Thursday morning – rail passes

The title is misleading.  We didn’t get out the door until afternoon.  With a new-used tire that is ‘guaranteed’ to get us through until after our vacation when the car can be brought up to Hod HaSharon and have all new tires put on.  My iPad is still with the guy who was supposed to have replaced the screen a week ago.  But we did make it to the new train station in Sderot.

One of the things about having a new-to-us car is that, with each new-to-us car, we have to go to misrad rishui (department of motor vehicles, as it were) and turn in my handicapped parking card for them to send me a new one hopefully only a week later.  Obviously I don’t need to go anywhere or park during that week.  Um, yeah, right.

So when we arrived at the Sderot train station, there was no place to park for offloading a person using a wheelchair.  T(he) H(usband) pulled up in front of the station, got the wheelchair out of the trunk, deposited me in the wheelchair, and went off to park the car.  With me were my two youngest children.  Youngest daughter Simcha is in the army, but had the day off, and youngest son Eliyahu is fourteen and still officially homeschooling.  Simcha pushed me to the doors of the station with Eliyahu following along.  We paused at the doors, thinking to wait for TH to join us before entering the station.

While I sat there, a nicely dressed man came rushing up and gabbled at us in Hebrew (one of the saddest facts of my life has been my inability to master Hebrew).  He asked what we were doing and Simcha told him we were waiting for her Abba.  He was clearly worried, and it took a while for us to understand that he was afraid that I had the notion that I could just show up and board a train.  No, no, no, NO!  IF *I* want to board a train I have to call ahead and warn them so that they can figure out how to get me onto the train.  Not only that, but they have to be able to warn the station at which I wish to disembark, so that they can also be prepared for the unprecedented event of a wheelchair user traveling by train in Israel.

My older daughter and oldest son went to Tel Aviv by train last night, and my daughter was able to inform me that the train cars had a space reserved for wheelchair users, and it looked very nice, although she did comment that she didn’t see how the wheelchair was supposed to get *into* the nook.  So apparently SOMEONE considered the possibility of a wheelchair user on the trains.  In any event we reassured the station manager (I believe that is who it was) that I had no intention of traveling by train today, we were only there to receive our train passes (rav kav-im)  His brow cleared and he went off, reassuring us that we only had to call to warn everyone of the danger of my intent to travel, should such an event transpire.

Getting the passes was fairly simple, filling out a form and showing a te’udat ze’ut (identity card).  Each of us had a picture taken, and I’d be happy to post mine up here, but I am still a wee bit challenged with all of this modern technology, so perhaps another day.  We went over to the kupah (ticket counter, in this case) and got our cards ‘charged.’  Now all of us (except for me) were ready to board a train at any time and begin our journey.  Me – I have to phone ahead which will be interesting given our intention is to get on a train, travel somewhere, get off, get on another one, and so on.  I think the rail system isn’t ready for this, and I’m not sure that I am.  Still, Sunday morning, off we will go.  Barring natural disasters, acts of G0d, and so forth.

In the final bit of preparation TH phoned the computer repair shop to demand that I get my iPad back, with or without a new screen.  I could use it with the broken screen, it was only the corner after all.  But – the technician had gotten a new screen, installed it, and then broken that.  So I couldn’t take my iPad back until he had gotten *another* new screen and installed. it.  But I am leaving Sunday morning on this rail trip I’ve been planning and working on and dreaming about and plan to blog about and I Must Have My IPad!  I yelled loudly enough that the man on the other end of the phone heard me, told TH that he’d heard me and he’d see what he could do.  Long story short, I now have in iPad with a NEW broken screen, which doesn’t work quite right.  BUT, with the keyboard I purchased I can do pretty much whatever I need to for the trip and as long as it keeps limping along, all is good.  When we return from our trip the iPad will be returned to the technician who should, by then, have another new screen and should, Hashem willing, be able to install it properly this time.  OR – heads will roll.  I may be an obese, middle-aged (okay, old) crippled woman in a wheelchair, but I can still make the earth tremble if I have to.  *happy face*

Finally, here I am.  Home, with only the packing and fretting left to do.  Oh, and the calling of the train station to give them ‘fair warning’ of the advent of a wheelchair passenger.  It will be fun for the whole family.  In the meantime planning for a peaceful shabbot (no rockets wanted) and an early start.  Don’t be surprized if we don’t quite make that.


6 thoughts on “Thursday morning – rail passes

  1. Hmmm… So in Your country You have to inform the railways Well in advance if a person in a wheel chair wants to travel by train.

    In Our Country of India, very few people have wheel chairs. …The government has insisted that they should be called the ‘Differently Abled’ now. And things have stopped with that.

    People here generally move without w.chairs if they want to go by train, etc, arriving by cars/taxy/autorichshaw, and generally there are wheel chairs kept available at railway stations which they can use to ‘reach’ the train, are lifted in and out, etc, etc.

    The saddest part in Our country may be that Most Handicapped cannot afford wheel chairs…


    • Thank you for your many and informative comments. I could not afford a wheelchair on my own, but the government helps through the national insurance. I am not riding the train any more, in part because of needing to schedule the use of the train so far in advance. The national insurance bought me a wheelchair van, so now I drive any place I can. It helps that Israel is a much smaller country, I can drive from the furthest south point to the furthest north in about nine hours. But Gd bless the national insurance of Israel, for sure.

      • Hello, my Dear Melisdvash! (I hope that is Your name). …Have never been out of India, except to Nepal which did not require a Passport/Visa.

        So my knowledge of other countries is based on what I read/hear over the media, etc.

        But it is not just a matter of being small. So many countries are even smaller than Israel.

        It is about Caring! I have the Impression that Israel cares about its Citizens! And I like that!

        Much Love and Regards to You and the Whole Family! 🙂

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