Stefanella's Drive Thru

Israel, U.S., conflict, war, peace, humor, travel, romance, fashion, fun

Hitler in Tel Aviv February 18, 2009

I came across this video on Facebook via my friend Rick.  Apparently it’s a campaign railing Tel Aviv’s municipality for the dire parking situation and subsequent sky-high costs of parking fines.

The theme is straight up WWII Hitler Third Reich & it’s harsh. Holocaust survivors, none too happy about the parody, are  demanding it be removed from YouTube.  Judge for yourself.


Difficult Truths February 16, 2009

If you want to know the truth about yourself – say how you look, whether or not you’ve been behaving badly lately, if you are a fair person or if you fall to the heavy or slim side of the scale – ask a grade-schooler.

Because unless they’ve already been taught to bluff, kids are the ones who’ll give you the truth.  Straight up.  No mal-intent and little to no buffering.  They simply call things as they see them.

While traipsing Tel Aviv with my 7-year-old and his classmate during yesterday’s evening hours, the subject of Super Heroes arose.  After pulling some moves on each other and making appropriate heroic sounds the boys piped down and my son suddenly turned to me.

You can’t be a Super Hero, he said matter-of-fact-like looking me in the eye.  

Why’s that? I countered, feeling flattered to have been pulled into their  conversation.

Because your boobies are... he tapered off verbally and instead gesticulated somewhere mid-navel section with both hands.

Wait.  What is that supposed to mean? I asked, unsure of whether or not I truly wanted to know.

Well the Girl Super Hero Action figures have boobies here, he explained, reverting back to hand gestures this time at an elevated chest level.

Yeah, his friend chimed in.

They tag teamed me.  Beautiful.

And of course, I was faced with the reality of gravity and the fact that despite my son’s misguided belief that his mother is a mere twenty-four years old (who on earth told him that?), she’s not.  One day he’ll figure out that the real action figures with perky breasts are the true twenty-four-year-olds.  Far be it from me to burst THAT bubble prematurely.

But my god was it a hilarious moment.

Except for the tag team part.


Oscars Anyone? February 15, 2009

Oscars are a week from today.  I haven’t watched the ceremony in yeeeaaaarrrsss but I always follow the results.

This year, however, I’m changing it up by synching my local Israel time to U.S. ceremony time (read: It’s gonna be an over-nighter Sunday) to watch it live.  I admit: I’m a sucker for the red carpet, the hoopla, the speeches, the controversy and I particularly love seeing trailers from the contenders.

This year I have selfish interests at heart as well: I want to see if Israel’s nominated entry Waltz with Bashir wins in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

I FINALLY got around to seeing Waltz this weekend.  And it far exceeded my expectations.  The use of animation was really apt on many levels.  Also, because the subject matter it addresses has been so very controversial for so long, the film was quite poignant.

Because Director Ari Folman’s animation is a personal testimony to one of the major events that happened in Israel’s 1982 Lebanon War/Invasion, it is tough to dispute what some have denied vis a vis Israel’s role in that event.  I’m being vague, I know.  I don’t want to spoil it.

Watch the trailer.  French Foreign Film Contender The Class also looks quite good  – haven’t seen it yet.   I’d say it’s between the two.  But Waltz With Bashir’s timing in terms of what we just saw happen in Gaza may give Folman the edge…


Why Ikea is Cool February 13, 2009

…er well at least their Europe ads are


The Big Ask: ACT NOW! February 12, 2009

Israel elections are past and a new government is in the making.  The Green party I voted for didn’t even make it into the bleeding government.  THAT is crazy.

It’s all about the future – for us and our children. If we combust, who cares who’s holding the scepter?

Check out the video. .


Israel Pee Pee Campaign February 6, 2009

If you were wondering how Israel’s election advertising campaigns differ from, say, the U.S. or Europe, take a look at this ad.

It’s for Brit Olam, a co-existence advocating party that warns against “letting  them continue to urinate on us .”

Yikes.  Disgusting and tasteless.


Christmas in Holy Land Central December 23, 2008

Each year around this time, I’m blown away by the lack of Christmas in Holy Land Central (HLC).

It’s an outdated subject but this is where it all went down.  The manger. The star.  Bethlehem.  J.C.

And yet, for the most part, nothing here.  Nada.  No blinking lights or ornately decorated trees glimpsed through filmy curtains, no adverts, shopping rush, craze, plastic Santas ho-ho-ho’ing from rooftops, no carolers, egg nogg or office parties.

Growing up in the U.S., I was taught to hold Christmas in disdain.  It wasn’t “our religion“; it wasn’t fair that our holiday and our customs were so blatantly overlooked as Christmas hoopla gained the glory.  Sure, we got a few symbolic Hannuka songs at the annual Holiday Choir Concert but let’s face it:  Put Dreidl Dreidl Dreidl in a side-by-side taste test next to Handel’s Messiah and….well there you have it.

It’s quiet here in Tel Aviv.  And sparse.  Except for menorahs in storefronts glowing with candlelight after sundown.  Or the seasonal appearance of donuts in bakeries, supermarkets and corner kiosks.

I miss the glowy warmth, energy and decor that comes with Christmas season in the U.S.  I don’t, however, miss the commercialism or the pressure of gift buying  – You have to buy things for others even if you don’t keep “The Other Faith”.

But on an up note, there are always surprises to be found here in HLC around holiday time.  Like the rabbi who lit candles, recited blessings and sang Hannuka songs into a microphone at my local supermarket the other night for the benefit of after-work shoppers.  Or the “Chabad Hannuka Police”, as I affectionately refer to them, who stop into Tel Aviv restaurants and business venues to offer up candelabras and candles to anyone without.

It’s okay being here.  No trees is a good thing.  It’s not cool to cut down forests.  Eating donuts, on the other hand..

Happy Holidays to Everyone Everywhere.  May we all Feel the Warmth And Zest in the New Year.