OFANAYIM! MISHKAFAYIM! A story by Esther Malka Fein

This story is by Esther Malka Fein who made aliya three years ago from California. She is an English tutor, living in Yerushalayim. This story happened about two years ago.

You say glasses...

On one of my crowded bus trips, a passenger unknowingly dropped his glasses. Without noticing the incident, the crowd was rushing to get off at the bus stop.  Being a new Olah [immigrant to Israel], struggling with my new language,  I couldn’t think of the word “eyeglasses” in Hebrew.  So before the crowd had a chance to step on the glasses, I wanted to alert someone to pick them up.   I stood up from my seat (in the back), pointed to the floor of the bus and screamed out repetitiously, “OFANAYIM, OFANAYIM.”

...I say bicycle.

Everyone turned around to look at me.  Ofanayim means bicycle, while mishkafayim (eyeglasses) is what I meant to say.  Nonetheless, to my relief, my urgent sounding message prompted someone to bend down, retrieve the glasses and hand them to the person who had already exited from the autobus.

Glasses photo by LWY on flickr.

Bike photo by xddorox on flickr.

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The cabbie from the airport by Ruth Cohn

Ruth and Moshe jeeping it up, down in Eilat

Ruth Cohn, a life member of the AACI, shared this touching story about the day her and her husband Moshe landed in Israel after making aliyah. The story, told by Ruth, and their aliyah, takes place in March of 1997.

As is usual when making aliyah, we were offered a free taxi ride to our destination (in our case, Jerusalem). We had loads of luggage and the long haired young taxi driver didn’t mind all the pekelech [packages] we had brought. We were worried about how we would get all our belongings up into the flat at our destination (there was no elevator). We agreed a price with him for him to help us with our luggage.

When we arrived at our destination, true to his word, our taxi driver helped us carry up our belongings to the apartment.  We relaxed as he brought up the cases and pekelech. Moshe handed him an envelope – the price we had agreed on.  He firmly returned it.

“Did you think I would take money for doing this Mitzvah, helping a couple who have just made aliyah?  Wishing you an easy klitah [absorption],” and with that he firmly closed the door and left, our young secular taxi driver.

What an amazing start to life in Israel.

(Although this is not strictly an AACI aliyah story – going on AACI Study Tours certainly helped us get to know our wonderful country. These tours were very well planned giving us the opportunity to meet such wonderful people.)