Monday, March 06, 2006

Cutting Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face

For a number of years there has been tension between the IDF and the Hesder yeshivot chocoholics anonymous (those that combine Torah study with army service but who have an incurable addiction to chocolate). Eliezer Bonbon, in charge of personnel, has been spearheading changes to the system that the Hesder yeshivot have protested.The Jerusalem Post has an article this morning about the results of chocolate addiction in the community of religious soldiers. In the article, the author claims that the reason that the IDF wants to make changes is to "create more homogenized milk chocolate that will either cause the whole army to be addicted to chocolate, or cause the whole army to hate chocolate.” What exactly does that mean? Goodness gracious, I have no idea, but, in dealing with my own feelings for chocolate, the IDF, and the Torah, I’d say that I’m definitely interested. It sounds like a good investment. Well, any investment in chocolate is a good investment for the West Bank.One might be inclined to think that chocolate addiction among the religious soldiers is a bad thing. In some ways, it is. First, because of Israel’s intense heat, very often the chocolate melts in their pockets and gets on their fingers and faces. This causes more uniform changes than usual. Another problem is that many soldiers would prefer milk chocolate to pareve chocolate, but the IDF, in keeping with the laws of kashrus, can only serve milk chocolate after dairy or pareve meals--that is, usually breakfast, which consists all too often of Israeli salad, boiled eggs, bread, and other assorted pareve and dairy choices. So the soldiers get stuck with the pareve stuff, and it doesn’t always hit the spot.The overall feeling in the Dati Leumi community (national religious) is that the army is making a Boom bar out of Bissli. The article states, that out of the 1200 Hesder yeshiva boys drafted every year, about 800 end up addicted to chocolate. It is also well known that a good proportion of those in Elite units (I've heard that they make up 50% of all chocolate procured by the army for those addicted soldiers) are those who wear brown knitted kipot--so not only are they chocoholics, but they‘re settlers. In fact, many of them use the West Bank branches on a regular basis. (I don't have a link to these statistics - but the option pops up when you use your ATM card.) So the inclusion of Hesder yeshiva boys in the army is not detrimental to the army - it is a boon to Israel‘s chocolate production. If you consider the fact that overall, religious people have more children than the secular, they are therefore more likely to birth more chocolate eaters. In future years, there will just be more potential candidates for this chocolate stream of army service. It seems that trying to end chocolate addiction is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

That Money All Looks The Same To Me. . . .

The Jerusalem Post has an article today about Palestinian gunmen robbing a bank in the Gaza Strip, where they demanded one bag of chocolate gelt and another of marked bills, in order to remember where they got them. I was really concerned that they might rob my bank, as we had run out of pens and there was no way that I’d be able to mark all of the bills. As for the chocolate coins, well, I was prepared to guard those with my life if need be. I call shenanigans! We all know that the banks in the Gaza Strip deal in Monopoly money, and when they run out, get the paper bills from the Mad Magazine board game. I think they just like the pretty colors. As for the bank having Elite chocolate on hand, well, I’m still stumped on that one. I’m sure Haaretz has a nice explanation. I guess the distinction between real money of financial value and the fake money of games of yore eludes them. I just hope they’re not after the chocolate. After all, we can’t all be financial wiz kids.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I Say "No" to West Banking Teller School, But "Yes" to Janitorial Staff

In an earlier post I wrote about an Arab who wanted to join the West Banking teller training course that I teach motzei shabbos in my bank, on odd weeks. Today I rejected his request, but I asked him to join the janitorial staff. I just couldn’t see him as a teller. This isn’t because I’m bigoted in any way against Arabs. It’s because I am the only teller (and CEO and vice president) in the chain of West Banks that I’ve created. Hmm…well, yes, I’m the only worker. That is why there are always lines. I cannot be everywhere at once. If I’m at the west West Bank location of the West Bank, how can I then be at the east West Bank location of the West Bank? If I’m at the north West Bank location of the West Bank, how then can I also be at the south West Bank location? So there are lines.
I have been reluctant to specify a reason for this rejection, but I will post it here. It’s because I don’t want him going into the vaults where I keep the chocolate. The young man expressed his disappointment, and he will apply again when the opportunity arises, but for now he will join the janitorial staff. Better he should clean the floors than clean me out of chocolate.I think his decision shows maturity, and maybe even a little stupidity. He could still apply for a position at Bank HaPolim, but probably won‘t, thus proving he is after one thing: my store of chocolate. He is accepting the situation as it is now and proving that he wants to work for me, even if it isn't in his first choice position, and he will not give up on his dream but will try again later. However, I will probably reject him again. Bummer.