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Because Israel has such a varied climate north vs. south, some 2,400 varieties of flowers can be found in the tiny Jewish state.  Four hundred are endangered species threatened by a host of factors, from urbanization to climate change.

Many years ago, members of the Reform Movement's Arava settlement Yahel offered their State-side relatives the opportunity to 'adopt a cow' to help the struggling kibbutz establish itself economically. Now, the Botanical Gardens in Jerusalem has come up with a similar scheme for saving 400 endangered flowers. 

To get the project off the ground, the Gardens put out a call for 400 foster families to step forward, adopt the flower of their choice and underwrite its propagation and introduction of its seeds back into nature over a five-year period - a 10,000 NIS ($2,632) proposition, per species.  Would you or your group like to adopt a flower?  Call Tal Setzmetzky at 972-50-9923456.




In honor of Yom Haatzmaut*, the economic daily Calcalist published a list of the 64 'most Israel' objects – submitted by a list of leading Israeli movers and shakers. Among the true 'winners' was the common hair dryer found in every household …only Israeli men use their wives' or their girlfriends' hair driers to jump-start another Israeli icon – the holy alter of Independence Day:  the mangel (Arabic for a charcoal grill)…in lieu of fanning the coals (with a plastic fan) – an entry submitted by swimsuit mogul Gideon Oberson,.


* Israel's Independence Day, which fell on April 26th this year.




Everybody knows countless high-tech firms have a store of Frisbees on hand or a Ping-Pong table on-site where employees can let off steam.

            What about politicians?   Aren't they also human?

            Bibi Natanyahu, Israel's prime minister posted a dartboard in the anteroom to the Prime Minister's inner sanctum (which his inner circle calls "The Aquarium").  When the prime minister feels the need for a real break between meetings, Natanyahu darts out of his office into The Aquarium to throw darts.

            Witnesses say Natanyahu's score are "impressive" but inside sources revealed that the Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz * has beaten the PM and the Defense Minister Ehud Barak at darts – although both of them served in the IDF's most elite special forces unit Sayeret Matkal – the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit. 


* Steinitz may hold a PhD in philosophy, but is no wimp; he served in the Golani Brigade during his conscript service.




Is television going to the dogs? You becha!. 

An Israeli producer Gil Neumann, of Jasmine TV is behind the latest rage in America – Dog TV, a $5-a-month cable option scheduled to become a dog's best friend when daddy or mommy are at work. The producer realized that the dawn of high definition spelled a huge business opportunity for pampered but stir-crazy canines cooped up in the house alone with nothing to do but gnaw on mommy's $750 designer boots.

Prior to HD, dogs didn't see a genuine animated picture; they saw individual frames flashing on the screen – enough to give any dog a doggone headache. The programs' colors are also adjusted to appeal to dogs' limited vision of reds and greens* and attuned to the attention span of canines – no longer than six minutes per program of dogs playing on the grass or pastoral scenery with dreamy classical music in the background that appeal to canines – a lot longer than the average eight year-old reared on an overdose of visual stimuli from birth. (Channel 10 TV and Haaretz)


* they're more or less color-blind but don't see things in black and white as some think




The motorist that police pulled over in the stitch of time, zigzagging down the Arava Highway towards Eilat was none other than a 50 year-old surgeon.  In the passenger seat was his best friend – also a surgeon.  Both physicians were totally plastered….

Within an hour, the driver had sobered up enough to give the cops a coherent albeit truly-frightening explanation for his sorry condition.  He was on his way to Eilat to get over a blotched surgery…

The Eilat highway patrol pulled his driver's license on the spot.  Hopefully someone in Jerusalem took measures to confiscate the surgeon's scalpel, as well…




The Laps or Sami People would like to learn how to preserve and revitalize their unique language Saami or Lappi, locked in a losing battle with Norwegian and English. 

Everyplace they went to ask what the do, they got the same answer:  Go speak to the Israelis. 

A delegation of Laps is going to meet with experts at the Hebrew University who will tell them how the Zionist Movement vitalized Hebrew and how the State of Israel preserves the Hebrew language through institutions like the  Academy of the Hebrew Language that make up new words*, as needed.  The visitors will also observe first-hand how the Hebrew ulpan system of language accusation for new immigrants operates. There are even 'language police' who monitor pubic radio broadcasts in Israel for grammatical and linguistic transgressions and tongue lash the offenders.

Can it work with a total population of 100,000 Laps spread across the Arctic Circle from Russia to Finland, Sweden and Norway?   Pulling it off is further complicated by the fact there are nine separate living Saami languages – six with their own written forms making the adage 'two Jews, three opinions' sound like a walk in the park.


* One of the latest? Don't say 'start-up' in Hebrew.  Say heznek ((הזנק