Elias and Shimon feel perhaps it's time to make aliyah, army service included.
From left, Elias Faingersh, 47, and Shimon Faingersh, 13, live in Malmo Sweden, flying to Copenhagen; and Daniel Misezhnikov, 28, lives in Moscow, flying to Moscow
Excuse me, can I ask why you need a hotplate?
Daniel: [email protected]#$$#%!
Elias: He said, “For Shabbat!”
Thanks for the translation. Are you a relative?
Elias: No, I don’t even know him. Now Daniel is telling you that he couldn’t put the hotplate into his suitcase because it was too big.
Ask him why he bought it.
Elias: Daniel says hotplates aren’t exactly popular in Moscow.
Daniel: From Jerusalem hotplate also more holy and more cheap!
Can I ask what you did in Israel?
Elias: Vacation, vacation, vacation.
Shimon: It was my 11th time. I like it here! I’m even learning Hebrew.
Do you have family in Israel?
Elias: Our family is originally from Moscow. So maybe we really are Daniel’s relatives. (Laughs) Some of my relatives moved to Sweden when I was a boy, and others to Israel and New York, 30 years ago.
What’s the situation of the Jewish community in Sweden?
Eilas: There is still a Jewish community in Sweden, but it’s very small and getting smaller. Everyone is moving to Israel.
Shimon: Because it’s the country of the Jews.
Elias: Sweden is tough. There’s this vibe in the air. People throw things at the rabbis, throw stones at Jewish kindergartens, spit at us in the street. You can’t walk around with a Star of David pendant in Sweden. And there are armed guards at the synagogue.
Who is harassing the Jews?
Elias: The same group that does it everywhere: the Muslims.
Have you considered immigrating to Israel?
Elias: Yes. I have an Israeli passport and I want Shimon to have one, too.
Shimon will have to do army service.
Elias: He wants to serve; this is the only army in the world that I would want him to serve in.
Shimon: I want to, because I want to support Israel.
What do you do back home?
Elias: I’m a trombonist. I perform internationally – Israel, too. I play soul music, and there’s humor in my shows. Check out my website: trombonemagic.com.
Daniel: It’s interesting that his site is called “Trombone Magic,” because I also do magic. But its darker side. I am trying to open a museum of deception in Moscow.
What does that mean?
Daniel: There are all kinds of deception: Maybe you two aren’t real journalists and while you’re interviewing me, you’ll steal my bag. I want people to see how all kinds of deception really work. From people who do card tricks on the street to people who lie in job interviews and know how to sound credible.
What were you doing in Israel?
Daniel: I was here on a religious program, in Tiberias. I was at a wedding of Lithuanian Hasidim. I did some sightseeing in Jerusalem. I learned about the elections.
Who would you vote for?
Daniel: A party on the right, I think. But now that I’ve been here, I’m not so sure anymore. I don’t know what kind of Jew I am here. In Moscow I’m religious, but here I’m not. The hamburger here says “kosher,” but for this or that rabbi, it’s not kosher.
Shimon: My friends in Sweden go to McDonald’s, but I eat kosher, so all I can eat there is a fish burger. So I grabbed the chance here.
Daniel: You grew up in Israel, you learned the Bible in primary school, but I grew up in Moscow and all I heard about was Christianity. My mother and father are Jews, but I don’t know anything about religion. At some stage I wanted to find God, but Christianity sounded like a lie to me.
Tomer (the photographer): Isn’t religion a form of deception?
Daniel: I respect religion, even though I only started going to synagogue two years ago. There are a lot of laws; I don’t feel “holy.” I don’t know what will happen when I get back to Moscow. In Tel Aviv everyone is Jewish, it’s not a problem not to be religious. In Moscow, if you’re not religious, there is no difference between you and the Russians. The synagogues unite the community, otherwise everyone would assimilate. Here all your friends are Jews; it’s easy to find a Jewish partner. Maybe if I lived here in Tel Aviv I would be able to think about things more and it would be easy for me to be secular and left-wing, and vote for Yair Lapid. But from there? I am religious and vote for Bennett.
