Hello, faithful reader, Lady, or Geetle. As promised, I, in the name of duty and virtue, kindly welcome you to 11 Raziel St., or as they would say here in the land of Israel, Raziel 11– storefront, gallery, office, studio, International Head Quarters of the Israel Association of Baseball… my home.
But before the tour begins, let us, as is our habit, review 3 new things I’ve learned about Israel, bringing the grand total of things I know to 9.
1) Israelis stare.
In Israel, things that may be considered rude in America, or anywhere, for that, things like cutting in line, or staring, are normal. It may be the crown and cape, or the jewels, but people here act like they’ve never seen a superhero magician baseball genius before. According Shlomo Lipetz, GREAT BLACK BASEBALL WITCH OF TEL AVIV AND NEW YORK CITY, my cultural guide on this adventure, they mean no harm. Despite locking eyes on anyone they do not know from birth, apparently with a burning hatred, they are not thinking anything in particular or judging, they’re just looking.
2) Things are closed at weird times.
Banks open at 8, close at 11, reopen at 2, close again at 6. Sunday is a work day. Tuesday and Friday are half-days at school. For example, today is the holiest of holies, Shabbat, so everything nation-wide will close at sundown, except some will close much earlier, and some will not close at all and will instead stay open all night.
3) Everything has multiple spellings.
Signs here are in three languages; Hebrew, Arabic, and English, unless, of course, they’re not. Partly because there are 3 national languages, and because hebrew is being spoken again for the first time in 3,000 years, nothing really has an official spelling. As long as it’s close, it’s good enough. My full name, in the western world, is Nathan Israel Bloomberg Fish. Here, on some documents my name is Nate Fish, on others it’s Fish Natan, or Fish Israel, Israel Natan, or Natan Israel. I, technically, do not know my own name. I live at Raziel 11. But on my checkbook it’s spelled, “11 Razieli”. Like a lot of places, there is a certain fluidity to language, and reality, here.
Which brings us to 11 Raziel, the Razor, the Razor’s Edge, the Raze, Razor Studios, 11 Razieli, The Raz, The Little Razcle, Razor Ramon’s house, the Razzle. Along with attempting to FORCE EVERY ISRAELI TO LOVE BASEBALL, I have adopted an abandoned storefront in Jaffa, one of Israel’s only mixed Arab and Jewish neighborhoods, and am attempting, while living here, to make it livable. When it’s complete, it will be a shiny palace sitting atop a mountain of the sculls of the defeated. For now, it’s a hot, dirty, cavern. Let me, King of All Jewish Baseball, take you on a tour, using only the divine powers handed down to me through a long generational line of Jewish Baseball Wizards, and digital photography, of course, Ladies and Geetles, my palace, 11 Raziel…
Follow your dreams.