Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Ein Gedi Botanic Garden
Seek the serenity of a Judean Desert sky in Autumn at the Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving in Arad

I love Thanksgiving. My husband thinks it is the "celebration of the genocide of the Indians", as he calls it, but I think he is just acting like a subversive Commie pinko. He doesn't even refer to them by their rightful name, "Native Americans," either.

He does humor me, though, and I have been able to raise my children with their American heritage more or less intact, even within the confines of a super-Orthodox culture.

So of course, I wanted turkey for Thanksgiving, even here in Arad. This being my first time in Arad for the occasion, I did not realize I would need a year's head start on gathering supplies for the annual event.

The week of Thanksgiving, I called the Chassidic butcher, who is the only one you can really order specific cuts from. The counter woman is the first to answer the phone.

"Hello. I would like to order a whole turkey."
"There is no such thing."
"That is not possible. I do see turkey meat available here."
"Correct. Which parts would you like? It comes in necks, breasts, and pulkes."
"I would like the whole bird."
"How would you like it cut up?"
"I don't want it cut up."
"It doesn't come that way."
"Please let me speak to the butcher."
"Hold on. (mouth away from the phone) "Shmuel!!!!"
"Hello. I would like to order a whole turkey."
"It doesn't come like that." (see, here at least I am getting somewhere, because at least he acknowledges that such a bird exists in the original)
"It does in Jerusalem."
"I doubt it."
"Wanna bet?"
"It's very unlikely."
"I am telling you that my friends in Jerusalem have no problem going to the butcher to order AND THEY GET a WHOLE turkey. It is no big deal, at least there. Can you explain to me why you, as a professional butcher, the one and only butcher in Arad, cannot manage to make a simple order for a whole turkey?"
"I can't imagine where they are getting it from."
"Well, obviously they are getting it from the same suppliers that you use, or at least I would ASSUME so..... there can't be that many poultry suppliers."
"Well, anyway do you realize that a whole bird is very large?"
(at this point i am laughing)
"Yes. Approximately 14-18 pounds, in your terms, 7 to 9 kilos."
"Hm. We really have no call for it here. No one ever orders it."
"Maybe that's because you never make it available. And it might also be that no one knows you even exist. There are a lot of Americans here, but very few call you, if any, because almost none of us know you are out there and none of us understand any of your advertising, if there is any, because it is all in Hebrew or Russian and most of us have trouble reading it. Maybe if you made yourself more well known, or if you made this item more available, you might find you have more demand as well. It is a little bit of a disgrace, you know?"
"Hm. Well, I will try to get one and if I succeed, you will have it by next Monday."
"No. I wanted it for tomorrow but I see that is not going to be. So what you need to do now is to call your supplier, find out how much lead time he needs from me in order to secure the item, how long it will take you to get it here, and how much it will cost per kilo. Okay?"
"Call me tomorrow. I'll see what I can do."

Total phone time: 20 minutes
Total talk time: 15 minutes
Total laugh time: unlimited

This is the gift that keeps on giving.
Welcome to Thanksgiving in Arad. May we all be blessed with happy memories......

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