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CHELM-ON-THE-MED©, SEPTEMBER 2015 COLUMN 1
THE CHELM PROJECT
WISHES ALL OUR READERS
A SHANAH TOVAH
(GOOD JEWISH NEW YEAR)
We all know about the tradition of going back to visit one’s alma mater, but Dr. Asaf Merom (31) made room in his schedule to pay a visit to his gan (kindergarten, in Hebrew).
At the request of Merom’s old kindergarten teacher Nurit at Gan Nitzan in Herzliya, the budding researcher at the Tel Aviv University School of Medicine introduced her present brood of protégés to the fascinating world of science. Armed with a purple cabbage, the alumnus delivered an introductory lesson in chemistry – experimenting with the kindergarteners in turning blue cabbage juice red by adding an acid, and turning it green or yellow by adding
a base. (Yediot)
The 6:16 pm late commuter train from Jerusalem to Tel-Aviv also serves as a ‘secret passage’ to no-hassle parking right outside the gridlocked center of the capital. It turns out the train is popular not only due to the lions and the zebras waiting at the first stop out of the capital – the Biblical Zoo station, but also due to the zoo’s three free visitor parking lots.
Unfortunately, an absent-minded engineer in the cab turned the two minute train ride from the point of departure – the Malha Mall station, into a fleeting nightmare when he plum forgot to stop at the Biblical Zoo station and continued to lumber along all the way to the next stop…41 minutes down track: the Beit Shemesh station at the foot of the Jerusalem Hills.
Panicked commuters initially thought their train had been hijacked by terrorists or the locomotive engineer had dropped dead in his own tracks and there was no one at the controls. A security guard on board went through the coaches explaining the ‘oversight.’ Apparently the train could not simply back up…although there are precedents.*
Embarrassed Israel Railway officials arrange taxies to pick up riled commuters railroaded by the distracked engineer and ferry them back to the Zoo parking lot to pick up their vehicles, while other taxies picked up passengers stranded at the Zoo, to take them to Tel-Aviv. (Yediot)
* In the not so distant past, there were reports explaining why Israeli trains don’t run on time, citing how an elderly passenger missed her destination, and the engineer stopped, reversed the train and backed into the station. In another case, the engineer stopped outside the station to allow a bushed but limber girl soldier to jump off the train outside Rechovot after she dozed through her stop.
Like everywhere in the northern hemisphere, Israeli kids went back to school On September 1st. Following passage of a law mandates establishment of publically-run nursery schools for three- and four-year-olds in every locality, Israel was thrust into an acute shortage of 4,000 nursery school teaching assistants. With the competition between local and regional councils to bag promising candidates accelerating, the Kfar Saba Municipality launched a campaign in late summer that turned everyone in the bedroom suburb – city employees, parents, and run-of-the-mill residents – into headhunters. Besides billboards to the effect, as an incentive to pitch-in, anyone who succeeded in luring a qualified teacher’s assistant into working for Kfar Saba (instead of say Petach Tikva or Raanana) would be awarded a voucher for an evening at a posh restaurant by grateful city elders - a night ‘on the town’ in every sense of the word. (Yediot)
Agricultural theft of livestock and agricultural equipment in Israel’s south is all too common, but the caper pulled off by an unknown gang of thieves was paramount to pure chutzpah said farmers from kibbutz Sde Yoav in the northern Negev: Overnight, someone harvested by combine (!) 30 dunam (7.5 acres) of sunflowers in a far field – taking off with 50,000 NIS ($13,160) worth of sunflower seeds with no one the wiser - despite the racket, leaving a bare field of stubble which the stunned kibbutzniks discovered to their dismay the next morning when they went out to inspect their crops. (Yediot)
* for a glimpse of what such an operation entails see this video clip harvesting sunflowers in the Negev…by the rightful owners.
One doesn’t have to be a stevedore to make a good salary!*
Positions as garbage collectors in Tel-Aviv are attracting college grads as candidates - even a few with Master’s degrees, claim municipal authorities. With starting salaries for a four to five-hour shift ranging 6,000-8,000 NIS ($1,558-2,078) a month and promise of fast advancement to managerial positions, no wonder garbage collectors are now called ‘sanitation engineers’ in many quarters.
Among the city’s 950 crew members are two women, who told Yediot that they put on makeup like any other gal going to work and dressed for success. One added that she often gets ‘good mornings’ and ‘thank yous’ from passing neighbors, adding to satisfaction on the job. (Yediot)
* See “Dream Job” in July 2015 Column 2 in the archives.
SHOW YOUR COLORS!
Israeli illustrators are banding together to fight fire-with-fire, or ink-with-ink as the case may be: Publishing hard-hitting cartoons that unmask the lies and hypocrisy of Israel bashers. One of the initiators behind the Israel Cartoon Project is Yaakov Kirshen whose Dry Bones political cartoons already include such priceless items as Obama’s Problematic Two-State Solution. Among the first to join the initiative is Vlodik Sandler’s whose ’take’ on UN Human Rights Reports only requires a glance to get the message.
Indeed, it is about time Jewish humorists answered the call to join the Laughter Brigade© as well – to use satire and Chelm-like-but-true material as raw material for their own acts. The Chelm Project can even imagine a ‘news in revue’ called “Never Mind the Times”© that would use Chelm-on-the-Meds best gems. Any takers out there? (Yediot)
* Kirshen wants to mentor and train an army of politically-savvy illustrators to defend Israel by establishment of what he dubs the Dry Bones Academy of Cartoon Advocacy and Activism now seeking crowd-funding.