Lori's Blog

Conversations with my Rabbi / Lori Mendel

Blog # 5, April 30

 

LEARING TO SURVIVE

 

I told Rabbi Ayala Samuels that although I loved being here in Israel, I was not unaware.

 

When I first came in 1986 I needed to find work.  I got a job working for a fellow who was producing a video on first aid, using many Israeli inventions.  My job in English, was to keep in contact with his suppliers and his supporters.  He had been a shaliach in Los Angeles and worked in English.

 

After some few weeks, it looked as if this venture was not going to pan out and he was running out of money.  He asked me to take a vacation.  With pay?  No, of course not.  He gave me a check and wished me well… When things would get better, we would continue. 

 

As it happened I had a very good friend who helped me a lot when I arrived, who was related to my neighbor in the building I had left in Santa Monica.  Erika was a bookkeeper for a travel agency.  She advised me…”Do not deposit that check. Go to the bank and ask to cash it.”  I did.  Of course, the check was not good.

I called my employer and he said something I don’t remember, stalling me.

 

I remembered that he had told me he had an appointment to meet his lawyer.  I figured I had a silver bullet…never having experienced such a situation before.

 

I went to the office of his lawyer - everything in Tel Aviv in walking distance.  I sat in the waiting room for my ex-employer, this nice guy, this guy who knew about folks coming from Los Angeles.  I gathered my courage and told him, if he doesn’t pay me my salary in cash I will contact all the people on his rolodex I had numbers for.

 

I surprised myself with such courage!

 

He gave me the money!

 

I learned that there is a lot of love here in Israel, but not that it is evenly distributed.