1. He’s the best driver on the road.
Everyone else is a nudnik or worse…even when they make the same unexpected stops, lane changes, and U-turns that he does.
2. He likes salad ingredients to be cut into really small pieces.
Tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, green onions, cilantro, and lots of olive oil. I like to think those tiny cubes are designed so you get a good mix in every bite, not as a sneaky way of keeping women busy in the kitchen. It’s amazing how quickly you get good at making salad the Israeli way. In fact, pretty soon you’ll find yourself cutting tomatoes into tiny cubes even when he’s not around.
3. He taught you what stum means.
You not only understand the meaning of stum, (something like “nothing special,” “just the way it is,” or “for no reason.” It’s just…stum) but you miss it when speaking English. How can such a useful word have no translation?
4. He never drinks that last shlook of coffee.
That’s because it’s cafe shuchor or botz, which is a sort of instant Turkish coffee that’s made by pouring boiling water onto finely ground Elite coffee. The grounds stay in the cup, conveniently sinking to a nice mud (botz) at the bottom. You develop a taste for it pretty quickly, and your Israeli guests keep you in good supply.
5. He keeps nana on hand for Saturday (Shabbat) family visits.
No, that’s not someone’s grandma. It’s the fresh mint leaves that go in the teacup of whoever doesn’t drink botz coffee.
6. He makes sure there’s always hummus in the fridge.
And za’atar is the most popular spice in the rack. What did you even eat before you put together this tasty combination?
7. He told you to get used to the idea that the kids may be with you for a long time.
As the joke goes, “Of course Jesus was Jewish. Who else would be 33, single, and still living with his parents?” It’s not unusual for a 30ish (and let’s face it, 40ish) year-old Israeli to still be living in his parents’ apartment. Yup, meals and laundry included. Chances are, your man wasn’t in too big of a hurry to get out on his own either…so beware!
8. He aspires for you guys to buy your own…apartment.
Israel is a crowded country, and most of the Jewish population lives in apartments. Single family dwellings are only for the very rich or those brave enough to live in a settlement, usually outside the Green Line.
9. He gave you a lesson on the Israel / Palestine conflict.
Now if you could just explain it to your family and friends…in 500 words or less.
10. He asked you to be careful with the utensils you use.
Even if you aren’t religious, someone in the family will be. And that means lots of kosher rules. In a kosher home, meat and dairy products are never cooked or eaten together. The very serious will have 2 sets of dishes, 2 sinks, 2 dishwashers…well, you get the idea. If you ever make the faux pas of sticking your dinner fork into your cousin’s cheesecake, the reaction you get will be unforgettable…and not in a good way.
11. Nothing can ruin his mood.
Maybe it’s the fact that Israeli men grow up with the stress of living on a small island in a sea of enemies, or maybe it’s just that the army service has taught them a lot about living together, but it’s not easy to put them in a bad mood. And who’s going to complain about that?