On Golden Limestone

© KJ Hannah Greenberg, 2018

On Golden Limestone
Seashell Books. USA.
Nov. 2018. Available here.

Australia’s settlers were criminals. America’s were religious dissonants. Israel’s are visionaries. In this Holy Land of the Kotel, of elevated highways, of ultraorthodox communities, of international outsourcing, of dumpster cats, of pocket-sized home appliances, and of flustered elementary school teachers, dwell: the middle-aged man with leather fringe on his vest and a refurbished motorcycle between his thighs, the fat woman, who smiles at all onlookers as she walks by in short shorts, and the youth with the shaven head, who collects tattoos faster than a beachcomber gathers shells.

Israel’s population speaks Hebrew, English, Arabic, Russian, and French; tolerates darting lizards and Old City cab drivers; and assigns authority to the decibel of “amens.” People of many kinds exist in splendid comportment here, together attaching meaning to this nation’s sky-filled vistas and crowded buses.

Living in Israel means embracing multiculturalism, joining in the entire complement of lifecycle events, and easing up on demographic strictures. Although immigrants bring their particularities to this place of sand and sun, Israel pours an even greater depth of character into her newcomers. It remains important, here, to differentiate among: modes of gesturing, ways of bargaining, and avenues for seeking children’s spouses. Few geographies proffer vastness to parking tickets, dentists, or ethnic fierceness, concurrent with ascribing significance to aureate sunsets.

In Israel, where existence is at once challenging, invigorating, and serendipitous, the populace exists as a single, grand troop while marking Torah holidays, caring for orphans and widows, or donating to charities. Any particular fondness for manufactured goods continues on as trivial here, an altitude where skin tone, political leanings, and secular education have limited relevance.

Local dwellers deconstruct “Israeli” via silly, self-effacing rhetoric, via book smarts, and via native wit or wisdom. No mode reveals the entirety of this “neighborhood’s” mysteries, but all states of being yield glimpses into her special truth. This ancient, spiritual realm’s golden hills and limestone-faced buildings hold fast to abundant certainties. It’s not so much that these facades are unwilling to yield accurate, deep understandings as it is that we human vessels lack the wherewithal to contain such profundity.

Accordingly, in fifty essays, On Golden Limestone glances at Israeli’s people, their communication, their day-to-day goings-on, and their momentous occasions. Although this book promises only hints of perspicacity, the small gleanings it proffers should be embraced. Please join me in this textual exploration of several facets of the world’s greatest treasure.


Introduction: Why Aliyah?
I. The People
1.1 Jewish Israeli/ Israeli Jew
1.2 Three Letters
1.3 Helping: Dreams vs. Realities
1.4 The Israelis
1.5 Anglos in Israel
1.6 Persian and Bucharian Hospitality
1.7 Loving the Life
1.8 Hot Clime
1.9 Rebranding
1.10 Recalibration
1.11 The Rhetoric of Identity
1.12 Beginning with Greenware

II. The Talk
2.1 Also Speaking English
2.2 Ulpan
2.3 Conspicuous Discourse
2.4 Using Artifacts
2.5 Communication Courtesy, Israeli-Style
2.6 Interpersonal Communication Redux; Johari Windows
2.7 Still More Linguistic Insights
2.8 Rhetorical Theory and a Wedding Invitation
2.9 Ritualized Discourse and the Hesder Wedding
2.10 What a Chuppah
2.11 My Friend’s Shuk
2.12 The Falafel Man

III. The Life
3.1 A Question of Audience
3.2 Parking Tickets
3.3 The Mannequin
3.4 A Close Encounter of the Security Kind
3.5 More Creative Israeli Driving
3.6 My Jerusalem Bus Pass
3.7 Dentistry, Israeli-Style
3.8 Domestic Technology Woes
3.9 Jukim
3.10 Signs, I Wonder
3.12 Chores
3.12 Cultural Assimilation

IV. The Experience
4.1 The Texture of Days
4.2 Connecting the Dots
4.3 The Experience of Jerusalem
4.4 Yerushalmi Days
4.5 Yerushalmi Dazed
4.6 A Question of Sundays
4.7 Love, Israeli-Style
4.8 The Newlyweds
4.9 The Russians
4.10 Snoods, Sheitelim, and Other Heady Matters
4.11 The Tehillim Club
4.12 Acclimating: Dreams and Realities

Conclusion: Living the Deal
About the Author