1. Complain about the heat
Ahh, summer is here at last. Well, one good thing about summer in Israel is you’ll never be surprised about the weather. Along with from government-bashing, complaining about the heat has become a bona fide Israeli pastime. In fact, you can spare yourself tuning into the weather forecasts for the next three lovely (read: treacherous) summer months, because I’ve taken the liberty of summarizing them for you: Hot. Very hot. Hotter than normal. A rise in temperature. Another rise in temperature. Heavy heat. Heat warning in effect.
But with every cloud comes a silver lining, right? Where else can you wear shorts and sandals to work, and still be taken (relatively) seriously?
2. Broaden your social life courtesy of the social justice movement
Welcome to Israel. You have now been granted a social life (at least on Saturday nights) from here to eternity. Thanks to a group of idealistic individuals, you no longer have to worry about where to hang post-Shabbat, or how to avoid an onslaught of Saturday night blues.
If social justice is your sort of thing, great. And if it’s not? No need to fear. You can join the anti-establishment rogue contingent that broke away from the main social justice leaders. Or there’s the protests against migrants — or the diametrically opposed demonstrations in support of asylum-seekers. And don’t forget the equal-burden national service demonstrations. There’s also the occasional protest in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or the scattered protests against a nuclear strike on Iran. No matter what your cause, you’ll find it being marched for somewhere. Coming (almost) every Saturday to a city near you.
3. Embrace the primacy of kids
Bye-bye boredom, hello madness. Say goodbye to the calmness and serenity of quiet, like, forever. In Israel, children are king. Dogs manage to come in second, putting fully-grown humans in mere third-place in the power ratio. Kids reign supreme — from café to street corner, from bistros to the beach — and you don’t stand a chance. The sheer force and magnitude of the little humans will outweigh you in every moment. You will be trampled on, asked questions, teased, and stared-up-at. The barefoot, messy-haired bunch will dominate your life.
What’s that? It’s midnight? Who cares. Three-feet-tall Leah and her four friends are chasing each other through the bus as if it’s two in the afternoon. Where are their parents? They’ve accepted the madness long ago. So try embracing the little people. (Alternatively, I hear yoga helps.)
4. Make friends with cab drivers
(Warning: Contains autobiographical anecdotes). Where else do you meet so many opinionated people (and so many excellent arguers), all in one place, as you do in Israel? Take your local taxi drivers, for example. By the time you’ve made it out of the car, you’ll have argued about how he (or she) should drive – “I told you there would be traffic on Ben Yehuda!” – while fielding questions about why it is that you decided to move to Israel, or who you know back in New Jersey — “Ah. My brother lives in Teaneck. Do you know him?” – and after a few harsh words, and an exchange of political views, you’ll become besties.
You’ll be given love advice, be invited to dinner, or if you’re particularly lucky, be set up on a blind date. An upside: Taxi drivers are the best people on whom to practice your language skills, and you’ll often be told how good your Hebrew is — even if it’s not.
5. Hear radio jingles in your sleep
Where else in the world can you memorize all the commercials on the radio in a matter of days? What with a handful of commercials, and a repetition rate of a few times per hour, you too can become a local know-it-all in no time.
Haven’t you often gone to bed hoping to get that phone call from Arela at the Mifal HaPayis lottery? “I’m calling to tell you that you’ve won 6 million shekels!” she’ll say. (It really does seem like everyone wins when you hear it on the radio.) Aren’t you secretly thinking about buying AIG accident insurance after that man in the radio commercial fell in the shower? Poor chap. Maybe you’re more of a Shekem Electric-type, into the Bosch turbo washers?
Regardless of what you’re into, you’ll find yourself spontaneously singing along to the jingles in no time. Eden Teva Market anyone?