Friday, February 11, 2011

An Interesting Night on the 106

Ok so now it is story time. I am going to tell you about what happened to my yesterday while riding the bus with Mohammed. But first... I am providing you all with a picture of Mohammed and I so you can all finally see who this man is. The comments I have received thus far are "He is a lot cuter than I imagined." "He's Arab?" So please feel free to leave your comments as well :D

So yes, this is my friend Mohammed.
The story of my adventures on the Bus. It started at 4:00pm on Thursday. I called Mohammed earlier that day to see if he would be driving that night so I could come on the bus and hang out with him. So he called me back saying he was leaving the beginning of the route at 4:20 and would be driving the 18 as usual. I said "great! I have nothing to do right now so I am going to come join you!" He was very excited. So I started getting out of my PJ's and getting put together when he called at 4:25 to tell me that he was going to be driving the 49 and not the 18 so I can't get on the bus with him. (only because he wasn't going to be coming by my street). Bummed of course, I told him to call me when he was going to be driving the 18 so i could see him. 5 mins later he calls me again frantically saying that the 49 comes to my street and to meet him there in about 10 mins. So I rush and grab my purse and wallet and run to the bus stop to meet him. I was so excited because I had never ridden on the 49 before and I am always excited when I get to go on a new bus because I get to see a part of Jerusalem that I haven't seen yet.
So I get on the bus and ask him where we are going. "I don't know" he says. The bus company didn't tell him where the route went so he was relying on passengers to tell him where to go. I was very excited for our adventure and told him that if we were going to be lost at least we would be lost together. So a rather uneventful bus ride led us to a place that I don't know the name of. The 49 now was the number 19. I was very excited about the 19 because it goes to Hadassah Hospital with the Chagal Windows. (for more details regarding the Chagal windows please reference mom and uncle dennis). So we made it up to the hospital and it looks amazing. We only had about 15 mins until we would start the route as the 42A so Mohammed ran inside to use the bathroom and to buy some goodies for the drive.
The 42A was very uneventful. Only one person got on, because it is a bus that goes to Hebrew University, but not the main campus. As we pull up to the gate a security guard walks in and asks for our ID's. Luckily I had my passport on me or else I would have had to give him my CA license and I don't know if that would have been ok. So we go through the campus and that was it. We then had about an hour and 15 before he was going to become the number 18... so we decided to hang out and smoke Hukah!
It was so much fun. He went and got all the stuff for Hukah, and we drove the bus close to where the beginning of the 18 is and smoked Hukah on the bus. That is where this lovely picture of the 2 of us is from. So then from there we did the normal 18 route. A ticket checker guy came on the bus, and i was glad that I made Mohammed give me a M'avar ticket. (it's a transfer ticket) with his punch on it, that way he wouldn't get fined.
Now, somewhere between all this bus changing and what not we were on Agrippas (it's a streek that goes perpendicular to the Shuk) and were in completely stopped traffic. All we saw were siren lights. Eventually we are able to pass after the ambulance drives away and we drive by a bus that has a huge crack in the windshield. (i will be coming back to this shortly...there is a purpose).
After smoking Hukah on the bus we had to get started on the usual route. Nothing exciting happened just the usual. But what was in store for us that night neither of us had been prepared for. After about 1 am the buses become night buses and have different numbers and go to different places. So again that night, the bus changed numbers, this time to the 106. Mohammed had told me that for these bus routes and times he needs a bus with cameras in it and with security guards because, especially on a Thursday night, the buses just get filled with drunk people. I said ok, I am sure that's just because Egged (the bus company) is trying to be as cautious as possible. So we do the first route. Very boring, nothing exciting at all. I even asked him how long the next route would be because i was getting tired and I didn't know if I could make it all the way till 3am. (yes, I was on the bus for almost 12 hours). He said if i needed to get off when we passed my apartment that wouldn't be a big deal. So we had about 30mins before the next route began so we went to the place where the buses live and I got to meet one of Mohammed's bus driver friends.
