Machaneh Yehuda

This is what I woke up to yesterday morning. Winter in Jerusalem is already difficult enough but when you add snow to the mix, oy… what a balagan (mess). The last couple of weeks have been freezing but at least I could always pop down to the shuk and get some Gat infused hot chocolate, lots of oranges for squeezing or whatever I wanted. But with the snow? Everything was closed.

Ben Yehudah Street

Well I was hoping not everything was closed. I was supposed to be leaving tonight to New York on my way to Long Beach for the Jewlicious Festival. I dropped off my laundry the night before and was now hoping against hope that at least the laundry place with all my clothes was open. A walk that usually took 10 minutes, took half an hour as I made my way through the snow and slush clogged roads in my former-life Canadian winter boots (thanks Dad) while I saw Israelis slipping and sliding in their plastic-bag-covered inappropriate footwear. Suffice it to say the laundry place was not open. The photo above is of Ben Yehuda Street in the snow.

Requisite crappy snowman

With basically no clothes to pack I was less than amused by the requisite pathetic Israeli snowmen I saw on the road. What? You want pics of snow covered Chassids davening by the Kotel? Blow me. You can shlepp through that mess yourself.

Anyhow, I managed to find an insane cab driver willing to drive me to the airport (for $85) and I figured it would be a good idea to get there 6 hours early. Why? Well the airport has free WIFI (and they say Israel is uncivilized?) and it’s warm. Also if anything went wrong I’d have plenty of time to fix it.

Sure enough plenty went wrong. My Israir flight was cancelled and I was told that I was on the 12:55 ELAL flight. I wasn’t. So I went to the Israir office where despite the earliness of the hour, there were already 3 aggrieved parties looking to get Israir to put them on a flight, any flight to New York that evening.

What was most remarkable was that all three of these parties were mamish moguls! First there was the short mogul accompanied by his Eric Harris-esque nephew. Mogul #1 had, HAD to be back in New York because he was expecting a big shipment of something or another and he had to be there personally to get it. The agent explained to him that Mr. Big Businessman hadn’t left a number for Israir to contact him at “How is it an important businessman does not have a cell phone?” That’s when the mogul’s nephew summoned up his best 15 year old bravado and started hollering “What kind of a fucked up airline is this?” while making threatening moves in the direction of the agent. “Yell at me one more time and you’re not going anywhere.” Mogul #1 reigned in the boy and they waited.

Mogul #2 – well they were actually 2 guys. Both film makers from LA, they spent the past month traveling in Israel after having staffed a Taglit trip. Now there was a big meeting, BIG! with a producer or something in New York that they had, HAD to be at! They had to be on a flight to New York that night or else all their hard work would go down the drain and they would lose millions of dollars! Truth is they were actually pretty civil and had these cool ass beards they grew while in Israel. They weren’t nearly as creepy as Mogul #1.

Mogul #3 had, HAD to be in New York the next morning because he had a million dollar meeting to arrange, as far as I could understand, “waiter jobs for his boys.” “Are these naked waiters?” I asked. “What? Naked… no! It’s for Passover!” He replied. I was just wondering what kind of waiters cost a million dollars. But everything is more expensive on Pesach I guess.

When it was my turn to beg and plead all I said was “You guys told me I’d leave at 12:55 am with ELAL and I have already made arrangements to meet Kelsey at Cholent tomorrow.”

Mogul #1 made it on Continental flight 091 mostly because I think they just wanted to get his creepy nephew out of the country. I made it too. I think the agent was disconcerted by how, of all the people there, I was the calmest by far, displaying the habits of a man used to getting what he wants. “Shady. Better get him out of here or else tomorrow I’ll wake up with a severed horse’s head in my bed.”

The other moguls? They got a free hotel room, cab fare and McDonalds certificates for free “food” which they eagerly grabbed. Their big deals would have to wait another day. And now I am here in New York, relaxing with a cup of Earl Grey tea. Please alert the usual suspects. Toodles!

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.