I’m hoping this blog post will help motivate me to stop wallowing in my self pity, get out of bed and face the day. But, what happened yesterday has really shaken me to the core, and all I want to do is curl up underneath my covers, close the curtains, and sleep the day away. With Baby J. safe at gan, and DH safe at work, I just want to close my eyes and wish it all never happened.
But it did. And, the place that has been my sanctuary for three years, has been utterly violated.
I’ve discovered that bullies come in all shapes, sizes, genders, religions and races. I’ve learned that bullies come in all ages. I’ve learned that people try to bully and intimidate other people to make themselves feel better.
And I’ve learned that I don’t have to take it.
Yesterday, I left my apartment to go pick up Baby J. from gan and came face to face with my new upstairs neighbor. There are two apartments in this building. The one we live in, and one that is owned by an American couple from Florida. They are not the nicest people and we’ve certainly have had our issues with them, but we are all adults and have dealt with any issues in a civilized manner. Two months ago, they decided to rent out their apartment to two single, Israeli women. Neither girls even introduced themselves to us.
In August, we went away to Switzerland and I was in my first trimester. It was a grueling trip, especially since my morning sickness was at its peak. And, by the time we got back to our home, I was falling off my face. We got back to the apartment and I didn’t walk out the front door again for five days. What I didn’t realize when my DH brought the suitcases up from our trip, was that the soy chocolate milks we traveled with for Baby J. (who is allergic to milk) had broken and spilled all over the hallway. I didn’t realize how bad it was. Had I known, I would have cleaned the stairwell immediately. Five days after we returned and I walked out the door, I discovered the dirt and when my cleaning lady came that Sunday, I had her wash and clean the common areas.
Now, one of the upstairs neighbors met my DH in the stairwell during the five days I was in bed, and she told him we had to clean up the mess. He agreed, apologized nicely, and told her we were taking care of it. We never met or spoke to her again.
Back to yesterday, when I ran into this woman as I was going out to pick up Baby J. from gan. She stops me as I was locking my door, said that she cleaned the stairwell on Shabbos (which, BTW, is not something I approve of. We do not do manual labor on Shabbos but, since she is not religious, it is her right to do as she pleases. I would just prefer it not be done on Shabbos) and therefore, I have to clean the building next week.
I responded that it doesn’t work that way, that she should have her landlord contact my landlord and discuss the appropriate way to clean the building.
She got angry and said that we live in the building and therefore each week, we need to alternate and clean the common areas.
Again, I nicely said that it doesn’t work that way, that she should have her landlord contact my landlord and discuss the appropriate way to clean the building.
There just are proper channels that need to go through for these types of things. I am a renter and therefore, I will do whatever my landlord says I am responsible to do. However, I do not take orders from anyone except my landlord. And I sure as hell don’t take orders from someone who moved into the building 2 months ago and I’ve been living here for 3 years.
And that’s when she started yelling and threatening me. Now, she used a word in Hebrew that I didn’t understand. So, I politely told her that I had no idea what she was talking about because I didn’t understand her Hebrew.
She switched to English and said: If you do not clean the building, then I will make sure to make this building as filthy and dirty as I can. She was menacing, she was bullying, and she was trying to be intimidating. She was also threatening property damage, which I will not stand.
And, the next thing I know, I have flashbacks to Talia Atar (A”H) and I realize that this woman is 100% unstable.
I shrugged my shoulders and said that she can do what she wanted but I would have to let her landlord know.
She was furious and told me that I was “a dirty, dirty girl”.
To which, I responded, that “she was a bitch”. (Because she is. Anyone who berates and screams orders at a perfect stranger has something wrong with them in the head).
At which point, a screaming match ensued and I basically said that I cleaned the stairwell beforehand (and EVERY single time before that back until when the upstairs owners were in town this summer and they took care of building maintenance) and that she should chip in for the costs. She yelled back, sarcastically: “motek (sweetheart), you live in Israel now. Learn to speak Hebrew” and then stormed off.
Now, I was fuming. And I was very upset by such an exchange. Who does this to a perfect stranger? I don’t know her, I’ve never even met her, yet here she is making demands and threats to me?
I was hurt that she is a Jewish girl. Until I moved to Israel, I’ve never had a Jewish person (especially a stranger) talk to me so rudely. Yet, in the four years since I’ve been to this Country, I’ve experienced some horrible, hateful, Israeli people. Men and women. And it makes me ashamed to say that I’m Israeli. It makes me sad to say that I’m a Jew. But at least I understand why bad things happen to the Jewish people, because we are not nice to one another. And, until we get it through our heads that being nice to each other is #1, bad things will continue to happen to us.
Why shouldn’t other nations and peoples hate the Jews? We deserve it, we hate each other.
OK, my personal rant about being ashamed to be Jewish (at least today) is now over, back to the situation at hand.
I spoke to my landlord and explained the situation. He told me he would have a discussion with the upstairs landlord and he would handle it from here. I spoke to my husband, because I was so upset by this experience, and he said we would talk when he got home from work. And then, I settled in to spend some enjoyable time with Baby J.
