Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jewish Train Etiquette

This is a unique insight so pay attention.

Train is the best way to travel in Israel. It truly is. I have often tried to put my finger on what exactly makes traveling by train in Israel just so delightful and have finally come up with the reason.

Having used the train system here well over a thousand times I can say that, with rare exception, the trains here are clean, quiet, and well air conditioned. Everyone seems to relax on the train and just mind their own business. It’s like taking a mini vacation to some quiet foreign countryside.

Thus, the reason people love riding the train in Israel is because it is one of few places here that actually allows you to forget that you are in Israel at all.

The trains provide a temporary bubble of normalcy where one can escape the cruel realities of Israeli roadways and interpersonal interactions.

However, there is something that has disturbed me from day one; something so vile that it spoils the experience for me every time and leaves me cringing and grinding my teeth, and that is the way we board and disembark from the trains.

Though the ride itself is much more pleasant that a typical bus ride, like the bus lines people crowd the car doors and entrances trying to force and shove their way on to the train without any concern for anything else whatsoever. This is usually at the expense of the people who are trying to get off, who are all at once overwhelmed in wave of over eager train boarders more than willing to run them down for a shot to get on that train. (I once saw a guy carrying a baby trying (and screaming in horror) to get off the train nearly trampled by a group of people too impatient to wait for him to get off until one Good Samaritan jumped in to save the baby from falling.)

So what is it that really bothers me?

It wasn’t that many years ago that fuckin’ Nazi’s packed us on and off trains shipping us to and fro from Ghetto’s, slave labor and death camps. It is my opinion that we Jews shouldn’t be over eager to get on any train, ever. The notion of Jews crowding on to trains is not something I relish to enact in life, ever—and certainly not in the Jewish state.

I think that there should be signs on the trains that read something like:

Relax and take your time boarding, there were those who could not.

So what I do is I wait. I will not push. I wait until the pandemonium calms down, even if the train is packed and I risk (gasp) having to stand.

Our honor and dignity are worth it.

Enjoy the Frankness!


  1. B"H I love trains. It's great system. I hope the extended to Afula and Bet Sha'an liked they's planned. There was even a possibility that they were going to extend it to Ariel Doubt it, though.

    I miss the San Diego Trolley, and even the LA Metro.

    I saw a train for the Jerusalem light rail being hauled to the G. Tzarfatit holding area.

    Too bad the money's horribly mismanaged.

  2. ronen1:51 AM

    agreed train is the best way to travel. i also take the train everyday (from modiin to tau if it matter,) cant say i ever got "trampled" but sure sometimes ppl are eager to get on the train and should restrain themselves...

    i think the nazi analogy is entirely out of place how could you associate between the two events seems ridiculous vehazui to me.


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