As many of you know, I have been spending a semester (which recently became a year) in Israel at the Hebrew University as my home school, Tulane University in New Orleans, recovers from the damage of Hurricane Katrina.

In light of recent administrative decisions on the part of Tulane, I have been forced to change my plans for an eventual return to New Orleans. And given these aforementioned decisions, I would like to make known in a public forum my deep and abiding feelings for my was-to-be alma mater, Tulane University.

Yes. There have been many reasons for many different people to make aliyah. Zionist fervor, oppression, economic improvement and countless more — but I feel that I may be the first person to be making aliyah out of spite.

You see, Tulane has instituted a mysterious policy wherein every single student is being charged an enormous amount of money for the first, non-existent, semester of the 2005-2006 school year. When I attempted to protest, I received, two weeks later, an extremely rude e-mail telling me, essentially, to get bent. And just two days ago, I got a frantic phone call from my friend Ze’ev, also a Tulane refujew at Hebrew U. He had just discovered that Tulane had fired 240 teachers and cancelled his major – mechanical engineering – as well as most of the other engineering majors and many of the med school programs. And instead of informing the hundreds and hundreds of now-majorless students, they put a vague paragraph on their website stating that Tulane would now only focus on areas in which it had achieved world-class excellence. Apparently religious studies and Tulane’s horrendous football team were more world-class than electrical-fucking-engineering. And in a fantastic display of chutzpah, Tulane told their majorless engineers to come back for spring semester and pay more tuition — and essentially, the engineers have no choice because the deadline for transferring to other schools was a month ago, when they were still under the impression that they would be continuing as normal in January. If they withdraw, they can’t transfer to another school. And Tulane claims to care about its students.

Dissent is brewing among betrayed Tulane students and angry and potentially litigious parents faced with huge bills for semesters that didn’t happen. In a delicious twist, Tulane was put on a warning list for potential investors by Standard & Poor. My prediction? Tulane’s sunk like the Altalena.

So, with this insanity in mind, I’ve decided to bump up my aliyah a couple of years and, inshallah, gain citizenship and finish my degree here, which should theoretically be paid for by the government.

Of course, this educational generosity on behalf of the Israeli government comes with certain…obligations. Two years of certain obligations, to be exact.

Harry (He Knows Things) suggests that I fulfill these certain obligations behind the wheel of a Merkava. As he said in his measured and sage way, “Dude! You get to blow shit up!”

I think Harry might be on to something.

So say hello to the new Michael: bitter former Tulane student, wide-eyed soon-to-be Israeli (okay, okay, I’m way too cynical to be wide-eyed), Hebrew University student and potential blower-up-of-shit.

Actually, call me Mikha’elצ

Michael is my slave name.

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  • mazal tov! but what is your new name again?
    can you please confirm your decision when you wake up?
    amd now when they will give you your m16 will you come on the trip to old chevron with us?
    this is really hilarious – i got to call nissim so he will keep his ambulance ready for you, misha.

  • Michael, at least I never have to wonder what you’re really feeling as a result of your whole displacement and relocation…your honesty is refreshing and your humor unflinching. So sorry that you keep experiencing such annoying, cynicism-eliciting setbacks as you innocently try to get your friggin’ education on. And make sure the shit what you blow up isn’t mine, m’kay?

  • Michael, I have a friend that was to start her first “real job” as a professor at Tulane this fall. All of her stuff was ruined in the flood – and now this. Hey, now that I think of it, she might be Jewish too. Maybe you kids can blow things up together?!

  • ybocherissimo – the new name is a work in progress. If I reveal it too soon, I’ll get the evil eye.

    esther – no dice. You don’t want your shit blown up, you gotta be on top of that.

    John – hell yeah! Give me her number and we’ll launch some missiles at the Tulane President’s house! One last spasm of all-American fun.

  • Oh come on! I said a LITTLE more than “Dude! You get to blow shit up!” Which is totally true. You do. But there is also flying over dunes, protecting our borders, and shooting mag machine guns. Good times!

  • Why don’t you leave Tulane now, continue your studies in Israel this year and then apply to transfer in the fall?

  • I’m so sad to hear that you will not be returning to Tulane. 🙁 I hadn’t heard about all that awful department-cutting, that’s terrible. I was hoping to see you when I visited my sister in the spring. Darn. On the happy side, I’m glad that you’ve decided to make aliyah – you seem to have an affinity for that country, so it seems like a good match. Enjoy, and when I get back to Israel, sometime, hopefully we’ll bump into each other. 🙂

  • Michael, I think you’re making an excellent decision. B’sha’a tova, b’hatzlachah–and enjoy for me. I don’t get to make aliyah (again) until hubby’s ready to retire (I’m the same age as your mother and hubby’s 3 years older).

  • Wow, suckitude about Tulane. Bastages. Nothing like profiteering in the wake of a hurricane. :-/

    Anyway, it’s all for the best. Maybe Hashem sent the hurricane just so that you would have an excuse to make aliyah early. See how things work out?

    (Besides, IDF chicks are HAWT! Seriously, I’m 98% hetero, but some of those girls really made me wish I was a 22 year old guy.)


  • michael, I’m so excited for you. I have a few friends here at UGA who have spent the semester here but are going back to Tulane next semester. A bunch of them now have no major, and no money since they already had to pay an exorbitant amont to go to a school that has dropped their majors! Anyway, they have decided to live vicariously through you since they are also quite bitter. Good luck!

