The Chelm Project is a pro bono endeavor. Your donation is greatly appreciated. Your support helps balance overly conflict-driven news that warps perceptions of Israel.

Donate in Shekels


Donate in Dollars

Subscribe to our list

Email Format

Join us!

Are you a publisher or literary agent?

Click HERE

Savor Classic Oldies from 1987-2007
Click HERE

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

CHELM-ON-THE-MED©, September 2009 - Column 1


   Competition between the two sons of the former chief Sfardi rabbi, Ovadia Yosef for the position of Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem reached new heights.
   The preferred dueling weapons in this fight? Finer points of halacha or Jewish Law, what else?
The two disagreed what blessing should be said over a popular peanut-flavored melt-in-your-mouth snack food called Bamba. Alas, the production technology of this Israeli innovation is guarded like the secret recipe for Coca-Cola, making it hard for the rabbis to know what exactly Bamba was made of.
   Cautious Son #1 Rabbi David Yosef - taking a generalist approach and covering all his bases - claimed the prayer should bless the Almighty as the King of the Universe "she-hakol nehiyeh bi-dvaro" (through Whose word everything* comes into being).
   Son #2 Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, throwing caution to the wind, grounded his opinion on his taste buds, betting his bottom dollar that its main ingredient was ground nuts - that is, peanuts. Therefore, he argued that before eating Bamba, one should bless the Almighty as "boreh pri ha-adama (Who creates the fruit of the earth), said over veggies like potatoes.

* not counting grain, wine, fruit and veggies that have their own blessings.


   David Hertzog, a 55 year-old farmer from Kfar Monash in the Sharon couldn't figure out why suddenly a string of complete strangers was showing up to admire his cactus garden at all hours of the day and night. Moreover, the visitors were helping themselves to chunks of one of his cacti, leaving Herzog scratching his head and the plant scarred for life.
   Only after the moshav's security guard managed to collar a 25 year-old uninvited visitor from Tel-Aviv hightailing it away in a taxi after taking off with pieces of Herzog's plant, was the tourist attraction revealed.
   Turns out the cactus was a peyote- a psychedelic plant that contains natural mescaline that can be chewed or ingested to produce LSD-like hallucinations akin to strobbing lights. Herzog discovered, much to his dismay, that every junkie and his brother from Dan to Eilat knew about his rare cactus.
   What does he plan to do now?
   Uproot the bothersome plant, what else.


Electing to allow the citizens in the street ‘more of a say in politics' members of the back benches in the Kadima party are reading speeches sent to the parliament by members of the voting public. Those who want to see their name in print - at least in the Knesset Chronicles - can submit one-minute speeches to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  The best 20 speeches are being read into the record every Tuesday by the Opposition. And in the spirit of the day, videos of the winning speeches are posted on
And the rest of the contestants?
Hundreds, it would seem, remain speechless.


   In the middle of a hot and heavy affair, a woman from the city of Carmiel in the Western Galilee parked her car in a relatively-secluded hot spot in a nearby moshav with a tzimmer designed for what is euphemistically termed ‘day use'. Nothing unusual about this illicit rendezvous in a rural spot except that the lady in question forgot that the family sedan bore a sign advertising that the vehicle was up for sale.
   When passing agricultural day workers called the number advertised, hubby answered the phone and invited the caller to come to his house in Carmiel to examine the car. The caller replied ‘No need.' After all, he was standing right in front of the car at such-and-such a location. Thinking his car must have been stolen, the husband rushed to the moshav, where it didn't take him long to put one and one together and put his wife in the hot seat.


   In 2008, ten percent of the 275 rare Griffon Vultures native to the Golan Heights that had died of unnatural causes, had electrified themselves by landing on high power lines. The victims of a 2.3 -2.7 meter (91-106 inch) wingspan, such big birds can inadvertently create a closed circuit when they spread their wings to take flight.
   A special cage at the Gamla Nature Reserve reserved for baby Golan vultures raised from eggs and injured adults slated to be releases back into the wild once they're well is the site of a unique experiment in Pavlovian conditioning: Bird ecologist Ohad Hatzofeh shnorrered* an old telephone pole from the Israel Electric Company and rigged it up to deliver a low-voltage shock to any vulture with the folly to land on the T-shaped pole. It didn't take long for the birds to totally avoid the attractive perch.
   Will the birds remember to do so once released into the wild when the eagle-eyed vultures spy other perches with the same unmistakable T shape and signature protruding ceramic knobs? No one knows.

* beg or borrow in Yiddish

* Copyright© 2009 by Daniella Ashkenazy. All rights reserved worldwide. For limited usage, see FAQs. All stories are completely rewritten by Daniella Ashkenazy from news items gleaned from Yediot Aharonot, unless another news source is stated.