Jewish Journal

The Lawyer and The Engineer

by Julie Shuer

May 13, 2014 | 1:31 am

The Lawyer and The Engineer

The day has finally arrived.  We move into our glorious apartment inTel Aviv’s fashionable Basel neighborhood.  There is a knock, a knock, a knock on the door.  It is my upstairs neighbor with a package of bread, salt and candles.  She describes how moved she is by my family’s Zionism.  Our life as property owners in Israel begins.

I wake up from my dream.  Our not so lovely neighbors have filed a complaint against us with the city.  Despite the fact that we have improved the premises we have committed the ultimate egregious act in Tel Aviv.  We have opened the porch wall and turned it into a sliding glass door.  We have also added a back door. It turns out that in Israel there is a general paranoia, apparently shared by some of the other owners in the building, that ground floor apartment owners will commandeer for themselves the “backyard garden.” Even though in our building, the more apt description of the backyard would be “rocks and rubble.”

The city surely must have more pressing issues on it’s mind. But it also turns out that all apartment owners own the outside walls of a building.  As for the inside you can do whatever you want.  No permit is necessary. But for the outside, to make changes to the existing outside wall of your own apartment, you need the approval of 75% of the units in the building. Now that a complaint has been filed, we need to start lining up the votes. There is apparently one owner who is on the warpath against us. When my husband tried to speak with her while she was snooping around the outside of our apartment, she stormed off.  He said not to worry, she’s ugly. (He’s a lawyer, so I guess he should know what’s important in such matters.)

We do have a beautiful apartment (www.anatgertner.com, click on residential, Tel Aviv apartment).  The months of breaking down walls, purchasing tiles, fixtures, appliances and furniture are over. We have hung our mezuzah. We have hosted many a Shabbat dinner and lunch.

We now also employ a lawyer and an engineer. They have advised me that I won’t get longer than six months.  The hubby says I need to serve my time between Yom Kippur and Pesach.  The rest belongs to him. Welcome to the land of milk and honey.

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I am a wife, eema, retired occupational therapist, dog lover, yoga practioner, daily swimmer, book club participant, foodie and cook, ardent zionist and a persistant student of...

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