Lonely Man of Cake

April 30, 2007

Israeli Gas Prices, May 2007

Filed under: Automotive,Israel,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 7:12 pm

The new Israeli gas prices, which are calculated in the final days of a given month and updated on the 1st of the month,  as of May 1, 2007:

$5.64 per-gallon of 95 Octane (which in Israel is considered “regular unleaded”).
This is calculated at 5.99 NIS per-liter, with the shekel closing at 4.02 NIS to the US Dollar.


April 29, 2007

Creative, But Incorrect, Protest Sign

Filed under: Academia,Education,Hebrew,Israel — lonelymanofcake @ 5:33 pm

The Israeli universities, for those not in the know, have been on strike for almost three weeks now in protestation of a government committee’s plans to raise tuition by almost 300%.

Here is a creative sign (on the right) held at one of the many student protests.

The sign on the right is a parody of the חד גדיא song, which is the final part of the Pesah Haggadah. Here’s what the sign says:

ואתא דשוחט
ושחט לסטודנט
שכר לימודיא
בתרי זוזי

Translation and Commentary:
1. “And the Shochat came,” i.e., the committee convened by the government is led by a fellow whose last name is Shochat. That whoever put this cute sign together was trying really hard to imitate Aramaic is apparent in this line. Even though the linguistic style of the song in the Hagaddah is a mix of Hebrew and Aramaic (e.g., in the Hagaddah, this line reads ואתא השוחט, and not ואתא שוחטא, or whatever the Aramaic word for slaughterer is, with a terminal alef), nonetheless the students chose to add a “ד,” maybe to give the impression of Aramaic. Either way, with the daled, the translation is impossible, so I translated according to what they probably intended.

2. “And slaughtered the student.” This is a play on the name Shochat and its slaughtering connotations. This line is linguistically sound and fits with the song.

3. “Who pays.”

4. “Tuition fees.” Here’s another mistake in the Aramaic. The Hebrew phrase for tuition (fees) is שכר לימוד. The equivalent of the (pseudo) Aramaic here would be שכר לימודים, in the plural (which doesn’t translate into English).

5. “For two zuzim.” It looks like this line is a secondary addition. Not really sure what it has to do with the protest, unless it means that students formerly paid very little in tuition.

Yeah, going back to school might not be the worst idea.

April 27, 2007

Hesder Army News

Filed under: Army,Israel,Religion,Security — lonelymanofcake @ 1:42 pm

UPDATE: Please see reader/cousin Yaacov’s important clarifications in the comments.

A Hesder Yeshiva sandwiches a shortened army service between two two-year periods of study. Until now, hesder students who qualified for combat service served in any of the infantry brigades of the IDF (e.g., Golani, Nahal, Givati, Kfir), with the final placement determined by some sort of rough rotation. Those who elected for a greater challenge were given the opportunity to try out for the Paratroops. And a handful of students (though I never met one in person) completed the so-called Hesder-Sayeret program, which combines extended service in one of the IDF’s elite reconnaissance with yeshiva study.

That’s all about to change. An e-mail was apparently sent out to students with an August 2007 draft date informing them that Golani will no longer be included in the infantry rotation, that they will be unable to serve in the Paratroops, and that the Hesder-Sayeret program has been terminated.

More information to follow.

But here’s an unrelated, and heartwarming, army story brought to you by NRG (Maariv):

Pictured above are 20 year-old twins Shuey and Aharon Osbourne, who serve together in Nahal Haredi (Netzah Yehuda, if you will). It appears that they are from London and decided to serve after beginning their university studies in business management. Kol haKavod, and stay safe!

April 26, 2007

Yeridah Manifesto

Filed under: Diaspora,Israel,Judaism — lonelymanofcake @ 1:33 pm

(DISCLAIMER: I’m grumpy today and there hasn’t been any real sunlight.)

Yeridah (ירידה=descent) is a somewhat pejorative term which refers to the emigration of Jews from Israel. It has the opposite directional connotation of aliyah (עלייה), which is a function of how (many) Israelis view the phenomenon, which is barely offset demographically by yearly aliyah numbers.

A fellow by the name of Idan Ben-Barak emigrated from Israel to Australia, and in a piece which he submitted to Ynet, he urges his former countrymen to follow suit.

I wouldn’t call yeridah an anti-aliyah. I think that both require courage, conviction, and a readiness to sacrifice. The difference is “merely” ideological. For your average post-Zionist, the prevalent, almost axiomatic yearning to live in the Diaspora probably resembles the Zionistic yearnings of their grandparents, albeit without the religious and nationalistic baggage.

