Rich's Chronicle Index E-Mail Rich Rich & Sara's Family Page



The Brownsteins in the Land of Israel

Chapter 12:


December 22, 2003


Dear Friends,


For those of you who were wondering what I might be doing in Israel after creating and building The Transcription Company, you now have the answer.  Below are two links to 90-second videos put out by Aish HaTorah and their subsidiary,  One of the videos I wrote and directed; one of the videos I just plain admire.  See if you can figure out which is mine: One or Two (have some patience).



Your Letters


My dear friend Rachel Grose wrote: "While I can't help with the larger problems (peace, the economy etc.) I do have one piece of useful information.  Try putting some old fashioned toothpaste on your next bug bite.  It will take the itch and sting out of it.  (This is an old Habonim Dror trick).  Works every time."


Our friend in L.A. Ron Kaminker wrote: "We always love your articles. I think even people who don't know you would like them. (in fact, they might even like them more!).  In 1982 I was in yeshiva in the old city and decided to sleep in the Yeshiva's Sukkah. In the middle of the night around 4 AM (I know 4 am is usually considered the middle of the night) I felt something crawling into my sleeping bag. In the middle of my stupor I realized that it was one of the wild, feral cats from the old city IN my sleeping bag trying to snuggle up to me. Needless to say, that was the last night I slept in that Sukkah."  Thanks, Ron, I feel better.


My friend of 25 years, Steven Berger from L.A. wrote of our new website, "Wow. Great site.  You need a job.  Too much time on your hands...." Can't argue with that!


And my dear friend and corporate webmaster Aaron Gross wrote: "I also found that all roads lead to Ramallah one erev Shabbos.  I was with my family trying to drive from Jerusalem to Kfar Tapuach in the summer of 1996.  I'm convinced that the Arabs remove all the signs that point to anywhere else BUT Ramallah.  Heaven knows CNN doesn't have enough footage of poor Arab mobs descending and eviscerating Jewish families."


 Bibi Bono, from Derech Eretz wrote of my last story "Proximity", "I read your story about Sukkot called 'Proximity' last night, right after I received it.  I really loved how you described your entire Sukkot experience.  A funny thing happened when I was talking to my mom about it, though.  She had just finished it too, and she said that wasn't about Sukkot at all, but that it was an allegory about the Palestinians pestering us for our land.  She said that the bugs and the animals were a metaphor for the Palestinians.  She also said that the only reason you talked about your vacations to the Dead Sea, the caves, and the beach was to give people a sense of how small Israel is and how you always feel under siege, no matter where you go.  She said that this was the reason you called the story 'Proximity'.  She even said, believe it or not, that you designed the story with the pictures that increased and constricted the page as you wrote more about your proximity to danger.  She said every picture had a purpose as a symbol, even your children's photos.  She suggested that I should reread it because I obviously didn't get it at all and she was embarrassed for me.  I told her that I read just fine and that Rich's chronicles are not political, but are simply about his day-to-day life in Israel.  I told her, 'I've known Rich for 40 years and he is not a serious dude.  He just likes to write subtle humor.'  I was a little bit confused when she then suggested that the $100,000 she had spent on my college education seemed to have been somewhat wasteful.  I just shrugged and went back my videogame.  Please tell mama that my Brandeis education was worth every penny!"  Listen to your mom.


Ali McGrawThis was from our new, dear friend Rachael Grossman, from our sputtering Ulpan Class: "An Israeli friend of mine told me about his (stupid) Israeli friend who was in LA for a visit.  She was driving on the freeway with a police car following behind her.  She didn't understand when she was arrested what she had done.  I guess the policeman didn't bother to turn his siren on, but his lights were following her many many miles before she realized (over a police loud speaker) that he was trying to get her.....  Try and buy the plug-in mosquito repellent.  It really works...I had the same problem until I bought one.  I have never been stung when the thing has been plugged in.  If you get a cat, that's another anti-mosquito device.... I completely disagree with your take on dogs.  Actually, America is one of the only countries that is so strict with their dog rules.  You try only walking outside when you have a leash on.  It's not very fun.  Parks are great opps for them to have a bit of fun. Of course dog owners would laugh in your face!  (Don't be offended)  Remember the ulpan conversation about dogs being like kids?.... Who moved into your LA house?.... I like your bug/Arab analogy... Nitzanim Beach is the location of some concerts also.   I spent an evening there with about 10,000 other high people, dancing till sunset (very fun) anyway, FYI there is an army base right next to the beach.  My friend served there."   Sorry, I can't tell you who she is, even if you fire more bullets than at the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and even if you did it From Here to Eternity.




