Culture Clash

Spread the healing

Living in a new culture is always an interesting experience but the longer I am here, the more I realize how deeply our social upbringing affects our beliefs and our behavior.  Growing up in Canada and then moving to the US was an adjustment, but it pales in comparison to the constant mental and emotional shifting I need to make here in Israel.

Here are some examples:

  • People do not leave voice messages here.  They just call you and hang up, then they expect you to call them back even if you don’t know who they are.
  • People in customer service (e.g. the bank, post office, schools) will often answer the phone and help someone else while you are standing there right in front of them.  Other people will actually come right up to the counter and make a request while you are there talking with the personnel.  This is totally acceptable.
  • It is completely acceptable to park on the sidewalk (and in the bike lane!) while dropping something off for a little while.  Cars also park in either direction on both sides of the street.
  • Children here have more freedom.  Most kids 7 and over walk to school by themselves.  After 9, most kids go home from school by themselves with a key and make themselves lunch.
  • People here do not plan way ahead like we do in the U.S.  Especially with Yoga trainings and classes, most sign ups happen the week before the program so you never know until last minute if you will have a good turnout or not.
  • People will never turn down an opportunity to have coffee with a friend.
  • People go out at night with their children here all the time.  They are more relaxed about schedules and bed times.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to begin talking to anyone, anywhere, at any time. 
  • Individuals go out of their way to help you.  I saw a funny skit about someone who asked a woman in Israel for directions, and she ran next to the car the whole way explaining how to get there!  It is a bit absurd but could actually happen here.
  • People will give you their opinion about everything here, whether you ask them or not!
  • You will often see two individuals arguing intensely in middle of the street. I would often be concerned that the argument will escalate when a moment later I see them hug and say – “Alright sweetie, have a good day!”  So, apparently, yelling is just a form of communication here…
  • It is considered cool to spit out hundreds of sunflower seed shells onto the sidewalk, especially when watching soccer games.
Ok, I could go on, but you get the point.  It is a good lesson in awareness that we may be accustomed to one way of life, but there are others with a totally different way of thinking.


Once we realize this, we can separate from our limited beliefs a little bit more and see things from another’s perspective. 


You don’t have to move to a foreign country to experience this shift.  It is also possible on your Yoga mat.  The focus and discipline that a regular practice requires of us starts to train our mind so that we begin to detach from our Ego and see the common thread that exists in all humanity.  It is there.  We really are all the same, minus a few habits here and there.


We all laugh and cry, we all struggle with the inconsistency that life brings, we all love our children and families, we all hope for contentment and peace of mind.


Wishing you a wonderful holiday season – and a beautiful New Year filled with joy, prosperity and an open mind and heart.


I will be back In San Diego this summer and will be teaching some exciting workshops…See below! I hope to see you all when I return in July.  It’s crazy how time flies!

With love,   RachelImage


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