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Jewish Journal

America the Beautiful

by Noga Gur-Arieh

June 21, 2012 | 1:38 pm

The seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake. As much as I love Israel, my many visits in the US made me wish some American features were transferred here so that we can enjoy them as well.  It took me a while, but I narrowed my “wish list” to five American features you are more than welcome to let us borrow:


Starbucks
When it comes to coffee, we, Israelis, are all Europeans- We don’t settle for beans. Almost every Israeli who ever visits the States will tell you that the thing you call “coffee” shouldn’t be called that. However, there is one large American coffee shop chain which rocked my world- Starbucks. That creamy, ice-cold Frappuccino on a hot summer day is all a girl could ask for. Same goes for a steamy cup of Cappuccino for a writing session inside the store, as the rain pours outside. We actually had Starbucks here for a while, but it didn’t last. The amount of coffee chains we already have didn’t leave room for the best of the best, and poor Israeli Starbucks didn’t stand a chance. Nowadays, when it is scalding hot outside, I like to make home- made Frappuccino, but as you can probably guess- it’s not the same.


Disney Parks
The only word that comes to mind when visiting one of the Israeli amusement parks is: “really?!” Especially after visiting the mother of all amusement parks- Disneyworld. . When you enter a Disney Park’s gates, you feel like you went to heaven, at least.  The combination of a legendary atmosphere and state of the art rides makes Disney Parks an out of this world experience. They are the kind that you take back home with you as you are filled with pity because it will take a while until you will have enough money to come back. But Disney is not amusement parks only; it is an entire culture which is not developed enough here. We grew up on Disney movies, and we also have some merchandise and the Disney channel, but I must say we lack that Disney “vibe” which cannot be ignored in the States.


Musical Theater
Broadway. Wow. I mean, seriously- where else, in the world, is there an endless block of musical theater? In Israel you can find an average of 2.3 musicals a year.  Some are original and some, such as Cabaret and The Producers, are adapted from, well, Broadway. My main goal during each stay in New York is to see as many Musicals as possible (considering my usually poor poor budget). Broadway is my chance to unload all my “musical need” which is clearly never satisfied here. But it’s not just Broadway that I want, it’s your entire Musical Theater culture: from musical television series to high-school musicals (not the movie, the actual thing). So if you please,  just spread some of your musical theater pixie dust here on your next visit. It would be much appreciated. Thank you.


Sports Fans
I was amazed by the variety of sports branches you have there, in the States: Baseball, Football, Tennis, Canoe, Swimming. Everyone has his/her own favorite sport and a favorite team to cheer for. We also have many sports,  but when it comes to popular sports, or the kinds that have fans who are not sports geeks, we have, well, Soccer and Basketball. It pretty much ends there. While wishing we had more sports branches here (if we did, it might have made it easier for me to connect to that world), I seriously crave for your Sports Fans. Well, not the actual people, but their American, polite behavior which leaves me speechless. The fans who are okay with losing, who don’t leave garbage behind them when the game is over, who keep their thoughts on the judge to themselves. Polite is the key word. So no need for the actual fans, just that adjective they carry with them.


Supersize
The things you guys can do with 99 cents are unbelievable. Every visit to Walmart was like a magic trick. Every single time I reached the cashier, carrying an overloaded cart and waiting for the verdict, I had to see the receipt for myself to believe how incredibly low the price is. Same goes for fast food restaurants- I pay almost nothing and get way more than I can eat. During my first vacation I ate so much I actually gained a couple of pounds, and….You know what- you can keep the big meals for small cash. I really don’t want to repeat that diet…

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