May 08, 2005

I have returned from the dead!

Yes it is true, I am back. As you have noticed I have a brand new website, thanks to David Boxenhorn, to whom I am indeed grateful for his help, as well as for giving me his templates (which is why my page looks just like his!).
I finished my last exam already, but I am now working and about to start my essay in my Islamic Studies class. Since I finished my last exam my body appears to have been going through some sort of physical stress release (call it phenomenology if you will, I know I do). I actually slept 12 hours yesterday, believe it or now. It's incredible how the mind can and does affect the body, isn't it..

A lot of things have been going on in the world during my liminal phase of absence! (Can I actually say that?). Today for instance, marks the 60th anniversary of victory over nazi Germany. Today as I sat on the bus on my way home from work I was listening to the radio news saying the following: "A Jew who fled here during WW2 says that the world has learned very little".
A few days ago was "Holocaust Remembrance Day" in Israel, as you know. An Israeli friend of mine was feeling quite upset about it, and mentioned to me that the "Walk of the Living" in Poland had made him feel that there are "still good people in Europe". I told him there are good people everywhere, but I still understand how he feels. I can in a way say that I get the same feeling, or at least to an extent when I hear stories such as the 30 kilometer line being formed in Germany, and the anti-neo nazi march in Germany. While there is bad, there is still good. There is still something, some sort of something.

Here is something interesting from BBC by the way: SLIDESHOW
"Audio slideshow: VE Day
On 7 May, 1945, fighting in continental Europe officially ceased after nearly six years of hostilities."

And after such an incredibly depressing post, I am certain that a great majority of Israel is obsessed with this right now. I don't care for sports much, but I care for happy people, so mazal tov :)

Posted by Maria at 09:39 PM  Permalink | Comments (13)
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good to have you back, maria :)

Posted by: yiddishe-kop at May 9, 2005 02:12 AM Permalink

Maria, this site is gorrrgeous. I love it!!!

Posted by: Max L at May 9, 2005 02:28 AM Permalink

Love the new Look.

Posted by: Jeffrey at May 9, 2005 06:36 AM Permalink

Your new blogsite hereby has official Swedish approval! ;)

Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at May 9, 2005 08:55 AM Permalink

Why thank you all so much!

Posted by: Maria at May 9, 2005 09:47 AM Permalink

Mazal Tov for finishing your exam and for the new blog. It looks great! :-)

Posted by: Orly at May 9, 2005 11:34 AM Permalink

Great to have you back, and in a much improved layout. I was getting worried there for a minute (not seeing your name come up on my Recent Visitors list) :)

Posted by: Dave at May 9, 2005 02:28 PM Permalink

Mazel tov, great new look! :-)

Posted by: HasidicG at May 9, 2005 08:46 PM Permalink

Great New Site. Looking forward to visiting daily.:)

Posted by: EdWonk at May 10, 2005 04:15 AM Permalink

Nice place you've got. Now I'll have to edit my template again.

Posted by: Expategghead at May 10, 2005 01:00 PM Permalink

Expat: you're crazy, don't do that, I *love* your colors. They're perfect, very classy. (I studied art, so trust me).

Posted by: Maria at May 10, 2005 01:40 PM Permalink

Maria, I don't get notices on your posts anymore. Is it just me?

Posted by: Orly at May 11, 2005 08:45 AM Permalink

I will register you on my new website

Posted by: Maria at May 11, 2005 09:57 AM Permalink

May 10, 2005

Recommended reading on Islam

I am currently doing research for an essay in my Islamic Studies class, and I found an excellent article that I very much recommend: The Place of Tolerance in Islam - On reading the Qur'an—and misreading it - by Khaled Abou El Fadl.

Here is what he writes about Holy War/Jihad:

"Interestingly, Islamic tradition does not have a notion of holy war. "Jihad" simply means to strive hard or struggle in pursuit of a just cause, and according to the Prophet of Islam, the highest form of jihad is the struggle waged to cleanse oneself from the vices of the heart. Holy war (in Arabic al-harb al-muqaddasah) is not an expression used by the Qur'anic text or Muslim theologians. In Islamic theology, war is never holy; it is either justified or not, and if it is justified, those killed in battle are considered martyrs. The Qur'anic text does not recognize the idea of unlimited warfare, and does not consider the simple fact of the belligerent's Muslim identity to be sufficient to establish the justness of his cause. In other words, the Qur'an entertains the possibility that the Muslim combatant might be the unjust party in a conflict."

Posted by Maria at 01:23 PM  Permalink | Comments (3)
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Contrasting with your pick --a terribly misguiding one--, here you have my recommended readings on Islam, from highly credited sources.

1) "The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims", by Robert Spencer, (link to

There are described the law of Islam (Shari'a), and the facts revolving its historical origin and consequences (the mandatory, perpetual war against non-Muslims that jihad is):

2) "Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis"
by Bat Ye'Or, (link to

An enlightening book of why Europe is so willingly funding and supporting Muslim terrorism against Israel.

Those books unveil a lot of facts. No whitewashing of Islam, nor taqiyya, nor kitman will be foud there. The truth will preserve our freedom.

Posted by: Joel Català at May 12, 2005 09:41 AM Permalink

Yes, the misinformation on Muslims and Arabs and their so-called tolerance is really so widespread. These two books are really a good start.

But, about the Arabs and Israel, here are a few more titles that I posted on another site:
---From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine
by Joan Peters
---Battleground: Fact & Fantasy in Palestine
by Samuel Katz
Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: Taylor Productions Ltd (September, 2002) [second edition was in 1977. So first edition is much earlier.]
ISBN: 0929093135
---The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict
by Mitchell Geoffrey Bard
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Alpha Books; 1st edition (September 27, 1999)
ISBN: 0028632613
---Islam and the Jews: The Unfinished Battle
by Mark A., Ph.D. Gabriel
Paperback: 230 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.70 x 8.66 x 5.58
Publisher: Charisma House; (March 1, 2003)
ISBN: 0884199568
If you want to have an accurate picture on what Islam says on the Jews, read this book by Mark Gabriel.
Check the Amazon reviews and good reading.

See also:
---From “The Mufti and the Fuhrer” at muftihit.html
---From “Hitler and the Mufti” at http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary....aust/ hitq2.html
---“The Grand Moufti of Jerusalem on the 40's - Israel's War Against Terror - Palestinian Personalities” at
This is the reality concerning the Arabs.

Nice to see that you are from Iceland, a country I have always dreamt to visit one day.

Michael, London, UK.

Posted by: Michael at May 20, 2005 07:30 AM Permalink

Oh come on - just because many or even most muslims support this interpretation of the Koran, doesn't mean they all do or that this guy is practising taqiyya, he may actually believe these things.

There are differences between Muslims just as there are differences between Christians and Jews in the way they think about religion.

I'm not at all a fan of Islam, btw.

Posted by: rach at June 1, 2005 09:02 PM Permalink

Israelis seem to have a new holiday every 2 days, don't they?

While Israelis prepare to celebrate 57 years of independence (on May 12th), I myself am quietly remembering the fact that this day, May 10th 8 years ago, was the first day I came to Israel (and what a lifechanging event that turned out to be). Indeed my first day in Israel was Israel's Independence Day - Yom Ha'atzmaut, with Israeli flags everywhere I looked!

I just thought this was a cute, happy and a different kind of Independence Day photo.

Posted by Maria at 01:35 PM  Permalink | Comments (3)
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Cute picture. Your site looks great.

Posted by: Alice at May 10, 2005 02:13 PM Permalink

Israel flag's dresses are pretty, white with blue stripes looks very beautiful. I remember having seen once a wedding dress like this picture but long like, well, a wedding dress, at Israpundit I think. I would had liked to save the bookmark.

