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Journal Entry: January 31, 2022

Updated: Mar 13, 2022

So, I have to put my hands up and admit with embarrassment, that my last posting was November 18, 2021.

I can of course roll out dozens of reasons why I have not written/posted anything. I have in fact during this period written much, just not posted any new material.

A couple of items from today’s papers caught my eye; both pertain to religion, which as regular readers know, I am not an active supporter of, but respect those who are, although they in turn rarely respect me and my viewpoint.

“Chief rabbis lead rally urging religious affairs minister to scrap his reforms.” “Country’s top Ashkenazi and Sephardic rabbis tell Matan Kahana to ‘wake up,’ say Jewish state must be under authority of Chief Rabbinate.”

This is what I don’t get, the sub-headline says “Jewish state”, this to me implies that all matters – both religious and secular - fall under the direction of the Chief Rabbis. How come? Religion OK, but secular affairs, what are we Iran, Afghanistan?

Likewise, this headline is challenging: “Doritos faces boycott calls over Israeli ad featuring gay and lesbian couples.” “Snack-maker reportedly not planning to take down advertisement released ahead of Family Day, which was condemned by some conservative religious Jews.”

Hello, wake up and smell the roses, Israel as many other countries are made up of various household combinations. In today's woke society Doritos are simply going with the flow of wokism. All power to them I say.

One of my recent correspondents addressed me in an email as “dude”. Just as I dislike “Bud” or “Buddy”, so I loath “dude”. As I pointed out I have a given name, not one I like or feel fits me, but after seven decades it is a bit late to change.

The form of address got me thinking. What would I like my given name to be? And, how do parents pick their children's names, and what trauma down the road do those names incur for the children?

Many years ago I worked briefly with a UK-based salesman who named his son Otto. This information was shared one lunchtime to a table of maybe six or eight people, a couple of whom, myself included nearly choked with surprise at the name. Can you imagine how that boy must have been teased at school with a name like Otto? A school by the way in the UK, not Germany or Austria.

Over the years I have used various names; M. Lewis Freeman, Lewis Murray, Lewis Diamond, Lewis Freeman. I have also simply used a first name; Mike, and Marc. Right now, taking a page out of the Reg Dwight (AKA Elton John) songbook, I rather like Archer as a given name, lifted from a man who reinvited himself three or maybe four times. Jeffrey Archer.

I do not however wish to be addressed as Arch or Archie. That honor I’ll leave to the son of Harry and Megan, possibly the world’s #1 woke couple.

Last weekend drove to Beer-Sheva on highway six, Israel’s main toll road. I was shocked by the state of the road surface of the nearside lane, broken up as it was with potholes. I guess that some of the damage was caused by the recent heavy rains, and maybe just sheer wear and tear to the road surface.

My gripe is that this is a toll road and that the toll paid is there to ensure that the road is kept in good condition. I am not a road engineer, maybe repairs can not be made in the winter. If that is the case, I hope that come the spring, the road gangs will be out in force attending to the damaged sections. It’s no fun driving on the two-lane section, near-side lane, and trying to avoid the potholes.

This year chickens, next year who knows. Can’t wait to see what the reaction of the orthodox community is to this genetic engineering?

A constant gripe of mine is regarding medical pills. I take four different tablets a day for a heart condition. Unlike years ago when pills came in bottles, today, the pills come in blister packs, and while my fingers are still nimble, I wonder how people with arthritis for example cope. One of the pills I take is 2.5mg, a tiny pill almost hidden in its blister pack pocket. Often it is a fight to successfully free the pill from its packaging.

The other question I have is why there is no uniformity with the blister packs. Three of the four tables come in units of 30 pills, the fourth is in units of 28 pills. Why not have uniformity in the production of pills?

Another hobbyhorse of mine is the continuous prostitution of celebrities in Israel, advertising/promoting a range of products and services many of them I am sure would not use in real life. And yet, we the gullible public are expected to eat up with relish their declarations regarding a product or service. Have they no shame? Don’t they understand that they are diluting their brand? Guess not, money speaks!

Take the example of a female celebrity who is currently promoting the values of an Israeli bank. The same lady appears telling how wonderful a certain air conditioning unit is, how eyeglasses from a particular chain are the best. The list goes on and on.

Do the advertising and PR agency honestly believe that the general public takes notice of this hype?

From time to time I receive requests to complete a customer survey. I’ve often wondered if anyone reads the responses submitted. Image my surprise when having completed a survey for EL AL Israel Airlines following my return to Israel two weeks ago, that today I received a response from the airline. Not only a response and an apology for poor service but the offer of a $150 voucher for future use. The intention, I should add, was not to draw a response but rather to vent my frustration and disappointment with EL AL.

EL AL switched the Saturday night service from Newark International Airport, New Jersey to JFK. No apology for the switch. From where we were staying in New Jersey to Newark is on a Saturday evening a 20/25 minute drive, and our hosts were happy to drive us to Newark. JFK is at best a 90-minute drive and with poor traffic can take three hours. Uber, which we took to JFK, cost us $140.

At check-in, we first have to run the gauntlet of EL AL security. I know that I walk with a stick, that my face is partially distorted by Bell's palsy, and that while I might not look my age, it is clear that I am not in my 20s. I am not senile, and yet we get spoken to as if we were a doddering old couple. Most offensive.

Next, we had an issue with the counter clerk. Not an EL AL employee but acting as a representative of EL AL. She can’t find our names on the flight manifesto, this is despite us just clearly security and the email I show her from EL AL switching our flight to JFK. After protracted discussions with a supervisor, the clerk issue us with boarding passes – seats 10A and 10G. Yes, same row seven seats apart. The problem was resolved on the aircraft; seats 10 C, D, and F were free.

A few hours into the flight the religious men started praying morning prayers, moving up and down the aircraft and disturbing many of the sleeping passengers, myself included. This was despite a request that those wishing to pray do so from their seats. But of course, no one takes any notice. As I pointed out in my survey response, this would not happen on a United Airlines flight from Newark or JFK, the crew would simply not allow it.

The Customer Relations Supervisor who wrote to me included the following couple of lines in her response “El Al has a new CEO and management who are trying their utmost to improve all aspects of our service. They have been made aware of all the issues that you raise and we hope that you will notice changes in the future.”

What do people say – seeing is believing!


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