He told me how it was his dream to learn English (in Hebrew). He then told us about the accident that happened on Agrippas. He said that someone had slipped on the street and the bus drove over her!!!!! He didn't have an explanation as to the shattered / cracked windshield. So after a while of talking and drinking coffee we were off on the last run of the night. The security guard, Mohammed, and I are all talking and cracking jokes as no one was yet on the bus. Then we get to this one bus stop and there were probably about 50 teens there. They were all drunk and smoking and needed to get on the bus. They're all pushing trying to get on the bus because it's raining outside. One kid once he gets on the bus walks all the way to the back to try and let his friend in. So he tries to pull open these automatic doors and Mohammed stands up in his chair and yells at them to stop and to sit down. Once all the kids are on the bus they are making a bus and yelling and being very obnoxious. So, the security guard walks back there to tell them to settle down. Apparently one of the kids told him that if he doesn't come back up to the front of the bus he will stab him. So the security guard came back up and that's when the kids start to smoke on the bus.
Immediately the security guard calls the cops. In the mean time other passengers and I are trying to open windows in order to get the smokey smell off the bus. Then Mohammed drives by one bus stop, and another, and another and the kids start swearing at him and yelling at him. These two kids (the ones that threaten the security guard) came storming up to the front furious! Once Mohammed gets the opportunity to stop the bus he does. He then stands up with his ticket puncher in his hands. I have never seen someone look so mad and furious in my life. I literally thought that he was ready to kill one of these kids. They were yelling at him, swearing at him, trying to pull the doors open. This is the point at which the cops showed up and stormed onto the bus.
The kids all saw the cops come on and they all quickly took their seats and got quiet. The cops chose a couple of the kids to pull off the bus, but since no one of us could tell them exactly who was smoke there wasn't much the cops were able to do. So two of the cops stayed on the bus to make sure that nothing else too crazy happened. The two kids that had stormed up to the front of the bus started getting into it with the cop. The cop told Mohammed to stop at the next stop so he did and he opened the door. This one kid and the cop were yelling and the cop was telling the kid to get off the bus. The kid refused to listen so the cop took the kid by the collar of his shirt and pushed / threw him off the bus. The kid went flying. He hit the ground and lost a shoe in the process. Mohammed started to drive again. Now the other kid starting getting into it with the cop. Mohammed stopped at the next bus stop and the cop told this kid to get off the bus. After a while of arguing, the kid got off the bus on his own.
At this point I started talking with the people around me about how we couldn't believe that these kids think it's ok to talk to the cops the way they are and how they are drinking and smoking at the age of 14 and 15. This guy behind me who was wearing and Indiana University hat starts to yell at us saying, "these kids drink because they don't think they are going to have a tomorrow! They are living in a country that no one wants to exist. They are drinking because they want to live life so why do you all shut up!" We all didn't know what to do. The girls started laughing because they are Israeli and told the guy how wrong he is about why they do this.
After about 5 mins after the cops got off the bus the kids that were left on the bus were smoking... AGAIN! so again, the security guard called the cops. Since Mohammed can't hold these kids on the bus they were able to get off the bus before the cops made it to us again. We finally made it to the end of the route. I obviously asking Mohammed if he was ok and made sure the Security Guard was ok too. They both said they were fine. Mohammed and I got to the place where the buses sleep and he drove me home.
That was my adventure on the 106. Mohammed says he will never again drive this bus, and I told him if he does, I want to come on again!!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Going to the Ukraine, and I need YOUR help!

