Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Life's chom

Last week I finally got up the nerve to get my hair cut again. I was terrified to have it cut, but omg, it was either get it cut or stay in my dira (apartment) and never come out! Of course, that was the situation the last 2 times I had it cut, so it couldn't be much worse that it was already! Still......

You've heard of bad hair days? Well, lately I have been having bad hair weeks, and months...

I knew the problem, and I knew what I had to do... I knew that it had to be cut by a sabra...a native Israeli.

Ma? you say, but why? Well, it's a little hard to explain, but let me try. Or better, let me tell you about what happened, and then maybe it will be clear. It all has to do with me and Israel. Or more precisely, with me and Israelis.

You see, even though I am a recent immigrant, and am now an Israeli....the people I seem most heart to heart with are the Israelis, the sabras. It's hard to put into words, but this is where I connect.

So, I knew I needed someone with whom I could relate, heart to heart, who would just "sense" the real me....or at least a little part of who I am....enough to cut my hair to fit me anyway.

I went by a shop that had been recommended by a friend... Motti was standing in the doorway, smoking a cigarette. I stopped, we chatted, his face smiled and we agreed on the price.

His co-worker welcomed me and motioned me to a chair.. No, no, I said, Motti is going to cut it. It turned out this was a young man in training and he was just going to wash it. Ah, slicha (sorry, excuse me) Well, let me say, I have never had my hair washed with such a gentle tender loving touch. I mean, it would be worth it to go there just for that!

I told Motti I was terrified to have him cut it. We laughed, but I was serious. As we talked, I told him of a former stylist who had moved to CA, and that I was sad about that. We had a long discussion, over hot turkish coffee, and between sips and snips, about Israelis, ex-pats (those who move to another country, usually America, to make more money) and returning home to Israel. Motti talked at great length about why Israelis go to America to make money and he wanted to know why I came here, and what I did. We spoke about that and he said "I can feel your love for this country." Yes, I said, I am in love with this country and that's why I am here, but also why I am sad that people leave.

He tried again to explain to me why people leave and why it was ok. I told him I understood that it was so hard to make a living here, and how America's ease with money was attractive, and I really did understand that, but...I said, Motti, life in America is pretty surface, there's little depth can find it,'s just different. He looked at me for awhile, and then he smiled. Yes, he said, life here is chom (heat, warmth -but not in temperature, which is cham) and his face lit up. Yes, he said, turning it over in his mind.... "life here's's hot." We both understood.

Life in Israel's chom.

(Oh, btw, it's a great haircut.)

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