Posted by: jsoffer at May 10, 2005 07:58 PM Permalink

Just trying to catch up withh 2000 years of history!

Posted by: Harry at May 11, 2005 04:33 PM Permalink

May 11, 2005


As I previously mentioned, Israel is soon to celebrate 57 years of independence. When it comes to the Jews, it appears to be nothing less than regular for sorrow and joy to always go hand in hand.
Today 'Yom Hazikaron' is observed in Israel.

Yom Hazikaron
Israel's National Memorial Day for the Fallen
and the Victims of Terror

Posted by Maria at 01:01 AM  Permalink | Comments (5)
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Done. Could you change comments to a popup rather than a seperate page?

Posted by: Expategghead at May 11, 2005 06:27 AM Permalink

Maria, best wishes in your beautiful new cyber home. Most symbolically, our usual blue summer skies of Ashdod are covered with dark gray clouds today. Your post hit the nail on the head. May Hashem bless you always. Warmest regards, LB

Posted by: Lazer at May 11, 2005 08:20 AM Permalink

Before the so-called second intifada, the proximity of Memorial Day and Independence Day didn't feel natural at all, at least for me. It seemed like a very strange, even cruel idea. Every now and then you would hear people saying that it should be changed.

Since the second intifada you don't hear such voices anymore, because the switches from sorrow to joy became very regular, and actually during the piguim, the switches are much faster than a whole day. Moreover, the connection between bereavement and independence became very clear. Everyone understands that those who commit the terrorist attacks are attacking our existence as a country, and everyone feels that the answer must be LIFE, refusing to surrender and defending our country, in this way or another. So I think that the value of our independence is much more understood now that it has been in danger.

Of course I am speaking as a relatively young person. I guess that for those who have founded Israel the appreciation of the value of independence and the price that is paid for it was much stronger. For me personally, the only time I felt something close to true fear for the future of Israel was during the frequent piguim, esp at the time when Israel seemed helpless and unable to respond. I didn't think that Israel would be destroyed physically, but I feared that that was the end of Israel as we knew it.

Despite all what I said about understanding the price of independence, paying that ultimate price does not become any less painful. The pain is immense, and though we can't let the pain beat us, we must find time to mourn and to honor those who have made it possible for us to live our life here normally, most of the time.

Posted by: Orly at May 11, 2005 08:40 AM Permalink

Expat: I would, but I don't know how. Sorry.

Reb Lazer: Thank you so much, and likewise :)

Orly: Very true words, written in a very articulate way.

Posted by: Maria at May 11, 2005 09:55 AM Permalink

"A popup versus a seperate page"? I haven't figured out the meaning of the question, whats more began to contemplate an answer.

Anywho, Memorial Day and Independence Day should come back-to-back! MD first, then ID. I've been thinking about the War of 1812 today for some reason. The defense of Fort McHenry and the battle of New Orleans were such pivitol events and have such inspiring outcomes.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at May 12, 2005 04:10 AM Permalink

May 12, 2005

The mangal

Art of the mangal - "Israeli Style"


Anyone who has ever encountered even a single Israeli, is sure to have noticed that they are obsessed with barbecues. For me personally it really isn't a big deal whether I grill the meat, fry it or put it into the oven. Either way it's food. If it's tasty it's tasty.. ('Oy vey' Maria!). But I am amused by this custom, and I found this article in today's Ynet absolutely hilarious:

A group of 50 new immigrant families from U.S. invited to Israeli-style barbecue; steakhouse chef reveals local secrets
By Shelly Paz and Natasha Mozgova

TEL AVIV - You are not Israeli until you've had your first mangal session: A group of 50 new immigrant families was invited to attend an Israeli-style barbecue in Jerusalem Monday, where the newcomers received a crash course in Israeli-style grilling.

Now you see, my idea of something one needs a "crash course in" would be.. a language, basic survival of some sort, etc. Not grilling meat!

Mangal is the Hebrew word for barbecue, and arguably one of the most important words in the Hebrew language, according to the average Israeli at least. The almost-sacred ritual is also commonly referred to as "al ha'esh," literally "on the fire."

Israel's Independence Day is usually celebrated by overeating and not only with sing-along celebrations and other festivities, the chef told his audience.

A Jewish/Israeli holiday celebrated by overeating? C'mon ;)

Vegetarians can grill fresh vegetables instead of the meat, the chef said - on a skewer, of course.

Okay so then everybody can participate. Even vegetarians, like Orly (who has a new picture gallery now by the way).

Ethiopian immigrant learning the esteemed custom of the 'mangal'

Posted by Maria at 11:04 AM  Permalink | Comments (5)
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Happy Israeli Independence Day, Maria!

Posted by: selfindulgence at May 12, 2005 02:10 PM Permalink

Hi Maria! Thanks for your lovely note on my album! Hmm a reference to me in a post about mangal, that's a little weird. Anyway, I just returned from a mangal event myself. I've never encountered any vegetarian skewers, but I never have problems in mangals (except for the smell), because you can always get stuffed from the pitas and "salads".

BTW I still don't get notices on your posts. Probably something about our email servers. Well, I'll still drop by from time to time. Cya!

Posted by: Orly at May 12, 2005 07:48 PM Permalink

This is one great custom! I love a good barbcue; and what can be better than grilled meat of yourchoice? We had hamburgers, kabobs, and hot dogs...mmmmmmmm.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at May 13, 2005 06:37 AM Permalink

Grilled asparagus is sooo yummy. It gets a bit sweet and caramelized. (Put it on skewers. Trust me.)

Posted by: Alice at May 17, 2005 12:07 AM Permalink

Yummy :) All this food is making me want to go to Israel! :)

Posted by: rach at June 1, 2005 09:03 PM Permalink

May 13, 2005

Icelandic women on Oprah

All right, just kill me right NOW!
Here she is, the useless bimbo who is systematically dismantling my reputation in the eyes of the world.

Once again I am furious over how Icelandic women have been encouraging this negative image the world has of them as slutty. I mean sure there are promiscuous women here, but they are still a minority. And even if they were a majority, if would be unfair to put us all under the same hat. Icelandic men also love doing their best, and basically just say that “Icelandic women are whores”. Normally they don’t have anything at all to compare to, since they’ve never bothered dragging their useless, ignorant Icelandic asses out of Iceland. What also seems to escape their minds is that they base their case on the fact that they “often get laid when going clubbing”, without realising the fact that clubs and such events is where people go when looking for sex. I for one can’t even remember the last time I went to a club.

Oprah found herself two fake blonds, who both seem to be extremely promiscuous, in order to get her talkshow (which is watched by many worldwide) to head in the exact direction that she wanted.

The first one had something like this to say:

“I don't think sex is that big a deal in Iceland. It's probably just because everyone is having it. So it's not something you have to talk about and be ashamed of. If a girl is starting to have sex [at] about 15 years of age, she isn't looked at as promiscuous and the boys aren't looked at that way either. Icelandic women are very independent—they don't wait for someone to ask them out, they just phone them."

What?? Okay so SHE might be having sex all the time.. It is absolutely unacceptable to just “phone someone for sex”. People here are very shy & oppressed, and only flirt while intoxicated. And I don’t know anyone in Iceland who started having sex at 15. I know a couple who were 16, but I still consider that to be too young..

And then she says:

“Asking someone out on a date is easy to do in Iceland because there is one phone book for the entire country—home, work and cell phone numbers for just under 300,000 people! "I guess we're a bit liberal about things because we have a much lower threshold for beginning new relationships," Savhildur says.
Okay you don’t “look someone up in the phonebook to ask them on a date”. You only do it if they gave you their number. I personally have an unlisted number.

