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Emancipation becomes Emancipatzia

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On phyllo dough and discrimination
I was introduced to knafeh last week, and it has been the only thing on my mind since. Knafeh, a Lebanese desert, is made of a melted white cheese topped with shredded phyllo dough and a sweet honey syrup. I make baklava, it's nutty cousin, often and I was excited to try my hand at this new delicacy.
 
Despite assurances from multiple middle-aged Sephardic women that shredded phyllo dough can be found in any supermarket, I found that my local Mega does not carry it. After visiting another two supermarkets with no luck, I decided to get smart and save myself time by calling around first.
 
Cue reality. My conversation with the Chaviv nearest me went like this:
 
Me: Hi, do you sell shredded phyllo dough?
Costumer service representative: How would I know?
Me: You would go to the frozen goods aisle and check.
Representative: We don't carry it.
Me: But you didn't check.
Representative: We don't carry it.
 
Anyway, I am still on a hunt for the stuff, so if you know where I can find please clue me in.
 
In other news, I had a disturbing incident at work this week. I got into an argument with a coworker, who in what I would call a “low blow” tried to pass off a mistake he'd made as the result of a language barrier. While I am aware that my Hebrew is not perfect, I am absolutely sure that I used the correct terminology to communicate what I needed. The idea that someone would use my aliya and the fact that Hebrew is not my mother tongue to excuse his own error is infuriating.
 
I've been trying to put it into perspective though. All immigrants face discrimination. I had the good fortune to make aliya from a first-world country and with an education and a strong command of the Hebrew language. There are olim in Israel who face much larger and more significant obstacles in their daily life than I can probably even imagine. Seeing as my run-ins with cranky customer service representatives and coworkers pail in comparison, I've been trying to take these incidents with a sense of humor.
 
It reminds me of a well known story among Israel's Anglos. A Jerusalem cop once stopped an American student for jay-walking. The student, who was studying in a one-year program and did not speak Hebrew, could not understand what the officer was telling him. Sensing the disapproval in the officer's voice, the student tried to apologize. “Ani iparon,” he pleaded, mistaking the word for “sorry” with the word for “pencil” (although the two words sound nothing alike). The officer ended up letting the student get off scott-free, apparently moved by the student's pathetic declaration that he is a writing utensil.
 
Ever since this incident, Anglos across the country have been pleading with police officers to forgive them for whatever petty crime they may have committed because they are pencils. From what I understand, the officers have become familiar with the story and are no longer so sympathetic. So there you have a story of immigrants taking advantage of a language barrier in order to vindicate their own mistakes. The lesson here is that we all do it, but it's only funny when it's own our fault we are making fun of.  
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