Puzzle Israel Blog

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5 Things That Are Super Israeli – Part 1

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Becky Savitt lived in Israel for 6 months during her junior year of college. She went back home Israeli “steet” wiser and she offers here her first list of top SUPER Israeli things that will help you understand this unique culture better…

I used to believe that all Israelis would do anything for shawarma, Aroma, or a bag of Bamba. However, after spending six months in the country last year, I had learned that I was entirely wrong. For me, learning to accept the fact that falafel was not considered a gourmet meal was the most difficult part of my study abroad experience. If you’re like me and had the opportunity to live there, you probobly realized that the Dead Sea is not a local hangout, and although we may all be Jews, we could learn a thing or two from Israelis in many different departments. Before going on a trip to Israel, here is my first list of five things that you must know are SUPER Israeli:

Matkot

As you lay by the beach, you will not be able to escape the constant sound of what looks like a ping pong ball hitting a paddle. This game, which resembles table tennis, actually takes more effort than you think! Getting into the game means violently swinging one’s paddle from side to side while diving into the sand to make sure the ball does not hit the ground. It is not meant to be a game of winners and losers, just simply two people working together. Although lounging by the beach requires absolutely no worries, matkot will give visitors a reason to remain alert. Remember to always keep your head up even if you decide to take a short walk from your chair to the water.

MatkotMatkot -a game that looks like a ping pong ball hitting a paddle (photo: Adi Peretz)

Poike

A dish popular among Israelis is the Poike, which is actually a South African dish, one Israelis adopted full heartedly. Try taking all of the meat, vegetables, spices, and sauces from your kitchen and pouring them into one big iron pot. With the right amount of everything and the right amount of time, you could end up with the most delicious stew you’ve ever had. Find a spot in the desert or on the beach, bring a guitar and some friends, and sip on a drink, and you have the perfect poike. If you come to Israel with a purpose to have yourself a proper Israeli culinary tour, then Poike must be on your list to-eat too.

Puzzle(124)_smallMeat, vegetables, spices, and sauces from your kitchen and pouring them into one big iron pot (photo: Adi Peretz)

Yalla

Originally an Arabic expression, this term is also used as Hebrew slang. Depending on how one uses it, it can mean let’s go, come on, hurry up, or I’m in. With a certain tone, it can even sound like someone is doubting what you are saying… This word can be heard all over the country, and eventually it will find its way into your own vocabulary.

Yom Hazikaron

This is Israel’s official Memorial Day and it is dedicated to not only the fallen soldiers, but to civilian victims of all types of violence and terrorism. This Memorial Day is very different from America’s Memorial Day. All places of entertainment are closed for 24 hours. During the 24 hours, two sirens are set off and the country comes to a complete standstill. The first siren starts at 8:00 pm, which marks the start of Memorial Day, and the second is at 11:00 am before prayers take place in the cemeteries of fallen soldiers. All radio and television stations broadcast programs portraying the bravery and courage of the fallen soldiers. They also play music to enhance the mood of the day.

Soldier_zikaron_אריקלIsrael’s official Memorial Day dedicated to the fallen soldiers and civilian victims of all types of violence and terrorism (photo: Arikel)

Yom Ha’atzmaut

Picture a day where every museum is open and free of charge, barbecues are set up at every park, and outdoor performances occur all over cities’ squares. Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, is a celebration of the establishment of a Jewish state. The major State Ceremony, which falls on the eve of Yom Ha’atzmaut, takes place on Mount Herzl, and marks the end of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day. Most of the celebrations take place in Jerusalem and the ceremonies involve performances, speeches, and a lighting ceremony. This day is spent with family and friends and Israelis turn to National Parks, hiking trails, and other beauty spots for the perfect location to celebrate.

Keep tuned for my next list….

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