"We don't have this kind of a dating thing. You don't have to go on a date number one and two and perhaps on the third date you ask him in. We don't have rules like that."

That’s an insane thing to say. People don’t kiss on the first date, and they wouldn’t have sex for several dates, unless it’s a one night stand..

And what does Svanhildur think of American television? "We have a lot of news coming from America in Iceland," Svanhildur says laughing. "And we often have photos of obese people walking down the street—people that are so fat that you couldn't find a single person in Iceland that would be that fat. Anyway, even though you have really obese people, you've also got the rest [who are] really good-looking

Ehrm. Okay after consulting several people I have found out that it is possible that Icelandic people are indeed more attractive than the average. But that’s just young people, and most people are still quite normal.

Here is what bimbo number 2 had to say:

We soak outside in our natural hot water—even in the winter," Thorunn says. "It's filled with minerals. It's like having a spa right outside your backyard!"

Right. So she’s saying that she drives during the middle of the winter to the countryside to bathe in a hotspring. C’mon.

Iceland is known for its tall, blonde, blue-eyed women, and when it comes to fashion, it's at the top of the world.

There are not so many blond women here, and those who are are usually fake blonds. I’m a brunette, all my best friends are brunettes, so is my sister, my mom… My dad was blond though, but he was from Norway.. The average height for the Icelandic female is 1,67 cm, and Icelandic people are the 3rd fattest nation on earth. So there you have it.

"And we're quite comfortable leaving our children on the sidewalk by themselves while we go in to shop. We also make sure our children sleep outside for at least an hour a day. Even in the winter. The fresh air is very good for them.

Wow, this is actually true! I’m impressed. Yeah I slept outside when I was a baby… I thought it was funny the other day at work when some American tourists forbade their kids to go outside saying “someone might take you”. Like that’ll ever happen in Iceland…

During the winter months, the sun only shines for a few hours a day in Iceland but during the summer, they have 24 hours of sunlight! Reykjavik has the reputation of being the party capital of the world and the nightlife year round makes it the city that never sleeps. "We don't even start to go out until after midnight and we stay out sometimes until 6 a.m. at least

Winter, sunlight, yes.. But why on earth do these party animals figure that because THEY party, everybody else does?

So I guess that there is only one conclusion: These Icelandic women being interviewed are just not that bright. Oh and I’m gonna think of a cool new nationality…

Posted by Maria at 11:55 AM  Permalink | Comments (20)
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How Israeli?!

Posted by: David at May 13, 2005 01:54 PM Permalink

Yeah that's a good suggestion David, but I don't think it would work for the time being cause nobody would buy it. I think I better stick to Swedish. One Icelandic woman was so ashamed when she watched this Oprah show that she said she'd tell everyone she's from Finland.

Posted by: Maria at May 13, 2005 02:05 PM Permalink

I believe that the discourse on Icelandic women and their alleged sexual freedom as been seen from a wrong angle...Svanhildur should have said: "Yes Icelandic women sleep around and they get away with it! Unlike the rest of the world we have true equality of the sexes and not the double standards you Americans have!".....of course that is not entirely true but since the other discourse is also a big fat lie...we should use the lie that suits us better! this is my proposal.

Posted by: Una at May 13, 2005 04:22 PM Permalink

Yeah Una I see your point. My personal opinion, however, is that Svanhildur should have even have been invited to the show. I think they should have invited someone with half a brain.

What you wrote made me laugh so hard, with all the "discourse" and "double standards" and "equality of the sexes". You're such a good anthropology student :-)

Posted by: Maria at May 13, 2005 05:19 PM Permalink

I strongly suggest you, Maria, not to use the Swedish (nor Norwegian) nationality in Israel. "Swedish" is a generic term here for every blond North European person. The reputation of "Swedish" women in Israel is just like what you describe of Icelandic women. More precisely, Israeli males are convinced that they are God's gift to Swedish women. The only reason you haven't expericned this is because you are not blond.

In Israel, I say, stick with the Icelandic nationality. You have an opportunity to actually create the reputation of Icelandic women here.

Posted by: Orly at May 13, 2005 06:06 PM Permalink

I am actually a natural redhead. The first time I was in Israel I had my natural red color, and Israeli called me "hablondinit". Nobody understood what on I meant when I tried to explain I wasn't blond. The second time I went to Israel I had dyed my hair blond (it looks very natural on me due to my light complexion). The men just went crazy. People were shouting at me on the streets, literally. Every other time I purchased something from a shop, the shop owner would offer to "to give it to me for free, or give me a discount, if I'd only kiss him on the cheek". It was absolutely madness. And those are just the jews. The ARABS, sheesh...

The last time I went I had dyed my hair dark. Nobody gave me any attention. Some religious people gave me flyers about Judaism and shabbat candles, and nobody really looked twice at me.
(except for the police, which constantly harassed me).

But thanks for the tip. I'll take it. But another thing with Israel is that every time I tell someone I am from Iceland they somehow equate it with Finland. Like I say Iceland and they go: So what's Finland like? And they do it again and again and again.

Posted by: Maria at May 13, 2005 08:56 PM Permalink

I don't know why they ask about Finland.

But the more interesting question is: What color will you hair be next time? ;-D

Posted by: Orly at May 13, 2005 09:10 PM Permalink

What on earth makes a purportedly intelligent human being watch Oprah? Was it perchance some kind of anthropology homework assignment? ;)

You're a bit jealous of the shagging-like-there's-no-tomorrow, right? You're thinking "Why am I studying biblical Hebrew late nights, when I could be drinking and fornicating like crazy? And with whom will I be able to conversate in biblical Hebrew anyway? Eliyahu Hanavi??"

Don't even think of claiming to be Swedish in order to escape the reputation Icelandic women have. Swedish women have an even more extreme reputation, probably for a good reason too.

Gut shabbes

Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at May 13, 2005 10:13 PM Permalink

One more thing regarding Icelandic women...Björk...

Good voice, I admit, but is she for real? To judge from the interviews etc that I've seen, she seems to be a waste of proteins. My impression of her is that she has too high regard for her own work. Someone should tell her that she's just another artist, nothing more, nothing less.

Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at May 13, 2005 10:53 PM Permalink


What on earth makes a purportedly intelligent human being watch Oprah? Was it perchance some kind of anthropology homework assignment? ;)

You're a bit jealous of the shagging-like-there's-no-tomorrow, right? You're thinking "Why am I studying biblical Hebrew late nights, when I could be drinking and fornicating like crazy? And with whom will I be able to conversate in biblical Hebrew anyway? Eliyahu Hanavi??"

Okay I have never watched Oprah in my life. I read about this on a newssite.

As to your remark on me being jealous about drinking and fornicating I have this to say..
Okay I *could* answer the question and go on about how I want more from life than hangovers, sex and bad grades, sure, but instead I'll go:
Are you having a bad evening, or were you just an asshole?
"gut shabbos" back at you

Jag menar, vad fan är det egentligen för en slags fråga?

Posted by: Maria at May 13, 2005 11:58 PM Permalink

And you know what else sickens me, Torbjörn? Your double standards when it comes to first talking about how promiscuous Swedish women are, and then attempting to belittle me for being the opposite. That is such a sick, arrogant, male chauvinist view.

Posted by: Maria at May 14, 2005 02:10 AM Permalink

Settle down, Maria!

I'm not the one who's criticizing Savhildur & are!

You're in your right to criticize them for telling a bunch of lies about how things are done in Iceland, of course, but you go on to call them 'slutty', and that's where you went too far.

