The Chelm Project is a pro bono endeavor. Your donation is greatly appreciated. Your support helps balance overly conflict-driven news that warps perceptions of Israel.

Donate in Shekels


Donate in Dollars

Subscribe to our list

Email Format

Join us!

Are you a publisher or literary agent?

Click HERE

Savor Classic Oldies from 1987-2007
Click HERE

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn



What kid hasn’t dreamed of being a fire fighter or a locomotive engineer? Well, here’s your chance!

After purchasing 180 new railroad cars as part of its expansion program, Israel Railways is about to hire 60 new locomotive drivers.* Applicants must be graduates of a technical high school. Eligibility, however, doesn’t hinge on prior safe conduct as a motor vehicle operator.** In fact, one doesn’t have to have a motor vehicle license at all to apply for the job.


* Note in the picture: While Israeli cars drive on the right side of the road, Israeli trains run on the left side of the tracks – a legacy from British Mandate times.


** Time to think again? While on its first practice run, the Jerusalem Light Railroad was sideswiped by a woman driver who ran a red light. Luckily the 90-ton citified train was only going 5 kilometers an hour.




         Israel has finally instituted ‘no sale is ever final’ shopping policies – well more or less: One can now return most purchases within two weeks and get a cash refund instead of a credit slip, with certain conditions applying.

While the change of heart had to be mandated by law, SOS seems to be ahead of the pack. The NGO that provides a foster home for lost and abandoned pets until they can find a new family has inaugurated a truly unique ‘returns policy’: Seeking more adoptees, the private pound announced people would no longer have to buy a pig in a poke,* so to speak; they can now take a pet home and return the ‘merchandise’ within a week if they have second thoughts – no questions asked.


* In Hebrew – ‘a cat in a bag’ (chatul b’sak)




         A kosher culinary arts fair expected to draw 7,000 visitors, but 11,000 women flooded into the Balabusta* Food Fair held in a Bnei Brak wedding hall. Bored to tears by proverbial chicken soup, they scoured booths for gourmet tips and tidbits – including a live demonstration in the preparation of glatt kosher herbal pumpkin soup with coconut milk.

While “the longest challah in the world” turned out to be a chain of large braided Sabbath breads placed end-to-end, disappointment with the organizer’s promotional dud didn’t dent Boaz Turjeman’s sales. The North African Mizrahi Jew’s 75-year-old family flour mill did a brisk trade in special flour for challah-making... with their winning recipe in Yiddish on the package.

Alas, even here at the epicenter of Jewish cuisine, there wasn’t a genuine Jewish water bagel to be had. Even Japan has New York-style bagels! Jewish state or not, what can one expect from a country where Beigel-Beigel** is the name of a leading pretzel-maker!


* Yiddish for housewife


** The family name of the founders is Beigel – a long line of bagel-machers who founded their first bakery in Krakow, Poland in 1880, and Israel’s first pretzel factory – Beigel-Beigel in 1933.




         Upper Nazareth is relatively small (pop. 40,700), so one could say it was only a matter of time until 24-year-old paramedic Elad Bachar ended up being called to resuscitate his 84-year-old granddaddy Abraham Rosenberg when the latter collapsed in a local synagogue following a heart attack. Elad saved the day and Rosenberg’s life. That was four years ago.

What are the probabilities of a re-run of this scenario – ambulance and all?

Well, against all odds – on the same fateful date of the year – paramedic Elad Bachar, now 28, found himself summoned to resuscitate an elderly man who had collapsed outside a local bank following a heart attack, only to discover that the unconscious victim was – again – none other than his granddaddy Abraham Rosenberg – now pushing 87, whom the doting grandson again snatched from the jaws of death.



         Undoubtedly the weirdest holdup on record, three masked assailants held up an Ashdod eatery at gunpoint, demanding the proprietor hand over... three of his fresh-fried chicken schnitzels.

The three sat down, wolfed down their schnitzels (and side dishes of finely diced salad) and took off, but not before issuing a warning. Israelis love for schnitzel is legendary: the three told the owner “they’d be back.” And... if he dared resist, they’d “shoot him dead on the spot.”
     Owner Moshe Lafa said in retrospect that the guns they were toting may have been toy replicas, but he was not about to gamble with his life to find out.




Did the Indian government see Avi Nesher’s 2004 film At the End of the World Turn Left?

The fictitious plot, set in the summer of 1968, revolves around rumors that the isolation and grayness of the lives of Jewish immigrants from India and Morocco in the backwater desert development town of Dimona back in the 1960s is about to be broken by the arrival of a British cricket team that will play against the local Indian cricket team.

Well, India just announced it is going to hold an annual cricket tournament in Israel to bring Indians and Israelis closer to one another. The tournament will be held either in Ashdod, Beer Sheba or – you guessed it – Dimona!


* For the trailer of At the End of the World Turn Left, go to