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Nefesh b'Nefesh: How helpful are they AFTER you make aliyah?

One of my children will sometimes say, "You hate Nefesh b'Nefesh."  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Really.

So let's just say it straight out before I start here -- I love Nefesh b'Nefesh.  Adore them.

We have met and been helped by so many great people through Nefesh b'Nefesh (NbN).  I don't know what the aliyah process would have been like without them, but I'm sure it would have been quite a bit harder.

So that's the first thing.

The second thing, though, is that olim sometimes arrive with unrealistic expectations about what NbN is going to do for them.

At this point, I’ve met quite a few of these olim, and some, I’ll admit, actually do hate NbN. 

Cranky Complaints-Lady Visits -- a bathroom in Jerusalem!

I'm curious... what do YOU think?  Is this issue as outrageous as it feels to me? Or am I overreacting / overthinking?
(This wouldn't be the first time...)
Backing up for a second:

On my other blog, Adventures in MamaLand, I used to have a recurring "Cranky Complaints-Lady" feature where I wrote complain-y letters to a whole bunch of places which were deserving of my scorn.  

Most are a little weird looking back, and way too wordy.  A good complaint letter should get right to the point.  And it should probably be in a language that the recipient understands and can read.  But this issue at the brand-new train station in Jerusalem has been bugging me for a while... so I decided to write a letter.  

Just venting makes me feel a little better.  But yeah -- like I said, be gentle, but am I off base here in thinking the women's bathrooms should be women's bathrooms, i.e., a private safe space where I can adjust my tichel behind closed doors?

Let me know (gently!) in the comments!

p.s. I apologize for not being around more often -- one huge reason is that as of March, the program I used to post to Blogger (Open Live Writer) is no longer supported by Google/Blogger.  I've been looking around for another home for these blogs... but it's had to take a back seat to parnassah and other concerns.  But I'm still around, and if you ever need to get a hold of me, please email -- Tzivia @


Dear Israel Railways,

I've been through the train station at Jerusalem Navon several times so far and the station is always clean and efficient.  It's a pleasure to arrive by train rather than by bus after the long journey from north of Haifa.

However, I have noticed one particularly troubling problem -- there seem to always be men in the women's bathroom, specifically cleaning staff.  On one occasion a man walked right in to clean one of the women's bathrooms without first knocking and asking women to leave.  On our most recent visit, during Pesach, I noticed that there is a staff "break room" right inside the women's bathroom on the main floor.  Two or three men were in there taking a break while we were using the bathroom.

What every parent must know about youth groups in Israel (with handy vocabulary list!)

If you grew up outside of Israel, you may think you know what a youth group is--but you probably don't, at least not until you've experienced the Israeli variety.

And if you’re too old to experience it yourself, maybe it’s something you can look forward to for your kids.

(For those of us too old to be part of a youth group ourselves, I’ve put together a list of vocabulary below that you might find helpful – if anything’s missing there, let me know and I’ll add it in!)

I personally was a Brownie and then a Girl  Guide, which is the Canadian version of Girl Scouts, with all the same ideas, mainly that it’s kind of military group of kids who are corralled and brought places and taught principles of healthy living and woodsmanship by adults.  Hmm… now that I put it like that, it really doesn’t sound much fun at all.

This is literally what we had to wear to do these activities:

(except I didn’t have nearly so many badges!)

Our weekly meetings were held at a set day and time, following an agenda set by our adult leaders, who in Guides were known as Tawny Owl and Snowy Owl, for whatever reason – again, the woodsy theme, even though we were all actually sitting in my junior high school cafeteria.

During the summer, I went to Girl Guide camp, which was basically like one long Girl Guide meeting, with an emphasis on woodsmanship and a little more singing.  Oh, and we got to wear the “camp uniform,” which was slightly more casual.

So what do kids do in Israel?  And how is it different from what I grew up with?

Here, there have what are called תנועות נוער / tenuot noar, which literally means meaning youth