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Right under our noses...

We love to travel to far-away exotic places. It’s great – we get to experience different cultures and atmospheres and mostly mix things up by leaving our own (sometimes claustrophobic) comfort zone.

But – sometimes we fail to see what is right under our noses or above our heads. Yesterday morning was one of those times for me. Even though I have walked by my own apartment hundreds of times over the last year, it was only yesterday that I noticed these little guys right under my window here in Haifa.

They are positioned on both sides of the window and their purpose is to keep the windows open preventing them from closing when it gets windy. Their nickname is 'mentshalach', and it comes from Yiddish as an endearing way to say, “little humans”.

When the windows are being kept from shutting, the upright mentshalach looks like a little man, and when the windows are closed, the mentshalach in its downright position looks like a woman.

That is where the urban legend was born… the story goes that when the husband left for work in the morning, the wife would turn the mentshalach downward so it would look like a woman and that would signal to her lover that she was home alone… When the husband came back from work, the wife would place the mentshalach in the upright man position and that way signal to her lover to stay away…

The mentshalach can be seen in historic neighborhoods around Israel and I am pretty sure I have seen them elsewhere around the world. Here in Israel, they were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I don’t know exactly when my building was built, but I do wonder what kind of shenanigans were going on with mentshalach in my apartment…

#urbanlegend #haifa #hadar #masada #tourisrael #holyland #historicneighborhood #thewanderingkrewe #israel

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