Unfortunately, my crazy upstairs neighbor was lying in wait downstairs for DH to come home from work so she could confront him. I heard their exchange from the apartment, and yelled out the window for him to ignore her and come upstairs. But they were really getting into it, so I grabbed Baby J. and raced down the stairs to make sure nothing would happen.
I trust DH 100%. He has never lifted a hand to anyone, and I was not afraid he would hurt her. I was afraid SHE was going to take a swing at HIM. As soon as she saw me, she just hurled the insults.
I grabbed DH’s hand and pulled him inside the building, handed him Baby J and told him to go upstairs to the apartment. This woman kept screaming and yelling that we were dirty people.
I lost my temper. And I yelled back at her that her Mother should be ashamed that she birthed such a mean girl. That she should be ashamed to be a Jew, that no Jew I know could ever act in such a disrespectful manner.
That must have struck a chord, because then she said that I wasn’t an Israeli. That didn’t bother me 1 bit. I’m 100% Israeli, my Father was born in this Country. My Grandfather fought in the Jewish brigade in World War II and my Holocaust surviving Grandmother fought in the War of Independence in 1948. I’ve supported Israel financially my entire adult life, and when I moved to Israel in 2006, I became a resident (I was ALWAYS a citizen) and I pay my fees just like she pays her fees. I went to the army when I moved here but they did not want me because I was over the age, and therefore I got a pitur. I was ready to serve had they wanted me.
But, if being Israeli means acting like she was acting. Then no, I am NOT Israeli. And I sure as hell am proud of that fact.
And then, the ugliness emerged, and she went off on how I’m a priviledged American, living in my parents apartment, living off of their money.
This is NOT the first time I’ve heard this argument. Do all Israeli’s think that Americans are fat and lazy and have money trees in their backyards? That life just hands them barrels full of dollars?
My parents WORK for a living! I’ve WORKED since I was 20 years old to make every cent that I have. I work HARD for my money. At one point, I held down multiple jobs! I had a full time PR job and a part time marketing job working for The New York Rangers just to make ends meet. No one has ever given me a free ride. No one has ever just handed me thousands of dollars and told me to piss it away. And I’ve worked and continue to work hard for my money, therefore I have EVERY right to spend how I damn well please.
But, I let the comment go because I have no interest explaining myself or my financial situation to a 20 something spoiled woman who has clearly never really lived life.
I told that she should be ashamed that she’s speaking to a pregnant woman in such a hateful and rude manner. And do you believe it but this woman MIMICKED me? Like a 5 year old. Seriously. Again, something is really wrong with her to act in such a manner.
She yelled a few more hurtful comments at us, I retaliated used the F word and bitch again, which I am NOT proud of because Baby J. was there, and then Baby J. started to cry and it stopped me cold.
Baby J. witnessed this entire exchange. She saw her Mommy screaming at some strange woman in her apartment building. And she was frightened. I was ashamed. Ashamed at myself for losing my composure. Ashamed at myself for letting this woman bully me into stooping to her level. Ashamed at myself for screaming in front of my daughter.
We quickly ushered her into the apartment and tried to calm her down. She held me tightly and then held DH tightly until I realized that I was cramping. The pain was intense. It was all over my body and radiating up and down my chest and arms, as well as in my uterus.
I staggered to the couch and tried to catch my breath. I prayed that I was not having contractions and tried to relax. DH immediately called the Medical Center to get my Dr. on the phone. I spoke to the Dr. on call and explained the situation and how I was feeling. He told me to get into bed, drink a lot of water and try to relax. If my cramps continued after an hour, I had to call him back.
I crawled into bed and tried to calm down. Baby J. and DH joined me and he tickled her into a better mood. I concentrated on my breathing. I thought about the baby we lost back in May. I thought about this beautiful baby growing inside of me, and how desperate I want to have this baby. And, I willed myself to think good thoughts and to relax. I said a quick prayer to G-d to help me, and decided it was time to make a better choice in terms of handling this sitatuion.
Fortunately, my pains went away within the hour and I was able to think with a clear head. I came up with a plan of action.
- No more yelling at the neighbor.
- Ignore neighbor.
- Never yell or speak to neighbor, especially not in front of Baby J.
- Protect my family, at all costs.
- Seek out help.
At 9:30 p.m., DH and I entered the police department in Talpiot where we spoke to Officer Levi and filed a formal complaint against the neighbor. We have the necessary paperwork to go to the courts now and get a restraining order but, since she hasn’t violently attacked either of us, it might be difficult. I’m sure, however, if I bring up the case of Talia Atar (A”H) it shouldn’t be a problem. I certainly do not want to wait until she physically assaults me before taking the necessary steps to protect myself, my unborn child, my daughter and my husband.
And now, I feel a bit better. I’ve gone through the proper channels and I pray that it is the right thing. I pray that she does not escalate this situation further and that she just stops her bullying and gets a life. But, if she doesn’t, I will make sure there is a restraining order against her and I will do everything in my power to make sure that the restraining order is enforced.
Then, we are going to move. And, when we select the next place for us to live, we will make sure that we meet and get to know our neighbors, understand the rules of the building, and establish mutual respect for all parties in the same dwelling.
But for now, I’m going to go back to bed. Pull the covers over my head, and mourn for the Israeli people and how horrible they’ve become.