I understand now that I should have added one more smiley after my theory, since you obviously misinterpreted my meaning. There's nothing wrong in studying and keeping sober. Some people prefer that kind of life. But is that the only 'right way' to lead your life? Who says? Why shouldn't people be allowed to drink and fuck if they want to? Obviously you disagree with this 'slutty' lifestyle. With my 'theory' I attempted to picture the way these 'sluts' probably think of people like you (and me), namely as dull people wasting our time on useless knowledge. Get my point?

Regarding Swedish vs. Icelandic women...observe that I *never* said that Swedish women have a *bad* reputation, since I don't assign a good/bad value to promiscuity, I just said that Swedish women have a more extreme reputation when it comes to promiscuity.

To summarize:
1) I'm sorry if I offended you. That wansn't my purpose.
2) You shouldn't call people slutty just because they prefer partying instead of studying. Different people have different preferences, and that's the way it'll always be.
3) No, my evening wasn't that bad. I spent most of it in front of the TV, and the rest studying mathematics.

Noch amol...gut shabbes

Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at May 14, 2005 07:17 AM Permalink

You two are cute. :-)

Posted by: Orly at May 14, 2005 07:47 AM Permalink

Torbjörn I called nobody slutty for preferring to party. I called them slutty for going on international television and telling the whole world that "all Icelandic women" (which includes myself) have the kind of lifestyle that they have, when it is untrue, and the image of the Icelandic woman is bad enough as it is.

Posted by: Maria at May 14, 2005 10:50 AM Permalink

I'm with Dave, I think you should be an Israelit :) Lol, and this explains why Israeli boys are always so very helpful when I'm there. C'mon and emigrate already, I need another Heidi look-a-like to hang out with and feel at home!

Posted by: katie-yael at May 16, 2005 06:18 AM Permalink

Once when I was in Israel, this American (Jewish) girl called Leah told me "you look like your name would be Heidi", lol. No but seriously, we should hang out. We could get lost together and stuff, and then have half a dozen Israeli men offer to help us (yeah that happens to me too, surprise surprise).

Posted by: Maria at May 16, 2005 10:03 AM Permalink

I tried to warn you about this episode in a comment section a few weeks back. I guess Oprah is shown a few weeks behind in Iceland. I found the women to be really obnoxious and insipid.

And of course all of the tired stereotypes were dragged out. Oprah: "Tell me the truth. Do you guys think American women are fat?" Me: "Oprah, stop projecting your own weight issues onto me. Please!" And here's a tip for you O., I can't stand Europeans who talk about how shallow Americans are and then berate us for being chubby, so don't encourage them.

And with regards to how much women sleep around anywhere on the planet... please let us never even think about such matters again. Pure stupidity.

What did you think about her comment with regards to it being illegal to make discriminatory remarks in Iceland? "In Iceland, you could go to jail for that!" I was so wishing Oprah would slap up a picture of that building with the swastika on it.

Posted by: Alice at May 16, 2005 02:59 PM Permalink

They removed the swastika! I saw it yesterday.

Posted by: Maria at May 16, 2005 08:22 PM Permalink


Posted by: Alice at May 16, 2005 11:53 PM Permalink

Am visiting Iceland and have been reading about this everywhere! What a fuss! Bear in mind that most viewers of that program are the ignorant Americans who will never visit Iceland to see what people are really like. I'm told you have a saying here that means it takes a visitor to make an informed judgement. I made mine here -

Posted by: Outlander at June 13, 2005 05:49 AM Permalink

David feeding soldiers

You really must see David Treppenwitz's Photo Friday from 'Yom Ha'atzmaut volunteering at the Pina Chama'. Absolutely priceless in my opinion.

Posted by Maria at 02:16 PM  Permalink | Comments (2)
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I think your readers were too smitten with the young woman in the previous post to go look at a bunch of dirty soldiers! :-)

Posted by: David at May 14, 2005 07:56 PM Permalink

Don't be silly David. There are plenty of people who would prefer a handsome soldier to a normal Icelandic blond :p

Posted by: Maria at May 14, 2005 09:27 PM Permalink

May 15, 2005

But.. it's just like riding a bicycle

Today I had this experience that made gave me a glimpse of what is was like to be a child again, and to have that feeling I used to have when I would run around on the streets of suburban Reykjavik with the other kids in the neighborhood, worrying about little other than what my mother would say when I would once again come home too late. This may sound strange to many of you, but the reason why I had this feeling today was because for the first time since I was 12 years old (really), I rode a bicycle. Why have I not ridden a bike since I was 12? Well, I try to walk as much as I can. If the distance is too great, I take a bus. Sometimes I get a lift.
But last Thursday I got into a bit of a dilemma. I knew I am working an extra shift on Sunday, and my boss asked me to work Monday as well. The thing is that both these days are holidays, meaning that buses don't start running until later than usual. I didn't fancy taking a taxi to work both days, so I decided to ask my sister to lend me her bike, and she was kind enough to do so.
My sweet little niece Gudrun was also riding her bike as I was trying my sister's bike out, and she noticed I was feeling a bit nervous. We had a dialogue that went something like this:

Maria: I don't know how to ride a bike anymore
Gudrun: Do you want me to teach you?
Maria: You're 11. I think I can handle it
Gudrun: All right. But just let me know if you need any assistance.
Maria: Oh yeah, I'll let you know for sure..

So I rode the bike, and I can't even explain how feeling the wind on your face while doing a seemingly simple thing like riding a bike in the midnight sun, does for the mind and soul. I almost felt like a carefree 12 year old again. Well, or at least until I crashed into the guy on the skateboard..

Posted by Maria at 01:10 AM  Permalink | Comments (11)
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I was feeling so nostalgic too as I was reading along --all the way until I got to "until I crashed into the guy on the skateboard." Then I terrified my cat with a mighty and totally unexpected guffaw of laughter! I'm still giggling. Tell me, did he scream?

Posted by: katie-yael at May 15, 2005 05:47 AM Permalink

Happy Israel Independence Day!

Posted by: EdWonk at May 15, 2005 06:29 AM Permalink

Oops! Time difference. Well, at least it is still the 14th here in the California Desert.

Posted by: EdWonk at May 15, 2005 06:34 AM Permalink

Ouch! I hope you are OK! I also hope that your sister's bike was not damaged.

As for the skateboarder... they are perhaps the only thing lower on the food chain than snowboarders... so I wouldn't worry too much about him! ;-)

Posted by: David at May 15, 2005 10:03 AM Permalink

I'm absolutely baffled...first bicycle ride since you were 12!?!?!? *jaw dropping time and again*

It's difficult to find words for this...this...this...mind-boggling perspective. Life without biking...

To me a bicycle is a necessity of life, just like air, food, beer and broadband are (and just like coffee, Oprah and cell phones aren't). It's the best way of transportation to me, living in Gothenburg. Fast. Cheap. Healthy. Comfortable.

Probably David is right about the skateboarders postition in the food chain, but it's tragic. The lowest position should definitely be saved for car drivers. They are, with very few exceptions, a bunch of murderous antisemitic loonies! I'm close to being killed on a daily basis due to drivers that just refuse to comply with traffic laws. They drive on sidewalks, ignore stop signs, go in the wrong direction on 'one way' streets...I get the feeling that there's some secret competition going on...break the most traffic laws and win a free trip to Hawaii.

Probably I'll have to get a drivers license sooner or later. If we want to buy a house outside town we'll need a car, but I just hope it'll be later rather than sooner. After all, buying petrol is the most effective way of sticking money in the pockets of islamists.

Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at May 15, 2005 08:10 PM Permalink

Katie: He didn't scream :)

David: My brother said that it was a pity I didn't hit a guy with rollerblades. I wasn't hurt, and neither was the guy. He took it really well. He was around 17 or so. He laughed and told me that it was no problem since nobody got hurt.

