The title refers to what the famous Treppenwitz explains as:
“There is a genre of 'war story' common to almost all western immigrants to Israel, known as 'Things my 'Shaliach' never told me'. Some, whose Aliyah experiences may have been bumpier than the norm, might even amend that to 'Lies my Shaliach told me.'”
I suppose that the modern way of saying this would be: “Things NBN Never Told You”. But since our aliyah pre-dated NBN, I’ll stick to the original formulation.
In any event, here are two things which you may not know about life in Israel:
1. Kacholavan – Kacholavan is an amalgamation (is that the word I want?) of kachol (blue) and lavan (white). It refers to an outfit composed of a white top and a blue skirt/pants. Many new olim aren’t told* that:
- Most elementary schools require their students to wear kacholavan on Rosh Chodesh.
- Black is the new… well, blue. You see, most girls wear black skirts in lieu of blue. (Maybe a member of the younger generation can explain to the rest of us why black is considered to be, like, sooo much cooler than blue…)
2. Mamtakim (candy, treats) on a tiyul (trip) – It doesn’t matter if they’re going to be gone overnight or are just taking an hour long tour of a nearby factory. When it comes to school trips, all Israeli kids take mamtakim. (Note that I use the plural – i.e. they all take at least two snacks per trip. V’chol hamarbeh, harei zeh meshubach…) Although I have no proof, I suspect that there’s a chozer mancal (literally, “management circular” – refers to a directive) from the Education Ministry to this effect.
Happy Rosh Chodesh Adar!
* New and veteran olim: Did you learn about the aforementioned cultural oddities the hard way? For instance, on your first Rosh Chodesh in Israel, did your child come home embarrassed that you hadn’t picked out kacholavan for her to wear? Or, was your child the only one on his first Israeli tiyul without any snacks? If so, please feel free to use the comment section as therapy for your trauma…