Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This last week.

Here are some photos from this last week.

This scene is taking place at the intersection of Shuk Ha'Carmel (an outdoor market where produce, cheap clothing, trinkets, and more are sold), Shenkin St (hip area to live and shop), King George St (similar to Shenkin, more shopping), and Nachalat Binyamin (an outdoor artists fair). People are gathered around watching, as this woman is dancing (a combination of belly dancing and something else that is not clear). Off to the left, not in photo, is a woman singing with some Mizrachi music playing. She was first dancing alone, with a cigarette in hand, and then enticed this gentleman to dance with her. It was quite a scene!

"Sholsha Kushim." Once inside the artists fair, there are all sorts of fun gifts and things to look at. Here is a magnet made of a vintage Israeli chocolate package. The word kush (or kushim in plural) refers to an area in modern-day Sudan. When Israelis use this word, it is in a somewhat derogatory way, although they often say it's not.

"The term Cushite or Cushi (כושי) for black-skinned people was not derogatory or insulting in the Bible, but is so considered in contemporary Israel. In spoken Hebrew it is now usually avoided in favor of "Shahor" (שחור) (Black), in conscious emulation of the American replacement of "Negro" with "Black" after the 1960s. Since most Blacks who are Israeli citizens originate from Ethiopia, often "Ethiopian" (אתיופי) is used." Wikipedia.

From my understanding (and what Wikipedia supports), it's the equivalent of "nigger" in English, but because Israel lacks the history of slavery that the US has, it doesn't stir up quite the same emotion among Israelis as it does among Americans. It seems that referring to Black people as "kushim" is totally acceptable; many adults I've met do it without thinking twice.

A bit hard to decipher: a soldier on a train ride South to Beer Sheva, sleeping on the floor, under a luggage rack. Sunday is the start of the work week in Israel, and thus the morning train rides on Sundays are almost always extremely crowded, with soldiers returning to their bases, students to campus, and others getting back to work after the weekend.

"Why Drink and Drive? When you can smoke and fly?" To end on a light note--another absurd Israeli t-shirt. If you want your own: (this link of course makes no sense!)

1 comment:

Guy said...


Nice blog, seems you are taken by and exploring the Israeli culture.
Nice to read how it is percieved by others.
Although I do have corrections/explanations to provide I decided not to. It is good just the way it is.

Guy Kohn.