While some of you have only been in Israel for a short time, you have hopefully been able to taste some of the very special flavors this country has to offer. I am sure that by now most of you have already realized one thing. You are totally out of your minds, nuts; an ideological sort of nuts perhaps, but nuts nevertheless. You have given up a familiar way of life, a large car and Slurpees to live in a country where they bag your milk but don't bag your groceries. Despite the hardships entailed in settling into your new homes, your presence in Israel is vital. In an often tense society, you give native Israelis something to laugh at when you speak Hebrew. Resign yourselves to the fact that at some point you will say to your neighbor, "I didn't recognize you with your pants on," instead of saying, "I didn't recognize you with your glasses on." You will be embarrassed when you ask your doctor to remove your appendix instead of checking your ear. Fortunately for you, the chances are good that the doctor will be Russian and speaks English fluently, which means that he will only remove your tonsils, possibly through your ear. As children, we grew up with parents who came from Europe, Russia and other distant lands, and spoke English with a foreign accent. We were the ones who spoke English fluently without a trace of an accent. Well, what goes around comes around. We are now the parents from the "old country" who speak with an accent and our children speak like they've been in Israel all of their lives after living in the country for only one month. You may have noticed that the metric system is used in Israel. While this system is a little complicated at first, one does get used to it. I personally think only in metric terms now. Just this morning I weighed myself after dieting for a week, and I actually lost 1.5 kilometers. The form of government practiced in this country is quite different from that practiced in other countries. For example, the United States is a "democracy," while Israel is more of a "democrazy." Israel has more political experts per capita than any other nation in the world, coming close to 100% of the population. So do you see why you are nuts? But don't worry. This country has more nuts per capita than any other country in the world, coming close to 100% of the population. Glad to have you aboard.

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