Gilad Canyon, 39, lives in Tel Aviv (r.); and Ido Shaish, 38, lives in Rehovot; landing from Geneva
Hello, can I ask where you’re coming from?
Gilad: From skiing at Val Thorens.
How was it?
Gilad: It was great. We were at a French club called UCPA. Part of the deal there is to meet people from other countries. There are four people to a room, group skiing instruction, and they supply all the equipment and also the food.
Have you skied before?
Ido: A little, Gilad’s done a lot.
Gilad: But I need instruction, too. That’s part of the fun.
How did you get along?
Gilad: We’ve been friends for 20 years, since university. But the question was how the other skiers would act because what happened in France [the terror attacks in Paris] reached us on the slopes. The French rushed to the televisions – that reminded us of ourselves.
Ido: They didn’t know what to make of it. They put a “Je suis Charlie” sticker on the elevator and there was a minute’s silence at the ski lift.
Gilad: You saw people doing Likes for memorial candles on Facebook, but in the evening they were playing games.
Ido: There was social activity every evening, mostly involving the French.
Gilad: We talked with the Swedes, while they sang and danced.
Ido: But what does it prove? Nothing. They didn’t know how to cope.
Well, they don’t have our training.
Ido: It’s shocking. Sheer execution. [The terrorists] just murdered them and left. With us, people come and blow themselves up.
Gilad: If there’s a terrorist attack in Israel and you happen to be in a hotel in Eilat and there’s a cultural event scheduled, it will be canceled. But on the other hand, after one attack, we had a split TV screen, so people could watch a soccer game and also watch the live coverage. We’ve learned something since then.
What did you listen to on the earphones while you were skiing?
Gilad: Nothing. I get scared, because eight years ago I had a very serious skiing accident – I left parts of my leg on the mountain – so I only listen to the skis.
Gilad: I was in Italy and trying to evade a group of people. I fell and one ski was released. It did a helicopter thing and part of my leg revolved with it. I had an open fracture of the shin and the fibula, and lost a lot of blood.
Tomer (the photographer): Do you remember what you thought when it happened?
Was the pain unbearable?
Gilad: After half an hour in the snow it doesn’t hurt anymore. I was conscious and knew exactly what was going on. A helicopter arrived. A physician steps out, and what’s the first thing he asks?
Gilad: “Do you have insurance?” I said I did. He said, “Sign here and take morphine.” The next time it hurt was when they used alcohol to clean the wound in the hospital. It was insane. A five-hour operation. Sawing, hammering and drilling, and suddenly you realize the legs hanging there and being drilled are yours! And you say, “God help me.”
When did you get back to Israel?
Four days later, on the day I was supposed to come back, straight to the hospital.
How long did the rehabilitation take?
Gilad: I spent six months in a wheelchair and in physiotherapy. I was back skiing after a year.
You’re nuts. Weren’t you afraid?
My brother was the one who was afraid to go back – he was behind me and saw the whole thing. I knew I would go back – I’d have gone back on one leg, too, I can’t do without it. I’ve been skiing since 2002, and I live for that one week of the year.
How did you cope mentally with an injury like that?
My wife was supportive, and I was busy with rehabilitation more than with trauma. I came out with a fracture in a “good” place. I told myself: No permanent damage will be caused, the feeling won’t change. You’ll have iron in your leg all your life, that’s all. Besides, you have no choice: It’s already happened, so what’s next?
Conclusions and lessons?
When someone adjusts the equipment – probably the binding release wasn’t right. We rely on professionals most of our life. An hour before it happened, I went to someone who replaced the ski; it was like going to the garage. There are so many people around you that you believe, people you go to for advice ... I didn’t go looking for the guy who worked on the ski, but since then I check by myself.