8 February 2011

Friends and Family,

I know many of you have been receiving emails from me already regarding this trip, but the presence of this letter shows that I still have not yet raised the money in order for me to participate. I currently have raised $670! This is very exciting. The goals is for each participant to raise $2500, so I am not quite there yet. Every little bit helps. Here is a little bit about the program and what we will be doing. Please take the time to read the information and if possible to make a donation.

In partnership with the World Union for Progressive Judaism, which unites and supports Reform congregations worldwide, this will be the Ninth Annual FSU Pesach Project. The mission of the trip is to provide meaningful Passover celebrations for thousands of under-served Jews in the region. While there has been an abundance of Jewish philanthropy and development in the FSU since the 1990s, there are still only six progressive rabbis to serve over one hundred Jewish communities during Passover.

Our student delegations will be traveling to at least eight communities throughout Russia, Ukraine and Belarus in order to lead Passover seders, conduct educational programming, create relationships with Jews of all ages, and strengthen the Jewish identity of these diverse communities. To read testimonials from past participants, view pictures and videos, and see my very own bio please check out our website here.

As I begin my journey of supporting Jewish communities worldwide I hope that you will be able to support me in this student-led initiative. The cost of participation for each delegate is $2,500, which includes: travel expenses, educational materials, Passover supplies for all the participants, as well as donations to each community--which will enable them to continue observing Passover in the years to come.

HUC’s FSU Pesach Project serves as an important way to recognize the profound importance of celebrating the Jewish story of liberation in a place where freedom from oppression is a real and recent experience. Any amount you can contribute will make a huge difference in offsetting the costs of participation.

Tax-deductible donations can be made online or via USPS:

There you will find a link to the HUC-JIR Donation page. Be sure to mark my name in the “comments” section.

By mail:

HUC-JIR Attn: Diane Bongard
3101 Clifton Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45220

Checks should be made out to “HUC-JIR-FSU Project”, please also mark my name in the memo line.

If you have any questions regarding this exciting project, please email me at I want to thank you in advance for your commitment to making this project a success. Every little bit counts!

Thank you very much


Jaqui McCabe

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Well this week, to say the least has been very uneventful. School has been school. I had my first Hebrew test of the semester and went in feeling very uneasy. I even wanted to ask my teacher if I could wait till the end of the week to take the test because I was that uncomfortable with the material. But, I chugged through it and managed to come out with getting at 80%! I was very excited about it. I apparently knew more than I thought I did which was also exciting. I also went out to dinner with Rabbi Graetz and Sharon. We went to a place called the colony. It was the same place all my friends took me to for my birthday back in June. It was really delicious as well as exciting to hang out with Rabbi Graetz outside of his role as Rabbi.

This week we have colloquium. I am not actually sure what the definition of colloquium is, but we are all saying it’s 4 days of hell. We are discussing the very interesting topics of G-d, Torah, and Israel…. something after 8 months of being in Israel we clearly have to gotten around to talking about yet – NOT! Hello people… we are at a Reform Seminary in Jerusalem, all we talk about are G-d, Torah, and Israel. So I am sure you’re all wondering why we are calling this the 4 days of hell, well it is my please to let you know that because of this amazing colloquium we have school Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Because someone obviously thought it was a good idea to tell a bunch of people that really value their weekend sleeping time that they need to come to school at 830am every day. Clearly whoever thought that was a good idea is a morning person and has never met me when I don’t get enough sleep.

While the colloquium was in reality very interesting (even though I can’t relay the information to you) there is a lot of frustration about the scheduling of the program.

And now, a very important message…. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO UNCLE DENNIS! (even though this is going to be posted after the fact, today 2/3/2011, is Uncle Dennis’ birthday!) So, if you see him or talk with him please wish him a happy birthday.

So today, even though I am stuck at school on my Friday till about noon I am going to be renting a car and going up to Ein Gedi (the dead sea) with a friend... yes a person that I may potentially be more than friends with. I am really looking forward to getting away from the very busy environment that I have been in since school started, here in Jerusalem.

Ok, since it's been a couple days since I wrote the blog and forgot to post it, i can tell you all what happened over the weekend. I went to Ein Gedi and it was beautiful. It was raining in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem but the weather in Ein Gedi was beautiful. We walked down to the water (didn't get in) and sat and talked. After spending a couple hours there we came back to Jerusalem. He took me to a place in his neighborhood for was kinda like a KFC but SO MUCH BETTER!!!!!! We talked about going down to Eilat this next weekend because he wants me to meet his friends. So, that's the plan as of now but I will let you know for sure.

I am working really hard on downloading the L'chi Lach, but every time I try to it essentially freezes the computer, so hopefully this week I will have it figured out.

That's essentially it for now, I will obviously let you all know how Eilat is if we end up going :)