Sunday, April 18, 2010

An Anthem for Everybody

Yes, dear friends,it’s that time of the year again,
Yom Ha-Atsmaut, Israeli Independence Day. Time to get out our blue and white flags, decorate our cars, and be proud of this tiny miraculous nation of ours. Stand up, sing Hatikva, swell your heart, shed a tear.
But what about the minority groups living in our midst? Christians and Muslims, Bedouins and Druse, Whether or not they serve in Zahal (and many do), it’s their country too. They are Israelis. But what have they got to sing about on Yom Ha-Atsmaut? 2000 years of longing? An eye towards Zion? The unquenchable Jewish spirit? I don’t think so. We can talk integratsia heint biss morgn, but the Israeli national anthem is just non- accessible to non-Jews.
Don’t think I’m advocating scrapping Hatikva; I’m not. Sing it high and sing it loud, I’m a Jew and I am proud. Nevertheless, the inability to sing a common anthem on independence day is the wedge ( some might say ‘wedgie’) that is driving us apart. And, no, I don’t think “Yafyuffa, Bo’ee ely, tnee li nishkka all hasfatayyim***” is going to do the trick. And so, I have courageously undertaken this difficult challenge to pen an anthem we all can sing.. So far, it has met with very warm response; I’ve had my car torched by Jews, Moslems, Christians and Druse on alternate Sabbaths. Ladies and gentlemen, here it is, for the first time ever…

***this song, a recent number 1, is sung in Arabic accented Hebrew and means, Hey, sweetie, get over here and give me a kiss on the lips.
A National Anthem in two voices -- for two nations:
המנון בשתי קולות -- לשני עמים

(Tune: Hatikva. I assume you are all familiar with it. Jews sing the blue words, Arabs sing the red words, and everybody sings the black words. )
PS: Henceforth ‘Arab’ refers to all Arabic speaking minorities )

We share one tiny country, the Arab and the Jew
How can we sing a birthday song to you?

We eat the same Hummus, swear a common CUSSSSSSS--,
Sing for the country that is a home to us.

Though we share a blue toodat zehoot
(At the same time: ) : Jews: We are proud / Arabs: We are sad

on yom ha-astma oot!!

To live freely on our own homeland,
Arabs : With el Kuds--
Jews: no cuts--
(all: )Yerushalayyim!

(repeat, or for Arabic speakers, rebeat) To live freely on our own homeland,
Arabs : With el Kuds--
Jews: no cuts--
(all: )Yerushalayyim!

Second verse
Jew: It’s a Jewish country, where all the Jews belong,
If you want to join us, you gotta sing our song

Arab: They tell me wave the flag, but I don’t feel so good.
Though I draw the line at Itbach El Yahood!!

All: (Simultaneously: We / you) say Hashem Gadol,
(you / we) say Allllah Akbar,
(Simultaneously: We /you) have the hitnatkut,
just like (you/ we ) have Nakba!

All: Peace in a Pita, whole or cut in Hetzi,
Jews: but no cuts,
Arabs: El Kuds !,
All: Yerushalayyim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
All: Peace in a Pita, whole or cut in Hetzi,
Jews: but no cuts,
Arabs: El Kuds !,
All: Yerushalayyim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Barry Silverberg,
Kiriat Shmona, Month of IYYAR, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Silverberg/ 2010

.קם עלינו לכלותינו

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


(In Every Generation)
A Passover Fantasy by Barry Silverberg,
Kiriat Shmona, Pesach, 2010.

The Oval Office of the White House, March, 2010: Increasingly fractious relations between the US and Israel hit a low unseen in nearly two decades yesterday after the Jewish state rejected President Obama's demand for an end to settlement construction in the West Bank. President Obama responded by suggesting that Israeli intransigence endangers America's security. The dispute reflects the depth of the shift in US policy away from accommodating Israel, and towards a position much more favorable to the Arabs.
Here is a behind the scenes glimpse into the heated interchange between the president and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. . .

Obama: Now hear this! Prime Minister Netanyahu! On behalf of the USA, I demand an immediate freeze on all settlement activity outside the 1967 borders. To continue the settlement policy is contrary to the security interests of the US.

Bibi: We have already called for a freeze in construction, but have seen no softening of the Arab positions. Meanwhile, in communities with a combined population of half a million, young couples cannot find places to live. There are no new kinder-gardens for the children who were born there.

Obama: It’s time that Israel shows a concern for peace, not land grabbing.

Your government’s decision to approve new construction in Jerusalem is a slap in our face.
Bibi: You can’t view Jerusalem as just another settlement!

Obama: Yes I can!
Bibi: No you can’t. Mr President, Jerusalem is our capital city. We will build in Jerusalem as we build in Tel Aviv. As your countrymen build in New York.

