September 2, 2013

Middle Eastern Stocking Stuffers

Grab a cuppa coffee and assess your year's deeds.
"Elul, Elul, just wake up!' A poster with a strong steaming coffee reminds Israeli passersby that it is almost Rosh Hashanah. The Jewish month of Elul is the time to look at our past deeds, refocus, make a plan to become better people--and buy Elite coffee.

On the streets, in the schools and in every Jewish home, Israeli life is infused with the New Year. Observant people are going to evening Torah classes and  gathering at huge midnight selichot prayer services. And with shofars piercing the air each dawn, we all know Rosh Hashanah is here.

One can't help but notice the giant billboards luring customers who are driving on the Ayalon Freeway. "Buy one, get two free." And if for some reason you don't notice this sign, a second sign soon follows offering "Two perfumes for 299 NIS."

Perfume promotion.

The Ra'anana country club mails
members New Year greetings.
Giant perfume posters? This is no surprise. Most Israelis buy perfume just before Rosh Hashanah as well as new clothing, gifts and flowers. These days, our big holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Passover, call out to consumers’ pockets promoting middle eastern versions of stocking stuffers.

Crimson pomegranates and jars of golden honey take front row in the supermarkets. Fliers fall from newspapers and are stuffed into mail boxes promising discounts on dining rooms tables, saucepans, linens plus super sales on local wines, hot water urns and Sukkah beds.

Busy filling their shopping carts, most Israelis are too preoccupied to follow the international news with great detail. Yes, we know the situation with our neighbors is heating up. And as the world is deciding how to best deal with Syrian war crimes, we cannot help but find ourselves simmering in the middle of a ‘stew pot.’ This country has seen a lot in its 65 years and the many unfortunate wars and terror attacks have created a strong, determined nation.

Local bakery Erev Rosh Hashana.
Despite the bleak, doomsday international headlines, here in Israel we rush about wishing each other Shana Tova. Be it the shoe salesman boxing a shiny new pair of sandals, the gardener sweeping up leaves or a tech person on the phone, every conversation ends with hopeful, promising words. This is a sure indication that people here are positive.

We are strong on the outside, yet on the inside, this place is as sweet as honey—or as fragrant as Carven, le parfum.

May this be a sweet, peaceful and meaningful year for all.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are always welcome.