Toto, We’re Not in Brooklyn Anymore by Michal Eisikowitz
This article is reprinted from Mishpacha Magazine
Being a Brooklyn girl living in a suburb of Yerushalayim makes for a interesting ride. Small-town life in the Land of Milk and Honey, is, er, an adjustment, but I’m learning — albeit very slowly — to appreciate its advantages. One of the major perks is that it makes me laugh…
Take yesterday’s bus incident.
My husband and I were taking a walk when we noticed a tumult in the distance. A local bus had stopped in the middle of the street, a crowd beginning to gather ‘round it. We watched as every boy within a mile’s radius pedaled over on his bike, as the schoolgirls dropped their sacred jump ropes mid-air and headed over.
A police van pulled up. The plot thickened. What was going on?
Was the (Ishmaelite) bus driver really a terrorist in disguise? Was there a stubborn passenger refusing to pay the fare? Did someone violate the mehadrin seating arrangements one time too many?
The possibilities were endless.
Homemakers flung open their porch windows (read: trissim) to keep a close eye on the action. Bochurim began filing out of their yeshivah caravans, their expressions a peculiar blend of curiosity and sheepishness. Little girls whispered knowingly to each other, exchanging implausible theories. Those men with at least two cell phones and three sets of keys on their belts strode importantly toward the bus; evidently, they were going to solve the problem.
And then it became clear.
There was a shoe on top of the bus.
I don’t know how it got there. Maybe some children were having fun throwing shoes (?) and one accidentally landed on the bus. Maybe one industrious balabusta was engaging in a vigorous bout of belated spring cleaning when she unknowingly knocked a misplaced shoe out the window…onto a moving bus.
However the shoe arrived at its lofty station, it needed to descend. And so began the attempts.
A group of burly teenagers got to work immediately, collecting such essential supplies as brooms and sponga sticks. The slightest of the crew climbed onto his friend’s shoulder wielding the sponga stick, and valiantly began whacking the roof of the bus.
The police officer assumed the role of Director of the Sponga-Whackers. He spared no effort in insightfully guiding the boys as they aimed for the shoe.
“Lo shamah, poh! Poh! Mah? Attah lo shomeia? Yoter LeMaalah! Yoter LeMaatah! Od Ktzat l’maalah!”
But it was in vain. Despite repeated attempts — each whacker got a turn — the sponga stick consistently missed its target, and the shoe remained firmly in place.
The bus driver was becoming antsy; at this rate, his next assigned route was but a figment of his imagination. And the poor owner of the shoe — would he have to wear Crocs until his shoe came tumbling down?
The crowd looked on expectantly. What would happen next?
It was the bus driver who had the epiphany. He would drive his vehicle very, very fast and then suddenly — OUCH! — make a terrible short stop, the likes of which even Israeli taxi drivers could never conceive. The shoe would have no choice; it would be propelled off the roof in no time.
And so it was. The driver clambered onto his seat with a sense of purpose, whizzed his bus about 300 feet, and with a resounding screech brought it to an abrupt halt as the shoe came clattering down. Mission accomplished!
The crowd cheered! Operation success. Men, women, and children clapped heartily, applauding the ingenuity of the driver as well as the persistence of the Burly Boys. Then slowly, the onlookers began to disperse, all the while animatedly discussing the event that had just taken place. This would surely be in the local newspaper headlines tomorrow, and they had witnessed it with their very own eyes.
I looked at my husband and burst out laughing. “Toto, we are definitely not in Brooklyn anymore.”
And then the sun began to set and the stars began to shine, marking the end of yet another action-packed day in our town. Who knows what exciting events tomorrow will bring? Stay tuned…
Michal Eisikowitz is a freelance writer and copywriter who lives with her family in the Judean Hills. She holds an M.S. in Communication Sciences.