Obama: Oh yeah? America will withhold strategic arms shipments and you will find yourselves outclassed in the next military confrontation!

Bibi: You don’t realize the size of the mistake you are making. I can promise you that if you continue this anti- Israel policy, you and all America will suffer dire consequences.

Obama: You can’t talk like that to the President of the USA! Get out of here ! Come back when you’re ready to listen to reason.


Bibi : Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (exits)

Hilary: What nerve.

Where does he get off threatening us? (screams) EEEEEEEEEEEEK!
Staff members: What?
Hilary : I just stepped on something gooey! Ugh! It’s -- a frog!
{ribbit!} {ribbit!}

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: Jesus H! There’s a frog on my desk!

Obama: Joe! Joe! Get the cleaning staff in here! They’re all over the places!

(Biden runs in with a broom. Hilary keeps screaming: Other staffers start chasing the frogs and collecting them in garbage bins)

Nancy Pelosi:(pulls frogs out of blouse, pockets ) Sir! Reports are coming in! There are frogs in every room in the White House.--

Obama: David: Give me a handle on this situation:

Senior Advisor David Axelrod: Mr President, stay focused! There is nothing to worry about. I have a plan. Do you like frogs legs?

Obama: love ‘em.

Axelrod: Can you eat a whole bunch?

Obama: Yes we can!

Axelrod: In ten minutes, I’ll have every frog leg in this room stir fried. Outside is a CNN news team. We’ll have shots of you biting into a frogs leg on every screen in the country; Americans will see you sinking your teeth into this threat to the nation.

Obama: (relaxing) Thank you David, for your characteristic calm in a crisis. Now, everyone take it easy don't fall into water-cooler gossip surrounding the White House
Unidentified aide: Uh, Mr President Sir!
Obama: What is it now? ( He is by now chewing on frogs legs and passing them around).
Aide: About the water cooler.

Obama: What of it?

Aide: There’s something wrong with the water cooler. What’s all this red stuff coming out ? It smells like--

Obama: Call the white house plumber and get me a glass of water. Now, what do we do to make Israel toe the line? (scratches his head). Hmm, snub him at a press conference? No, too nasty. … … My head ! It’s suddenly so itchy! ( other staff members start scratching and try to pretend there is nothing wrong). Ms Pelosi, check out my scalp for a moment.

Nancy: (Takes a look) I’m afraid you‘ve got lice, sir! Gross!

President: Lice! That’s insane! I haven’t had lice since grade school.
(Axelrod picks a whopper off the president’s head) What do you say now, sir?

Obama: Yaaargh! Get them off me! And I want to see Sasha in here right now!
(Sasha Obama is brought in a sterile glass cage carried by 6 secret service men wearing biochemical warfare suits) Daddy! Get me out of here right now! I don’t have lice , I don’t , I don’t!

Senior Advisor David Axelrod: Mr President, stay focused! There is nothing to worry about. I have a plan. Do you like lice?

Obama: Noooo! We’re not going there! ! Robert! Where the hell are you? (Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is trying to get bloodstains from the water cooler off his shirt) Update the Health Care bill: Allocate 12 million extra for ‘Crew’ and ‘Rid.’ We’ll shampoo the whole lousy country! -- Omygod! WHAT’S THAT!!!

(A Bengal tiger bursts into the room with the remains of Bo, the White House dog, in it’s jaws. All staff members start scratching furiously while thunderclouds from form on the ceiling overhead. Fiery hail begins to fall, leaving smoking patches on the rugs. Staffers scatter in all directions as a herd of zebras gallop by, followed by an okapi and a charging lion. A herd of goats meanders through, only to cough, turn belly up and die. General screaming and mayhem. And let us not forget the frogs. {ribbit!})

Rahm Emanuel: What’s going on here? This is no ordinary disturbance. It’s -- it’s-- like the finger of God pointing at us!

Obama: Now, don't get absorbed in the Washington finger-pointing and intrigue,
Lets not get distracted here. Gibbs! Get me Netanyahu! Get me NETANYAHU!!!!!

(Enter Bibi, in white robe and sandals, carrying a huge staff made of shittim wood.)
Bibi: Mr President, I think it’s time to reconsider the building freeze plan.
Let my people grow!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Shveeta Shalom, everybody.

I earned 50 shekel collecting deposit bottles and cans while I jogged on a lonely mountain.
Do I have to pay it to the strike fund?

. . .

. . .

I just received this letter, and sent it off to join its thousands of brethren. Aren't you tired of getting these phony messages in your IN BOX all the time? Who in their right minds would ever fall for such a scam of spam? Or do I say spam of scam?

Allow us to draw the most insignificant sum of six hundred shekels from your bank account, and become a full partner to share millions
of dollars.

