Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Today I did the unforgivable. As I was talking on the phone and about to get a phone number, I instinctively (gasp) tore off an entire sheet of paper towel and (gasp again) wrote down a phone number on it! Right after I did it, I realized the damage I had done and confessed it to my sister-in-law who was still on the phone and wondering what I had done wrong. “I did a very American thing,” I told her. “I wrote on a paper towel! I have no choice – I’m just going to have to save it and use it later on.” The ironic thing is that we had been discussing the difference between American and Israeli lifestyles. In case you are wondering what paper towels have to do with lifestyle, let me back up a minute. In the weeks leading up to packing our lift, I was very busy buying up all of America. This shopping escapade came to a crescendo when I entered the Mecca of all shoppingdom: Costco. There I was prepared to stock up on all of the products that are either very expensive or unavailable in Israel. As I filled up two (Costco-sized) shopping carts with well over a thousand dollars of stuff, I started to feel a little ridiculous. Was I prepared to come back to the US every time I ran out of paper cups? I resolved that it would be good to have all of this stuff to start out with and then when the time came, I would switch over the Israeli way. Well, that time is now. The truth is that almost everything is available here (even the ‘fake’ silverware), albeit in much smaller packages. Prices aren’t bad either. But there is one item that just cannot be replaced and that product is Bounty: the thicker quicker picker upper. It really is. By the way, in that great escapade in Costco, I didn’t fit even one roll in my cart. Bounty required a trip all of its own and we stuffed every drawer and chair with rolls of the Bounty goodness before they were packed onto our lift. Now, I am down to my last pack. Sure, Israel has paper towels but they are so not the same. Take a look at the photos and just guess which one is Bounty. It’s like David and Goliath. There is no way around it, Israel can’t compete with American Bounty…or can it? Paper towels are just one example of the many things that America has over Israel, materially that is. America has lots of stuff with little price tags. Israel has a little stuff with large price tags. So if things are what makes up bounty, then we know who wins the competition. But if David and Goliath can teach us anything, it’s that smaller is sometimes bigger and less is sometimes more. Bounty isn’t really about fewer towels to throw in the wash and more things to throw in the garbage. Bounty is the seven species of Israel growing wildly all over our yards and garden. It’s about looking out your bedroom window and seeing the breathtaking view of the land that Gd made just for us. Bounty is the luxury of taking a few steps and walking into history. It’s the luxury of making history. Bounty is living in a country that shares and supports your values and lifestyles. It’s being able to vacation without having to bring vacuum packed kosher food with you. It’s having amazing schools for your children and a plethora of learning opportunities for yourself. It’s not being afraid to wear a kippa to work or that you won’t get the job if you are a woman who covers her hair. Being in Israel is the greatest aspiration of the Jewish people for the last 2,000 years. Our generation is lucky enough to live that dream. So I ask you, isn’t that dream worth a few paper towels?