Torbjörn: I have never even once in my life watched Oprah. I am, however, a hopeless coffee addict (consume ridiculous amounts of coffee a day), and I couldn't imagine life without a mobile phone (and yes, they are necessary, and I just can't stand trying to contact people who don't have them!). But please don't think I watch talkshows. I don't. Infact, I don't own a television..

Posted by: Maria at May 15, 2005 10:38 PM Permalink

Oh, I forgot...add TV to the necessary items ;)

We have a channel called Discovery Mix. Half the day they run (lousy) programs about animals, and the rest of the day, in the evenings, they run documentarys about technical and historical issues.

Countless are the times when I, completely exhausted after a full days work and taking care of the kids, have sunk deep into our sofa and just zapped between the channels. I almost always end up in front of Discovery Mix, watching some 30 min documentary about the worlds largest digging machine or something of the kind :)

And I'm not alone. I've met several people (all males, for some strange reason :D) who also have a tendency to get stuck in front of 'How Hong Kong airport was built' (I saw that one on several occasions) and various programs about how to build really big bridges/tunnels/houses. Very relaxing.

I do have a cell phone, but very rarely use it. I don't drink coffee, because I hate the taste, but I drink lots of tea with lemon juice.

By the way, David, I saw you wrote about Yak butter tea. The yak butter is supposed to be rancid (!), and they also put salt in the tea. The tea itself is so called 'brick tea'. It resembles a black brick, and you carve a bit off the brick every time you make tea.

In Russia they often drink tea with jam. Tea in Russia is usually served in glasses, and the glass is put in a metal (usually silver) thingee (called a podstakan, with a handle on it. Russian tea does not contain tannines and can therefore soak for hours without becoming bitter. This is the reason Russians can use samovars, in which the tea is kept warm for hours.

Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at May 15, 2005 11:38 PM Permalink

Heh, I just started cycling again too, but for a different reason. I bought a bicycle horn on an impulse in Copenhagen a few weeks ago (a loud contraption that sounds like an enraged swan and looks like this.
Now, I hadn't touched a bicycle for a decade so my wife asked me "Just what are you going to use that for?". Not wanting to look like a twit with a bicycle horn, I had to dust off the old mountain bike and pretend I had planned it all along.

I have now ridden the blasted thing to work three times in the past week or so and I am now acutely aware of the fact that there is a height difference of over 200 meters between my workplace and my home - and I still haven't had the chance to use the infernal widget that started it all! I guess the squealing brakes suffice to warn pedestrians of an incoming ballistic twerp.

This burning sensation in my thighs will wane, right?

Posted by: Fluffster at May 16, 2005 12:02 PM Permalink

That i so funny... I wouldn't know what to do without my bike, but I live in Amsterdam and if anyone knows anything about Holland they know how much people love the freedom of zipping around the city on your bike.

Posted by: HasidicG at May 16, 2005 06:17 PM Permalink

Holland! You surely know how to bike! And how to build bikes. I ride a Batavus. So does my girlfriend, and my oldest son used to have a Batavus too. Not the 'made in China/Taiwan' crap that most people regret they ever bought.

Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at May 16, 2005 07:52 PM Permalink

I haven't even noticed the name of my bike. It's blue, or purple. Can't remember. It has a nice basket on the front, real practical.

Posted by: Maria at May 16, 2005 08:19 PM Permalink

May 16, 2005

So what have we really been reading lately..

I just turned in my last essay, meaning that I have finished all my schoolwork. Oh the sweet smell of freedom! (Freedom in the sense that I am working like a dog, but at least I won't have to study). Also, I finally had time to answer the questions of this questionaire jsoffer sent me:

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
What? I don’t understand the question. I never read Fahrenheit 451. But I did once fantasise about being ‘Lizzy’ in “Pride and Prejudice”.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
No. That’s absurd.

The last book you bought is:
I think it was “The Straight Path of Islam” by John Esposito, although it might have been “Freedom in Fulani Social Life” by.. some anthropologist, can’t remember. I’m too lazy to check. But the last book I bought ‘deliberately’ (as in not for school) was “The crisis of Islam” by Bernard Lewis.

The last book you read is:
Well I am just about to finish “Anthropology and Africa: Changing Perspectives on a Changing Scene”, but before that it was, hmm… oh yes, “Eskimo Essays”, by Ann Fienup Riordan.
The last book I read ‘voluntarily’? Ehrm... I’d rather not say, since it’s been shamefully long. But I sure do my share of reading though…

Five books you would take to a desert island.
1) Teach yourself Arabic (seriously, what else would there be to do?)
2) Teach yourself Italian
3) Teach yourself French
4) Advanced Hebrew
5) (Stealing this one from the guy who sent it to me): How to escape from a desert island for dummies!

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
Katie-Yael: Because she’s a really nice, fun and smart girl, and I’d be interested in hearing her answers.

Hasidic Gentile
: Because he’s so full of mystery. Lets learn a little about him, shall we…
Solomonia: Because he’s a blog-wiz, and I want to know more about why it is so!

Posted by Maria at 10:07 PM  Permalink | Comments (4)
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I like how your choices presume you'll get off the island at some point. : )

F451 is about a world where books are illegal and firemen don't put out fires, they start them because they are the ones in charge of making sure no one is reading. (They burn the books.) One of the firemen gets his hands on a book and starts reading in secret. Etc, etc. It's the book that dumbo Michael Moore was referring to in his F9-11 movie title, you know, because the United States is an Orwellian nightmare according to him. Which is why he's a multimillionaire who makes movies completely unfettered by anyone. But I suppose the fact that he was snubbed at the Oscars is proof to him of yet another govt. conspiracy. (End Moore rant.)

Posted by: Alice at May 17, 2005 12:02 AM Permalink

Thanks for answering! The reference to F451, as Tom pointed out, is because at the end of the book each person literally becomes a book by memorizing it, to protect it as long as the person lives. Yes, it's a very obscure reference.

Posted by: Jaime Soffer at May 18, 2005 05:19 AM Permalink

Ok, here are my answers:

If I were stuck inside the book Fahrenheit 451 I'd want to be Fahrenheit 451 because, of course, it would be the first book they'd want to get rid of and I'd rebel and tell the world.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? Absurd, maybe, but yes I have. When I was 12 I was infatuated with Ari Ben Canaan of Exodus. However, because I was 12, I couldn't decide whether I wanted to marry him when I grew up or have him adopt me *grin.*

The last book you bought is: "chavurat koach ha'moach vhatakala ha'mistorit" --yep, a kids book with vowels so I can hopefully learn some vocabulary and sentence structure in a relatively painless way. For work I recently bought "Self and Identity."

Last book(s) I read: "In the Days of Destruction and Revolt" by Zivia Lubetkin, book 5 in the chavurat koach ha'moach series, and "The Vocabulary of Peace."

Five books I'd take to a desert island:
1. Pride and Prejudice
2. How to speak Yiddish
3. How to speak French
4. Subsistence farming on a desert island
5. The Complete works of Bertolt Brecht

Posted by: katie-yael at May 18, 2005 06:02 AM Permalink

Blog wiz? That doesn't have anything to do with pee-pee does it? ;)

Seriously, thanks for thinking of me, but I already did it, here.

BTW, I hadn't read Fahrenheit 451 when I took it, either. I since have, though. (Highly recommended, and short!)

Posted by: Solomon at May 18, 2005 01:49 PM Permalink


Roads Closed Throughout Israel as Protesters Take to the Street
23:56 May 16, '05 / 7 Iyar 5765


"If you're arrested, you've won!" was the slogan of Monday's mass protests. At least 235 Israelis were arrested during acts of nationwide civil disobedience, blocking major Israeli thoroughfares.

