Bawl-ling(in best Israeli accent), Wait what the heck is that!?!


I found this from ages ago I wanted to share:

On first sight, this is the image that struck me walking in.  We were into the heart of Talipot, a neighborhood in Jerusalem, the four of us, all Americans: my good friend Mark, the HUC Rabbinical Student, his friend Ilana, the RCC Rabbinical Student, her partner, Becca and I.  Ilana busts out “Wow, I feel like we just walked into the States!”  It’s true, on first glance, I had the same feeling.

After being in Israel for now, for 8-9 months, I find myself clinging onto things that resemble home: the Philadelphia cream cheese I sometimes find at the grocery store, tortilla chips and guac, patient people, NFL and now MLB, and in this case, Bowling.  Bowling(as it is spelled in Hebrew, pronounced bawl-ling  באוולינג) isn’t a particularly popular thing to do here. Recently, there have been several bowling alleys that have closed  including one in Jerusalem.  It is costly here, and the things that make Americans love the ambiance and feel of bowling do not exist.  There are no $5 dollar pitchers of beer, wings, the homeless veteran in the corner, some creepy guys checking you out, dim lights and/or glow in dark paint for midnight rock-n-roll bowling.   All the wonderful things that make pretty much every bowling alley just a little weird/off/sketch are cultural entities, and Israel, in itself brings a whole box of surprises.

This place, conveniently located on the 3rd floor of a shopping mall, was big, and I mean big.  The pillars in between the lanes were painted blue with white stars.  Over the pins, was a rainbow collage of balls and pins with the number displayed of the lane.  On the left side there was a mini arcade, snack bar with eating area and huge glassed-in pool hall.

We approached the counter to rent shoes and a lane, and my friend Mark blurts out “Don’t get shoes, look around, It’s Israel, no one uses shoes!” And sure enough I then noticed everyone was fitted to nines, shoes included.  I guess bowling shoes just aren’t stylish enough.  It’s funny cause in the States you must have shoes, you feel like total outcast without them, and here it’s just an unnecessary expense, not apart of the bowling experience.  Proof #1: Shoes not included!

We get to our lane, only to find on all sides of us a large group of religious teenage girls.  They are running, screaming and carrying on, paying no attention to us, our space, the use of our lane, etc…  They kept cutting through our sitting area to talk to each other, instead of walking around.  At some point I was up to bowl and group of clueless girls were standing, literally in front of me, in the lane and didn’t notice/care to move.  It wasn’t until Mark yelled “Zoozi acshav!” (Move now) until they did.  He looked at me and said “I mean they’re Israeli, you got talk to them like an Israeli.” Proof #2: No concept of single space/consideration for you neighbor

We order some food and our server, as in typical Israeli fashion, is slightly impatient with us, refuses to speak Hebrew, cause it would take too much time and takes a solid ten minutes to bring us our drinks, even though the majority of people in here are underage and not ordering anything.  we recieve the house basket of stale popcorn, a classic in bars, clubs and areas of “fun”

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