Through the priviledge of membership in the Irgun Morim, the national teachers' union,, i take liberty anchored on a strong desire to solicit your assistance on this mutually beneficial transaction which i hope you will give your urgent attention.i am mr.Rumm Errors, the chairman of the association of educators now known as IrGun Hamrorim ha Al Yesodium. i am moved to write you this letter ,this was in confidence considering our present circumstance and complex situation. My uncle was dictator and chairman of this organization until he was forcibly removed last January. Due to this pressing situation we decided to change most of my union's billions of dollars deposited in swiss bank and other countries into other forms of money coded for safe purpose. What i want you to do now is to indicate your interest that you will assist us by receiving the money on our behalf. the account required for this project can either be personal,company or an offshore account that you have total control over,your area of specialisation will not be a hinderance to the successful execution of this transaction. i want you to assist us in investing this money,but i will not want our identity revealed, especially to the fraud units. .i will also want to buy properties and stocks in multi-national companies and to engage in other safe and non speculative investments.we have been through a lot of health and spiritual turmoil,hence will need your understanding and assistance.
may i at this point emphasize the high level of confidentiallity which this business demands and hope you will not betray the trust and confidence which we repose in you. is this proposition attainable?if it is,please kindly furnish me immediately by e-mail with your direct telephone and fax numbers to enhance the confidentiallity which this business demands. Unfortunately I lack even the most basic sums of money to purchase a ticket to get to the safety deposit boxes where the inheritance is held. If you could possibly spare the pittance of NIS 600 (Six hundred Sheklels,) until the strike is settled and untold wealth will be showered upon you.
Perhaps you are wondering how I have the temerity to invite you to participate in a scheme in which you have much to lose and I have much to gain, and that this is a transparent attempt to separate you and your money.
Rest assured that enough people have cheerfully partd with their six hundred shekels already, otherwise we'd never do this in he first place.

Best regardsmr.
Arm Errs
Heir to the recently deposed previous chairman
of the National Teachers' Bunion.

/ See the last several years of postings at this site:

Sunday, October 7, 2007


What is more annoying than 'friends' who E -mail you things you don't want?
Like, appliances, stocks, potions to expand the shrivelled and contract the swollen, offers to meet dream dates of the opposite or synonymous sex, and jokes, jokes and puns and cartoons that you first saw when you cut your first mouseteeth on Windows for Workgroups? What 's more annoying? It's friends who head their letter with, "I never pass on stuff like this, but this time. . ." and then it gushes out: An urgent warning that Earth's orbit is nearing intersection with Mars. A new virus has infected your screen and you must paint over all the mirrors in your house and not flush the toilet or it will destroy your hard disk, your pacemaker and your electric prune.

Well, . . .
I never pass on stuff like this, but lately I've found, or bin sent some clips, sites URL's so funny that I want to make a little nest wheere they can cuddle up and you can see them at leisure.

So here's the one where Captain Kirk and Spock meet Monty Python's King Arthur:
(googling Python and Star Trek will do just fine).

Here is Taylor Mali's rant against proofreading: Great spelling lesson but not for the delicate ears of younger pupils:

I had another one but it slipped thru a hole in my mind. Asher sent me a candid camera sketch where women have agreed to take part in a toothpaste ad, which will involve kissing a good looking male model. As soon as they don blindfolds, the men are replaced with chimpanzees (I couldn't tell if the chimps were male or female). As this brought on a host of issues that touch me personally, I could not watch til the end and I'm not including it here.

So this is my little Blog Spott for tonight folks.

I am quite unnerved by the huge teachers' strike which is looming overhead.
Today was my free day, following 2 weeks of Sukkot, and I was all psyched up not to teach tomorrow. Now they announced that there will be two more days teaching til the Irgun Tsunami strikes our shores. That means that tomorrow, 18% of the kids will stay home and claim they thought it already started, and the rest of them will be on the ceiling.
I can hardly wait.

Barry Silverberg

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Switching Identities


To start off with, here's a letter I found on the English Teachers' List, and I promply honoured it with an answer.

----- Original Message -----
From: Barnett
To: Etni
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2007 3:55 PM
Subject: [etni] Teaching the article
Joe Barnet wrote:
Dear etniers,

Our local English grammar textbooks are designed for Hebrew speakers and take rules common to the two languages for granted. As a consequence they overlook first language interference from other languages. Immigrant or simply migrant students from other countries, irrespective of their knowledge of Hebrew, may have serious difficulties quite beyond the scope of our textbooks and regular TEFL teachers.

Russian speakers are a case in point. Although I have never learnt this language, I understand that (like Latin) it does not use any articles, neither definite nor indefinite. This means that one the basic tasks for Russian-speaking students is to decipher what seems to them our arbitrary habit of prefixing a noun alternately with a, an, the, some, any or even zero. (like Zero Mostel, Zero Gravity, Zero Degrees? / ed.)