Feature Presentation



You are in bed, toward the end of a peaceful night's sleep.  And then you hear the ruckus -- loud -- waking you up unhappy, like so many times before.


The noises they make can be pretty annoying.  This is my land.  This is not their land.  My people built this land up with their sweat, hard work, and untold sacrifice.  We went to battle for this land.  For a very long time -- until we arrived -- it was pretty uninhabited here.  The terrain was difficult, if not impossible, to negotiate.  We built this place.  Keep quiet.


Why do they have to wake me up with their incessant racket?  It is so annoying.  I can't even describe it.  Isn't it enough that we let them live here, undisturbed?  Maybe fewer disturbances from them would be nice, no?


But who do you tell?  Where do you start?  Who will listen?  No authority is going to quiet them down.  They live here, too, unfortunately.  They are so irritating.  And, yet, there is nothing, absolutely nothing I can do about it.


Grumpy, I get out of bed and prepare for my day.  I hear more of their noises from my bathroom.  It is really annoying.  I thought this was my land.  Forget about the UN and all those human rights activists, this is nutty.


An hour later, calmed down slightly, I get out of my car at my first stop.  Walking down the street, I practically bump into a million more of them.  I get so close that I am almost knocked unconscious by the unbearable stench of garlic pouring from them -- from that disgusting "food" they wolf down.  And mixing in a shower every week or so wouldn't hurt.  In fact, changing out of those ridiculous clothes might also be a bonus.  I feel like yanking their silly head coverings right off their foreign heads and throwing them in the gutter.  I feel like running up to them and saying, "go back to your own damn country."  I feel cheated.  This is my country.


And to hear them chatter, it is enough to make me scream!  The shrill, sibilant buzzing of their voices falls strangely on my ears, like bleating sheep with nothing better to do than eat and reproduce.


The little lady asked me to pick up some eggs on my way home.  I go to the market.  What confronts me? Signs in their language -- everywhere.  There are signs in that gibberish at the entrance of the store.  There are signs in that chicken scratch by the food.  There are signs in that twaddle on the food.  I must be going crazy.  


After braving them in the market, I pass their "houses of worship".  Talk about out of place!  This is simply absurd.  Yet, as offensive as those facades of civilization are, it is not nearly as wacky as these people mining our social services for every last benefit they can pocket, all paid for by my taxes and hard work.  And, of course, the ultimate twist is that they take our jobs!  


So imagine the irony when I need to go into a local office for an important transaction and I have to work through them -- to trust them?  What a bizarre world this has become.  I have been cheated.


I thought this was my land.  Some people talk about shipping them out.  Screw tolerance, this sucks. 



Just one question, if you don't mind:



Am I in Dallas (Latinos), Cabo San Lucas (Whites), New Orleans (Non-Creole Americans), Detroit (Muslims), Paris (North African Muslims), San Francisco (Chinese), Okinawa (Whites), Atlanta (Blacks), Johannesburg (Whites), Bombay (Muslims), Miami (Cubans), London (Pakistanis), Manila (Whites), Frankfurt (Turks), Lower Manhattan (Jews), Los Angeles (Jews, Koreans, Blacks, Israelis, Armenians, Russians, Persians, Chinese, Latinos, etc.), or Jerusalem?


Life isn't as simple as it was in 1003.  Then you (they) could just kill 'em (us).



Anyway, thanks for reading this far.  



I appreciate and look forward to your comments and greetings.



As you know, we are in the middle of a membership drive, so please get me the e-mail addresses of people whom you want to add.  (Let them know ahead of time, so I don't get in trouble with the spam police).


Please stay tuned for Chapter 13: “Class Lessons.”


All the best,


Rich Brownstein

PO Box 8130

91081 Jerusalem


Phone: 011-972-2-6733-491




No bigots were harmed in the photography of this reenactment.

All characters except Billy Baynu are purely fictional.

If you want to add someone to this list, or remove yourself, just e-mail and let him know.

Please freely distribute to those with too much time on their hands.



PS: The phrase "The shrill, sibilant buzzing of their voice falls strangely on my ears" was lifted from Richard Wagner's 1850 essay Das Judentums in der Musik (Judaism in Music), work so gut-wrenchingly anti-Semitic that it is considered to have been the cornerstone of Hitler's "Final Solution".



Copyright (c) - Rich Brownstein 2003



Rich's Chronicle Index E-Mail Rich Rich & Sara's Family Page