bread. We all love it. They have all kinds and it’s all good. I made chocolate chip cookies this week.The few times we have eaten out we’ve had: schwarma, falafel, Armenian pizza, Armenian sandwiches (pita), feta cheese sandwich and tuna sandwich. We have read of many places in Old City that we want to try but haven’t yet.

Keep the questions coming and we will try to answer them.

For all of you who have been praying for Celine and Eric—Celine is doing great. She takes to the hills like she was born here and hasn’t had any trouble sleeping since we have been in the new apartment. She has decorated her room very nicely and when she makes her bed in the morning all her dolls have a place. She and Lillian have enjoyed playing in there and love the access to the garden. Eric is feeling much better and seems to be getting over this congestion thing. However, we think he may have made Lida sick. She has had the same symptoms this week and is just now getting her voice back. Please pray for healing for Lida.

We love you all and love hearing from you and appreciate so much your interest in what we are doing. We are reminded daily of the privilege it is to be here. We pray that our time in Jerusalem brings Glory to our Lord and Savior and we will be instruments He can use.



Anonymous said...

Well, I have had my cultural lesson for the day. :-) It sounds like there is an awful lot to soak in.I have enjoyed reading through the posts. This was my first chance to sit down and check it out. I am sure that you will return home richer in spirit through this experience.

Much love and prayers,


midspoint said...

I am soaking all of this up and living in Jerusalem vicariously through all of your experiences!! Though my novel is more about Haifa and Eilat, the second in the series is going have a lot about Jerusalem and Messianic Jews in it. You all are such a blessing!!
Hugs from Indiana!

April Brown-Langan said...

No way! It cannot be that easy. My computer is doing wacky, wacky things. Anyhoo, hope you guys are well. I'm so excited for you! I'm passing your blog along to those I know that would love to visit Israel. We miss you. CC is not the same without your family.

Lots of love!

Angela said...

This was great! Loved this, thanks!!

Edy said...

Your home sounds so cozy, with a garden and beautiful piano music, too! I cannot imagine anything better. You are all terrific writers, by the way. You make life in Israel come alive. Thanks so much for this gift for all of us back here!

Colleen said...

Edy, are you "Ed the Piano Man" from MBF? We can't tell from the comment.

Edy said...

No, Colleen, I'm Edy (EeeDee) the FaithWriter from Minnesota :) (And, I have no idea what "MBF" even refers to.)