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SisterSchmooze: Get Lost!

Marcia Stark Meth / Emmy Leah Stark Zitter / Miriam Stark Zakon

We’re less than impressed with the idea that technology has made getting lost obsolete. People can still get lost

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

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A friend of ours who has embraced technology with a virtual bear hug recently declared, “Now that people have Waze, they’ll never get lost.”

We Sisters do see value in technology, but we don’t embrace every new hi-tech invention (we don’t hug bears, either). We’ve discovered that modern advances don’t always advance us. While we do use Waze, we’re less than impressed with the idea that technology has made getting lost obsolete.

People can still get lost.

Join us as we follow Waze into a frightening neighborhood and on a journey into the past; as we search for those lost to Judaism, who will need far more than Google Maps to help them return; and on a wild ride through a hilly city in the days when GPS stood for “Good People Say” and getting lost was a way of finding new neighborhoods — and gaining new insights.

We like our techie friend. So whenever she sings the praises of technology, we resist the temptation to tell her… get lost!

 

Emmy Leah Hears… Voices Leading Different Waze

In three hundred meters, turn right. At the roundabout, take the second exit. Turn left onto Rechov…

I’d heard similar words hundreds of times. Despite the annoying raspy voice saying them, I’m always glad to hear them.

For the navigationally challenged, like me, Waze is a gift. The bossy robotic voice in my particular setting includes Israeli street names in its directions and has given me lessons in Tanach, in ancient and recent Jewish history, and in modern Hebrew. Rechov Shmuel Hanavi. Rashi. Kanfei Nesharim. King George. Jabotinsky. Raspy Waze Voice even introduced me to my very own Rechov Leah.

But now, the relentless voice is guiding me to a place with very different street names: In three hundred meters, turn right on Al-Butma. Go left on A-Nakhda. And have I really just passed a street sign that said… Al-Qada?

Where exactly is Waze taking me?

 

Twenty minutes earlier, I was in familiar territory — my office in Bayit Vegan. I was tired and wanted to go straight home, but another voice — this one in my head, not robotic but distinctly sharp — told me to make an important detour.

“Kever Rochel is only a half hour out of your way,” it reminded me.

Another in-my-head voice — let’s call her Whiny — made excuses: “It’s been a long day, there’s shopping to do, supper to prepare.”

“Your daughter Racheli, named for Rachel Imeinu, is expecting her first child,” Sharp retorted. “And you won’t go a little out of your way to daven?”

If only to quiet these quarrelling voices, I decided to let Waze settle the question. If it told me it would take half an hour or more to get there, I’d listen to Whiny and head home; less than half an hour, and Sharp would win.

Eighteen minutes! Much faster than the usual 25–30 minute drive. And 18 is chai! So Waze decided. Must be less traffic than usual on the highway, or maybe Waze found a shortcut…

 

Boy, what a shortcut. I diligently followed Raspy’s instructions, and here I am, in Beit Safafa, a predominately Arab neighborhood on the edge of Jerusalem. I see green lights atop a mosque on my left, three women in burkas walking on the narrow sidewalk to my right.

Whiny takes a minute to say I told you so, then takes on a more panicky tone. Okay, this isn’t downtown Ramallah, it’s an Arab neighborhood not known for violence. But still… what if I get a flat tire? What if there’s an accident? What if Waze crashes and I get totally lost? What if? What if??????

Suddenly, I hear another voice. My husband, Yaakov’s. Not on the phone — I’m too nervous to pull over and call him — but in my head. I hear him telling the story of his great-grandmother, Bubby Esther Leah.  (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 594)

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