An army of orange took to the streets, outsmarting and outmanning over 4,000 police officers stationed across the country, in the first round of major protests aimed at derailing the proposed disengagement plan this summer. Streets were closed, and traffic paralyzed for up to an hour in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beersheva, Haifa and elsewhere.

Speaking of orange.. The Israeli government has apparently outlawed the color orange (Hat tip: Israpundit):

This morning, Minister of Public Thought Matan Vilnai, together with Minister of Public Secuirty Gideon Ezra and Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni declared the color orange to be an enemy combatant. As such, it is subject to immediate arrest and adminstrative detention (without trial) as a significant public security risk.

Orange appealed to the Supreme Court, but Chief Justice Barak quickly ruled that declarations by the Minister of Public Thought could no longer be thought about (except by the Justices), and therefore Orange not only had no standing to raise the issue but was in violation of the law by doing so. Orange quickly departed from the court.

All citizens (at least Jewish ones) found to be wearing the color Orange will be considered in violation of thought rulings and subject to arrest, interrigation and administrative detention, unless they are part of evening wear for those living in the upscale sections of Tel Aviv.

So here's what I have to say about that (since they say a picture can say more than a thousand words :)


Now doesn't that look beautiful?

Posted by Maria at 11:58 PM  Permalink | Comments (6)
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I guess that's what you'd call a real Orange Revolution!

Posted by: yiddishe-kop at May 17, 2005 04:37 AM Permalink

The actions of our governmentare frightening. I am thinking about putting out a call to all those who are PRO-engagement to put on t-shirts (green) writing in black or white YES engagement and in green NO to silence. Let those opposed SPEAK.

I don't have that many hits to my blog though, and I kind of doubt that anyone will take me up on the idea.

While i think the "disengagement" (uprooting, ethnic cleansing) of Gaza is a horrific and fearful idea, equally appaling, and it should be appaling for all, is arresting, threatening, and harrassing those who protest.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at May 17, 2005 09:03 AM Permalink

I hope you realize the item from Israpundit was a parody of the news item. There is no Minister of Public Thought (at least not yet), the name used is a minister without portfolio.

However, it is true people are being denied access and/or arrested for wearing the color.

Posted by: Akiva at May 18, 2005 01:39 AM Permalink

Lol, oh no, what shall I do? Half (at least) of my summer wardrobe is in various shades of orange! I'm going to have to run around with a little sign on me saying "I support the pullout even though I don't like it" just to define my orange little self --and not get arrested or screamed at by any of the many many people who are going to be way fed up with sitting in protest-caused traffic by the time the time of the pullout actually arrives.

Posted by: katie-yael at May 18, 2005 05:33 AM Permalink

Akiva: Yes I realise, I did the reading.

Katie-Yael: LOL you poor thing

Posted by: Maria at May 18, 2005 10:10 AM Permalink

Akiva, I do realize that, yes. The arrests, the harrassment are all true, and I would think that whether one is for or against the disengagement one would protest the lack of free speech.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at May 20, 2005 10:10 AM Permalink

May 19, 2005

Bad News - Literally

Due to immense popularity, AlJazeera (aka "crapazeera") has announced that it will launch an English-language channel at the start of 2006 (I shall not be linking to this farce of a "news site").

"British national Nigel Parsons will head operations at the company's Doha headquarters, while Trish Carter, formerly of New Zealand television, will head a new Asia desk in Kuala Lumpur.

Sue Philips, formerly employed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, will take charge of European coverage in London, while Will Stebbins, formerly with Associated Press Television News, will head a North American desk in Washington.

Aljazeera has undertaken major expansion in recent months, launching a new channel last month dedicated exclusively to covering live events without presenters or commentary.

Aljazeera also has a sports channel and plans a children's channel soon."

What bothers me is 1) the fact that they are popular enough in the Western world to be able to to this, and 2) the fact that this will greatly contribute to what Israel certainly does not need: spreading more lies.

Posted by Maria at 09:58 PM  Permalink | Comments (2)
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OK, so I guess I'll have to be the one who tells you how funny you are today.

bad new- literally


of course it took me three times reading it to get it. duhhhhh

Posted by: Alice at May 22, 2005 07:13 PM Permalink


Posted by: Maria at May 22, 2005 07:27 PM Permalink

May 22, 2005

A day off, and tales of globe trotting toys

Ohh, a day off at last! I daresay this is the first real day off I've had since I was in Israel. After turning in my essay I've been working like a dog. In addition to that I am doing my best to get back into shape. I have been doing things such as riding a bike to and from work every day. Sounds simple enough for a 20-25 minute bike ride, right? Well not when you live in Reykjavik, the northernmost capital in the world, in the windiest inhabited spot on earth! It may be late May by now, but I still need to dress like an inuit (it is indeed incorrect to say 'eskimo', except when referring to the indigenous populations of Alaska), and I sometimes have tremendous problems fighting the wind. I am getting healthier by the day, but it has been leaving me veeery tired.
Infact, I even missed the Eurovision Songcontest last night, for only the second time in my life. This will give me problems keeping up conversations with other Icelanders for the next week or so, since it's ALL anyone is talking about, as usual.

Apart from that I don't have much to write about, since all I've been doing lately is work, work and work. I have been meeting some interesting folks from all over the world at work lately though. Like yesterday I had an encounter with a middle aged couple from London that went something like this:

British man: Pardon me, but could you by any chance tell me where I could purchase clothes for a small teddy bear?
Maria: Ehh.. We might have some doll sized Icelandic woolsweaters.
Man: We need clothes for our teddybear 'Teddy'. You see, he travels with us wherever we go.
Maria. Aha...
Man: Oh yes, he even has his own passport.
Maria: You've got to be kidding
Man: Would you like to see it?
Maria: Very much so

Okay so then he pulls out the passport, and I am no kidding here, it was an authentic British passport with a PASSPORT PICTURE of the teddybear on the inside!
It said:

Name: Teddy
Nationality: British
Height: 30 cm

The little teddy's passport had stamps from all over the world. They had taken it to Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and all over. I asked them how airport staff in such distant locations responded to their requests of getting a stamp for "little Teddy's passport", and they said that Teddy had always been very warmly received.

I just started laughing like an idiot, and told them they were completely crazy, but I also congratulated them for showing me the most original thing I've seen in a long time. They were very happy. Before they continued their quest for some traditional Icelandic clothing for their globe trotting toy-bear, I got them to say "I can't believe it's not butter - can you?" for me. I just never get tired of the way that sentence sounds with a British accent.

Posted by Maria at 10:59 AM  Permalink | Comments (6)
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Hey Maria! That teddy bear story is one of the weirdest I've heard. Your job does have interesting sides!

I am going through a busy time, so forgive me if I won't visit your blog on the next weeks. Now I have to write a few words about the Eurovision. I was sure you'd watch it!

Despite what I had said in the past, I did watch most of the songs in the first half, untill Israel's, and most of voting. Shiri Maimon was fantastic!!! I still think her song wasn't a winning song. It wasn't catchy enough, I think. I would still prefer to see a rhythmic song, or something that is typical of Israel in some way (and it really bores me that almost everyone sings in English!!!)

However, the Eurovision was filled with so many rhythmic and ethnic gimmicks, often grotesque and badly performed, that Shiri's song became a delightful pause within so much trash. And she did give a great performance! (and her dress was almost modest compared to all the rest)

The voting, as usual, was a good geography lesson, with all the tribal voting inside the Balkan Bloc and Eastern Bloc etc. The surprising thing was the douze points given to Greece by Turkey, interpreted by some as a Turkish effort to please the EU.

