Pandemic in Israel- March 15th

It’s been a while since i’ve written an update- that certaintly does not mean that I haven’t been busy. I think I attribute my lack of writing updates to being TOO busy, and having less politics to talk about in Tel Aviv.

Since I’ve lived in Florentin I tell people that I’ve become a little more liberal and I’ve started eating a lot more salads and vegan food. Most of all, I’ve gotten a proper taste of being a working person in a bustling city. I have a full trello each day which I never seem to get through, I do presentations to the Owners/ CEOS, schedule meetings in my calendar and spend weekend mornings chugging coffee and working at the local hippie caffe. It’s been amazing to work at a place where I’m valued for creative insights.

Coronavirus however is injecting a ton of uncertainty into my future where many of my plans are held in the balance. Shit got real when 2020 was cancelled; the NBA was postponed, Americas father Tom Hanks was infected, and the happiest place on earth is set to close the gates for the first time in 19 years. March 12th was my Kennedy day so I have had some time to process. Koolulam has postponed our spring tour because Israel has outlawed gatherings over 100 people (and now 10 people.) I held a meeting with my roomates a few days ago going over cleanliness and health procedures and to come up with a protocol if one of us comes down with the flu. Frankly though, I’m glad to be In Israel because I think we are MUCH better prepared than the United States. This won’t be the first time I’ve faced crisis here; In my time In Israel I’ve been through two near wars (After Israels killing of a PIJ commander, and after Americas assassination of Qassem Soleimani), Many terrorist attacks (car rammings, stabbings), Hundreds of rockets and two elections. I have the privilege to be able to look at them as educational moments; Through every crisis i’ve learned more about the people of Israel and Israeli society. Israel is a country founded by socialist Ashkenazi jews from Eastern Europe and later waves of Jews fleeing Middle Eastern countries. Additionally, Everyone has a sense of duty from the army from terror attacks. All this combined means that the culture of Israeli society is embedded with a distinctly eastern sense of collectiveness which manifests itself in a willingness to give up personal freedoms for the safety of the group. Quite contrary to rugged- individualist Americans, No-one defies quarantine orders or safety orders from the government even when seemingly draconian. Now, all bars, clubs, restaurants and entertainment places are closed and people are being encouraged to stay home form work as cases increase. I’m going to be getting stir crazy.

Last Monday was Purim which was super fun. Jono and I dressed up as Hippies and the rest of Tel Aviv wandered around in drunken possies dressed in a tapestry of crazy outfits. Everyone was observing the commandment which is to drink until you cannot tell the difference between Mordechai (the protagonist of the Purim story) and Haman (the antagonist.) When our room convened the next morning “Hangover style” as we often do, one roomate had a phone stolen, another had a bleeding nose and swollen lip, another broke up with his girlfreind, another spilled broken necklace all over the floor, and Jono said they had found me sleeping on the couch. Commandment fulfilled!

I plan on riding out the storm here with the friends I have and so for the time being i’m working from home, taking classes online and doing activities with the apartment. Stay safe!