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


   Could the Almighty be hard of hearing?
   It would seem so, at least judging from the antics of some far-out Kabbalists who chartered an Arkia airliner to encircle Israel from north to south, and sea to shining sea - all four of them* - then, land back at Ben-Gurion Airport.
   The 50 passengers - who included ten descendents of the priestly class of Israelites (Cohens) - spent the non-stop flight in non-stop prayer. Well, almost. The plea for Deliverance, delivered from an altitude of 7,000-11,000 feet and designed to keep Swine Flu at bay, was suspended in order to blow shofers (rams' horns) at given intervals: seven times in all, like Joshua at the walls of Jericho - leaving the distinct impression that the organizers got their signals mixed up.

* Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.


   According to a scientific study*, the average height of young Israeli men is 175.6 cm (5' 9.1") - a giant step up from 162.1 cm. cited by a 1906 edition of the Jewish Encyclopedia. Nevertheless, one has to be an irrepressible optimist to open a shop for tall me in Israel.
That's exactly what lanky Micha Fux did. Shelves and racks in his Tall MenTM shop, situated fittingly in the Tel-Aviv Towers, are adjusted for clientele who are two meters tall (6'7")...enough to make the average Israeli shopper feel like Alice in Wonderland.
Offering more than XXL CrocsTM, Fux tries to help his tall clients fill tall orders in all quarters. Not just finding matching sheets for extra-long beds, in typical Israeli fashion, Fux doesn't stoop from playing ad-hoc matchmaker for patrons. He's already introduced several long-limbed couples who were shopping for gangly spouses.

* Published by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, based on IDF statistical data.


   "All the banks are closed," an elderly citizen told the duty officer at a local police station in the Haifa bedroom of Kiryat Ata. When the puzzled officer asked what the problem was, the gentlemen mutely plunked down a blue plastic sack on the officer's desk. Gingerly opening the satchel, the cop was stunned to find 200,000 NIS ($50,000) in cash packed inside, wrapped in neat bundles.
   What brought him to the police station?
   Some suspicious strangers had appeared unannounced at his door. Fearing they were casing the joint to rob him of his life savings, as soon as the ‘visitors' departed, the 80 year-old gentleman made a beeline for the bank, only to find that the bank was closed for the day.
   Police not only deposited his life savings in the station's vault for safekeeping ‘til morning. They provided a personal police escort all the way to the bank.


   You think sabras are tough?
   In the course of rebuilding Caesarea's golf course, residents of the greens - from ducks and swans down to goldfish - were caught and exiled to animal corners around the country. Yet a pair of cagy peacocks absolutely refused to budge. The plucky birds dodged heavy equipment and played hide ‘n seek with contractors until everyone gave up any notion of bagging the pair.
   Now that the 18-month extreme makeover has been completed, the intractable couple - dubbed ‘Tiger' and ‘Wood' by workers, have come out of the woodwork and surrounding shrubbery - to strut across the open greens proud as...well, a pair of peacocks', with three newly-hatched goslings in tow.


   Two new moves encourage more people to donate organs - one symbolic, the other an overdue perk.
The National Center for Organ Transplants and ADI* announced that those who had donated organs of kin would receive a special shield that could be attached to the tombstone of the departed saying Matanat Chaim (The Gift of Life).
   The second change is the Organ Transplant Law which rests on a win-win definition for determining the moment of death that the Chief Rabbinate and the Israel Medical Association (IMA) can both live with. Passed into law, people who sign the donor card will receive preferential treatment in the future, should they themselves be in need of an organ transplant.
   Not enough? While commerce in organs is prohibited, the Law stipulates that living organ donors will be exempt from paying the entrance fee to nature reserves and national parks.

* an NGO that issues organ transplant donor cards


   Toy stores in Israel are chocked full of games - from classics like chess to umpteen innovative arithmetic and word games in Hebrew. Undoubtedly the most original and offbeat of all card games is called King of the Falafel.* The winner is the first player to collect all six ingredients for a perfect falafel - a whole pita, falafel balls, techina spread, fries, a dill pickle, and finely chopped tomato ‘n cucumber salad.
A player who draws a pita with a hole in it has to give up all of his or her cards and start over from scratch.

* Fried chickpea balls - the favorite fast food of the Middle East.

See Kodkod Games, at For a neat online Flash game based on falafel, see


* 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.