No, this is not a post filled with confessions of past indiscretions, as you might of thought.
Please remove your head from the gutter.
I wish that this was going to be one of those helpful posts, with lots of resources for olim (new immigrants), and their aging parents. You know, a post about how to apply for funds and services, what's available out there, what are our rights, how to supplement our health care, and Hebrew ulpanim (Hebrew learning centers) made for the senior student,etc.
But, it's not. It is not going to be that deep. Actually, it is going to be pretty shallow.
This post is about EGO.
OK. Let me back up a bit.
In Israel, just like in any other country, when you go into a store or an office for the first time, or second time, or third time, the people who work there have never met you before. The employees there do not know your name, but courtesy dictates that they call you something.
In the U. S., it's pretty simple. You are called "sir" or "ma'am." In my native, Southern California, "dude" (male) is also not uncommon. (Seriously, it's not uncommon.)
In Israel, it's a little bit more complicated.
There are several stores where I have shopped over the years in Jerusalem. In the beginning, I was "adon" (sir), of course. But, after a while, a long while, of repeat business, and the occasion chat about the news or the weather, I was promoted to "haver" (friend). In a few cases, especially where I chat quite a bit with some of the regular employees, I have graduated to "ahi" (my brother).
To the oleh haddash, I really want to emphasize how hard it can be in Israel to break into a friendship circle. Many native Israelis have been in the same group of friends for years, some from Kindergarten through army service. Do not be discouraged. Do not misinterpret any lack of smile or interest in engaging in conversation as rudeness (...as so man Americans like to interpret it as such). It's all about the investment of social energy, when or when not to invest it.
So, what's the problem?
Sometimes, because of my age, I have been called "dod" (lit. "uncle," but any male relative really). This term is reserved for those having reached a certain age. Although I am not exactly sure as to which age that is. "Dod" also happens to stem from the same root as "yedid," (friend), but on a lesser level than "haver" (friend).
Lately, and more and more often, people have been calling me "Abbaleh" (daddy).
To be honest, I am not exactly familiar with the connotation of this is a term. However, when a man in his 30's is the one calling me "Abbaleh," it does not bode well with me.
Morfix Online Dictionary translates "Abbaleh" as "(colloquial) Daddy."
I suppose I should I ask a few native Israelis their thoughts on the use of this word. In the meantime, I intend to sulk every time someone calls me this,...or ignore him.