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Petra – Day 1, In Which I meet Jack the Sparrow

A six-hour night bus to Eilat, crossing the border with Jordan, another two hours from Akaba to Wadi Musa. After a sleepless night, tired and preoccupied with life, I was hardly in a mood to be impressed with anything. But when after walking the great Siq (canyon) of Petra, I registered a glimpse of the famous Treasury facade among the high rocks, I couldn’t stay indifferent. This is was the most impressive thing I saw in the Middle East. Continue reading “Petra – Day 1, In Which I meet Jack the Sparrow”

Niagara Falls city

What An American Diner Has Taught Me About Authenticity

The main street of the city of Niagara Falls, the one on the Canadian side of the famous falls, may seem as a scaled-down version of Las Vegas. A sparkling hub of neon signs, flashing lights, 3D, 4D and even 6D (!) entertainment complexes, diners and franchise restaurants that offer combo meals with supersizing options. Basically, everything that American entertainment industry is good at, condensed into one street. Affordable and accessible, no-nonsense, mass entertainment, packaged and sold to anyone who needs to lose his troubles away for a couple of hours. Continue reading “What An American Diner Has Taught Me About Authenticity”

patriotism

I Want To Love My Country Because It’s Great, Not Because It’s Mine

One could say that I live in a country-free bubble. I don’t really care about Jewish holidays, I don’t observe Jewish traditions, I don’t listen to Israeli music, I don’t watch Israeli TV (or any TV at all for that matter). I have my family, my friends, my job, my volunteering. I watch Game of Thrones, read non-fiction in English and prose in Russian, get most of my news from Facebook, listen to electronic music on the Internet. Almost none of it is connected specifically to Israel. Continue reading “I Want To Love My Country Because It’s Great, Not Because It’s Mine”

wedding

Why Marrying a Non-Jewish Woman Is The Best Thing That Happened To Me

My wife and I have lived most of our lives 6,000 kilometers away from each other. Our meeting, unlikely as it was, has led to a close friendship which turned into a marriage. We are what you may call an interracial couple – I’m Ashkenazi Jewish and Oxanna is Buryat-Mongolian. But while many interracial couples have to cope with cultural differences, for us it isn’t the case. Continue reading “Why Marrying a Non-Jewish Woman Is The Best Thing That Happened To Me”