Thursday, 4 February 2010

Know How to Answer an Israeli

Adjusting to a new country is never easy. Getting to know new people is part of the process that can at times be very challenging. There are some questions that you need to learn how to answer.

Israelis love to ask how much rent you pay or how much you paid for X or what your salary is and yet if you turn the question back to them, the answer seems to be the Mechutanim paid for it. The truth is that no one has the right to ask what you earn, how much rent you pay or any other financial question. OK, one exception would be a lawyer for a specific reason or an accountant. Other than that, no-one, certainly not someone who you do not yet know, has the right to ask such personal information.

How should you answer? Good question. Some like to change the subject, some say they do not want to answer. You can simply say that such information is private. You have every right to keep the information to yourself. Unless of course they are offering to pay your rent for 6 months or a year or more, then certainly let them know how to give this gift in the easiest way possible.

Another question I hear quite often is "why did you come here Bechlal?" Bechlal being Hebrew for at all, but in context it has a strong accent on the sentence. Every Jew can come up with all manner of reasons as to why they came to Israel. The truth is that every Jew belongs in Israel and does not need any other reason for having come here. If you are a Jew, you have every right to live in Israel and to enjoy your life in Israel. The correct response from others should be "Welcome, it is wonderful that you have come, how can we help you to settle in more easily and effectively" If you are not receiving this answer then take it as having been given through this blog. If you need to hear the welcome again, come back and re-read this post or any other one. Or you are welcome to post a message or even send an email, we would love to hear from you and to hear how you are progressing with your life here in Israel.

There are several other questions that sometimes irritate me. Right now, I cant think of them, but the message is the same. Every Jew who is hallachically Jewish has every right to live in Israel and to be respected. That includes your privacy. If you don't want to provide personal information, don't. Keep it to yourself and enjoy your self-respect. Am Yisrael is all one big family but you don't even have to tell your closest family everything. You are entitled to keep information quiet. That includes whether you are getting married and when, whether you are having a baby and when, how old you are, how much you earn, who you are dating, or any other personal information.

Living in Israel can be a challenge on many levels and one of the greatest is the lesson that we really need to master Pirkei Avos just to know how to survive the culture here. Some have the attitude to just tell what they want to hear, or just go with the flow or just pack it in and leave or just accept that in Israel you get paid late or ..... None of these are the Torah way. There is a way to talk to others and the correct Jewish approach is in keeping with Pirkei Avos. There is a way to behave in business and there is even a way to treat new comers.

We are taught that every day we should remember that we were slaves in Egypt. That does not mean in order to treat all new comers like slaves, it means to make their lives a little easier.

We do hope you are benefiting from these posts. Please do send us feedback and let us know how you are progressing.

1 comment:

  1. I think the post here are fantastic, and enlightening for one who who make a move or visit there even. wonderful !



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