Shiri did manage to do very well in the voting, given the circumstances. She was in the top of the chart all along, even led it for a while, and finished 4th. It was no surprised that Israel got 10 points from France, as the Jewish community there massively votes for Israel. Maybe they also contributed to the 12 points from Monaco (or maybe a group of Israeli tourists to the tiny country). However, there were about 40 countries, and Israel did get high scores from many of them, though none from Iceland...

Posted by: Orly at May 22, 2005 11:59 AM Permalink

Of course Iceland awarded Israel (drum roll please) 0 points in the Eurovision contest. I know, big surprise! I can only be happy that there wasn't a Palestinian song entered in the contest, because they would have tried to award 13 points for that... even if all they did was stand on stage and launch mortars! :-)

Posted by: David at May 22, 2005 12:00 PM Permalink

PS The winner, the Greek song was okay, in my opinion, but not more than that. Among the songs I saw I don't think any will last.

Posted by: Orly at May 22, 2005 12:05 PM Permalink

Orly: well as I said I didn't watch it.. I actually thought Shiri's dress was nowhere near modest. I think at least a third of her points must be have "cleavage" points. But then again, I didn't see the others...

David: Hehe funny. But, yeah..

Posted by: Maria at May 22, 2005 03:05 PM Permalink

Oh, I love the bear story, and if you htink about it , it is quite an ice-breaker. What a great way to catalog their journeys, gets people talking etc.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at May 24, 2005 09:14 PM Permalink

Hi, I just came by this site by searching on "Globe trotting teddy". It was nice to read that there are other teddy bears that get their paspports stamped when they travel. I am a teddy bear with its own British passport too. The passport officials have a good laugh when I show them my passport asking them to stamp it for me in the language of whichever country I'm in. They show their colleauges which holds up the queue behind us so other people get a little annoyed.

See my website and photos of me on my travels, there are also photos of me with celebrities and a teddy bear problem page.

Posted by: Bearsac at June 22, 2005 08:11 PM Permalink

May 25, 2005

Are you Jewish?

I am feeling a bit guilty about how I have been neglecting my weblog lately, especially with all the priceless readers I have. But sometimes us humans simply experience what one might call 'just one of those times'. That is pretty much, or even precisely, what I'd call what I have been going through lately. I am still working like a lunatic to save up for university 'registration fees', that have just been raised by 40% (we all know it's tuition in disguise).
But even though life isn't always easy, pleasant and amusing, it does seem to constantly be able to provide you with more of those funny little incidents. Since work is all I've been doing lately, all my recent experiences are related to work. This is why I shall describe the events of today and yesterday, at the little souvenir shop on Reykjavik's tiny shopping street, where I work.

As you know, there are very few Jews in Iceland. There is no Jewish community. There are, however, a lot of people who don't like Jews and/or Israelis. I believe I've been through this. Iceland is certainly not the only place, but it is, after all, where I spend all my time. So since it is all I see, all I encounter, all I come in physical contact with.. it might as well be the whole world where I'm concerned. Or at least for the time being.

Since yesterday I have been asked 3 times if I'm Jewish. The first time the question was "you're not Jewish, or are you..?", with an obvious tone of a sort of mixture of disgust and anger. The second time I was asked with a tone of suspicion, and a degree of seriousness that made me feel almost as if I'd say yes, I'd be confessing to having committed a crime.
During the third time, one the other hand, I was asked with a tone of anticipation and positivity.
So why the difference in attitude?

Yesterday an Australian woman and a British man walked into the shop where I work. We talked a little, and the woman soon told me that they lived in Jordan, but that before that they had been "living in Palestine" (if it hadn't been my job to try to get them to spend money, I would have corrected that term). Further conversation led me to tell them that I had been in Israel, and I made a few 'minor' comments that nevertheless made it clear where I stand. The man asked what brought someone from Reykjavik to Israel? I replied with the question: What leads someone from Australia to Ramallah? (They had been living in Ramallah, and the woman told me I really should visit, since it is 'such a lovely city'). The woman angrily answered that she was doing human rights for palestinians, and that the man was doing water. Then I saw her begin to return the things she had intended to buy, and she headed to the shop accross the street.
The man on the other hand stayed behind and chatted with me for a while and was friendly, trying to make excuses for the woman's behavior. As he was leaving he even said: "So, next year in Jerusalem, perhaps?"..

The second incident was my co worker that day. Since he is new at the job I haven't worked with him before. He insisted on discussing Middle Eastern politics, claiming (like most other Icelanders) that he had most certainly acquired knowledge on the matter, and had therefore formed an opinion. I gave him several warnings to stop. When he had given me a very lengthy speech about how the hamas is 'simply a political organization', I finally got very angry.

The third incident took place today. I've actually had a few similar things happen at work, but they are always a pleasure, and make up for things such as what I mentioned above.
A middle aged Jewish couple from Montreal walked into the shop today, just as I was playing Ofra Haza's 'Yemenite Songs' in the shop. They did a lot of shopping, and stayed for at least half an hour chatting with me. In the end the woman (her name was Miriam) asked me to write my name on the back of the company's card, to be able to 'remember me and tell people about me'. Like all the other Jews I've encountered they wanted to know if there is a Jewish community in Iceland, etc. As they said goodbye, they also left that greeting that is so traditional, and so unbelievably filled with hope: "next year in Jerusalem".

So these were the people who asked if I am Jewish. The answer to that question is of course: No, I am not Jewish. I am just a girl who loves Israel, and a girl who is trying very hard to tell right from wrong.

Posted by Maria at 09:04 PM  Permalink | Comments (14)
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Beside the sad state of a world that dosen't seem to learn from it's lessons it's good to know people like you are out there, I don't think the situation here in Holland is as bad but still there are too many uninformed people that seem to have it all figured out, it's like being in a michael moore/twilight zone convention. But I think the people who run ito me in life learn preaty quickly to get there facts straight. but usualy they learn to shut up ;-) I think booth of us are doing excactly what were here to do.

Posted by: hasidicG at May 25, 2005 11:14 PM Permalink

You guys rock!

Posted by: Alice at May 26, 2005 01:06 AM Permalink

Very nice post. Would you believe I actually had (have, I guess, though I've not seen them in a long time) a couple of very good Icelandic friends who lived here in Boston? You Icelanders are an odd lot!

I'm sure you've seen this, but just in case, here's an essay on anti-Semitism in Iceland:

Posted by: Solomon at May 26, 2005 04:04 AM Permalink

I've seen it. The guy who wrote it, actually has a Jewish father by the way.

Posted by: Maria at May 26, 2005 09:25 AM Permalink

What a wonderful post, Maria!

I believe the people in the first 2 incidents were angry at you because of your opinions, whether you are Jewish or not, but it is sad that just because you think the Hamas is a terrorist organization you are 'suspected' to be Jewish.

You've got some really interesting stories from the shop. But the most amazing thing for me is that they let you play Ofra Haza's Yemenite songs there... I would like to see that!

Posted by: Orly at May 26, 2005 09:44 AM Permalink

Each time I've gotten I always answer, "Why do you ask?". Let them sweat for a moment with being called out on their prejudices!

Posted by: David at May 26, 2005 10:53 AM Permalink

Whoops, obviously that should say:

Each time I've gotten that question I always answer, "Why do you ask?". Let them sweat for a moment with being called out on their prejudices!

Posted by: David at May 26, 2005 10:54 AM Permalink

Thank you for sharing your thoughts again, Maria.

I also often have "odd" experiences when express my support to Israel.

The last (sad) example was in the past weekend, while having lunch with parents, nephews, step-sister, and brother.
After I said that Arafat was the terrorist inventor of plane hijacking, my dear brother said that "Israel has concentration camps"... that was sheer, gratuitous, baseless defamation.

