Parachuting Down in Long Skirts

If moving to Israel is aliyah, or “going up,” then leaving Israel is yeridah, or “going down.”  Though, I’d like to think that only applies if you actually move on a permanent or semi-permanent basis.

I made a mini yeridah to the United States to visit my family for two weeks, which I am using an excuse for not keeping this blog so updated lately.  I feel that I have somehow moved away from something dear to me, even as I have moved into once was and what is familiar, my hometown and my family.

First I traveled to Albany, New York, for one of the coldest winters on record.  I had complained about cold in Jerusalem because the buildings are not well-insulated or well-heated, and when there is moisture in the air, it gets into your bones.  But this, well, this is COLD, and short, short days filled with nothing but grey (and cute nieces).

Now I am visiting my parents in sunny Florida (they escape to Florida during the winters for reasons stated above).  While entering security at the gateway to the flight terminals at Albany International Airport (international because occasionally you can get a flight to Toronto) I was subject to my first pat down.  I went through the metal detector problem free, but apparently my long jean skirt was suspect.

A few observations.  First of all, I had no problems leaving Israel with the same setup and the same outfit, and they have to have the highest-grade security checks in the world.  I didn’t have to take the locks off of my suitcase as I did in Albany, nor did I have to take off my shoes.  I was simply racially profiled and asked to explain why my Hebrew is so good (ahem, thanks, thanks, but you people asked me that question when I came four years ago and could barely force out “Shalom”).

In Israel, a long flowy jean skirt is culturally acceptable, but not so in Rome, where I had my layover, surrounded by Burberry, Tumi, Giorgio Armani, and a store selling leather gloves and bags that each probably cost as much as the yearly income of everyone in my apartment building – combined.  And not so in Albany.  Feeling a little silly about standing out but wanting to make light of the situation, I told the female security officer who was called over for a pat down, “I bet I could hide a lot under here, huh?”

“You could hide a camel under there!” she replied.

Yes, yes, that is what we do in my country.  But I removed his metal collar first.


1 Response to “Parachuting Down in Long Skirts”

  1. 1 Rivkah December 24, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    ROFL. Ilene you are a queen. You want camels? Plenty down here…Shabbat Shalom holy sister…

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Ilene Rosenblum is a writer and marketing professional living in Jerusalem.

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