Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stehmp on it

My favorite part about being a freelancer (that is, besides the whole working at home thing… and the whole no commuting thing… and the whole no daycare worries thing… and the whole pick my own hours thing… and… well, you get the idea) is that I have my very own personal stehmp.

What's a stehmp?

Funny you should ask.

Back in the Old Country, we used to refer to such an item as a rubber stamp – i.e. חותמת גומי (literally, rubber stamp) for the Hebraically oriented among you.

But this term doesn’t have the exact same connotation as “stehmp”.

Because stehmp, you see, is what the pakid (clerk) does -with great relish and extreme gusto - to all of your documents in every Israeli governmental office, in general, and to your passport at Ben Gurion Airport, in particular.

Actually, to be perfectly correct, what the pakid does is more like, “stehmp, stehmp.” Apparently – and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about this! - stehmpim generally come in pairs.

So, imagine how excited I was to learn that I would be getting a real, live, honest-to-goodness stehmp!

And even today – several years and many, many, many stehmpim later – the exhilaration continues. Every time I need to issue an invoice, I’m thrilled that I have yet another opportunity to take out my precious stehmp and get to work. (Unfortunately, I’m only required to stehmp rather than the more authentic stehmp, stehmp, but one takes what one can get.)

In conclusion, a suggestion for our younger readers - are you paying attention, YAT?! – who are still considering their future careers: The first and most important question you need to ask about your chosen profession is, “Do I get to use a stehmp?”



  1. Lawyers get to use them a LOT. That's whay I chose this profession. You can write the stupidest thing in the world, but once you put that "stehmp" on it, boy do you look smart.

  2. I would imagine that most lawyers would say that the prospect of stehmping was the primary factor in their decision to attend law school..


  3. Don't forget -- after affixing a shtemp you HAVE to put an illegible scribble on it (as your signature).

    Doctors must use them on all forms now. Its simply not official without it.

  4. LOL!
    We made aliyah over ten years ago, but I STILL haven't mastered that illegible-scribble-in-lieu-of-signature.
    In fact - and I can't believe I'm admitting this in public - I actually still sign my name instead of dashing off some random squiggle or doodle.

  5. Nowadays many of the stehmpelach are computer date/timestamp printouts onto the form. The post office has machines that can take most any piece of paper and dot-matrix print the stehmp.

    Back in the old days when we first came to Israel (25 years ago) I really considered buying some rubber stehmplach for my survival kit. One round, one square, one triangle, one rectangle. Each of them should have a date wheel and the world ישראל (Israel) more-or-less legible plus some other random number and blurred unreadable Hebrew words.

    Equipped with this, I would never have to plead with a clerk (pakid) again (or pay the voucher for whatever). Of course I figured that I would have to have this made on a trip to the old country because asking a print shop here to make these things would undoubtedly raise eyebrows.

  6. Gee a Moron - LOL! :-)
    Chances are, your plan would've worked...


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