Stereotypes are fun! (Please help...)

Despite my complete lack of free time (believe it or not), I'm toying with the idea of creating a quiz to help y'all answer this critical question: what kind of Israeli are you?

Here are a few of the result categories that I have developed so far.

You love hair gel, polyester, skin-tight clothing, heavy perfume, and nightclubs. You are also quite possibly thirteen years old and/or in the Bublil family. Your home is an Isra-fab marvel. You believe in working hard and partying harder! If only it didn't take you so long to get ready for the club each night...

You connect to Israel through its nature. You love sweeping vistas, the smell of cow manure, and produce picked straight off the tree. You probably know how to milk a goat. In your daily life, you rarely meet anyone you haven't known since infancy. You favor peasant skirts, white cotton tunics, long hair, and quiet nights with the hooka. You probably know how to play acoustic guitar.

Your life revolves around Torah study and prayer. You may have more children than fingers. You are likely to live in Jerusalem or B'nei Barak. You know exactly what you will wear every day and exactly how you will spend each moment. You unwind on Friday nights with a good niggun and fabringen. If you own a cell phone, it's probably kosher.

American Oleh:
You probably live in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beit Shemesh, or Zichron Yaakov. Your first question when you go anywhere is "atah medaber anglit?" You've never quite mastered the Hebrew "r" or "ch." You were the only person applying for your job in a suit and tie. You actually allow other cars to cut in front of you on the highway, and you never forget to use the turn signal.

Russian Oleh:
You came to Israel because it was easier to get into this country than the US, but really you'd rather be back in Russia. This whole Jewish/Hebrew thing... not so much your style. You know how to hold your vodka and you can tear through pickled herring. In the wintertime, you like to turn on the Christmas tree lights and pretend that the sand on the beach is snow. Whether in chess or ballroom dancing, you are determined to turn your children into prodigies. Back in Russia, you were a nuclear physicist. Here in Israel, you clean floors. What? Bitter? You?

Tel Avivi:
You wear black, sip espressos in coffee houses, and recycle. You attend poetry readings in support of gay, underprivileged Palestinian youth. You are fairly certain that there is no civilized life outside a thirty kilometer radius of your two-million-shekel studio apartment, and you wish the rest of Israel didn't bring the reputation of your country down.

Ok, what did I miss? What would you change in these categories? What categories would you add?


  1. Yikes. That's a bit difficult. I think I'm the first two sentences of the kibbutznik, and the last sentence (only one, phew) of the American oleh (olah). So what does that make me?

  2. Hareidi centers: Jerusalem and Bnei B'rak. Most Hareidim live in cities. The percentage of Hareidim in Yesha is small. Chareidi Yishuvim: Kiryat Sefer, Beitar, and Emanuel.

    You did not have a "Date Leumi" category -- those you can find in Yesha!

    (though we are really stereotyping here, since 60% of Yesha residents are secular)

  3. Rivka, thanks! I guess I'm not up on my Hareidi geography.

    There should definitely be a Dati Leumi category, but I wasn't sure how to describe the Dati Leumi. I mean, I know how to describe them, but not necessarily how to make fun of them. :) Any ideas?

  4. Toby, you're a polite American who should move to a kibbutz. :)

  5. I'm the American, Christian visitor who doesn't speak or read any Hebrew or Arabic, but expects everyone to know English... ;-)

  6. This is so funny! I haven't made it to Israel yet, but my boyfriend has mentioned all these stereotypes at least once. We joke about arsim and frechot all the time! :)

  7. Prophet Joe, I'm happy to count you as an American Oleh. :)

    Jenni, you run marathons? I ran three! I need motivation to start running agin, though...

  8. As for the Dati Leumi: socks with sandals?

  9. Why do Dati Leumi wear socks with sandals? I haven't noticed that one!

  10. Okay-- some corrections/additions:

    I think you would not find any young kibbutznik caught dead in a peasant shirt etc. Most likely you will find them wearing really worn down cut off sweatpants and a t-shirt that may be the wrong length and/or size with possibly a collar cut out.

    Dati Leumi-- find them with the kippot dangerously to the side

  11. Oooh, good one, Hannah! And I think I don't know enough kibbutzniks, so I kind of grafted them onto hippies in my mind. Thanks. :)

    Is a Yerushalmi more likely to wear peasant skirts etc?

  12. What about the rich chilonim in places like Ramat Aviv who are constantly talking about how things are so much better in the U.S. or Europe?

  13. Raizy, I think that probably fits with the "Tel Avivi" stereotype... I'll add that in!

  14. I know this is two years later, but I find it interesting that the Israeli stereotype of Americans was the same as the American sterotype of the British.

    I was recently in Israel and they thought we were all rich raging alcoholics who spoke a strange American language called Yiddish.

  15. Hmm...bits of all, but mainly Russian, because...well...I am, but born in the best country in the world! (Israel!!!!)

  16. I have a little remark on the Russian stereotype. I know I'm three years late, but I have only now stumbled upon your wonderful blog. Russians do not have a Christmas tree, or a Sylvester tree for that matter - they have a New Year's tree. It's not the same thing, and that's important. It may look alike, hence the understandable confusion, but it is absolutely different, if only for the fact that Russian's New Year is completely secular.


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