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

CHELM-ON-THE-MED©, April 2009 - Column 2


    A wounded falcon with a badly-broken wing had been nursed back to health at a special Israeli wildlife hospital. But then, dumbfounded staff discovered that during three months under their wing while its wing healed, the falcon forgot how to fly.
    Not only that, months of inactivity and perhaps too much TLC resulted in the bird gaining weight making it both too weak and too heavy to fly.
    Staff arranged a special flight course for the grounded bird at a municipal stadium which served as an exceptionally large animal-free and traffic-free practice pen. During the refresher course the bird was urged to fly while tethered to a ball of twine like a kite, just in case, but the maiden flight left the falcon air-borne for about three seconds, reaching an altitude of one meter and covering a distance of three meters before dropping to earth. Luckily by the end of the day, the bird had begun to rediscover what his wings were for.
    Hospital staff hope that with a month of practice, the bird will have lost enough weight and put on enough muscle to be released in the wild.



    Some yuppie Israeli parents have turned birthdays into full-scale productions, considered incomplete without a professional clown, story-teller or other ‘party-organizer'. Taking the cake for party themes, a Natanya business-owner out for a piece of the action decided to offer the premises of his business for kids' parties. The only ‘problem' was that the party room in question was a genuine pistol range.
    And the highlight of the party? Fliers promised target shooting with live ammunition - up to fifty-one 22 caliber bullets per child - at 75 NIS a shot.
    The ensuing uproar in the newspapers sent the would-be party-maker ducking for cover, but the fine print showed the law forbids cap guns and similar dangerous toys, but states no minimum age for handling real handguns. The next day, the National Council for the Protection of Children was frantically drafting an amendment that would make sparklers on the birthday cake the only smell of gun powder within range, up to the age of 16.



    Reading about a group of French investors who just paid a whopping $24 M for a 5.5 dunam* (1.4 acre) empty piece of land in Jerusalem conjured up images of a close friend of limited means but boundless good humor who when picked up at the clean but spartan accommodations she had booked just off Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv, quipped in a fake Yiddish accent: ‘Honey, it's not the Hilton, but it's near the Hilton."

    And the French plot?'s not the Mount of Olives,** but it's near the Mount of Olives...

    While according to a Jewish saying ‘shrouds don't have pockets', a burial plot in the vicinity of a venerated rabbi on the Mount of Olives can run $50,000 - the price of a Lexus RX 350 SUV in the States...without the car's heated seats and leather trim interior, and a lot less roomy. The entrepreneurs expect to offer 10,000 VIP burial plots ‘next to the Mount of Olives' that will include family plots and special sections reserved solely for Sabbath observers. The investors expect the cemetery will bring in four times what they paid for the land, yet for the time being, dunam-for-dunam, the deal makes the plot the priciest piece of real estate in Jerusalem - seven times the cost of building plots in the most refined neighborhoods in the capital.

* a unit of area from Ottoman times equal to 1000 square meters

** overlooking the Temple Mount and where according to Jewish tradition the resurrection of the dead in the End of Days will begin.



    New immigrants come harboring all sorts of expectations of what life is like in Israel. Sa'id and Simacha Dahari and their children arrived six weeks before Passover from Yemen. Warmhearted veteran Yemenite immigrants invited the newcomers to celebrate the seder with them in Beersheva where the family of nine was temporarily lodged - in all senses of the word, in a modest immigrant hostel. In the aftermath, Sa'id Dahari gave new meaning to the question ‘why is this night different from all other nights,' admitting that he was sorely disappointment that Passover in Israel lasting only one night, rather than two nights and three days like in Yemen.

    Little did he know...
    The seder may last one night, but the Daharis will be relieved to discover that the holiday actually lasts a week-and-a-half during which the entire Jewish state enters a state of semi-paralysis: The Government and many other large employers simply closing down ‘for the duration', while the few who actually go to work during Passover week work half days for full pay.
    This sets in motion a Second Exodus - as everyone and his brother hit the roads to visit friends, picnic or shop, creating mammoth daily traffic jams that are only surpassed by the afternoon First Exodus on the eve of the holiday when most of Israel's 5.4 million Jews are all on their way to a seder somewhere in Israel in the short space of several hours.
    Is it any wonder that half a million Israelis opted to take flight* - the Third Exodus?

* on no less than 3,000 outbound flights leaving the country, according to the business daily Globes.


* Copyright© 2009 by Daniella Ashkenazy. All rights reserved worldwide. For limited usage, see FAQs. All stories are completely rewritten by Daniella Ashkenazy from news items gleaned from Yediot Aharonot, unless another news source is stated.