  • Now…Grace…with all due respect, I appreciate your sentiment, especially towards the hotness of Israeli girls (their mental capacities, of course, are an entirely a different story), but if Hashem sent a freaking hurricane which destroyed multiple cities and killed more than a thousand people, just to make me do something I was planning to do anyway two years earlier, well…to paraphrase Rav Marley, “I feel like bombing a shul, ‘cuz I know that the rabbi is lying.”

    Harry: I think soon it’s going to be time for another informative hummus lunch session at Ta’ami.

    Adam: I’ll definitely check it out. And as far as picking up American tourists, well, let’s just say it’s not ONLY out of national pride that I want to wear the khaki uniform.

    Amy: tell them to resist Tulane. Tell them to fight the power. And whitey. And all that stuff. I would do it myself, you understand, but I’ll be too busy being screamed at by people two years younger than me in a language I only sort of understand.

    Anyway, thanks all for the kind wishes and stuff.

  • michael… you know the standard IDF uniform does not incorporate ad hoc head rags, right? The IDF is not the church of the holy sepulchre. They won’t ask you to leave – they’ll make you take your rag off… just sayin.

  • Um, Michael? Did you see my little 😉 face at the bottom of that post?

    I do not pretend to know the mind of G-d, or random weather patterns. If I could do either, I’d be making a hell of a lot more money than I am now!

  • if michael joins the idf we ll be able to see whatever he had on his head when he brings it back home in the bag. please do not forget to post a picture!

  • Son–

    Mazel tov n’ all. Nice pic, too.

    But you still need to DJ at a wedding reception in Cambridge, WI next June. (Bring your snowshoes.)

    It was thirteen below zero here the other morning. Feel better about your life now?

  • Mazel tov, what you’re doing is great. Sorry to hear Tulane blew you off. Good luck at Hebrew U!

    Btw, you look like Steve the Pirate from ‘Dodgeball’.

  • Michael — my best wishes to you! This is a great opportunity.

    And Tulane’s decisions? They just make no sense at all. Cancel the engineering programs? Doesn’t the US need MORE engineers, or is it just a foregone conclusion that in not too many years, India and China will be producing most of the engineers? feh!

  • well everyone knows English majors are the most erudite. there’s no English major at Tulane?! what will become of the liberal arts?

  • i will miss you darling… as will your facebook following… and everyone.


    be safe! will you come home (er, go to wisconsin) over the summer and/or other breaks? hopefully jon & i can plan a road trip or something…

  • Ofri: there’s still an English major at Tulane, I simply refuse to pay them for a semester that didn’t happen. And besides, I imagine since Tulane is going to take a huge hit in its rankings, a Tulane degree in ten years will be…well…not so impressive.

    Natalie, la mia superstita bella delle nostre lezioni in italiano, while I am reluctant to say either yes or no to whether I’ll be back in the US during the summer, as I have no idea yet, you are certainly invited to come to Israel if I can’t make it to the US. You know you gotta try some real hummus.

  • tulane = fuckers… i hope they all get hit by a meteor, if they go down like a sinking ship, they fucking deserve it…

  • i think as long as you’re getting a good education the ranking is not so important, unless you’re a huge snob. but of course i would say that since i go to a state university. alack, i could not resist the free ride. then again the highest rankings i ever heard of with regards to Tulane was on the party school lists.

  • Ofri, now you’ve (sniff) hurt my feelings.

    The Highest Ranking Party School in the United States of America is my very own alma mater, the University of Wisconsin at Madison…

    … which is still, by the way, trying to figure out what to do with the 150+ Tulane refugees they’ve got on campus. Having schnapps for breakfast will do that to one, I suppose.

  • i’ve heard great things about your alma mater. my dad wanted me to transfer there after he moved to wisconsin, but i’ll stick with Florida winters, toda raba. my University of Florida ranked only 18, while Tulane ranked 11 on the party school list. alack.

  • ah, il mio amore, e l’amore di Jon… sempre ti amo… i’m looking at going to england over spring break.. jon & i might go to amsterdam… you definitely should come.

    i wonder if travel to isreal in the summer is expensive?

    i think i might go to Cassablanca in your honor (if it’s still alive…)

  • Ofri–

    There are definite drawbacks to attending the Number One Party School, besides the fact that the streets are slush-encrusted from November through May (meaning that hunting boots are the only feasible footwear). You’ve got to step over a lot of vomit (see hunting boots again). And many undergrad classes seem to be reserved for the “beer major” offspring of rich alumni.

    I once helped a guy suffering from alcohol poisoning. He was sprawled out on the sidewalk across the street from the meteorology building at eight in the morning. He had no idea how he’d gotten there or what had happened to him the night before.

  • the great things i heard about the university had nothing to do with its “merits” as a party school. i’m not much of a party girl myself. i’ve just heard that it’s a really good school. as for the drawbacks of party schooldom, they are symptomatic of campus life all over the country. sadly, alcohol poisoning and various other overdoses are par for the course here as well. and we have majors like “sports, parks, and recreation” and “event planning,” neither of which i really understand. such is life in a public university.

  • Ofri–you’re right, UW-Mad is a very good school for the most part. It’s too bad that its reputation for drunken debauchery, obnoxious football fans, and inflated admissions standards (because of the need to reserve hundreds of freshman slots for the children of rich alums) has eclipsed its overall academic excellence.

  • UW-Madison is a very good school. Allow me to also add that if you’re an English major, it really is irrelevant where you study as long as your grades are good since you’re going to end up in law school anyway. 😉

    Good luck on all of these momentous decision, Michael. Let’s chat by email offline sometime — ask the famous ck for my email addy.

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