web analytics
October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Over the Rainbow – Efrat

This is the first of Efrat articles (I’ll write them as they happen…)

 

Things I’ve done in Efrat that I would never do in Jerusalem:

 

1. Hitchike!

 

Everyone (who does not require someone to accompany them) hikes in the Gush Etzion area just south of Jerusalem, and particularly in and around Efrat. The Hebrew word for hitchike is to “tremp. One can presume that etymologically “tremp comes from tramp, AKA “hobo, those people who hitched around the USA during the Great Depression of the 20th Century. At least maybe. But, sorry, there are no hoboes in Efrat. There are Rabbinical types, housewives, students of all ages, caregivers, and me. I have hitched to and from Jerusalem as well as within Efrat. I have had door-to-door service with a smile, as well as slightly less convenient, but still fabulous and free rides, from generous caring individuals.

 

Just the other day a man stopped his giant size Mitsubishi besides the roadside hitching area and said one word, “Gilo. Four of us piled into his car, enjoyed air conditioning and light music – but not another word. I have been  “picked up by all sorts of people, including a young woman who was taking her daughter to the doctor. Imagine having the ability, under pressure, to remember to give to others. My son hitchikes to and from his Yeshiva, and my daughter to and from the university. Surely, G-d is our driver!

 

 


Vineyard with town of Efrat in background.

 

To hitchike in Israel you put out your index finger, not your thumb. If the driver is only going a short way and cannot take you he will point down. If he is turning at the next corner, and cannot take you, he will point his finger in that direction. No one just passes by without a reason.

 

There is order at the hitching posts in Efrat. There is a particular place to stand for a ride to Jerusalem, and several meters away people hitch around the Gush Etzion area. No one lines up, but everyone knows who came first and who (for whatever other reason) may get priority. No one fights for a seat; cars pull up one after another – no one waits longer than five minutes or so. It is a wonderful non-system.

 

Each time I get to Jerusalem I now have to remember not to put my hand out for a hitch further along my way.

 

2. Talk to and smile at a total stranger:

 

Come to think of it, this goes with number one. Besides asking for directions (easy) and saying “Shabbat shalom (less easy), I have asked total strangers if I may pick fruit off their trees! After all, this is a S’hmitta year; growers are putting their hearts where their pockets may have been. I have asked our new neighbors for help for all kinds of things in and around our new home, including vital “protektziya simply because we live on the same block. And all these “total strangers are so happy to help. Even on the first day I moved in, someone brought me a cup of coffee. I don’t know when coffee ever tasted better.

 

 


Bench dedicated on the 25th anniversary of Efrat.

 

 

3. My husband has been giving rides around Efrat on particularly hot days:

 

Numbers one and two lead right into this. We have received so much in the short time we have been here. My husband went out one day to drive around the town and get oriented. On his way he gave rides. He noticed the need, and fills it several times a week, when he can. Then we found out, he is not the only one! There are people who drive between the two shopping centers (a five minute drive, too far to walk in the heat) to see if someone with shopping bags needs a lift.

 

4. I take my garbage out in order to meet people: 

 

Yes, this is true. There is a huge garbage bin at the top of our street. I was correct in thinking I would meet neighbors by taking out the trash. It is not a long walk, but if I linger over gardens, etc, I am sure to run into someone. This is how we met at least half of our neighbors.

 

5. Opening the front door for a stranger: 

 

Every time we do, we meet someone interesting. In the first few weeks we received flowers, cakes and fruit from neighbors (the half we did not meet at the garbage bin). Later on, there were a few beggars, with certificates from the local religious council. Each one was friendly, kind and appreciative. One Friday afternoon a man came by selling Kippot. He asked for a glass of water, which I realized was his real purpose in coming by. He told us just a few hints about his life, and then he was off to somewhere (Hebron, I think) as a guest for Shabbat.

 

These stand out as some of the delightful, peculiarities of life in a small town “over the green line. For me Efrat is Over The Rainbow!

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Over the Rainbow – Efrat”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Do you know where your vegetables grow?
Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin
Latest Sections Stories
Respler-logo-NEW

How can I help my wife learn to say “no,” and understand that her first priority must be her husband and family?

South-Florida-logo

My eyes skimmed an article on page 1A. I was flabbergasted. I read the title again. Could it be? It had good news for the Miami Jewish community.

South-Florida-logo

Students in early childhood, elementary, and middle school were treated to an array of hands-on projects to create sukkah decorations such as wind chimes, velvet posters, sand art, paper chains, and more.

It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Sukkot is an eternal time of joy, and if we are worthy, of plenty.

Two of our brothers, Jonathan Pollard and Alan Gross, sit in the pit of captivity. We have a mandate to see that they are freed.

More Articles from Mindy Aber Barad
Lessons-logo

Some 30 years ago a certain well-known rabbi in Manhattan came to Israel and brought much of his congregation with him, to a barren ridge where our forefathers and foremothers traveled to and from Jerusalem and Hebron. The rabbi and his followers left the ravages of assimilation and headed to the unknown. The rabbi swiftly gathered in Jews from all over the world and all over Israel to the cozy town of Efrat.

It takes courage and guts for a well-known person in the Orthodox world to write a memoir, a personal account sharing chapters of her life, which include how she became frum. On May 11 in New York, Leah Kotkes, a beloved writer among her readers, will release her first book, a candid, friendly, page-turner: The Map Seeker: One Woman’s Quest.

It takes courage and guts for a well-known person in the Orthodox world to write a memoir, a personal account sharing chapters of her life, which include how she became frum. On May 11 in New York, Leah Kotkes, a beloved writer among her readers, will release her first book, a candid, friendly, page-turner: The Map Seeker: One Woman’s Quest.

Things I’ve done in Efrat that I would never do in Jerusalem:

On June 27, 2001, a single mother and her son landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel for a two-week vacation. The plan was that she would go to a seminary and he would go to day camp. Neither of them knew a soul in Israel, nor did they know any Hebrew and next to nothing about Judaism.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/over-the-rainbow-efrat/2008/08/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: