a country of jewish mothers

by on April 17, 2008 at 5:00 am

About 9:30ish or so last night i was sitting at a cafe on the beach with Orli Yakuel and JD and while we had a great conversation and the setting was beautiful, it was soon clear my stamina and success pressing my luck had just run out. my fever was coming back, i was sniffling, hacking– both orli and jd were looking at me and wincing.

so unfortunately i had to stay in bed today. a doctor is coming in a
few hours to see what is wrong, and if i’m well enough to travel back
to san francisco tomorrow. in the mean time, the hotel has called
several times to check on me and just brought up the jewish version of
sick food: tea, OJ and Matzoh
with butter. so if for any reason i can’t fly out– i’m sure i will have plenty of people taking care of me.

there’s this weird thing surrounding whether or not Israelis are
“nice.” they are known to be a very direct, brusque culture. indeed, as
sweet as the hotel staff has been today, other times i’ve called to ask
a question and they cut you off mid-sentence and transfer you somewhere
else. and just try driving here (i haven’t btw. peta dunia satelit but i don’t want to!)
there’s honking, swerving, throwing up hands as they yelling things in
hebrew angrily. without prompting most people who live here apologize
for how rude israelis are, and seem embarrassed by it.

but i think i speak for all of the “traveling geeks” when i say we’ve
experienced mostly love and hospitality here. it reminds me a bit of
New Yorkers– who can be pushy and rude in aggregate but warm and
helpful one-on-one.

but more to the point, it seems to be one of those cultural qualities
that makes Israelis such great entrepreneurs. there’s a quote from an
American CEO in my book and he’s responding to some pretty tough
criticism of how he treated his people during the bust. he said the
great thing about a recession is you don’t have the luxury of being
nice– it’s all about survival so you just do what’s best for the
business. that’s how the israelis run their businesses and their lives.