Advice from an Israeli cabbie

By BENITA LEVIN
May 30, 2018 14:24
3 minute read.
A taxi driver collects a passenger near the Jerusalem Bus Station

A taxi driver collects a passenger near the Jerusalem Bus Station. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

THERE ARE many people the world over who offer unsolicited advice on a range of issues. In the life-coaching world, I often hear people complain about the interfering mother-in-law, the controlling relative or even the millennial colleague who freely offer their opinion, when no one has asked for it. Here in Israel, there have been numerous entertaining and sometimes hilarious times when unwanted advice has been offered by an outspoken, confident and exuberant taxi driver.

One of the reasons I enjoy taking taxis here is that it’s a great opportunity for any new olah (immigrant) to practice one’s Hebrew, knowing that the person you are talking to will usually correct your grammar and pronunciation as you keep chatting. Notwithstanding that much can be lost in translation, the conversations can be very telling and enlightening. Coming from a far more conservative, polite and socially non-confrontational culture in South Africa, it never ceases to amaze and impress me, how natural it is here for a stranger to engage, challenge and advise the client sitting in his car. It’s refreshing and often leaves me smiling for hours after the trip. We often exchange similar experiences with our friends, who are also learning about a culture in which your opinion needs to be aired.

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