To deny that Israel suffers from serious problems in every possible area would be an act of delusion. Many folks want to live here nonetheless, some make the choice of moving here from abroad, and yet others have no choice but to stay. But if you have the goal, and the means, to leave, until this country can install a viable government and get its act together, don’t let anyone stop you.  As strikes seem to be the only way to make things better in Israel, I think that the whole country should show up at the airport one day with packed bags. Maybe that will push through the message a bit more poignantly.

Shekel Shocker II

Filed under: Currency,Israel — lonelymanofcake @ 8:54 am

The Shekel continues to strengthen against the US Dollar (or the Dollar continues to weaken against the Shekel), and was ever so close to 4.00 NIS to the Dollar at around 9:30 AM (JST) when it hit 4.002.

As of this minute (11:51 AM), the Shekel is at 4.005 and seems to be headed for 4.00, or below, for the first time in over six years! You can check the live updates here, and I’ll continue to issue updates throughout the day.

Here is a chart of this morning’s activity:


UPDATE: It seems that the market is not yet ready for a dip below the 4.00 mark, and the Shekel has now “weakened” to 4.025 (as of 5:00 PM).

April 25, 2007

On Israeli Drivers, Terrorism, and Remembrance

Filed under: Automotive,Education,Israel,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 9:48 am

Ynet published a cute article (Hebrew only) as part of one of its Yom Haatzmaut supplements entitled “The Most Israeli on the Road.”  The author is way off on a number of items, including the “coolest car,” which he awards to the Daihatsu Materia, which looks suspiciously like the Scion xB, a car I would hardly describe as the coolest on the market.

Sadly, the article all but mentions in passing a long recognized, but little dealt with, phenomenon: the terrorists who flout speed limits, drive recklessly and with unnecessary aggression, and who ultimately have led to more Israeli casualties in the past year (maybe more) than Palestinian terrorists.

I propose, considering the sheer amount of casualties and tragedies, that there be a national day of remembrance for victims of traffic accidents.  This would, of course, need to be complemented with comprehensive educational programs on safer driving practices as well as stiffer punishments issued from the justice system, which currently gives kid-glove treatment to vehicular killers.  (Take the case of prominent attorney and advisor to Israel’s leaders Avigdor “Dori” Klagsbald, who, in April 2006, killed a mother and her young son after plowing into their car with his SUV at a red light.  He was sentenced to only 15 (!) months in prison.)

April 23, 2007

Frumkeit Confidential

Filed under: Faith,Judaism,Orthodoxy — lonelymanofcake @ 4:45 pm

I’ve been observing a trend for a number of years, and I feel that the time has come for me to publish my observations.  The premise is very simple: the practice of withholding what I consider to be “shareable” information has become a trademark of haredi circles and is increasingly infiltrating Modern Orthodoxy as well.

A typical example: Chanah Leah is dating Moshe Zalman, and the relationship is headed towards marriage.  As a relative of Chanah Leah, I would not be privy to the existence of the relationship until just before the engagement.  Neither Chanah Leah nor her family would dare disclose this premarital fraternizing of the sexes.

Another example: Chanah Leah and Moshe Zalman marry.  A few weeks later, she’s expecting.  A few months later, she’s showing and wearing maternity clothing.  But word of the pregnancy is not disclosed officially until the seventh, or even eighth, month.

Final example: Chanah Leah applied, and was accepted to a prestigious graduate program.  She denied to her friends that she had been accepted to any program, and only later came out with the news.

Why must impending happiness be treated, in some circles, as impending doom?

JIB Preliminary Voting

Filed under: Blogging,Internet,Israel,Judaism — lonelymanofcake @ 11:55 am

I know I’ve been somewhat lazy with the posting lately, but that shouldn’t stop you from voting me into the next round of contention for the JIB Best New Blog award.

You can vote here.

April 20, 2007

Animal Fat Diesel?

Filed under: America,Automotive,Biofuel,Diesel,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 7:41 am

Read the about the announcement by ConocoPhillips and Tyson here.

Why does this irk the Ethanol Lobby?  Read here.

April 13, 2007

JIB Awards

Filed under: Blogging,Internet,Israel,Judaism — lonelymanofcake @ 10:46 am

I’ve only been blogging for a few months, but I do believe that I’ve provided informative and timely posts.

Show your recognition by nominating either this blog, or specific posts, for a 2007 Jewish & Israeli Blog Award.  FYI: Even if you know who I am, I blog pseudonymously nonetheless.  Ergo, for all intents and purposes, my identity is unknown.  I do have an e-mail address, though: lonelymanofcake-at-gmail-dot-com.

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