Real Israelis

A36 semgirl

Written by Tamar Fox. Tamar is Jewrotica’s new Judaic Outreach Director. For those who dare, check out her clever, irreverent and tongue-in-cheek Behind Closed Doors with Men and Women of the Bible.

PG-13It did not begin innocently. When he asked me if I had a boyfriend I was sitting directly behind him in his cab, looking out the window as we sped past the Old City on Jerusalem’s Route 1 highway, and I knew, of course I knew, that he would then ask if I would like to go out with him.

If I were sharing this story with my brother Ari, he would say, “If you knew, then what were you thinking, Yael?” I was thinking that I didn’t get asked out very often. Some girls are approached by men as they walk down the street, as they wait for a bus or pick out pomegranates in the grocery store. There are girls whose lives are full of invitations from men who want to take them to dinner and buy them flowers and press them up against walls and kiss, but I have never been one of those girls. I was being propositioned by a man whose cab I had just gotten into, and when he asked me if I’d like to go out with him, I said “maybe” because I wasn’t brave enough to say yes, but I wasn’t proud enough to say no, either.

His name was Sami, he told me, and then he asked me something in Hebrew, but it was too fast for me to understand. I was already good at faking my way through conversations, though. “Maybe,” I said again, smiling a little, enjoying this opportunity to be coy.

“Maybe?” Sami looked at me in the rearview window.

“Why not?” I asked, shrugging and then allowing my smile to grow.

“Sababa!” Arabic sounded too smooth coming out of his mouth, and I knew suddenly that he wasn’t Jewish, that I was already in over my head.

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Author of Jewrotica's Double Mitzvah column, Tamar Fox is a writer and editor in Philadelphia. She will try anything once, including open relationships, dating someone who is chalav yisrael, and going to Suriname.