The assumption of prejudice is the death of thought. I will gift him the book Eurabia to help him about the whole issue.


Finishing with a hopeful note, what I find most wonderful is the fact that almost all staunch Israel supporters are lovely people!

Best regards from the place where Nahmanides won the Disputation...

Joel Català

Posted by: Joel Català at May 26, 2005 03:07 PM Permalink

the place where Nahmanides won the Disputation


Posted by: David Boxenhorn at May 26, 2005 07:37 PM Permalink

Orly: I play whatever I want at work. I have the world's coolest boss. He often says 'shalom' when he sees me, and he says that "it's priceless to have a worker who used to volunteer in the Israeli military". (He's funny).

David: I've been thinking about that. I might ask them why they're asking next time.. Oh and there are Jews all over Iceland these days by the way! I just got off the bus where I was helping a couple of Jewish guys find their way to the pool..

Joel: That's a sad and familiar story

Posted by: Maria at May 26, 2005 08:08 PM Permalink

"No, I am not Jewish. I am just a girl who loves Israel, and a girl who is trying very hard to tell right from wrong."

... the world really needs more people like that.

Posted by: yiddishe-kop at May 27, 2005 04:26 AM Permalink

David: You won! :-)

Yiddishe-kop: Yep, you're right. And possibly more Jewish people is needed, too.

Posted by: Joel Català at June 1, 2005 04:27 PM Permalink

Well I sorta take pleasure now in tormenting palestinian supporters it's quite hilarious watching people's reactions when I say I support Israel.

I used to be pretty self-hating - but Not any more! I'm a proud supporter of Israel.

However, I think antisemites should be left alone and ignored, you don't want getting into any more danger than is absolutely necessary. I haven't had much antisemitism but I've had a bit, I think every Jew has had a bit. You just have to not let the bastards get you down ;)

Posted by: rach at June 1, 2005 08:34 PM Permalink

Don't always assume that people are going to disagree with you or be hostile when you talk about Israel. And don't assume that all Muslims, french people, whoever are anti-semetic, because that's not very good either :)

If someone asks me if I'm Jewish I just say yes and if they ask me if I support Israel, the same thing. We normally have some pretty interesting discussions.

Posted by: rach at June 1, 2005 08:37 PM Permalink

May 29, 2005

I say Oprah's time is up already..

What I have to say about Oprah Winfrey can be summed up in the following sentence: I am no fan

Oprah's Mag Misses the Mark
Continued media omission of incitement to violence in Palestinian culture.

Palestinian imam Ibrahim Mudayris
(view video)

As you read the following speech, delivered by imam Ibrahim Mudayris on national Palestinian TV on May 13, ask yourself how these words might influence an impressionable teenage Muslim girl:

With the establishment of the State of Israel, the entire Muslim nation was lost because Israel is a cancer that spread in the body of the Islamic nation; because the Jews are a virus similar to AIDS, from which the entire world is suffering... The day will come and we shall rule America, Britain, we shall rule the entire world, except the Jews. The Jews will not live under our rule agreeably and permanently, since they have been treacherous in nature throughout history... Listen to your Beloved [Muhammad], who tells you about the most dire end awaiting the Jews. The stones and trees will want Muslims to finish off every Jew.

Now let's turn to... Oprah:


Oprah Winfrey's popular print magazine - 'O' - has an ongoing feature named 'Rescuing the World's Girls.'O's June 2005 edition focuses on the plight of an 18-year-old Palestinian who was tried, convicted and is currently serving time in an Israeli jail for conspiring to perform a suicide bombing.

The author, David France, asks the question: 'What would make a girl take such a radical and grisly step?' France quotes an author and university professor who asserts that:

religion is not the cause [of Palestinian suicide terror]... these are people who define their situation as hopeless. They feel that they have no way to respond against what they see as Israeli military aggression.

Incredibly, the lengthy 'O' article completely ignores a main factor behind Islamist terror ― the incitement to violence that continually spews forth from Palestinian media and mosques such as Ibrahim Mudayris' cited above. (The author makes only passing reference to Yassir Arafat's individual statements that 'seemed to incite.') Yet the Palestinian girl featured in 'O', Yusra Abdu, was likely bombarded by such messages her entire life.

As Ariel Sharon declared on Sunday (5/22) in New York:

I believe that the day will come when we will sign a peace agreement with all our neighbors.... Unfortunately, our Arab neighbors still do not recognize the Jewish people's birthright to an independent state in our homeland - the land of Israel. Such recognition can only come through comprehensive change in their education system.

New York Times columnist David Brooks made a similar point in the context of the recent Newsweek scandal. Referring to this Palestinian imam's speech, Brooks states: 'These are the real extremists, the real enemy. Let's keep our eye on the ball.'

Even the Palestinian leadership has come to acknowledge the issue ― PA Minister of Information Nabil Shaath made a motion to suspend Mudayris after his defamatory May 13 sermon.

Yet the problem remains widespread: HR-affiliated Teach Kids Peace notes that the IDF recently arrested a Palestinian boy with a explosive belt tied around his waist ― the fourteenth such arrest of a teenage terrorist in the past two months.

Comments to 'O' magazine: click here

Posted by Maria at 09:38 AM  Permalink | Comments (0)
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A worker, a slacker, a blogger but no programmer..

4 days without blogging, how can this be! Well there are a few reasons, but I shall attribute it 90% to the fact that I have been spending day after day on getting up early for work, and going to sleep soon after getting home every evening. I've lost count of the shifts I've taken in a row now, but my lovely boss spoke to me last Friday and told me that she'd ask someone else to work for me on Monday, so I will get a day off tomorrow, which will be nice, for eventhough I love my job, I could use a day off.

Apart from that not much is new, since (believe it or not), not that many adventurous incidents take place in the life of a person whose time consists pretty much entirely of work and sleep. I did, however (with a ridiculous amount of help from the extremely patient David, aka Rishon-Rishon) manage to update my profile! That took me very long, since I don't even know the basics of html, and this new website is far more difficult to handle.
I am still waiting for the time when my shifts will change and I'll have time to do the things that all those superbloggers out there do, such as take a bunch of gorgeous and interesting photos of my surroundings & daily life and upload them to my site. But for the time being, I guess I might continue slacking a bit, or at least from time to time..

Oh and by the way: The British man who came to Iceland with the passport holding teddy googled me, found my website and e-mailed me! How funny is that?!

Posted by Maria at 09:59 AM  Permalink | Comments (2)
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What did he google for, "Hatshepsut"? :)

Btw, why do you call yourself that? I'm trying my best not to call you Hattie(I have a nagging suspicion you wouldn't approve of that).

Posted by: Fluffster at May 30, 2005 12:44 AM Permalink

I guess he typed something like 'Hatshepsut blog". Many of the American readers call me 'Hat'. Call me Hattie and you're a dead man...

Posted by: Maria at May 30, 2005 09:24 AM Permalink

May 30, 2005

Some truly unique images

"Angel", by Icelandic photographer Heida Helgadottir.

While surfing the web for good photo galleries, I had good luck running into an absolutely amazing photo gallery. While looking through the 'top photographers' section I saw a picture by an Icelandic photographer, clearly taken in Iceland, which caught my attention. Also worth a look is the 'top photos' section. I highly recommend this website, it is a must see for anyone with even the slightest bit of interest in photography, or even for those who simply enjoy viewing beautiful things that are pleasing to the eye & mind.

Posted by Maria at 10:43 AM  Permalink | Comments (1)
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Something to cheer everyone up:
The Darwin Awards is a highly amusing phenomenon. I recommend a look at their website,

This one, 'Living on Zionist time', might bring some sunshine into your lives :)


Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at May 30, 2005 01:15 PM Permalink
moon phases