I have found no systematic treatment of this grammar point in the many British, American or Israeli TEFL grammars in my personal library. I need something which starts from scratch. If anyone can suggest a source of teaching materials, rules and exercises I would be most grateful.

Moadim LeSimha,

Joe Barnett

My response was instantaneous:

Hey Joe,
Where yoo gowine with dat gun in yo' hand?

Pardon me.

I slipped into a random association there.

Start again.

Dear Joe,

You think you got problems teaching students from Russia because they have no articles? ( Stalin executed 5 million direct articles during his reign of terror and another 7 million during his snoghw of terror.) In Winnipeg and the surrounding Manitoba prairie communities, there is no word for 'Benchmark.' Fortunately, most of the thousands of Manitoban Olim are exempt from the English Bagrut anyway and can pick five points in curling.

(Hmmmm: Maybe the Jeru'sell'em Post would like an article with the headline "Manitoban Olim Pick Games?")

Whew! Makes you wonder why so many people urge me to keep writing. It's twue, it's twue, they really do. And now that I've got your attention on this page...
It's been a rough day here in Kiriat Shmona. If this area, dubbed the Galilee panhandle, is a panhandle, than Kiriat Shmona is the hole in the end that the screw goes through to hang the pan on the wall. My bike just had a total breakdown and we are expecting the new back wheel assembly to take a few more days to arrive. I've put on six kilo from all the holiday face stuffing and the only exercise I got today was loading the car with more groceries to get us through the final holiday and then another Shabbat. Billious William, on the other hand, was more adventurous, and went marching along the highway picking up all the returnable cans and bottles he could get his hooks on. At least one of his hooks isn't metaphorical, it's a 80 cm long plastic spring and pulley device that can lift objects up to half a kilo with out bending one's knees, and can dexterously pick a coin off the road or retrieve a fallen Yemenite Etrog.
Or even a small Yemenite. I just spent ten minutes trying to find it on Google just to prove that such an ingenious tool exists, but no luck. Bill bought it for 20 bucks when he was still on his back after the accident, and since then has put it to dozens of uses, mostly involving lost socks.
Today's WORD IN ARABIC is 'moo FEY j'uh' which means surprise.
Bill was quite mooFEYj'uh'd to find, among the bottles, a cluster of Israeli ID cards, or 'Te'oodot Zehoots,' if one can give a Teudat Zehut an English plural ending, still in their shiny navy blue cases. This really happened, and when he got home and looked up the numbers of the owners, he was more aMAYj'uh'd to discover that
a: all the Te'ooda losers' mothers were named Dalia, and
b: they all live on the same row of houses in Tsfat, next door to each other, and they all claim not to know the other ones.

This is par for the course for Bilious, who prides himself as a most law abiding citizen, as long as the Law is Murphy's. Furthermurther, Bill himself lost his own Teudat Zehooot a few days back, most likely by letting it slip out the car door as he went out to find another ten shekels worth of bottles. It costs a lot of money to replace your ID card, to deter nasty types who would otherwise run to sell their ID's to the nearest criminal or terrorist for a mess of hummous. Billious has an additional difficulty in renewing his documents; He still clings to the punny Hebrish he used back in Ulpan, when he needed a Teudat Zehut as well as a Teudat Oleh, and still refuses to call his ID anything other than a Too'ot Sadeh. To this day, the Ministry of the Interior keeps sending him fruit baskets.

Note: I finally found the picture of the reaching tool, but this fershlugginah blog program won't let me upload any more pictures, and you'll have to find it for yourself, like all essential truths. No, here it is. It came up ten minute later.
I could have looked under the bed my self in all that time.
Good night,

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Oh to be a Blogger

Who out there is aware that the above title is an allusion to one of Philip K Dick's first stories, 'Oh, to be a Blobel,' about a zenophobic earthman who has to take on the shape of an alien being in order to beef up sales.

For that matter, who is aware that Phil Dick, though no longer alive in this dimension, gave us the ideas for such films as Total Recall, Blade Runner, Minority Report, Scanner Darkly and many others.

This has nothing to do with my post tonight, however, I can now add 'Phil Dick, and Science Fiction' to the list of categories at the bottom of this blog, and get many new subscribers. Excuse me, they are called 'labels,' and I can add them to each separate post, not the whole blog:

I am quite frustrated having to use this blog, accustomed as I am to putting everything into Word and having the master of the ETNI English teachers' site post it on a real website, with all the fonts and illustrations the way I left them.
However, using this blog I can get to a lot more people, like you, right, and have even received a snootfull of comments.

I have finally figured out how to access my own posts and edit them, sort of like a dog returning to his spew (That's where they Davven).
But I can't seem to get my illustrations aligned the way I should, and, after loading up 3 illustrations for the July 'rectinoia' posting, I can't put any more up at all. Let alone get little captions in boxes under each picture.